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Asking for Answers and HelpAudio Version This is my fourth day in hospital (hopefully I'll be out soon) and an AA friend was coming up to visit. She asked if I wanted anything brought in and I replied, "Have you any old Roundabouts? It would give me something to read other than magazines full of people whose lives are not remotely like mine." I hadn't done anything for the magazine for a while and thought maybe I should. Inside the Roundabout is the email address to send a letter or article to, so here it is. Four days ago at five in the morning I awoke with the feeling of a heavy band pressing across my chest and down through to my back. I'd had a virus and thought maybe this was it coming back but it was sore so I phoned NHS 24. The person I spoke to asked if I could look at myself in a mirror and tell her what I saw. I was grey with thin blue lips! She immediately authorised an ambulance which she said would be arriving with its blue light flashing. So I got to A&E and after an assessment and x-ray was put upstairs to a ward. I thought I was handling it well but I must have been worried as the nurses kept asking me to calm down. I didn't have any of what I had thought were heart attack symptoms. No sudden pain, no tingling down the arms but the marvellous staff said that might be what it was. If I'd taken ill like I did the other morning when I was drinking, I don't think I would have survived. I routinely unplugged the phone and sat with the TV off. Just me on my own, in my comfy full-length kaftan with my bottle of whisky. I would lie to my family telling them I was in Ireland visiting a cousin, which I did do sometimes. I assumed that because this cousin didn't drink my family wouldn't worry about me. That way they wouldn't come to my door looking for me when my phone went unanswered. Nobody would know I was sitting there alone drinking, often into a blackout. If I'd woken up unwell I would have just reached for another drink. I wouldnâ??t have phoned the NHS number and asked for help. So there I was, anxious, not having a clue what was happening and not really understanding anything that was being said. It was all jargon that was strange to me, just like when I first came to AA. The big difference was that, thanks to AA, I knew what to do. Once I got settled in I asked questions. Just like in AA I had to get the right information. I'd learned to do that thanks to old-timers who told me to ask questions about what I didn't understand. That was the only way I was going to learn. Although when I came to AA I thought I knew everything, I really had a lot to learn. I didn't even know that if I didn't take the first drink I couldn't get drunk. I used to say "I need to get off the drink" as I poured myself another. I couldn't stop. I was feeling so bad I was losing the will to live. I remember standing in the kitchen getting my bottle from under the sink and crying out "God help me be a better person." I don't even know why I said that rather than "God help me get off the drink" but that's what happened. I had a bottle of pills that I'd kept back after my brother died when I was clearing out his old prescriptions before taking them back to the chemist. Why did I keep that one bottle? Why did I hide it away at the back of a cupboard, forget all about it and then much later, when I was at the end of my tether, remember it and fetch it down? The next thing I knew I was coming to, with the phone ringing and a man from AA on the other end. In a drunken blackout I had somehow got through to the Helpline and this was a telephone responder calling me back the next morning. Phoning to ask for help that first time was the start of my sobriety and my AA journey, one day at a time. Thanks to AA ( and the NHS ) I'm still going strong. With a bit of luck I'll be home from hospital in time to use my season ticket and see my team play later this week. Jeanette Govan Friday Edited by Ranald

 

Asking for Answers and Help

Audio Version



This is my fourth day in hospital (hopefully I'll be out soon) and an AA friend was coming up to visit. She asked if I wanted anything brought in and I replied, "Have you any old Roundabouts? It would give me something to read other than magazines full of people whose lives are not remotely like mine." I hadn't done anything for the magazine for a while and thought maybe I should. Inside the Roundabout is the email address to send a letter or article to, so here it is.

Four days ago at five in the morning I awoke with the feeling of a heavy band pressing across my chest and down through to my back. I'd had a virus and thought maybe this was it coming back but it was sore so I phoned NHS 24. The person I spoke to asked if I could look at myself in a mirror and tell her what I saw. I was grey with thin blue lips! She immediately authorised an ambulance which she said would be arriving with its blue light flashing. So I got to A&E and after an assessment and x-ray was put upstairs to a ward. I thought I was handling it well but I must have been worried as the nurses kept asking me to calm down. I didn't have any of what I had thought were heart attack symptoms. No sudden pain, no tingling down the arms but the marvellous staff said that might be what it was.

If I'd taken ill like I did the other morning when I was drinking, I don't think I would have survived. I routinely unplugged the phone and sat with the TV off. Just me on my own, in my comfy full-length kaftan with my bottle of whisky. I would lie to my family telling them I was in Ireland visiting a cousin, which I did do sometimes. I assumed that because this cousin didn't drink my family wouldn't worry about me. That way they wouldn't come to my door looking for me when my phone went unanswered. Nobody would know I was sitting there alone drinking, often into a blackout. If I'd woken up unwell I would have just reached for another drink. I wouldnâ??t have phoned the NHS number and asked for help.

So there I was, anxious, not having a clue what was happening and not really understanding anything that was being said. It was all jargon that was strange to me, just like when I first came to AA. The big difference was that, thanks to AA, I knew what to do. Once I got settled in I asked questions. Just like in AA I had to get the right information. I'd learned to do that thanks to old-timers who told me to ask questions about what I didn't understand. That was the only way I was going to learn. Although when I came to AA I thought I knew everything, I really had a lot to learn. I didn't even know that if I didn't take the first drink I couldn't get drunk.

I used to say "I need to get off the drink" as I poured myself another. I couldn't stop. I was feeling so bad I was losing the will to live. I remember standing in the kitchen getting my bottle from under the sink and crying out "God help me be a better person." I don't even know why I said that rather than "God help me get off the drink" but that's what happened. I had a bottle of pills that I'd kept back after my brother died when I was clearing out his old prescriptions before taking them back to the chemist. Why did I keep that one bottle? Why did I hide it away at the back of a cupboard, forget all about it and then much later, when I was at the end of my tether, remember it and fetch it down? The next thing I knew I was coming to, with the phone ringing and a man from AA on the other end. In a drunken blackout I had somehow got through to the Helpline and this was a telephone responder calling me back the next morning. Phoning to ask for help that first time was the start of my sobriety and my AA journey, one day at a time.

Thanks to AA ( and the NHS ) I'm still going strong. With a bit of luck I'll be home from hospital in time to use my season ticket and see my team play later this week.

Jeanette

Govan Friday

Edited by Ranald