Guttempler in Deutschland / IOGT Germany is supporting persons with addictive behavior to start a life free from addiction. Addiction is not an expression of personal weakness, but a successfully treatable disease. Addiction always affects the development in all social relations, especially within families.
In more than 700 self-help groups with weekly meetings more than 12,000 persons share their problems and successes in daily life. Persons with any kind of addictive behavior and their relatives are welcome. Participants start and maintain a life without alcohol, drugs or other addictive behavior.
IOGT Germany is a non-profit organization and part of the international IOGT movement. The German organization has existed for more than 125 years and is independent of any religious or political conviction. IOGT Germany will never cooperate with the alcohol industry or other addiction stimulating industries. Membership fees and donations from public authorities, public health insurance and public pension insurance enable the work of IOGT Germany. On local, regional, national and international level IOGT Germany cooperates closely with professional institutions and other organizations promoting rehabilitation and recovery.
1 Goals and principles
IOGT Germany is committed to a world in which people can develop and live in self-determination, personal responsibility and health without being affected by alcohol and other drugs.
Since its foundation in 1889, its members have pursued this goal with the ideals of abstinence, fraternity and peace.
For us, abstinence means a life free of alcohol and other drugs. Freedom from alcohol and drugs is on the one hand the necessary consequence of overcoming dependence and on the other hand a declaration of solidarity with people suffering from alcohol and other drugs. At the same time, the alcohol-free lifestyle is a sign of the boycott of a product that causes more harm than good. With our conscious decision to live alcohol-free, we set an example for a healthier, independent lifestyle.
We are committed to brotherhood among all people. This attitude begins with helping one’s next, people with alcohol and other addiction problems and relatives, and continues in the community. Our help is an expression of a personal attitude to life, the will to selfless charity, to community with all people, regardless of their origin, skin colour, gender, religious or ideological attitude or social position.
We are a member of the worldwide community of IOGT International. All members of this international organization treat each other with respect and acceptance and work for peace between all people. Peace is the situation in which a just balance of different interests can only be achieved without violence. For us, peace begins in the closest circle, in families and IOGT communities. There we learn to put our own interests aside and to convince others with arguments instead of imposing our own ideas against the interests of others.
2 We help addicts and their families
Our activities focus on helping addicts and relatives of addicts. Dependence is not an expression of personal weakness, but a successfully treatable disease. However, dependence does not only affect addicts, but also always affects the development and cohesion of their social relationships, especially of the family.
Therefore, our help is not only directed at the addicts, but at the whole family. This help is provided primarily in self-help groups, which are also called conversation groups or support groups, depending on the approach of the work.
In addition, we visit hospitals and specialist clinics or advise people seeking help personally and by telephone.
2.1 We help without regard to the person
People from all social classes become addicts. The dependency manifests itself in different forms, different duration and different intensity. Recognizing one’s own problematic situation is often an occasion to be able to take a first step towards coping with the disease. This can be a call, a contact with the well developed professional help system or a visit to a self-help group. We welcome everyone and offer our help.
2.2 We help in self-help groups
People with similar problems meet in self-help groups to help and support each other. There it is important that people from different stages of the disease come together. The own problem is described and the other participants tell how they have solved this or similar problems. These descriptions show possibilities from which everyone can find the right solution for himself.
The descriptions of the ways into the disease help those who have been abstinent for a long time to remember their own dependence. If they in turn describe their ways out of dependence, this helps the new participants in the group.
2.3 We approach the people
After the Federal Social Court recognized alcoholism as a disease in 1968, a professional help system developed with outpatient and inpatient therapies, with aftercare options and offers of practical life support. As a result, the voluntary help also developed into a »join us structure« – people with addiction problems received help when they joined the groups.
There is currently a tendency towards change. It is again about direct contact with dependent people or relatives. It is about helping and accompanying the first steps out of dependence; it is about using the «personal low» as an opportunity for change. With the outreach work we want to take away people’s fear of joining the self-help group.
