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Media Information November 2020

November 2020

Alcoholics Anonymous in Great Britain has seen a rise in people seeking help to stop drinking since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New figures reveal that there has been an increase in calls to their helpline and online services of more than 35 per cent in the first quarter and a rise of 15 per cent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.

In 2019, the first quarter figures saw 19,362 people reaching out compared to 26,272 this year and in the second quarter of last year 23,286 reach out compared to 26,810 this year.

As this week is Alcohol Awareness Week AA says don’t suffer alone, if you have a desire to stop drinking either pick up the phone to its national helpline or get in touch online, it provides an online responder service and a chat now service.

People can call and talk to an alcoholic in recovery and can ask for an AA member in their area to contact them to help them find AA meetings they can attend. 

During the first lockdown AA meetings went online and some meetings have now opened up in Covid-secure venues limited to 15 people as per current Government guidelines, those which are not able to open physically remain open online.

There are around 4,000 AA group meetings a week either online or face to face and each group is autonomous. Anyone who has a desire to stop drinking is welcome at a meeting and there are no dues or fees for AA membership and each group is self-supporting. The primary purpose of AA members is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Tom Fox, a Non-Alcoholic Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous said: "During the current pandemic there has been a very significant increase in people contacting us to looking for support and help, Thanks to the terrific efforts of members of the fellowship across the country we have been able to reach out to the still suffering alcoholic. providing that help, support and fellowship. 

We are committed to being there for those who need our help and over the last few months groups across the country have risen to the challenge that the COVID restrictions have created to find new ways of being there for those who need help. I would urge anyone who is suffering with the illness that is alcoholism to get in touch we are here to help."

Alcoholics Anonymous has also just released a new video for young alcoholics who may be seeking help which tells the stories of three young alcoholics who found a better way of life in AA after stopping drinking.

The video, which is available on the AA website, tells the story of young female alcoholic who says: “Getting ready and having a couple of drinks before we’d go out, it was so much fun, initially it removed all my fears and my anxieties but then it removed my relationships and my self-respect.

“It was painfully obvious that I was the problem, when I had to address my behaviour and my drinking was when there was nobody left to blame it was just me, the last thing I wanted to be was an alcoholic.

“I went along to a meeting of Alcoholic Anonymous and it was surprising how many young people there were and such a social scene. I was given the tools to mend that empty piece of me and now I think about the future.”

A young male alcoholic who appears in the video said: “Drinking to start with was amazing, I loved everything about it, I loved the social side of it, the parties. If anyone really mentioned you’ve got an issue they would be removed from my life. You’re too young to be an alcoholic I told myself. The things around me that meant anything fell away as my drinking got worse but after going to AA I’m reliable, I’m useful, I’m interesting some people think. Recovery allowed me to be a brother, be a partner, be a son, it’s just another chance at life.”

Anyone who wants help with their drinking can contact Alcoholics Anonymous on 0800 9177 650 or email help@aamail.org or visit the Chat Now service at www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk


Note to desk

Information about AA and where to find AA meetings is at  www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk 

All AA meetings are free, confidential, non-judgemental and there is an AA meeting every day of the week.