I have a friend who is age 65 who was alcoholic and pill popper. He went to AA and learned more from his fellow addicts than years of psycho-therapy. He grew up privileged yet emotionally and physically abused and abandoned and his parents were drunks. He became one too. He's an artist, running his own business. His wife retired but worked for Mental Health for years She is over 6 feet tall a foot taller than him and loves him as we do.
When I was in a survivors of sexual abuse group the top of my head blew off when I realized how much I had in common with the other 15 women. This was in the early 1990's.
My cyclothymia is the monkey on my back. Even this burden has a gift. It has driven me to have an understanding and a taste for universal human themes. This is part of developing ones consciousness. Keep reading. I have a bunch of manic depressive friends ex-alcoholics, and ex-drug addicts who are as devoted as me to reading and writing and becoming conscious. And I have a bunch of friends in denial trapped by their addictions. All you can do is hope someday they develop the courage and hunger to learn that life is much BIGGER when they get help with their addictions and mental illnesses.