Alcoholiics Anonynmous (AA) has between 2,000 and 4,000 members in Wallonia and Brussels, most of them male, AA Regional Administrator Jean-Noël De Meyer said on Wednesday. Briefing the press on AA’s annual congress, scheduled for Saturday 6 October in Liège, he said that, according to a 2013 poll conducted among 1,700 members, 70% were men and 30% women. Most were single, and the majority were aged between 40 and 69, with a higher proportion in the 50–69 age group. About 26% were retirees, 20% were white-collar employees and 12% were blue-collar workers.
There are 206 AA groups in Wallonia and Brussels. Made up of 10 to 20 persons each, they meet each week. Some 45% of the poll’s respondents said they had been referred to AA by health professionals, while 37% had joined a group thanks to people who were already members and 28% had followed the advice of relatives and friends.
Thirty-three percent (33%) were receiving or had received additional medical or psychological assistance and 30% had another addiction in addition to alcohol. Some 25.6% of the poll’s respondents had been abstinent for one to six years, 17.5% of them had been clean for 10 to 21 years, and 5.5% had abstained for over 30 years.
Membership of AA groups gives recovering alcoholics an opportunity to share their experiences so as to resolve their common dependence on alcohol and help other alcoholics recover from the addiction.
To become a member, only one condition needs to be met: the desire to stop
AA will hold its annual congress on Saturday from 0845 to 190o at the Palais des congrès in Liège. It will include workshops on various themes throughout the day.
“At the plenary session at 1700, various professionals (a psychiatrist, psychologists and representatives of CPAS [public social services centres], the police and universities) will speak to how they relate to alcohol dependency and the solutions they advocate,” said Jean-Noël De Meyer.
“The Congress is open to the public, whether relatives and friends of alcoholics, men and women who feel they have an addiction problem or people who wish to know more about AA groups and how they function,” he added.