How to stay sober in a world that is not, when you are fragile vis-à-vis alcohol?
User associations represent an aid in maintaining abstinence, thanks to former addicts who have survived it.
France Patients Experts Addictions, chaired by Sandra Pinel, thus trains former patients who have become addiction experts to support dependent people, in care centers or associations.
Read also Alcohol dependence: "Even if there are relapses, failures, we can get out"
All associations of ex-drinkers do essential work, whether it is the Blue Cross, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Free Life.
These structures, from which judgment is excluded, provide peer support, the key to success.
"After joining a support group, I managed to stop everything"
“I had problems with cannabis and cocaine use during my nursing studies, then I started using alcohol and drugs,
says Sandra Pinel. At one point, I had unwanted vomiting every morning. The gastroenterologist to whom I confessed that I drank three beers a day - it was actually a lot more - referred me to a psychologist in a health center. After joining a support group at Vie Libre, I managed to stop everything, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, tobacco. This experience prompted me to create a Facebook group dedicated to addictions, then I initiated France Patients Experts Addictions, which I now chair. "
In 2020, an American study published in the “Cochrane Library” demonstrated the importance of patient associations, based on a survey evaluating Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This association was started in 1935 following the meeting in Ohio of two Americans who were looking for a way to stay sober. They formed a support group and then defined the twelve steps for weaning, the first being to accept one's inability to control consumption; the last being to help others stay sober by becoming the sponsor of a new member.
This model has spread to 180 countries.
Other associations have emerged on similar models.
In this recent analysis of 10,000 participants, researchers concluded that Alcoholics Anonymous was at least as effective as psychotherapy in achieving and maintaining abstinence.