Today I had the privilege of talking to a load of school kids - well they were 15/16 so young adults they'd no doubt prefer.
We showed a DVD about AA and talked about our alcoholism and tried to answer their questions. No doubt these students are used to "experts" coming and explaining stuff that they are paid to explain about and which they have studied not experienced. No disrespect to them but Prof Max Glatt once said "I am an authority on alcoholism not an expert. If you want an expert go talk to AA". I think we always get a reaction as we are unpaid and doing it as a service and also we no doubt don't talk like the professionals.
"How much do you have to drink to be an alcoholic?" "As much as you like" laughs "well for us here today enough to drive us into hospital to the point of suicide etc. etc."
Lurid tales of prisons, hospital stays after alcoholic fits in which hearts were restarted (only to discharge and go on another death defying bender), standing on a cliff top trying to will yourself over the edge, horrendous car crashes... I think we get a lot of attention and then we explain it isn't to do with penniless drunks on park benches or what you drink, how much or who with but if you are obsessed with it and cannot control it you have a problem and we've found a solution so take a leaflet and remember us in the future.
Hopefully none of them will need us in the future but statistically that is unlikely given the size of the year group.
We often quote stats. "How many people die from Heroin in the UK a year?" Guesses from 1000 up. It's actually about 200. When you say "Well we're coming to the end of the hour of us talking with you and in that time 3 people have died in this country from an alcohol related condition, accident or violence" there is a pause for thought.
We might have done some good today. Whatever it did me some good, gave me some hope. Plus spending a day with another bunch of drunks is always a laugh - one of our number going off for a smoke was funny, it was like being back at school trying to bunk off for a fag.