Than there live the Ukrainian alcoholics anonymous: distracting marks and write the log

“Good evening. I’m an alcoholic” — with this phrase begins the greeting of each member of the group, and often their long journey to a sober life. “Today,” visited an AA meeting and learned how people begin a new life after a glass. In conversation with us, they adhere to anonymity to involvement in the group didn’t hurt their reputation — do not call names, and forbid myself to take pictures.

Such groups exist in each region. Just a sober life struggling about 1,300 people across the country. Groups created by alcoholics who want to get rid of bad habits.


“All the holidays without alcohol, only juice or mineral water. But if will break, it breaks through the bottom, which you’ve already made up, then everything, the end of you,” says the correspondent of “Today” being a member of the Kiev group of alcoholics anonymous, to have a meeting where we went. According to legend, we seek to zapivshego relative.

Alcoholics anonymous hold their meetings in the usual leased office building near the center of the city. At the entrance — no sign. This is to ensure that members of the community, it was impossible to identify as alcoholics and that they felt no discomfort.

In the same hall, which seats 30-35 people, at the appointed time of seven o’clock in the evening gathered at first five anonymous. As it turned out, many of them already know each other. “Want some tea?” — affably said the girl sitting beside the table with a kettle and a box of cookies. And without waiting for a reply, takes a paper Cup and pours a drink. “All a bit shy at first, but you adapt,” explains sitting next to her a man of about 40. The girl pours the tea and adds: “Well, sugar has taste”. It took another half an hour, and in a hall for 30 people, 11 of them girls and women. The youngest in appearance only 19-20 years old, and the oldest almost 50.

The curator of the meeting sits at the table in the center of the room, lights low fat candle and welcomed all the participants. All came in turn to greet each other. “Hi, I’m an alcoholic Natalia” — quietly starts pretty brunette of 25 years. After it introduced all the others: “hi, I’m an alcoholic Kostya”, “hi, I’m an alcoholic Gene”, “hi, I’m an alcoholic Jeanne”. When the turn reached me, I, observing the rules of the meeting, also said: “hi, I’m an alcoholic Igor.” In response to: “hi, Igor.” After the speeches, the curator is interested in — whether meeting newcomers. I raised my hand and as the spirit confessed that actually I’m not an alcoholic and rarely drink at all, and only want to know how the meeting — want to help a relative defeat the green dragon. I guess my answer satisfied the moderator of the meeting, and she announced to the audience that everyone will now read a list outlining the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous. Their essence is to ensure that the participants recognize that they are ready to change and to help other drinkers. One of the items read out each of the men. Some looked at the list, but most people remember the list by heart.

After that, the moderator said that now will be the guy that’s already a year successfully fighting off the craving for alcohol. “Oh, so it is necessary to note,” the whisper joke, one of those present, and they all laughed quietly. Meanwhile, some guy named Trophimus, who looked to be a little more than 30 years, said that the drinking started in adolescence. But prolonged drinking bouts became addicted after more than 10 years ago, his mom died.

“It all started innocently with beer, but over the fact that I was drinking cheap alcohol-based tinctures. In fact, not a day, not to drink, — confessed the trophy. One day, when my wife and I went to the wedding of his friends, disgraced — drunk literally unconscious, fell in a white suit and under the table there and went to sleep.”

Trofim says that it took him several years of hard drinking to realize the bottom has been reached. “Eventually ended up in rehab, but there I are unable to help. Came to alcoholics anonymous. Now, as you can see, already, thank God, a year of sobriety”. According to Trofim, he is now trying to help quit drinking the same people as he was himself a year ago, and even lectured in a special group AA (so briefly call themselves alcoholics anonymous). After the trophy is finished to be Frank, some of the anonymous for a few more minutes asking him questions and requested further information about the successful struggle with a glass.

At the end of the meeting the curator got the brown women’s hat and threw it in a circle with the words: “the Room we’re renting. If you have the opportunity to donate much as you can, please.” In a moment the hat was filled to the top with banknotes from 1 to 20 UAH — the eye of UAH 200. Then it was announced that the meeting is adjourned and all went out for a smoke.

“Many don’t want to admit that they are alcoholics, and it is a fatal mistake. If you admit you’re sick with alcoholism, then it is easier to realize that you need help. Many wonder how to help a relative who drinks. I suggest to met someone who worked his way to alcoholics anonymous. A drinker will only listen to the “colleague” misfortune” — he began to talk one of the members of the community, turning to me.

Joining us one of the women. She also says that alcoholics anonymous helped her to start a new life, or rather, their system of collective support for each other. And according to her and her friends in misfortune, they now hold such a principle: “Yes, there is alcohol around, but he us that interferes with our lives.” That is why for those who decide to let anonymous, but to overcome the pernicious passion is so important these meetings.


In addition to individual groups, there is a nationwide alcoholics anonymous, with branches in each of the areas. We talked with activists and Ukrainian, and Kiev community. They all emphasize that in the organization there is no hierarchy, respectively, neither superiors nor subordinates.

On the question of how many are now coming for help people drank one of them, Yaroslav, said that on the first meeting always comes a lot of people, but remain a unit. Another activist, Michael, adds that the figures are not kept. “But there are estimates. For example, current groups now in the country, 130 of them in the Kiev region — 29, although I was 26. In General in Ukraine — about 1,300 people who attend meetings regularly, though in fact they certainly more. What is the value of the meetings? This is the place where an alcoholic can come and help him are the same people who also, like him, are struggling with addiction.”

METHODS. “We do not attract and do not advocate that, say, only here you will be able to gain sobriety. But make it clear that you will be able to learn about our experience and draw their own conclusions and make a decision,” says Michael. He says that he was helped when in the community it came from another novice: “In him I saw myself. You see his reaction, behavior, his suffering because of alcohol. Knowing well that the meeting comes to a beginner, each of us tries to tell briefly my story. This is done so that the new man identified himself, saw their problems in our stories.” And Michael, and other alcoholics say that they had not the sympathy of other people, and specific life examples, success stories. But also specify that among the members are those people who attended the meetings, but frustrated, returned to the drunkard, but then came back wanting to get back on the sober path.

“But about 80-90% of those who are systematically going to meetings, staying sober. Very rarely, people strictly followed the program and still frustrated,” say the activists.

HOW COME. “When I was treated with medication, the Vra, in addition to the list of drugs, wrote the phone number of the hotline community of alcoholics anonymous, which I did not attach first importance. But my wife found it and she called and agreed that I would come. And I said, “Do something — go group of alcoholics anonymous”. I wanted to stop this madness, so I agreed,” says Michael. According to another activist Basil, the age of those who seek help, different. “From 18-19 to 60 years. In recent years more and more young people are coming,” he says.

HOLIDAYS. The most difficult days for those who are sober, are the holidays. “Yeah, we used to think, how to take bottles on holiday, and now everything is different. Well, there are special considerations what to do at first. For example, not to be missed drunken feast,” says the activist Yaroslav. And talks about how behave his family for the holidays. “My relatives have used to celebrate holidays without alcohol. In addition, one of their own dropped out those companies where the drink,” adds Yaroslav. Alcoholics anonymous emphasize that their main goal is to be able to stay treseme and to help others achieve the same state, despite the temptation. “In my family, the relatives can afford for the holidays the alcohol, but it does not bother me. For example, the recently passed Easter holidays. Relatives drank wine, and I juice. I do not struggle with addiction. Alcohol around there, but I know that he’s got “allergies,” says another activist Vladislav.

THE WORLD EXPERIENCE. According to Ukrainian alcoholics anonymous, now in the world about 2 million 100 thousand such as they are. According to open sources, the Commonwealth now AA is in over 170 countries (in Ukraine, the first group appeared in February 1989).

“For example, in America there is such a practice: if the police detained a drunk driver who has not committed a severe accident, he offered to attend 90 meetings of alcoholics anonymous as a punishment. After these visits that, as a rule, does not sit down drunk behind the wheel. This is one example of the interaction of the Commonwealth with the state,” says activist Michael.

To this he adds that AA groups do not interfere in other areas. “Let me give you another example from history. Alcoholics anonymous from the Washington community tried to engage in politics. In the end, the group was divided into clans, who began to quarrel among themselves,” says Michael. His colleague Basil adds that Ukraine anonimschikov not always properly perceived: “Sometimes we are treated with hostility. For example, a psychiatrist may say that he is an expert and knows how to treat people. And asks the question: “And who are you?”. But we do not treat people, we only offer to use the program community of alcoholics anonymous”.

IN ADDITION TO MEETINGS. Community AA release their magazine, print flyers, business cards and small print runs of the brochure is going to the donations. Talking about brochures, pay attention to how written the name on their covers. “The letters are barely visible, that is, the cover does not attract attention. That is why this book is comfortable to read, for example, in the subway,” — explained to us, the activists of the Ukrainian community. As we found out after a meeting, participants can take the printed ad to put them up around town. It says the following: “I Want to quit drinking? Try it with us! Our help is free”. Here, in the ad, the address of the community site and the phone number of the hotline. “Doing all this, we first of all help themselves, share their experiences as well for free once predecessors shared their experience of recovery with us,” say the activists.


One of the newcomers in the capitals of alcoholics anonymous, Vladislav, who is about 30 years old, told us that his experience of alcoholism 6 years and now sober for 3 months.

“I never believed or felt that I was an alcoholic. That is, for me, the alcoholics were associated more with people who are lying under the fences, but it turned out that everything is far not so, — says Vladislav. — At first I was drinking about one every six months, and then, of course, increased. It got to the point that they lasted for two weeks. In some way I reached the bottom, the encoding did not help. If I wanted to help the family, but now I wanted to help myself. I didn’t even notice how go on these drinking binges. Once went to a psychologist, who in the past himself and drinking and gambling. Listened to it, lasted a month and came to a group of alcoholics anonymous. Came when I realized that due to alcoholism relatives didn’t trust me, I was hurt by their behavior”.

Making a short pause, he added: “In the end, I realized that I’m an alcoholic. Found a group of alcoholics anonymous, and came, I realized that these are the same people as me, but who were able to live soberly. I wanted to do the same, to achieve such a result. And you know, I do not struggle with alcohol. He told me was just not needed! The happiness I find in another, but continue to attend meetings of our group”. And said with joy in her voice: “Now I’m happy with life and happy!”.

Several alcoholics anonymous pootkrovennichal with us that joining a group, trying to keep myself busy to distract yourself from drinking. “I collected stamps, I bought a lot of Orthodox religious literature to find support in reading. In the end, all this helped to pass in the entrance by those drunken companies, which a few weeks ago I was” — told us one of the capital AA Alex with the experience of sobriety for about a year.

Some of alcoholics anonymous acknowledge that there are frustrations, aggravation, and this in particular affects the socio-political situation in the country. “But we try to live for today. One of the main rules is to stay sober today, no matter what happened. And so every day”, — told us the members of SHGs.


“The woman is more difficult to recognize himself as an alcoholic than a man, — says the participant of one of the Kiev group the Lily with the experience of alcoholism for 22 years. — I thought just a bit like to drink, that’s all. But at some point, unfortunately, I realized that I can’t already live without alcohol. I tried drinking some pills, but it didn’t help. Then, I remember, there was a moment when I call on the city telephone inquiry to know the phone number of the group alcoholics anonymous. Into the phone I said, “sober up, then call me again.”

Then Lily continued: “Resting on the sea, met a woman who convinced me to try to start attending the group. You know, at first I thought about AA, that it’s people that share their experience the right drinking. It turned out that it absolutely other people.”

He added: “Stay sober now thanks to these people. Most importantly, we help each other get through a difficult situation, not grabbing the glass. I used to have a bout, for example, because of the troubles in the work. Now I have learned to understand that still life has a purpose, and do not violate peace of mind with alcohol.”
According to Lily, now her experience of sobriety 3 years 8 months. “When I saw, they were aggressive, even worked out a kind of defensive reaction. In addition, I have changed the circle.”

Most of the participants of self-help groups — women from 25 years and above. Some of them, telling their stories, they say that do not notice the moment when they “tightened the alcohol.” For example, in the “institutional” edition of alcoholics anonymous is an example of a female teacher who in a short time drunk together with her husband, an electrician, later divorced him and began to lead a dissolute life. The woman told me to stop drinking it pushed the experiences of the daughter, and after he refused another glass, as if born again.

Some of the women with whom we talked in groups of alcoholics anonymous, recognize that their appearance quickly gave them drinkers. “But even being drunk, tried to look pretty to the eye make-up and in was,” — told us one of the participating groups.