My denial

I must have done every available alcohol or addiction questionnaire on the internet to justify my intake. Even though every single one scored me as an addict, my denial prevented me from both seeing and accepting that I was in trouble.

Several times I kept a drink and diazepam diary, when trying to cut down during a week’s leave. I even lied when recording my intake, and as I was living on my own at that time, there was no-one else to see it, but couldn’t record the real amounts as that would be admitting to an unacceptably high intake.

The friends I used to drink heavily with as a student had all settled down now and drank sensibly, so I assumed I would reach that stage as a natural course of events too. Because I had never drunk spirits, never had a drink in the morning, never drunk at or before work, never had bad withdrawals, and no demonstrable liver problems in my blood tests, I thought I was only a mild case, if I was a 'case' at all.

I was a doctor, and so must be a different kind of addict – just a mild case who didn’t need to do all the recommended stuff. Given time, things would all work out by themselves and I’d grow out of it. How wrong I was. I still subscribed to the thought that addiction was ‘dirty’ and that it only happened to people with defective personalities.

But it was what went on in my head, and the absolute despair at the end of my drinking that was described by members of AA (when I eventually got there!), that was enough to eventually convince me that I didn’t have to qualify as the worst alcoholic ever before I needed treatment.

It took a long time to break down my professional pride and accept that addiction is now recognised as an illness, and as such, deserves treatment like any other chronic illness. Anon