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Armed Services - image of a soldiers uniform

Armed Services

Alcohol misuse is higher in the Armed Services than the general population. If you’re worried about a colleague, or are a professional working with the Armed Services, AA can help.

    • AA is a global organisation. Wherever an individual is stationed, there may be an AA presence.
    • There are groups that meet ‘inside the wire’ (but groups typically meet in the local community).
    • There is a network of AA members who live in remote areas with their own newsletter, Loners International.
    • Anonymity is an important aspect of the Fellowship, and this is no less true for Serving Personnel.
  • You can direct the problem drinker to our helpline: 0800 917 7650 or email to discuss his or her problem with another (recovered) alcoholic; they will be directed to their local AA meetings. 

AA attendance does not stop Veterans or Serving Personnel taking part in any other recovery programmes.


If you support the Armed Forces in a public sector organisation, including the NHS and MoD, or work with any charities supporting Veterans, you’re free to attend any AA open meetings to see how it works. Use the Meeting Finder tool.

Armed Services Liaison Officer

  • The AA has Armed Services Liaison Officers who can offer talks or presentations to professionals to explain how AA can help. If there isn’t one your area, our Public Information/Health Liaison Officers can provide a similar service.
  • Liaison Officers can also co-ordinate AA volunteers to host informal meetings in your facility, as well as offer informal presentations or one-to-one talks with problem drinkers.
  • We offer a range of pamphlets tailored for problem drinkers who are Service Personnel or Veterans.

Call the General Service Office on 01904 644026 or email requesting the assistance of your nearest Armed Services Liaison Officer.

12th-step Call

Being in the Armed Forces offers a strong bond and sense of identity; it can feel that ‘Civvy Street’ doesn’t understand, or relate. The AA removes this barrier by offering a ‘12th step call’ for Serving Personnel and Veterans.

This means, a dedicated AA member (a recovered alcoholic) with experience of the Armed Forces will visit or meet the problem drinker and take him or her to their first AA meeting.

They can explain how AA works, answer questions, address any concerns, and often provide longer-term support.

Contact us at 0800 9177 650 or email and ask for a 12th-step call from someone on the Armed Services 12th-steppers list, or ask to speak to an AA local Armed Services Liaison Officer.

Service Personnel

Anyone with a drinking problem can join Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcoholism strikes any rank, age, ethnicity, social, religious, or educational background, or any field of skill. The blackouts and the shakes, the loneliness, and the fears are the same for a private, a corporal, a sergeant, a captain, a major, or a reservist.

Find out more:

  • AA’s message to Veterans may be read here.
  • AA’s message to Service Personnel may be read here.
  • AA Armed Services member’s story (Fred) may be read here.
  • AA Armed Services member’s story (Brian) may be read here.

If you are a newcomer to AA, you may wish to read this section of our website: A Welcome to Newcomers