There are times in my life where I have become stuck, believing I will never overcome obstacles. When people say ‘have faith’, what does that mean? I am not religious, but if this form of faith works for you, then I am glad it does.

When I first started drug and alcohol recovery in AA, Bill Wilson, it’s founder, talked about having ‘faith as small as a mustard seed’ This concept jumped out at me from the get-go. Faith for the faithless. I could handle that. Faith in bite sized pieces. Faith for people of all ages, nationalities, denominations and beliefs, religious or non-religious. I needed whatever hope I could cling to.

I came into AA and NA recovery a garden-variety wreck. I had no sense of hope whatsoever, because I was staring into the face of death. I didn’t believe anything could improve for me. I hated the world, and myself. I was psychotic, believing I was worthless, that my family were better off without me.

I stole whatever I could get my hands on.

I must have had faith though, because I stepped into my first meeting, thinking, that maybe, there was the tiniest possibility it would help me.

I went to a run-down inner-city meeting of NA for the first time in my young life. I knew I had a problem with drugs, but I couldn’t identify the alcohol problem. Whatever. Booze is a drug so powerful and destructive, it can destroy every organ in the body. It’s just a legal drug. Identifying as an alcoholic would come a bit later, when I showed up at my first detox.

Alcohol and cannabis were my daily-use drugs. Pills, coke, acid, speed and codeine were running a close second, threatening to bloom into full-blown addiction, especially coke.

I didn’t think I was enough of an addict to join recovery. I was too young. I wasn’t sleeping on a park bench in Hyde Park. I was doing postgraduate at uni, writing assignments on Adolescent Development and teaching at Vaucluse High School, totally off my face. It was about that time I overdosed.

Heroin addicts urged me to get help immediately, telling me my drug was worse than theirs because it had made me crazy.

Point taken. So I packed my bags and headed off to recovery. And the rest is history, one day at a time.

Having faith, for me, means I cannot tackle all my life problems at once. It means I stay off abusing substances one day at a time. It means seeing the beauty all around me, no matter how small.

It means taking life one step at a time.

When I am upset about the worlds problems, I have to make a decision to bring my affairs, and my reality back into today.

When Bipolar Depression hits me hard, I remind myself to see beauty in the face of a passing child, in my dog putting her little head on me, in my partner, a kind and good man, in my parents and brother, who I am close too. Addiction didn’t take away my family, and I remind myself of this.

I am hoping this coming Winter will be Depression-free, that the meds will help me.

Whatever the outcome, I will be kind to myself and keep moving in a forward direction, even if things try to send me backwards.

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