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Grapevine : September 2011
This therapist was a professional woman, not in the program, yet with- out her gentle encouragement and en- dorsement, I wouldn't be in AA. I had a spiritual experience at my second meeting and a moment of clarity that told me AA was exactly where I need- ed to be. That feeling hasn't changed for almost 11 years, despite many ups and downs. I found my people and was taken care of. This therapist and psychiatrist got me there and supported me through my first year--and--a--half of recovery. The psychotherapist recom- mended homeopathy and small doses of antidepressants. He fully under- stood that drugs affect recovering al- coholics and addicts differently from others, and worked to find medica- tions that did not have detrimental side effects and were non-narcotic. I've certainly come across medi- cal practitioners who have no under- standing of recovery or alcoholism, particularly distressing when I hap- pen to be at my most vulnerable. A surgeon raised her voice at me, for example, ordering me to take opiates following my first sober bike accident. She couldn't accept that I didn't need them, or, with under a year sober, I didn't feel safe taking them. I've since moved to the UK, where the national culture of medi- cine regarding recovery from alco- holism is poles apart from here. AA started in close collaboration with the medical profession in the U.S., through Bill and his connection to Dr. Silkworth. Dr. Bob was a practicing physician. Early AA and the Ameri- can medical profession grew together in treating alcoholism and American doctors tend to endorse Twelve Step recovery programs. This is not so with the British medical profession, who are only just beginning to understand the AA program and its success rates. I believe we all have a part to play in letting our medical professionals know about our recovery. My sister is a general practitioner in London. When I first got sober, she wasn't interested in hearing about AA. Over the years, however, she's watched me stay sober and has come to trust the Twelve Step program of recovery. She has since told me that she recommends AA to dozens of pa- tients every week. I believe I am not only responsible to pass this on to other alcoholics, but I am also responsible to help profes- sionals learn how the program works. If nothing else, I can show them, one day at a time, just by staying sober. I wouldn't have my life without them. Shauna M. London, UK AA started in close collaboration with the medical profession in the U.S., through Bill and his connection to Dr. Silkworth. aagrapevine.org 41