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06 November 2018

12th annual House of Commons Alcoholics Anonymous presentation for Professionals

The 12th annual House of Commons Alcoholics Anonymous presentation for Professionals was held at Portcullis House, Westminster on the evening of 23rd October 2018.

The event was sponsored this year by The Rt Hon. Liam Byrne MP. It was well attended with around 90 professional attendees from the fields of health, social and community services and the criminal justice system.

The speakers were: 

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

Dr Ash Khan - Retired consultant psychiatrist and AA UK General Service Board Non-Alcoholic Trustee for 8 years.

AA host Guy D, and AA speakers Helen & Justin

Liam Byrne is the Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, Shadow Digital Minister, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth, and a proud supporter of the National Association of the Children of Alcoholics. He was the founder and chair of the cross-party group in parliament for children of alcoholics, to initiate a package of measures announced earlier in 2018 , to help the estimated 200,000 children in England living with alcohol dependent parents.

He spoke honestly about his own personal experience growing up as a child of an alcoholic and supported wholeheartedly the raising awareness of AA and the invaluable help and support AA offers to Alcoholics. He spoke of the 'epidemic of agony' caused by alcoholism and the need to raise the profile of support groups, in order to 'break the cycle' of pain and  shame, by ' breaking the silence'. He had shared in public his own experience 3 years ago on the death of his father, and other MP's have also shared their experience.

Dr Ash Khan, a regular presenter at AA Awareness events, shared his understanding of alcoholism and the nature of addiction. He highlighted the positive long term effects on the alcoholic of engaging with the AA programme, steps , service and a higher power. He dispelled some of the myths around AA,  AA is not religious and not a cult. He remarked that critics call a fundamental change of attitude  'brainwashing', yet professionals call it 'psychotherapy' !! 

Two AA members shared their own experiences, which demonstrated very movingly the grip of active alcoholism and its consequences; how by engaging with AA and the way their lives have turned around, for them now to enjoy long term recovery and sobriety.