Meet Marcus Jackson: An Artist Using His Passion to Beat Alcohol Abuse!
In September we hosted a photo contest to celebrate National Recovery Month! Throughout the month we received several entries from people with truly inspiring stories– one of which was Marcus Jackson, an artist based here in Miami learning to cope with bipolar disorder without the use of marijuana and alcohol.
After years of coping with stress and emotional strains with self-medication Marcus realized, rather than alleviating his troubles, alcohol and marijuana were compounding the symptoms of his yet undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Jackson began drinking and smoking marijuana recreationally as a way to relax and enjoy himself; however, his use soon spiraled out of his control without him realizing. His drinking interfered with his personal relationships and made it difficult to connect with others. He became easy to anger and prone to extreme outburst. Though friends expressed their concern, he continued to believe alcohol and marijuana were helping him deal with his problems.
“I really loved drinking and [smoking] weed. I thought it wasn’t bad so long I stayed in control, but I would always wound up feeling depressed after a binge.” he said, also noting that his dependence on alcohol never relieved his anxieties. That belief is common among the community of people suffering from untreated substance abuse disorders. Another common factor is underlying mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, chronic or clinical depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.
So, after a sobering moment caused him to re-evaluate his perspective regarding drinking and smoking, Marcus was struggling to find a new means of coping with life’s many ups and downs. He began seeing a therapist who finally uncovered the reason behind his anger and depression: bipolar disorder.
“I’ve been doing better with therapy. I’m taking medication to better manage my symptoms. The feelings still come and go, but I’ve learned they don’t have to take me for the ride.”
As for alcohol and marijuana, Marcus has been sober from both for nearly two years and he’s optimistic about continuing to remain sober. “I’ll most likely never drink or smoke again- I don’t think it mixes well with bipolar disorder,” he said, “My recovery is ongoing and I’m finding new things about myself everyday. Since I stopped drinking I feel happier and comfortable in my own skin. Through all this I realized drinking and drugs is no way to sooth depression.”
In his road to recovery and self-reinvention, Marcus Jackson has rededicated himself to his faith and his passion for the arts. His creative pursuits help him channel negative thoughts and energies in a positive way. He said, “Throughout everything what keeps me motivated and happy is drawing with pen and ink. It’s a blessing that I have this skill and am continuing to improve on it. Instead of corrupting myself I’d rather draw.” He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts while maintaining an internship with a game design company in Miami. His goal is to one day write and illustrate his own comic book series.
Do you have a story you want to tell? Tell us about it!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.