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"It's probably the bravest thing you'll ever do": AA members raise awareness for Alcohol Awareness Week

"It's probably the bravest thing you'll ever do": AA members raise awareness for Alcohol Awareness Week

Published by Lisa Darvill at 10:49am 15th November 2019.

AA members in Harrogate are encouraging others to seek help during Alcohol Awareness Week. 

  • The initiative from charity Alcohol Change UK is urging people to think about their drinking 
  • Members of Alcoholics Anonymous in Harrogate are supporting the week of action 
  • They're urging anyone who thinks they might have a problem to find their nearest AA meeting 
  • We've been speaking to "Alan" and Mac, two members of AA 

39-year-old "Alan" started drinking at age 13, but didn't seek help until he was in his thirties.

He said: 

"I ended up in bed, drinking and getting up after lunch. I was taking drugs on top of that.

"I just couldn't keep living like that, I said to my Mum and Dad I can't keep doing this, help me. And if it hadn't have been for them I don't know where I would've ended up."

He went to rehab and has been attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings since. He's encouraging people to recognise they have a problem and seek help. 

He added: 

"It really can be anybody. We have members in AA who are women in their 70s, down to young guys in their 20s and everything in between.  

"And from every walk of life. Lawyers, solicitors, doctors, everybody and anybody can be vulnerable to it.

"One of the ways to check yourself is trying things like Stoptober or Dry January. If after a few days they just cant do it and they need a drink, that's a good warning sign that there is a problem, if you can't control yourself for that long.

"It's probably the bravest thing you'll ever do is walking into a meeting and saying look, I've got a problem. Life can restart from there if you can take that step. 

"It's always worth coming to a meeting, you can come, sit, listen, see if anything rings a bell with you. There's no obligation to stay.

"It's just to hear what other alcoholics have been through and compare yourself to that and help you make a decision."

There are around 16 AA meetings in Harrogate, as well as meetings in Knaresborough, Ripon and Wetherby.  

67-year-old Mac also goes to AA meetings in Harrogate. He didn't start drinking until he was in his late thirties. 

He said: 

"I was pretty fortunate, I didn't go through a lot of what we call the 'not yet's' . I was never arrested, I never went to rehab, I never lost a job and I didn't lose my family. 

"I had to start making some hard decisions and I knew it wasn't going to end well. 

"If I continued on, all those 'not yet's' were waiting for me. Having started drinking so late in life, is this the way I want to go out?" 

You can find out about meetings near you by visiting www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk 

The AA's National Helpline is 0800 917 7650 

There's more information about Alcohol Awareness Week at alcoholchange.org.uk 

Other support services: 

Al-Anon Family Groups