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Byron Shire
September 25, 2023

Alcoholism and hope

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Twenty years ago I migrated to the Byron Shire from the UK on a working visa as a skilled migrant. I came here for a better life, and what a life I was given. Within months of arriving in the shire, a by-chance meeting and a strange set of circumstances, I found myself in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). 

My life at that time on reflection was totally out of control. I did not know that I was an alcoholic, let alone that there is a solution to alcoholism. My experience in the Byron Shire after 20 years is that AA is active and vibrant, offering a way out for those who suffer from alcoholism. 

I was shown a very different way to live. Knowing where to go and how to get help as an active alcoholic can be frightening and challenging in my experience. AA really is based on an idea that one alcoholic can help another alcoholic. When I wanted help, local AA members were available to help. My letter reciprocates that offer of help. Somewhere in the background of an active alcoholic’s life, there has probably been help from an employer, a doctor, an alcoholism agency or facility, a relative or friend in the suggestion of attending AA. It was a member who approached me and took me to my first AA meeting, shivering and shaking. All I can say is that my life has been completely transformed. 

The doors of AA are open: 7pm Friday 8 September. AA is holding a local public AA meeting open to anyone who might want more information about what AA is, what AA does and what AA doesn’t do. 

It’s a free event at the Bangalow A&I Hall. Alcoholics Anonymous is very active in the Northern Rivers. Multiple physical meetings daily and online digital meetings are an option.

How to get help from Alcoholics Anonymous: Visit www.aa.org.au; phone the National AA helpline 1300 22 22 22; local helpline 1800 423 431 or 0401 945 671. If it can work for me, it might work for you too.

Janet M, Pottsville

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