Download Adopt a Dr Letter
Adopt A Doctor
A Recent initiative from Health Liaison:
Adopt a Dr is an open letter inviting Doctors to consider AA as a resource for Patients who maybe alcohol dependant.
To whom it may concern
I am posting this abridged transcript of an open letter, as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), to inform you about what AA is and the support we can provide.
You may well be aware of the benefits of AA for patients with alcohol problems who come to you for help.
AA was founded in 1935 and is now established in over 150 countries with millions of alcohol dependent people who have found total abstinence.
Help is available in Bristol 24hr 7 using the AA Help Line numbers:
National 0800 917 7650 (freephone) or
Local 01179 265 520
Both numbers are for the still suffering Alcoholic, who wants help.
AA has both ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ meetings.
Friends or relatives of alcoholics or professionals such as yourself are welcome at ‘Open’ meetings. ’Closed’ meetings are for those who have, or think they may have a drink problem.
AA is both a free resource and an effective means of recovery from active alcoholism for your patients.
What AA cannot do, however, is to provide the initial motivation for alcoholics to recover, but if anyone has a desire to stop drinking they will be made welcome at any of our meetings.
Health Liaison Officer
Alcoholics Anonymous – Infinite Cost-effectiveness
I have worked for 30 years in treatment services for people with alcohol problems. My main research has been in evaluating treatment approaches using the hallmark method in medicine, the randomised controlled study. Patients are asked to take part in a study where, at random, they are allocated to either the test treatment, or the ‘standard’. The standard in many NHS treatment services has been detoxification followed by an offer of group therapy or one to one counselling. In this way, several medications were shown to improve the outcomes for some patients.
To test the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous in this way, patients in one group would be obliged to attend, and the control group would be told not to attend. That has never been deemed ethical. Instead, the test has been to randomly allocate one group of patients to standard treatment, and for the other group ensure that the staff specifically explain AA to the patient, make a link to help them get to their first meetings, and encourage them to keep attending. It is called 12-step facilitation (AA is known for its ‘12 steps’).
In each of the four published studies, 12-step facilitation improved the outcomes.
It has taken a long time for some NHS regions to appreciate the economics of this. NHS managers look for cost-effective treatments, where the arithmetic is: Efficacy divided by Cost to the NHS. But when a treatment costs nothing – like AA – cost effectiveness is Infinity!
AA is also the treatment that gives the longest lasting results. One reason for this is that AA is about more than stopping drinking. Alcoholism often leaves a person feeling damaged as well as sometimes leaving a trail of harm to others. The damage on all sides can take months, sometimes years, to heal – there may have been dishonesty, egotism, depression, selfishness. The healing takes time, so you have to stick at it. But the ‘spirituality’ tag puts some people off. But here is what our Royal College of Psychiatrists says about spirituality – it’s not about believing in any God in the sky! It’s about “being focused in the present, alert, unhurried and attentive; empathy for others; courage to witness and endure distress while sustaining an attitude of hope; improved discernment, for example about when to speak or act and when to remain silent; learning how to give without feeling drained; being able to grieve and let go.” These are qualities that I have watched, sometimes with wonder, evolving in our patients who attend AA.
By Jonathan Chick 2013
My take on some AA teaching:
Alcohol is a powerful drug….
Being ‘in control’ is a delusion.
Facts must be faced, honestly.
If you blame others, your problem persists.
Recovery is collaborative.
Professor Jonathan Chick, Psychiatrist, Edinburgh