European Mutual-Help Network for Alcohol-Related Problems


EMNA is a voluntary not for profit-organization with the aim of promoting in Europe self help methods in the area of alcohol related problems.


EMNA is registered in Norway as a Legal Entity.


EMNA represents a group of citizens in Europe that are directly affected by the harm done by alcohol consumption. Mutual help may address a wide range of problems concerning not only the harm to the drinker but also issues relating to their families, colleagues, friends, community and society at large.


Members of a self help group learn that they are not alone; they are not the only ones facing the problem. This lessens the isolation; it provides peer support and empowers the group member.


Mutual help may help people recover from addiction. It may help in terms of reintegrating the individuals in society, community and their families, and prevent relapse. Mutual help has a preventive dimension as it may mobilize and sensitize families and communities about alcohol related problems.


Mutual help can never be emulated by the professional health systems. While the professional medical sector may cause alienation the self help groups offer empowerment and belonging. The volunteer dimension is vital because it empowers the member. However, volunteerism is not enough. EMNA recognises the importance of developing effective and transparent methods and to work with the medical system – neither against it nor part of it.


Representing a group of citizens that were once harmful drinkers, and while being concerned with prompting mutual help methods and not alcohol policy, we acknowledge that tackling alcohol related problems in the long term requires population wide measures relating both to supply and demand.


1) To promote the importance of self-help groups and community programmes for people with alcohol related problems in Europe.

2) In particular to raise awareness of the self-help approach and community programmes in the new member states of the European Union.

3) To promote self-help groups and community programmes as a way to enable people with alcohol related problems to overcome dependency, to recover, to reintegrate within their family and community, and to prevent relapse.

4) To promote a diversity of effective methods within the self-help approach and community programmes.

5) To give people affected by the harm of alcohol related problems a voice.

6) To exchange and disseminate ‘best practices’ on topics like:

a) Methods
b) Organisation
c) Cooperation with professional treatment system and health authorities
d) The importance of choice, individuality and the diversity of treatment
e) Evaluation and data collection

7) To strengthen the role of volunteers
a) as a valuable resource
b) as complement to professional treatment
c) as a part of a comprehensive approach to alcohol related problems

8) To promote dialogue with professionals, health officials, public authorities and the academic community.

9) To prepare common positions on the European level on issues relevant to these objectives


1. EMNA is open for organisations

a. who share our mission

b. who are ‘not for profit’-organisations

c. who have a significant volunteer basis

d. who’s work is knowledge based and transparent

e. who has no economic relations with the alcohol industry

f. who are tolerant and sensitive to the diversity within the self-help approach and community programmes in Europe

g. who are engaged in mutual help programmes or community based programmes as defined in the objectives in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

2. The following organisations may apply for membership

a. Full membership is offered to national, regional and local organisations fulfilling the above mentioned criteria’s. If a parent organisation becomes full member, any national member of that organisation can be associate member only

b. “Associate membership is offered to International organisations, or any organisation fulfilling the above mentioned criteria’s but which either is predominantly professional in character or not having a significant or comprehensive mutual help-group programme. Associate members:

i. are included in the information network

ii. have the right to be consulted on policy positions

iii. may take part and speak at Annual General Assembly

iv. may be elected to the board with voting rights

v. do not have the right to vote at the General Assembly.


1) The General Assembly elects a chairperson and between five and eight members of the board. The board is elected for a period of three years. Also the chairperson is elected for three years, but the respective elections take place at different times.

2) The board shall appoint an executive secretary and treasurer.

3) The board appoints single board members with responsibility for activities and the administration of EMNA between board meetings.

4) The board shall make available a written report on activities and finances at every A.G.M.

5) The General Assembly elects an Electoral Committee which task is to propose to the General Assembly candidates for all the elected positions. The Committee consists of three persons of which one is a chairperson.

6) The network shall organise a General Assembly every year. Invitation and business papers for the General Assembly shall be distributed to the members at least two months in advance.

7) New members are accepted at the General Assembly by majority voting if recommended by the board.

8) Any member may propose changes in the platform of EMNA by submitting proposals to the members at least two months in advance of the annual general meeting.

9) The network may establish common positions on issues that fall within the mission for the purpose of engaging in

a) consultations with EU institutions

b) any advocacy on an international level

c) support of national members of the network.

A common position is agreed by general consensus after consulting all members.

This platform was initially agreed on 5th June 2004 in Brussels, amended in 2010 and more recently confirmed at the AGM in Torremolinos, the 8th of October, 2011.