A Substance Abuse Story

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Everything in life can teach us lessons. Some good, some bad. Some that alter us completely and irrevocably forever. Well I have something that’s teaching me some lessons constantly and that thing is Bipolar Disorder. It has taught me a lot of lessons over the years. It has taken me through a lot, something in particular is drug and alcohol abuse.

When you look and see someone that is clearly an addict or alcoholic what do you think? Well first of all you’ve already judged them or assumed something about them. Do you then look at them with disgust? Do you dismiss them? Do you assume they there are useless, hopeless, good for nothing? If you do then you might be wrong. Because I was an addict once. And now I’m recovered. We can recover. We can recover and become extraordinary human beings. We can contribute to society. We aren’t horrible people, there’s just something horrible happening to us.


My substance abuse started because of a mental illness. I tried so desperately to kill the pain, to feel something different. I was desperate. Prescription medication at the time hadn’t helped me as I was misdiagnosed. So I decided to try and help myself and that’s when it all started. That’s when I started smoking pot, then smoking ice, taking LSD, making tea out of magic mushrooms. And then there was the drinking, the drinking was the worst.

I was drinking almost every day at one point. It took the pain away. I would drink until I passed out. And I passed out in some pretty interesting places. One time, an hour outside of the city. Thankfully, the guy was nice enough to take me home in the morning.

I self-medicated. I tried to fix what was going on in my head, but I just couldn’t, no matter what I did. After a few years I just couldn’t do it anymore, the drugs, the alcohol. I needed to stop. So I did. First went the drugs, surprisingly they were the easiest to get rid of. Next was the alcohol. The alcohol was really hard to give up. It took away the most pain for me, that and it was legal, I had easy access to it. But, I did it.

So I went from taking anything and everything that I could get my hands on to taking nothing. It was awful but I was still glad to be clean. It cleared my head. Kind of. I still had all of that Bipolar there, the bipolar that I didn’t know that I had at the time.

Addiction is rough, but recovery is possible. It can take time. It can take multiple attempts it can take everything in your being. But it can be done. One day you’ll be able to stand up and say, ‘I am recovered, I am recovering’. Today I can stand up and say, “My name is Meghan and I am recovered, I am recovering.” Because recovery is a life long journey.


Meghan Shultz

I am 27 years old I’ve been living with mental illness for most of my life. I have Bipolar I Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder. But that’s not all I am. I am also a writer, a painter, a knitter, and an avid walker. I love the winter time; I love the rain. I also have a constantly growing collection of stuffed animals. I love tattoos. I have also recently published a book Always Unstable: Bipolar and Hospitalisation: A Memoir. It is available on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “A Substance Abuse Story

  1. Richard DeFinoRichard DeFino

    Thank you for sharing your story Meghan. It took me a good three times to finally get clean and sober, but like you said, I can now say that I’m recovered and recovering!

  2. Susan P. BlevinsSusan P. Blevins

    You’re an inspiration to us all Meghan! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your ongoing victory. Leading a creative life helps us all manage our neuroses.

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