Alcoholics Anonymous host public meeting

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Last week Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) held an open meeting to raise awareness of the group and its meetings in the area.

AA currently hold 11 meetings a week in Harrogate and two in Ripon, one in Wetherby and one in Knaresborough each week.

The open meeting was attended by several community services providers including councillors and those who work in rehabilitation and gave the professionals an insight to the meetings.

A woman in her 30s who has been sober for around six months thanks to attending regular AA meetings shared her story.

She explained how she became an alcoholic after starting to drink heavily after work and how drinking had impacted her life.

She said: “I had 20 jobs in two years. My life was a mess.

“I ended up in hospital on several occasions and when I left I would go straight to the Valley Gardens or the Stray and drink vodka.

“I was functioning, I kept fit and always paid my bills but I should have stopped a long time ago. It was only when I wanted to stop that I could.”

One of the group leaders told the open meeting: “We are a growing group here in Harrogate and always welcome newcomers, at AA the newcomer is key, they are at the top of the pyramid.

“You can share as much or as little as want with the group. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing someone come to AA and realising they can stop drinking.”

Many support workers and councillors attended the meeting. One support worker who works for a local recovery agency said: “The open meetings offer an insight. It helps me to feel more confident referring clients to AA knowing how the group works.”

*No names have been mentioned in this article to preserve members anonymity. A long time AA member explained: “The reason anonymity is so important is that it helps people to get on with the rest of their lives outside of AA without judgement.”

Call AA on 0845 769 755 for advice 24 hours a day.

The open meeting was attended by several community service providers.