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I could stop drinking for a month, but I'm still an alcoholic

October 2019

Sober October is coming to an end

Alcohol Change's Alcohol Awareness Week is coming 7-11 November 2019 & Alcoholics Anonymous' Awareness Campaign is for all of November 2019.

Alcoholism isn't always what you might think. A personal story from a member, Helen:

"I didn't think I was an alcoholic. I'd never lost my driving license. Never had the shakes. Never been arrested, lost a job or a home, or been on a park bench drinking. On the outside, my life was perfectly normal, I could give up drinking for a month, if I put my mind to it, but didn't enjoy it, and felt irritable and uncomfortable, and longed for the day I could go back to what I considered my 'normal social drinking'. But, eventually the penny dropped that all my rows with my husband were when I had had a drink. I didn't even need to drink that much, mainly wine.

I knew nothing much about AA, but luckily for me I had heard of it, and went along. There I discovered the nature of the illness of alcoholism. Even though my drinking was minor in comparison to many, I could recognise the similarities in the thinking and the behaviour.  I planned when I was going to have the next drink. I 'allowed' myself to drink from 6pm, apart from weddings and holidays etc. of course. I felt irritable and discontent if I couldn't have a drink. I realised it was affecting my close family relationships.

The most important realisation was that once I'd had the first drink, I couldn't control the outcome. Many times it was fine, a bottle of wine between two over dinner. But other times it wasn't fine, and I couldn't predict or control when the disasters would happen. I came to realise that I used alcohol to boost confidence or block out negative feelings. I came to realise that if I carried on drinking it would get worse not better.

After several years in AA in recovery, I believe my life is so much better if I don't drink, as is the life of my family. If that makes me an alcoholic, so be it! I know that my life is calmer and happier and healthier by not drinking and being part of the AA fellowship."

Not everyone in AA's drinking is the same. It is not about the quantity of what you drink, but the way it makes you feel. Many people may think they are 'not bad enough' or that AA is not for them.

Every day in thousands of households across the UK, people are struggling with their use of alcohol and its consequences.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been in the UK for over 70 years.  Unlike treatment centres, AA meetings are free and available to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking. No waiting lists, no referrals. Their meetings are everywhere, in every city and nearly every town across the UK, every night of the week. Daytime meetings are available too, meetings stay open on Bank Holidays and at Christmas and New Year. In the UK alone there are about 4,500 groups meeting weekly with a membership which is estimated more than 40,000.  Worldwide it is estimated there are more than two million members across 181 nations and numbering 117,000 groups.

Far from the preconceived idea of a problem drinker these AA meetings include men and women of all backgrounds for whom in whatever way their drinking caused them concern. Using a twelve-step programme and support of others who have stayed sober, they help the drinker stop and stay stopped. Then they offer help and support to live a happy and contented life free from a dependence on alcohol. As spelled out in its Preamble, which is read out before every meeting.

"Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

AA has a national free helpline where first time callers are offered help by an AA volunteer who will share their experience on recovery and offer to put them in touch with an AA member who will take them to their first meeting.  Some people find details of their local meetings from the AA website or other sources and come along on their own.  If drink is costing more than money then there is help available today. 


Note to desk:

Alcoholics Anonymous Awareness month is November each year, coinciding with Alcohol Change's Alcohol Awareness Week 11-17th Nov 2019

The national free number is 0800 9177 650, manned by AA members and covers the whole of Great Britain.

There is also help by email at help@aamail.org 

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. 

There is also a Chat Now facility on the website.

We can supply local recovery stories and contacts and local meetings lists are online.

Please contact media@aamail.org

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