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The Dis-Ease of Addiction

Tuesday night was a recovery meeting I was dreading in fact, as I knew I was going to swell up in talking about my father’s death post-operatively, and all the remorse and guilt I have for wasting his time when I was in police cells for drunk and disorderly behaviour, and hospital admissions, e.g. an emergency ‘rapid sequence induction’ to secure an airway when I collapsed in Cambridge several years ago. It will take me a long time for me to understand what I put my father through. Alcoholism is the most selfish of disorders.

The attendance was large – 25 in total, ranging from alcohol in the main, to zopiclone and gambling. In our recovery meeting, which lasts two hours, we run an ‘extended check-in system’ run by a chartered psychologist, where we can explain the ups and downs of the week gone past, especially in relation to relapse triggers and continued health. You have to have been sober for 24 hours to attend – I have now been in recovery for 41 months.

The meeting as usual was interesting. We had a discussion in particular which was noteworthy. Attitudes towards Alcoholics Anonymous vary in our group. Of course, AA is not obligatory in anyone’s recovery plan. As it happens I have a rigorous programme of leading a life of abstinence and full recovery which does not involve the AA. One person in our group finds AA incredibly comforting from a spiritual point-of-view. Other opinions in the group emphasised that you don’t have to be religious to benefit from AA. In fact, one of the founders of AA was an atheist. Another person, whom we all respect, said that he had started in AA after he had reached rock-bottom involving several inpatient admissions in the space of a few months. He said without AA it would have been impossible. I fully respect this position that for some AA is a life-saver, and is incredibly inspiring, in that it makes the disastrous climax of alcoholism an evitability for once.

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