Early warning signs of an alcohol problem, such as driving licence loss, difficulties at work or relationship crises, can be used as an opportunity to approach people and inform them about our help options.
2.4 We accompany you into a substance-free life
A first step to overcome the disease is to stop drinking alcohol. The exchange in the self-help group as well as the offers of the addiction care system, outpatient, partly inpatient or inpatient help here.
A further step can be the obligation to abstain from alcohol as a condition for membership with us. As a member of IOGT Germany, you become part of a worldwide community that is committed to freedom from addictive substances and responsibility, that accompanies, cares for and helps. For many people, it expands the family and creates new, sometimes lifelong friendships.
2.5 We encourage personal development
After overcoming one’s own dependence or that of a relative, «normality» returns to life. By living together in a community of people who have experienced similar fates, new personal potentials can be developed. We have learned to help ourselves in many new situations, to live without addictive substances, and to rediscover meaning and joy in life.
This personal development also influences the family, the interaction with friends and the personal situation in professional life. The «no» to alcoholic beverages and other addictive substances makes it easier to have one’s own views in other situations, not always to say «yes» and to experience this as personal pressure. To live self-determined and content – this is a personal goal in life that can be achieved with the help of new friendships.
3 We want to break the addiction cycle
Children with one or both addicted parents are at high risk of becoming addicted or suffering from another mental illness. Often the parents concerned are themselves children from addicted families, so that the addiction disease was passed on from generation to generation. It is therefore important to us to break this addiction cycle. Children from alcohol-laden families receive our special attention right from the start.
4 We work on alcohol policy
Per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages is an important indicator of a society’s burden with alcohol-related harm. The more alcohol you drink, the greater the damage.
To avoid this damage, it is necessary to reduce alcohol consumption. The most important measures that contribute to this most successfully are:
– to increase prices and taxes,
– to limit availability and advertising and
– to intervene early when dependency begins.
To this end, we have adopted an alcohol policy programme which will be further developed and implemented in dialogue with political decision-makers.
4.1 We demand selective sobriety
The term «selective sobriety», coined by our Scandinavian friends and now adopted by politics, demands freedom from alcohol at special times, on certain occasions and for individual target groups.
Selective sobriety for individual target groups means no alcohol for
– Children and teenagers,
– Pregnant and nursing mothers,
– Formerly addicts.
Selective sobriety on certain occasions means no alcohol
– in road traffic and at the wheel,
– at work,
– at major events,
– in local and long-distance public transport,
– along with medications taken.
Selective sobriety at special times means no alcohol
– in the morning,
– for Christmas («White Christmas»),
– on the 25th day of each month («Orange Day», the day against domestic violence).
5 We inform and clarify
We take every opportunity to refer to and report on our work. This is achieved through visits to schools and companies; through participation in trade fairs and information days for the general population as well as through self-help days and other events.
This work depends on the possibilities of the individual local communities. We offer cultural events, invite to public information events and take part in joint events of self-help associations.
All these public events have three objectives:
1. the information about who we are,
2. to promote the offer of assistance for those affected and their relatives and
3. to promote membership in a global community.
6 We train ourselves
In addition to the personal development of the individual through the experience of membership and the role model effect of the other members, further education and training is provided. We have developed curricula for various training series, for example for the training of voluntary addiction helpers. We are responsible for the content of the training and further education, the practical implementation is usually carried out by IOGT Germany’s Educational Organisation.
7 We are not alone
IOGT Germany is integrated into the worldwide network of IOGT International. We are a member of Eurocare, the European organisation working to reduce alcohol-related problems and harm in Europe, and EMNA, the association of addiction self-help associations in Europe.
In Germany, we are a member of the German Centre for Addiction Issues (DHS) and of the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, our central association of independent welfare organisations.
We work in a collegial manner with the other addiction self-help associations at local, state and national level.