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If you are looking for ways to help your client, patient or employee with alcohol problems, want to talk about alcoholism and recovery in the media or get more information about our activities, AA aims to help you in your work. On these pages you will find plenty of information on the subject and instructions for closer contact.

Despite our anonymity, we are a network that works every day to help those suffering from alcohol problems. We strive for active communication with the media, healthcare staff, social workers and various parties in various work communities. We want to give our help in the fight against alcoholism - respecting our principles.

We ask you to remember that AA cherishes its anonymity, non-commitment and independence. This can be seen, among other things, in the way that our members do not appear in public with their full names. We only take a stand on matters that are related to our basic mission, i.e. recovering from alcoholism. Social and health professionals and students, representatives of the media and anyone interested in our activities are welcome to open AA groups.

Narcotic doctor Tero Hallikainen's writing about AA

AA info

Statements about AA

Professionals from different fields have given their views on AA numerous times, of which we have collected a few below.

"Unfortunately, doctors are helpless when it comes to treating victims of chronic alcohol poisoning. However, these patients do not have to throw themselves into the power of hopelessness, because recovery from this disease seems to be possible after all. However, it requires that the person concerned really sees the miserable state they have fallen into and wants to get out of it .It is a very big thing that in this difficult personal struggle the patient has the opportunity to turn to the AA movement and get help and support from there.

In my opinion, this is the surest way to recover from a difficult illness, and it seems to be the only way. It is therefore very necessary that physicians, in treating these patients, take advantage of all the help that AAs are ready to give. When in the near future we have to find the most expedient means for organizing hospital treatment for alcoholics, a good connection should be created between the hospital's nursing staff and AA people."

- Niilo Pesonen, doctor, professor of anatomy and director general of the Medical Board in 1954–1969

"In particular, the importance of social support for human survival and life management has come to be understood in a completely new way in recent decades. The breaking of social ties has most obviously contributed to modern man's malaise in the welfare society. Alcohol and drugs are popular substitutes in this situation in the absence of permanent human relationships. Alcoholism is a disease that can be treated by traditional medical means Medicines cannot repair the damage caused by changes in a person's life, nor can we prescribe a new life content or social support for our patients.

In this situation, the importance of the AA movement as a pillar of alcoholism treatment is emphasized even more. The AA ideology includes the very elements that have been so badly damaged by the restructuring of society: belonging to a group, social ties, taking care of one's neighbor."

- Matti Ruokola, Director General of the Medical Board in 1983–1991

"One of AA's strength factors is its independence. Although, as a Christian myself, I cannot help but recognize God's life-protecting presence in this activity and see his influence, on the other hand, I want to leave room for the own interpretation of spirituality of those involved in AA. Perhaps the church could learn something from people here as well In listening and respecting experiences. Likewise, in the thinking that has already emerged in diakonia, that the most important thing is not the reputation and success of one's own organization, but the best of the person, regardless of who made it happen."

- John Vikström, doctor of theology and archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in 1982–1998

None of your patients suffer more than an alcoholic. When you deal with an alcoholic and help him recover, when you see the incredible change from a suffering, helpless, terminally ill person to a living, vibrant, active and happy person, you get to participate in a rich, fulfilling and profound experience. AA is the most effective way I know of to teach an alcoholic how to stop drinking."

- Stanley Gitlow, Professor of Clinical Medicine and President of the American Society on Addiction Medicine (ASAM) from 1971 to 1973

"In general, AA works better than what we have accomplished with science, money, and effort. If you reject the use of, association with, or referral to AA groups, you are also rejecting a critical and crucial part of the important treatment that people with alcoholism not only deserve, but need.
AA has shown us the way and presented a new model of long-term care that is not really care; it is participatory self-direction. It is an assurance of the individual's independence, instead of the alcoholic considering himself a victim, a helpless person.
AA gives a person a certain independent value and, at the same time, the kind of humility and sense of reality that is necessary in treating an alcohol problem."

