14th October 2018
Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown has praised the work of Alcoholics Anonymous after a briefing and presentation from the organisation at an event in Hamilton last week.
Robert Brown said:
“Alcohol addiction remains one of the biggest social problems in Scotland – it is a “progressive illness” which destroys individuals, damages families, contributes to violence and crime in society and adds immensely to the demands on the Heath Service. The work of Alcoholics Anonymous has beenn responsible for helping many thousands of people to tackle their alcohol problem with the aid of fellowship of other AA members and a structured programme of recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous work on the basis of anonymity and confidentiality so I was fortunate to be able to listen to a presentation along the lines of a real, normal AA meeting where people were brave enough to tell their stories – some of them very harrowing – and their insights. It is not uncommon for people with alcohol addiction to lose contact with families, partners, children and grandchildren and friends. But there were also many stories of problems overcome, lives rebuilt, contacts re-established.
AA has been on the go for 83 years and began in Scotland in 1949. In Lanarkshire alone there are now around 102 AA groups serving both men and women, young and old alike. The main message I picked up was that AA offers hope to people who had thought they were alone with a unique problem but who can be helped by others in a similar situation. The key thing is to want to stop drinking – AA had an interesting saying – “if you don’t lift the first drink, you can’t get drunk”.
What impressed me most was the quality of the support. When people make contact through their Helpline or otherwise, there is a close contact to welcome them into the group, usually at an initial Care and Share meeting and by personal contact from AA – and no judgement if people backslide as sometimes happens. This is very important because alcoholism is a “lonely disease” requiring the fellowship of support that AA offers.
The message from AA is that “you are no longer alone” and that there is hope.
The AA national free number is 0800 9177 650 and covers the whole of Great Britain. There is also help by email at email@example.com and lots more information at www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.ukincluding where to find meetings. There is also a Chat Now facility on the website.
There is a full section for newcomers including a questionnaire on drinking habits at: