I’ve never met Wendy Dossett and embarrassingly confess that I knew little about her work until recently. I knew that she and Wulf were good friends, and that Wulf thought very highly of her, so I was really looking forward to seeing the film of the interview.
I really enjoyed their conversation and was deeply moved by Wendy’s description of her addiction and recovery. I was fascinated by her research into the 12-Step Fellowship and the various discussions she had with Wulf. I am thrilled that Wendy agreed to participate in our project.
Wendy identifies as a person in recovery from addiction. She describes herself as recovering, rather than recovered, as she believes that if she were to drink alcohol again, she would quite likely eventually return to the same position she was in at the height of her drinking problem.
At that time, her life was unravelling, she was experiencing a lot of suicidal ideation and attempting suicide, and was clinging on to a job with ‘splintering finger nails’. She was living in a mouldy touring caravan in a field, showering in the university she worked at, and trying to pretend everything was okay. She thought alcohol was keeping her alive.
When Wendy reached what she considered was her rock bottom, a time of absolute agony, she reached out for help. She didn’t go to treatment, and attributes her recovery to mutual aid. As her sobriety continued, her mental health improved incrementally.
Although Wendy describes herself as a depressive character, she has not tried suicide since she stopped drinking 18 years ago. She doesn’t want to take the risk of drinking, in effect putting a gun to her head which has a bullet in one of the six chambers. She doesn’t need alcohol, as she has the life she wants.