I first came to the notice of the GMC in March 2003, when I referred myself, having crashed my car while under the influence of alcohol. It was also discovered, from a random urine test, that I had been taking opiate based analgesics. I did not have to appear before a medical practitioners tribunal at that time, but was asked to agree to a list of undertakings. These included absolute abstention from drinking alcohol and self-medication - including over the counter medicines containing opiates. Among my list of undertakings was an agreement to provide specimens of breath, urine, blood and hair, whenever required, for testing. I managed to achieve ‘white knuckle’ abstention from alcohol, but did not embark on any treatment for my addictive illness (at that time, I did not recognize that I had an illness, and thought like everyone else it seemed, that I must simply be weak, wicked and wilful). I thought that my drug taking was secondary to my alcohol dependence. I used opiates to treat the unpleasant symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. My attitude to life did not change, and I began to take codeine again, this time as a substitute for alcohol, to make myself feel better. I began to write myself prescriptions using patient names and I very quickly became hopelessly addicted to codeine. I was also supported by my mentor, a retired GP, who had previous experience of Local Medical Committee and GMC procedures involving doctors with health problems including alcohol and drug dependence. He provided regular, weekly meetings at a time when it appeared that no one else was willing to talk to me and which in retrospect kept up my morale when at times I felt that all was hopeless. I count myself extremely fortunate in having good local supportive surveillance from my GMC supervisor, a consultant psychiatrist from the regional Drug and Alcohol Unit. She managed to combine her strict GMC surveillance role with compassion and careful advice (often looking beyond my professional life into relevant pastoral areas). This proved to be an exceptionally important factor in my professional and personal recovery and rehabilitation. I have been extremely lucky to find sympathetic and non-judgmental colleagues who have helped me regain my feet and get back to work in a job that I love. I am also extremely indebted to my wife and family, who I have dragged through all of this, and who also suffered in the wake of my active illness, and who have stuck by me. It ended up me having to fly across country to chernaurus to seek mental help with my addiction about 2 weeks before the outbreak started. It helped me get back on my feet and i have put my medical expertise into effect to help everyone i could possible i know i have to give back for what has happened in my life and nothing makes me more happy then helping people in need.