You are not alone!

In the final months of my active alcoholism I was living in the attic room of my house.

I drank about 6 bottles of cheap Spanish wine plus a dozen cans of strong German beer every day.

The alcohol had little effect on me by this stage. I only drank to dampen the delirium tremens, the violent shakes. I often could not control my hand enough to get alcohol into my mouth, holding my wrist steady with my other hand to raise the drink to my mouth.

Usually  cracking the bottle or tin can against my teeth.

I was no longer getting drunk anymore.

You know you are fully addicted to alcohol when it does nothing intoxicating any more.

I slept in 5-10 minute fits and busts. I did not eat for months. The television told me to kill myself and voices not belonging to me talked insistently in my head.

Alcohol-related Psychosis it is called.

No one told me this would happen when I bought my first alcoholic drink when I was fourteen years old. There was no health or warning label saying “Could lead to Psychosis and Premature Death!”

Maybe there should be.  Or at least alcohol can be addictive for some.

Anyway there is more to alcoholism than alcohol.

In the depths of this alcohol induced madness, I rarely saw my wife, who could not bring herself to look at me and what I had become.

If I could have got it together I might have killed myself.

But I couldn’t get it together. Psychosis is all involving, doesn’t leave much time for planning anything.

So I staggered on. When I say staggered, I could not actually walk more than a few yards or climb more than a few stairs.

By  the time I reached my first AA meeting

  1. the alcohol had stopped “working”.
  2. I had surrendered.

Regardless of these two factors, I could not admit I was alcoholic. My pride and it’s best friend shame were still talking away to me.

I was willing to admit I was addicted to alcohol and that I was about to die from it.

But alcoholic?

We often wonder why some people don’t accept their alcoholism?

How did I start my journey to acceptance?

My wife came to my first meeting of AA, she practically carried me in!

The Chair of the meeting was a person I had drank with before – I though how come he is here?

I spilled more drink than he ever drank?

Then it dawned on me that maybe I should have come here before?

Especially when he shared that he had been trying to get sober and recovered for ten years!?

I then listened to the other alcoholics sharing their stories.

The stories mentioned the progression of the alcoholism, which I obviously identified with.

They also mentioned how they, even now in recovery, struggled with their emotions and anxieties, how they found living life difficult.

They talked about issues which had bedevilled them and me since childhood, this  spiritual malady they talked of was like the emotional disease I had  suffered from all my life, whether it was depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, PTSD, etc.

They had used alcohol to self medicate these conditions, especially as alcohol for them had felt like an elixir for them as it had for me.  We all had all dealt with our negative emotions since adolescence in the same way.

Now a new way had to be found.

When we left the meeting my wife had a psychic change similar to the one I had.

She said these people are just like you. They can help you, I can’t.

A week before I had heard a voice in my heart, through the psychosis, saying  to go down stairs to my wife and ask her for help. I asked her for help in that round about alcoholic way of “do you think I look a bit jaundice (I actually looked like Homer Simpson with a heavy sun tan!)?

The help I asked for was not to come directly from my wife but she led me to where I could get it. In a room, full of people just like me, suffering the same illness as me.

I will be forever eternally grateful for it being there for me. For them being there.

We will be there for you too!

Audiobooks for the Road

RecoverySpeakers is dedicated to preserving the audio history of the 12 step fellowships. The library spans eight decades and continues to grow. They are committed to providing these audio resources for all future generations.  Whether you are just beginning the recovery process or have been sober for many years you’re sure to find the support you need from this extensive array of speakers.

Over the past five years Recovery Speakers has been working to digitize these old tapes in an effort to preserve this very important history.  Most of the recordings are of speakers sharing their experience, strength, and hope at conferences, conventions, and workshops.  Within the library are some of the oldest original recordings of Alcoholics Anonymous & Al-Anon’s early pioneers some never heard before this project began.

Because the recovery movement continues to grow, they constantly increase their selection of recordings. They attempt to provide the best sound quality for each talk. However, some of the older talks cannot be improved upon – still worth sharing!

Please enjoy the site and tell your friends, and colleagues about this resource. MEMBERS (only), remember to check out the 'Resources' page on our website for even more audio, video and literature!

Our shameful silence on police suicide

When officers become sick, we discard them and leave them to shattered lives; or worse.

The suffocating silence around suicide in the police force and the lack of support for officers suffering mental trauma amounts to a national scandal, writes William Verity.

If it takes the death of yet another police officer to wake us up to the scandal occurring all around us, his life may not be entirely wasted.

Ashley Bryant was not the last serving or former officer in NSW to take his own life, despite the fact that he only died just before Christmas.

Another officer killed himself in Sydney in January.

In fact, since the last NSW officer - Inspector Bryson Anderson - was killed in the line of duty in December 2012, at least five officers have taken their own lives.

