We came home today. The boys were keen to get back to their familiar environment, especially son2 who is struggling with some social problems at the moment. I made my peace with my mother, thanks to a timely intervention from my sister in law.
When I got home I fell asleep for a couple of hours and when I awoke I decided I would go to a meeting this evening. One of the women I met last week had offered to meet me, and I was surprised to find that I really wanted to go there. (It’s a long way from the stubborn refusal of only last week isn’t it !)
So I went. A meeting at 6.15 for 75 minutes. It was very powerful. The chair spoke very movingly, and powerfully about his experiences and the sharing felt very pertinent. It occurred to me that though I just sat and listened, that my brain was quiet in that space. I was absorbing comments and hearing stories, recognising similarities , but my thoughts were not racing at 1000 Miles an hour, and I did not feel a) alone b) stressed or c) anxious.
And then I saw one of my patients.
Obviously I knew this was a risk. The meetings I have been to are not in my town, but one quite close. Many people go to lots of meetings. I am a GP to 27,000 patients, by the law of averages there are several hundred addicts in the list …. at first I recognised the person, but could not place him. Then I realised that I have seen him several times, in fact I’m Probably his primary physician. I know that he has had past addiction problems. I’m not sure if he saw me, if he did he would know me. Am I worried? I’m not 100% sure. My gut reaction is no. For several reasons
1. I’m sober, and there is no shame in being sober. If there were fall out, in terms of being reported to any authority, there is nothing to find – and my 2 years + sobriety means I’m no risk to anyone now.
2. The anonymity is taken pretty seriously, as far as I can see. Certainly at each meeting it is reiterated.
3. This particular person has been clean for a while. And with sobriety in general, comes acceptance, accountability and responsibility. I hope that means a capacity to recognise that alcoholism is not discriminatory. No one, lawyer, bin man politician or doctor is immune.
The lady who met me there has more than 5 years sobriety. At some time I will need / want to choose a sponsor. I have a tendency to rush at things, so I’m giving myself a couple of months to go to a few meetings , meet a variety of people, and see what happens.
When I came home, in time to have dinner with the kids I felt good. Calmer, centred and ready for work tomorrow.
Unexpected but good. Who knew?
I’m really wondering why I was SO resistant to this fantastic resource and source of non judgemental support from people just like me….