Successfully away from the bottle

successfully away from the bottle

"Germany has an "alcohol addiction problem – as christina rummel, deputy director of the german central office for addiction issues (DHS), put it at the presentation of the "jahrbuch sucht 2019". A great many germans drink every day. And clearly too much. According to the latest report from the world health organization (WHO), 13.4 liters of pure alcohol were consumed by every german citizen. This puts germany in fourth place in terms of average per capita consumption, and that is worldwide.

In germany, around 74,000 people die each year from the consequences of their alcohol consumption or the combined consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Nearly two million germans are considered alcohol dependent. Around two-thirds of them are men, but the proportion of women is rising steadily. In addition, there is certainly a not insignificant number of unreported cases.

Angela hebendanz and karin gumbmann know exactly what lies behind these facts and figures. Both women were addicted to alcohol and managed to free themselves from the addiction, to start a new phase in their lives and to pass on their experiences to other addicts. They do this within the framework of the guttempler addiction self-help group "friesener warte", which was founded in hirschaid last july. They come from the guttempler community in forchheim. Both are "professionals, but not experts", as she recounted in a press interview. You know what it’s all about when people talk about what alcohol does to people and how family members suffer along with them. You know the fears and agonies when the "pressure of addiction" is felt comes and when there is a risk of becoming dependent again. They also know that "nothing and no one can drink".

Angela hebendanz was faced with the choice of quitting alcohol or dying. This is what her doctor clearly told her after her last breakdown. For her, there was then only one decision "because I wanted to live", so hebendanz "and see how my children grow up". She then underwent long-term therapy, separated from her husband and reorganized her entire life. Today she lives a "contented abstinence and also their children are proud of what they have achieved. Angela hebendanz trained as an addiction counselor within the framework of the guttempler movement, works on the national board, is self-confident and no longer "easy to care for" and can clearly say stop and no.

Educate about the dangers

For karin gumbmann, an important step would be to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol in schools and youth groups. Especially former addicts can authentically describe "how fast it is to be dependent on alcohol" and that alcohol addiction is at home in all classes and population groups. In her therapy, there was the senior civil servant, as well as the high school teacher or the pilot, and "they all knew exactly how alcohol damages their own bodies.

What both women find particularly disturbing is how easily the subject of alcohol is played down in everyday life. Starting with the saying "a beer is okay", about the omnipresent advertising for alcohol, a "brewery run" in tuscany, france, to the point of being able to buy alcohol almost around the clock. Karin gumbmann asks whether no one is thinking about how the "pressure of addiction on those affected" can be reduced heightened when he sees the sheer volume of alcohol while waiting at the supermarket checkout counter.

New sense of self-worth

The self-help group offers those affected a space and a community to deal with their way into and out of dependence on alcohol. It is also a matter of rediscovering one’s own personality, rebuilding one’s own sense of self-worth and developing further together.

There are always ten to twelve people in hirschaid who meet regularly on thursday evenings. Everyone has a sponsor and there is an "emergency plan" ready. A "holding" phrase, which has helped many times, is in the first year: "i am not allowed to drink!", in the second year: "i don’t want to drink!" And in the following years: "i don’t need to drink"!".

You have a whatsapp group and want to be there especially for those who can’t be there or who are struggling with the consequences of a relapse. Since they have all had similar experiences, they also know that there are often jerky steps and sometimes several attempts are necessary to free oneself from dependence on alcohol.

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