You won't have heard their names, you won't hear them honoured at Police Remembrance Days, and their names are specifically excluded from the National Police Memorial in Canberra.

It's as if their many years of honourable service leading to the ultimate sacrifice never happened.

Ashley Bryant was 44 years old when the "head noises" (as he called them) of post traumatic stress disorder finally pushed him over the edge.

As his widow, Deborah Bryant, relates, it was an act of mercy. He had become so impossible to be around. His cycling through heavy drinking followed by bouts of manic exercise, his anger, his moods, his nightmares.

He killed himself because he believed it was his compassionate act towards his wife and three young children.

Yet before he died, the former detective sergeant made one last call - to 000 - where he broadcast to the world a desperate plea on behalf of the thousands of police in Australia who suffer mental stress.

"I can no longer live with the trauma of it and I want this to go to the coroner," he said.

"There needs to be more, more things put in place for what happens. Listen, for partners, of those that suffer, cause I suffer and so do the partners. And there has to be more done for them.

"Alright, I have no more to say."

We are used to hearing about post traumatic stress in the military, and it was the condition of Vietnam veterans in the 1970s that first formalized the condition in the psychiatric diagnostic manual.

Yet conditions for police can be every bit as traumatic as for soldiers, some would argue worse.

One officer described putting out the washing and seeing a dead body that wasn't there. Or feeding her cat and when the animal looked up at her, it had the face of a murder victim.

Another officer would bang his headboard as he suffered nightmares and he put a hole in the wall. He would relive crime scenes in his sleep, shouting out orders, so his partner learnt more about his work from his nightmares than his conscious self.

All of them contemplate suicide at some point, many of them attempt either violently or over time, often drinking themselves to an early grave or overdosing on their medication.

If you've ever wondered about that semi-comical police jargon used, where a dead man is described as "a deceased male person", ask yourself, why the special language?

Could it be a defence mechanism, a way of distancing yourself from the daily horror, an imperfect shield against impending head noises?

This need to defend oneself may explain why, almost universally, police who fall sick with mental trauma are shunned by colleagues and isolated from any meaningful help from the police bureaucracy.

As one recent widow put it: "When you can't do what you're supposed to do, you're just out and move up and someone else fills your spot. You're just out."

The astonishing fact is that this mental carnage is nothing new. There are many thousands of sick and medically discharged police around Australia, one or more in every suburb. It's been going on for decades.

So why the silence?

One issue is that police forces and unions will not discuss the issue of suicide, arguing that it will only encourage more. As if police officers, who deal with death on a daily basis and carry a Glock pistol on their belt, could be so easily swayed into taking their own lives.

Another issue may be one of money. Police forces may fear a deluge of claims coming their way if there is any suggestion that they have failed in their duty of care.

A third issue is that in this male culture, post traumatic stress is seen - quite understandably - as a contagious disease. If I lower my defences to become empathetic to my colleagues, I become vulnerable to breakdown myself.

Though blame will not save a single life, there is no doubt that the silence and lack of action by police unions is a national scandal.

Can you imagine the CFMEU staying silent - even having a policy to stay silent - if five of its members had died on building sites in NSW alone in the past 14 months? God knows how many more have died in other states.

Or the journalists' union? Even the Health Services Union in the hands of Thompson and Williamson would have done a better job.

The systemic problem here, it seems, is that the NSW Police Association is staffed by serving officers, with the same blind spots as other serving officers.

In addition, there appears to be a game played where they can campaign on behalf of their members, but only within certain parameters. Unlike other relationships between employers and unions, the NSW Police Association and the NSW Police Force are so close as to be a single organisation.

There is no room here to describe the shameful treatment - surveillance, delays, harassment - meted out to sick officers seeking the compensation owed to them after years of paying their insurance premiums.

If you want to hear the full catastrophe, you will need to download "Death In the line of duty" from the ABC Radio National Background Briefing website.

Let's remember, these are men and women who have performed one of the hardest, most selfless jobs in society. And when they become sick, we discard them and leave them to shattered lives or worse.

We all bear a responsibility for that and it's time we did better. The time for silence is over.


Suicide leading cause of death among police officers, study says

The leading killer of law enforcement officers is suicide.

There were approximately 102 law enforcement officers who committed suicide in 2015, according to a Badge of Life study reported by

More News Headlines

Badge of Life studies revealed 126 officer suicides in 2012, 143 suicides in 2009 and 141 officer suicides in 2008.

The 2012 study was broken down further to show more in-depth information about why the number of suicides is so high, and what can be done to help prevent it from happening.


Kevin Briggs: The bridge between suicide and life

Sergeant Kevin Briggs talks about the impact of suicide. Very well worth watching.

For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he's spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.