Finding Faith in Recovery

Last Updated: 6 Aug 2018
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“We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  Step Two

Faith has played a very important part in my recovery, both from mental illness, as well as addiction.  But early on it was not that way.  My first bipolar episode was horrific and delusional.  The next eight years were a struggle as I tried to find my spiritual compass.  I had been raised in the church however I chose not to attend during those years.

It was during this period that I bounced in and out of psychiatric hospitals as I tried to figure things out. Finally, I made my way to the rooms of a 12-Step program where I discovered how having a Higher Power can help in one’s recovery.  The beauty of the 12-Step model is that an individual can choose whatever spiritual path he/she needs to help them in their recovery as long as the power is loving, caring and greater than oneself.

This discovery helped me to return to the church and gain a better understanding of how I could develop a greater sense of faith.  I was thereby able to strengthen my recovery from mental illness.  Since then I have been challenged by life’s ups and downs: deaths, births, job changes, and the list goes on. My faith has gotten me through them all.

Of course, I do understand that there are some who do not take the spiritual approach to their recovery, and I respect that, however I have met many for whom spirituality has been the guiding force in their recovery.  As for me, I could not have made it through the tumultuous times in my life if it hadn’t been for my belief in a Higher Power.

Has your faith helped you?

About the author
Karl Shallowhorn is the Education Program Coordinator for the Community Health Center of Buffalo. Karl has been living with bipolar disorder since 1981. He is a New York State Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor and has worked in both the addictions and mental health fields for over 17 years. Karl is the author of Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health. He is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and also works as a mental health consultant for organizations across New York State. Karl has provided a variety of mental health-related seminars and workshops for conferences, schools and businesses on the local, state and national levels. Karl serves on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association in New York State, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network, as well as the Erie County Mental Hygiene Community Services Boardand the WNED/WBFO Mental Health Advisory Council. Karl has received numerous awards for his advocacy efforts in his professional career.
1 Comment
  1. I will follow this very helpful advice . Do STRESSORS during manic or hypomanic TIMES affect the depressed phase

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