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    Dear 12 Step National Meetings friends,

    You may rember a thread I started ‘One week to get sober’ where I tried using external reasons to get sober. It failed spectacularly. I was however struck by the helpful advice from you guys that the reasons for quitting had to come from within myself.

    My situation got worse as the weeks went on (usual stuff – drunk at work, drunk meeting new inlaws, unemployment etc.) until some rather alarming physical symtoms revealed themselves – constant leg pain that would not (and has not) gone away. I was sufficiently scared to call the local GP and see an NHS doctor for the first time in 13 years.

    Now here’s a positive note for our UK members. I was absolutely honest with the GPs about my drinking and their response was surprising. They were positive, suportive and congratulated me for trying to take action and made sure I had all the local details for SMART and AA. The senior nurse who ran a general health check was particularly good. She joked that she could probably get though a couple of bottles a day at the weekend, offered any help she could give and I felt she meant it. Conclusion – I should have done this years ago.

    I was eventually referred to the local hospital re the leg pains and something much more scary as well. All this time I was still drinking. This (justifiable) anxiety coupled with the alcohol led me to a state of what I can only describe as real fear. I spent what should have been a beautiful sunny holiday weekend wondering how my family would cope if I got very ill. I did my best to not drink and to hide my fear from them – I failed on both counts.

    I awoke today alone, ashamed, hung over, stinking of disgusting beer and terribly fearful. Fearful of the future, fearful of change, fearful of my medical status, fearful for my career, fearful of further deterioration. It’s pretty much all encompassing.

    So, I have a choice. I can get drunk enough to get through the day (yet again) or give sobriety one more go and hope somehow for the best. My goal, my aim is now ‘Freedom From Fear’. That’s all I ask. ‘Class Of May 2011’ here I come, but I’m now more trepidatious than ever.

    Very grateful for 12 Step National Meetings today. Thank you all for reading this.

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