The Polish Blue Cross was among the first in Poland to recognise the importance of treating the ‘Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)’ syndrome which affects people who grew up in families with a dependent parent. In the words of Benedykt Biegun, social worker and programme coordinator at Blue Cross Poland, “affected people usually feel vulnerable and pessimistic about their life. For them, it has no meaning, and they are often overwhelmed by life’s challenges which in turn cause them to fall prey to anxiety and depression”.
In Poland, there are almost no public services for people suffering from the ACA syndrome. The Polish Blue Cross therapy services, specifically designed for the ACA, are therefore of utmost importance as they provide care and assistance to people who otherwise would be neglected.
The Wider Context in which Blue Cross Poland works:
In Poland, out of a population of 38 million, around 1 million people are dependent on alcohol (WHO, 2004).
An estimated 3 million people are negatively affected by the harmful use of alcohol of one of their family members – be this in the social, psychological, physical or financial area. 1.5 million of these are children.
Self-help for ‘Adult Children of Alcoholics’: Integrating Virtual and On-site Treatment Options
In 2009, Blue Cross Poland established its first self-help groups for ACA in Bielsko-Biała, Żywiec, and Czechowice-Dziedzice (Silesia). This much needed project offers the following services:
Self-help group meetings led by professionals
Individual counselling and advice
An internet-based forum for ACA
In 2010, more than 60 people between the age of 25 and 40 benefitted from the centres’ services! Usually, these are either dependent on alcohol themselves or co-dependent. 80% of them are women.
Blue Cross Poland wishes to expand its services to reach out to villages situated in the mountains and which are distant from the Blue Cross facilities. To this end, it plans to increase its cooperation with social service centres in these areas to inform people of the existing offer and encourage them to take advantage of the Blue Cross therapy offer.
As Blue Cross Poland does not receive any public assistance to implement its project, we appeal to you to support Blue Cross Poland in this important initiative!