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myself to odd nibbles from the fridge in between seeing patients and had not realised that her lunch had been devoured as I moved from left to right through all the contents of the fridge. My wife despaired of my eating habits, never knowing what I would like or dislike, accept or reject. All I wanted was to grab whatever was available NOW with the intolerance of any addict.

Nowadays I eat for pleasure. I enjoy my meals. I don't scoff them at speed. I like the taste and the texture. I know what it is to feel hungry - which I never knew before because I never allowed it to happen. I know what it is to feel the whole range of my human feelings - because I don t stuff them down with food or with other addictive substances or processes. I take time to do the things that I enjoy: I am no longer driven like a mad thing. I have the things that I most want:

  1. Peace of mind in spite of unsolved problems - and I have plenty of them, particularly economically and professionally, mostly of my own causing.
  2. I have a happy, mutually fulfilling relationship, with my wife and with most of my family and staff (perfection is impossible) and also with a wide range of friends.
  3. I have all the joys of experiencing spontaneity, creativity and enthusiasm. I have a wide range of personal interests, mostly in literature, theatre, opera and ballet.

I have considerable privilege in my personal and professional life. I am well paid as a doctor and I have an immensely supportive and patient wife. All this is a very long way from the wretched creature I was twenty years ago in the side ward of a mental nursing home. In many ways some of the challenges that I have today are greater than they were at that time, but I am better able to deal with them. I work the Twelve Step programme because it works for me. On that personal experience I recommend it to others.

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