- Dr. William E. Mayer, Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) from 1982-1983


Alcoholism is discussed in the media at regular intervals. Alcohol problems affect even more people, either directly or indirectly. It is estimated that there are 300,000 to 500,000 high-risk alcohol users in Finland. Alcohol is one of the most significant causes of death in our country, even the most significant among working-age people.

Within AA, a constructive discussion about the alcohol problem is viewed positively. However, we do not take a position on alcohol policy, the medical issues of alcoholism, or the alcohol problem as a social phenomenon. Despite this, we feel that we have a lot to give. We know how an alcoholic can change his behavior that is harmful to himself and the environment.

If you are implementing an article or program related to alcoholism, we will do our best to help you in your work. If you cannot find the information you need on these pages, we hope you will contact us. If necessary, we can arrange contacts with AA members or a visit to an open meeting.

AA's information activities are not bound to time or place. There are more than 600 independent AA groups, the basic units of our operation, in a total of around 260 locations in our country. It is possible to find interviewees all over Finland. The ingredients for an article or a program can therefore be found closer than many seasoned journalists guess.

However, in one respect AA is absolute. We maintain our anonymity. We also hope that the media will respect our principle. It's not about secrecy or cupidity, it's about our effort to protect our members - especially those whose sobriety is just beginning. As long as this principle is followed, we are happy to share our experiences: You can recover from alcoholism.

For healthcare personnel

Alcoholism is a self-denying disease. While in the case of other diseases the patient is willing to get help for his ailments and is grateful for the advice, the alcoholic usually does not admit that there is cause for concern in his use of alcohol. Or if he somehow admits the excess of his alcohol consumption, it is a matter of "slipping" and thus a passing state.

Many healthcare professionals have encountered situations where the patient cannot be helped because he himself cannot see the consequences of his alcohol use. Even less often, a person who is in the process of becoming alcoholic admits that the possibility of moderate use is slipping away or has completely slipped out of reach. On the other hand, a person who does not have an alcohol problem himself cannot relate to the alcoholic's way of thinking. It is essentially different from the thinking of a person who uses alcohol in moderation, because an alcohol addict considers his own state to be normal.

Many members of the healthcare staff admit that there are not always ways to help an alcoholic. The reality is that very few alcoholics recover. We AA members know this from our own experience. The vast majority of us have a stage in our background - often a long one - during which we could not admit that moderate use was impossible for us. We seriously tried moderation, but despite the hard training, we always ended up with problems.

AA's strength in treating alcoholics is not based on medicine, and we are not health care professionals. However, we can share our experience of getting sober with an alcoholic who himself has a burning desire to stop drinking. We hope that the help offered by AA would be taken up in the health care sector. If a healthcare client has an alcohol problem, a helpful push by a doctor or nurse familiar with AA towards the possibility of recovery offered by peer support can be a decisive step towards a new life worth living. Even if the guiding impulse remains only as a germinating thought in the patient's head, it can later lead to results.

The alcoholic way of thinking, with its denial explanations of the problem, is very familiar to alcoholics. That's why a sober alcoholic can sometimes, with his own example and shared experiences, help a still-drinking alcoholic more than even the most advanced medicine. However, we can only help with getting sober, not anything else. An alcoholic must still get the medical treatment he needs, even if he stops drinking.

For social workers

When alcohol takes over a person's life, it often means financial difficulties, difficulties in relationships or even criminal sanctions. The insidious thing is that the alcoholic thinks these things are the reason for drinking, and by no means the result of alcohol use. You often hear people with alcohol problems talking about how they could stop drinking at any time if only the problems were removed from them.

In reality, solving problems often only brings temporary relief. When the drinking continues, new difficulties await their turn. Of course, the external scenery may have changed for a while, but alcohol dominates a person's life even more. Many have also experienced that, for example, the improved economic situation has, on the contrary, accelerated drinking.

