If One Group Doesn’t Fit, There are Plenty of Others To Slip Into.
After thirty years of faithful attendance at 12-Step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous), and two other ‘Anonymouses,’ I split.
I objected to the self-sickness of “I’m Allison and I’m a ‘recovering’ ____. like I’d never get well.
After reading two scientifically based books, “Unbroken Brain: Understanding the Revolutionary New Science of Addiction,” Maia Szalavitz, (who is also a George Soros Fellow), and “The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science of 12-Step Groups and The Rehab Industry” by Lance Dodes of Harvard, I don’t buy into the disease concept for myself.
I don’t wish to discourage anyone from trying “The Program” if they have habits they can’t break. They save lives and often hold families together.
What pushed me out was if I mentioned ANYTHING related to bipolar disorder, the meetings erupted into two equally fervent camps; ‘Me ‘Toos’ and ‘Haters’ who think bipolar is bogus.
Weary of the feeling I’d hijacked the meetings, I withdrew.
Once I looked around for replacements, I found an exciting new frontier.
National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) “Connections” groups are great.
They’re round-the-room ‘check-ins’. They allot three to five minutes per person.
Most members have lived with their diagnosis (es) for decades.
The ‘old timers’ share tidbits about subsidized housing, food stamps, insurance advocates, and other available support.
I haven’t been to Bipolar Depression Support Alliance yet because it’s an hour and a half away.
My goal is to go, learn the ropes and start a DBSA meeting at my “Drop-In” center, who wants one.
I’ll go into “Drop-Ins” in depth, with a state-by-state directory at the end of this blog.
Another program is “Smart Recovery.” The focus is rationality.
“Smart” meets twice a week at several locations in my area.
Their four point program is:
- Building and Maintaining Motivation.
2. Coping with Urges.
3. Managing Thoughts feelings and Behaviors.
4. Living a Balanced life.
There’s also “Recovery International,” using techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the precursor to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, (DBT).
“Drop-Ins” are a huge source of support.
They are often an outpatient facility of a local hospital. That’s one way to search for them. Others are completely consumer-run. This means everyone who works there has a mental health diagnosis.
My local Drop-In has Emotions Anonymous, The Artist’s Way (for writers), Anxiety Management, Bipolar Support, etc. They teach basic jewelry assembly and provide painting supplies.
I volunteered at mine for years. I answered phones, taught jewelry and took a meeting called “Dual Recovery,” (for dual diagnosis patients) to the psych and detox wards.
I also started an eating disorder group and later handed it off to someone else. That meeting is still going strong.
As for replacing the support, social interaction and spirituality of AA, I realize it’s a tall order.
I just have to make the effort.
There’s an old saying, “He/She who seeks beauty finds it.”
This is especially true for me right now.
To see if any Consumer-Run ‘Drop-In’ Centers are located near you, here is a link to The Consumer Driven Services Directory from the National Mental Health Consumer’s self-help Clearinghouse. http://ift.tt/2fGVZhV This does not list “Drop-Ins” run by medical professionals. Don’t forget to search for those by calling local hospitals.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community