Hello, my name is Lupe and I am truly a believer in Jesus Christ. I struggle with Bipolar, anxiety, and Parkinson’s. I am recovering from alcohol, addiction, and anorexia.
The fact that I’m still standing is nothing short of a series of God’s miracles. There are two things I know from life; Bipolar and addiction. And as a result of both of (or either) of them, I could be dead or in prison right now. I’ve spent my life searching for recovery from my Bipolar and almost the latter half from addiction.
Just like most of us, my story begins as a child – in particular with my parents. I have only two memories of my father before alcohol took his life; I was only eight years old. He was an alcoholic and a workaholic. I saw him on Sundays.
My first memory of him is when he slapped me in the mouth so hard that he made my mouth bleed. I was five. The second memory of him was the day he passed out from drinking…leaving an full can of beer setting on the table. Being curious, I drank the beer. I was only seven.
I didn’t mourn over my father’s death, nor have I ever shed a tear. I simply do not know my father.
After my father died, I was molested a number of times by a family member. I never told my family and to this day they don’t know. It confused me and I felt sick every time it happened. For years I suppressed what happened, until one day during treatment, I was finally able to face it head on. I don’t remember how long it went on, but one day the abuse just stopped.
After his death, my grandfather stepped in to pick up some of the “fatherly” influence my father left behind. We got close and developed a strong relationship but within four years he was taken home to be with God and I was left alone again. My mother typically worked two jobs in order to support her and us four kids.
Before I turned 16, I was sexually, physically and verbally abused – all the while battling an undiagnosed mental illness.
During my tween years, my mother remarried. On the surface, our family seemed normal. Mom finally had help with raising us four kids. She didn’t have to work two or three jobs in order to make ends meet. But behind our walls was a different story. There were screaming matches and name calling that often went on. There were things being thrown around and broken. There were holes in the walls from the violence. On a few occasions, I can recall waking in the middle of the night, being violently shaken and being screamed at. That marriage eventually ended after a few years as a result of the violence.
I grew to hate men; I refused to get close to a male. Before I turned 16, I was sexually, physically and verbally abused – all the while battling an undiagnosed mental illness.
In spite of the abuse and mental struggles, I excelled in high school. I began taking college courses during my senior year. By all accounts, I was a model student with no disciplinary problems who stayed involved in many different activities. But in my mind, I felt something quite the opposite. I rarely slept and my brain seemed to have two modes…ecstatic or apathetic.
Growing up I dealt with depression and feelings of isolation. I had many friends, but never quite felt as if I fit in. I had this feeling I was different than everyone else. My moods were bleak and dark; sometimes it was as if I had no feelings at all. I later came to call this my “nothing feeling.” No emotions existed. No happiness or sadness. Just a feeling of apathy.
My depression grew stronger by the time I was 21 and I was heavily self medicating with alcohol. I drank for every occasion. If I was sad then I would drown myself with alcohol. If I was up then I would celebrate and have a good time with alcohol. I drank all day and then partied at night. I always kept an open bottle of vodka under the seat of my truck to drink back and forth to work. Driving while drinking had become a habit for me and, at the age of 21, I got my first DUI.
The consequences of it didn’t detour me from my drinking. As a matter of fact it gave me more freedom to drink because I knew I wouldn’t have to drive. So my drinking escalated. At one point the depression got too strong to bear I attempted to end my life with vodka and sleeping pills. It will be the first of five suicide attempts. This only landed me in the ER and then a psychiatric hospital.
I drank heavily for over four years until one day I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the depression, the excitement, the sleepless nights and the loneliness anymore so one day I contacted Ada Area Chemical Dependency and set up an evaluation and outpatient treatment. In 1998 I finally got sober with the help of counseling. While there, I received the diagnosis of Bipolar 1 mixed rapid cycling with psychotic features – I began treatment for that same year.
For seven years I was sober. I got married and had three children. By the looks of my family you would think we had everything together. I stayed home during the day with the boys when I wasn’t in class. I worked nights while my wife worked days. But inside I was fighting a battle…and I was losing. I was tortured with episodes of suicidal depressions and ecstatic manias.
In the span of five months, I lost my wife, my kids, my job and continued to struggle with bipolar. I began drinking again. At first, it was a six pack here and there…until it became a nightly thing. My life was in shambles and I was self medicating with alcohol. My depression was so severe that I decided to end my life. I spent the day making preparations and writing a suicide note. The next night, while everyone slept, I cut both of my wrists.
Every day, I would promise myself that I wasn’t going to drink and later I would find myself at the store buying alcohol.
I was consumed with bitterness and anger. I had grown up to be my father – an alcoholic workaholic. I tried on numerous occasions to stop drinking on my own. Every day, I would promise myself that I wasn’t going to drink and later I would find myself at the store buying alcohol. I would even try different methods to stop or tell myself I was only going to drink on certain occasions. Each time I failed.
My drinking caused many problems in my marriage. More than once I came home to find a bag had been packed for me. I lied about it, I hid it and I drank too much. On top of the alcohol, I would take any benzo or painkiller I could get my hands on. I have been jailed five time because of alcohol related incidents. During my marriage I got three more DUI’s. My last was on February 18th, 2010. That was the day I took my last drink.
That night, I cried out to God. I was broken and felt alone. Sitting in that jail cell, I told God I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t handle the drinking, the lies, the anorexia, the feeling alone and the cycling. And right there, in that tiny jail cell, I heard God tell me, “Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.”
He was right. I had been my own enemy all along. I had tried to control everything. The bitterness and anger that I’d so tightly held onto simply fed my addictions and cycling. This was my third DUI and I knew I was facing prison. By God’s grace, I was ordered into mental health drug court for a year. I successfully completed the program without sanctions and my record was expunged.
God rescued me, kept me out of prison, and guided me into sobriety.