The recent Zurich membership Survey confirms we have a strong English-speaking fellowship available to support local Health Care Professionals (HCP). The results have been gathered into a slidedeck as an intro for HCP (doctors, therapists, clinic admins, etc.) to our local AA community.
DOES AA WORK?
The data offers proof AA works: 84% of members who took the survey have 1 or more years of sobriety and 40% have been sober 5 years or longer.
But the HCP establishment in Switzerland rarely refers problem drinkers to AA and misconceptions about alcoholism and recovery persist. Just last week, a young man told me he once sought professional assistance for violent behavior when drinking. One of their counselors advised him to continue drinking – but limit the amount he drank. (if only ..)
Fortunately, he found AA and its solution before he lost his marriage or worse. Today he is a sober active member of our Zurich fellowship and has offered to get a meeting with those same counselors to share AA’s experience about alcoholism. Here’s another example:
DEEP BREATH B4 READING
On 03.03.2022, I received the following email to my firstname.lastname@example.org inbox. The sender has granted her permission to share it with AA members:
I live in France, just outside of Geneva, Switzerland and am reading your very timely ArenA article. I am an active fellow in AA Geneva and have been sober for 13 years. I recently went on a 12th step call after someone called the helpline for a young woman who was drinking in a hotel room and could not stop. She took herself to ER (hospital) twice but was sent away. We called an ambulance who came and they decided she was ‘not bad enough’ to be taken to hospital. SOS médecin would not come to the hotel when we called. The psychiatric hospital gave her a date 6 days later to come and dry out. She was found dead in her bed by day 5.
I am still reeling from the experience and now know how much work is needed with the medical professionals to educate them.
Name withheld upon request
ZURICH OUTREACH INITIATIVE
Whatever reaction you had about the death of another alcoholic reprinted above, I couldn’t help but think ‘that could have been me .. but for the grace of God’ and if you’re reading this post, you are living proof alcoholism does not have to be a death sentence.
But in my service position as Health Liaison Officer (HLO) of English-speaking AA Continental European Region (CER) – of which Zurich Intergroup is a member, I can only assist members, groups and IGs to share best practice how to cooperate with local health professionals.
One such initiative originated by a former pharma exec from AA Basel. Thanks to his HCP industry insight, pilot initiatives are now running in Basel and Zurich fellowships – with Geneva soon to follow. The lessons we’re learning will then be shared for local adaptation across our fellowships in Europe.
THREE WAYS TO TAKE ACTION
Are you willing to help problem drinkers around Zurich find AA through their HCP?
If so, here are 3 ways to take action right now:
- Join the core working group of HCP Zurich Outreach volunteers. Sign up via our WhatsApp group chat: https://chat.whatsapp.com/K9SpLKYfY7XJF3jwROH54K or PM me.
- At your group’s next few business meetings, solicit among members ways to identify local HCP who treat English-speaking problem drinkers. Send your suggestions to me.
- Add your name as a contact for patients leaving treatment to accompany them to an AA meeting (sign up via WA link above or PM/email to me). We need 6 women and 6 men.
“Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 31)
Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. (Tradition 5, The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous)
Submitted by Joel B.
Health Liaison Officer of Continental European Region of Alcoholics Anonymous Great Britain