In AA, the difficulties of everyday life are by no means downplayed. However, we know that any help an alcoholic receives is just water drawn into the well, unless the way of using alcohol changes decisively. In our experience, cutting down on drinking is not enough. In our opinion, sobering up is the most important way to resolve the knots in the life of someone with an alcohol problem. Only after getting sober is it possible to live a truly full life, bearing responsibility for yourself.

AA cannot promise anyone a job, an end to family disputes, or a change in problematic behaviors - especially in one go. We cannot bring atonement for crimes committed, give "forgiveness" for neglected obligations, or even arrange to break the cycle of debt. Instead, we can provide the tools for permanent sobriety. It helps the recovering alcoholic to reach a state of mind in which he is able to face his previously overwhelming adversities.
With sobriety, insurmountable problems become things that can be solved. Sobriety enables a way of life that allows broken relationships to be repaired, debts to be paid, work situation to improve and, above all, one's joy in life to return.

Many who got sober with the help of AA have even said: "Sobriety has restored my self-respect. I feel like a full member of society again".

An essential part of alcoholism is belittling one's own drinking and its consequences. Although the person with an alcohol problem usually rejects the truth at first, bringing the facts to light is caring about the real thing. Therefore, we hope that social workers would remember the opportunities offered by AA when looking for ways to help their clients.

If there is even a small hope or desire to stop drinking in a person's mind, the push of another person to the peer support circle of AA can be a decisive turning point in life. Even if the guiding impulse remains only as a thought in the customer's head, it can later lead to results. That is why we ask social professionals to approach the help offered by AA with an open mind.

For employers in various fields

It is estimated that there are 300,000 to 500,000 high-risk alcohol users in Finland. Not all of them are alcoholics, but many are seriously becoming alcoholics. Alcohol is estimated to be the most significant cause of death among Finns of working age. The situation cannot help but be reflected in workplaces.
An employee's alcoholism does not necessarily appear in the way alcoholism is often thought of. Especially in more independent work tasks, "maintaining the background" can be successful for a surprisingly long time - especially if the employee is otherwise a well-liked person in the work community. Many AA members have had experiences of how their own life was at the breaking point, but the work was done.
A persistent alcoholic who is able to work might be the best employee, because he tries to make up for, for example, his occasional absences by overachieving. Those close to him often also understand alcohol problems, helping him to correct his mistakes and catch up on delayed schedules. However, this enables the spiral to deepen. When things seem to be on the mend, alcoholism can continue its rampage that eats away at its body and mental balance.

Larger workplaces have different treatment guidance practices in use. Unfortunately, they are often caught very late. It is also an unfortunate fact that short periods of treatment do not necessarily help, if the patient himself is not committed to complete sobriety. Treatment of alcoholics does not always aim for this. However, according to our AA members' experiences, encouraging an alcoholic person to use in moderation is, as a rule, doomed to failure. The illusion of moderation maintains the alcoholic's dream that he could continue drinking and still get rid of his problems.

So what is the role of the workplace and the employer when an employee has been diagnosed with an alcohol problem? In our experience, delaying things doesn't help. The concern that it would be an interference in another person's private life is also unwarranted. A person with an alcohol problem is unable to see his situation clearly. Real caring is not blindly believing the explanations, but rather addressing the issues. In that case, of course, there must be some way to restore the life control of alcoholism. AA can offer one tool we've found useful: peer-supported recovery.
It is our sincere hope that the cry for help of a person with an alcohol problem is heeded. If there is a desire for change, for example, a supervisor's suggestion about AA can turn out to be a far-reaching favor to a friend. For a few of us, permanent sobriety has started just like this. We have also visited various workplaces to share our experience about the possibility of life change. If the work community you represent has a desire and need for such a visit, we will definitely try to help. On top of that, we do it for free.

We look forward to your contact. (Helpline 09 - 750 200)

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