Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Challenge and Change: Rod Anderson

Rod Anderson is Chief Recovery Officer with Recovery Coaching Scotland. Since we began expanding our involvement work, Rod has contributed to several important projects with Alcohol Focus Scotland, helping to ensure that we listen to and amplify the voices of those with lived and living experience. We asked Rod to share why campaigning is important to him.


This work is something that is really close to my heart, so I am happy for AFS to share my experience. I think it’s important that we have a strong voice around alcohol and our relationship with it as a nation. I always wanted to be involved and to give my own experiences, having been dependent on alcohol. I feel like if there’s any way I can be involved with policy moving forward, that’s something I have to do. As a person in long term recovery from alcohol addiction, it’s my duty to try, in my own small way, to raise my voice for people who are not yet in a place to do so themselves. This is very important to me.

I spoke at a parliamentary event a few months ago about proposed changes to alcohol marketing in Scotland. This is something I feel very strongly about. Alcohol is so pervasive in our society, it feels like it is everywhere, all at once. This is overwhelming to many people either in recovery or struggling with alcohol problems. My drive comes from the fact that the industry is so powerful and has been allowed by successive governments to promote itself at every opportunity. They just do what they like, and we need to stand up to that. We shouldn’t stand for it and it needs to stop.

The event was great, and I really enjoyed being there. The profile of it was perfect and the correct people were there. All people in recovery want is to have our voices heard. The voice of lived experience really came through (at the event) and I really felt excellent about it. We can’t take our foot off the gas now and we need to keep putting pressure on the alcohol industry. We should be holding the alcohol industry’s feet to the fire here. Our relationship with alcohol as a country is just awful and we don’t see anything done about it.

I regularly hear from other people in recovery about the issues that impact them most. Most recently, this has included the constant bombardment of alcohol products on social media. Many feel that companies use social media algorithms in a way that ensures that they are promoting alcohol all the time and to people in recovery. The recent increase in the promotion of 0% alcohol products, especially within sports sponsorship and TV advertising, is concerning. Many people I speak to in recovery feel that alcohol companies are using 0% products as another vehicle to promote their branding and this is something that must be addressed.

I would really encourage people in recovery, and I have done, to have their voices heard and getting involved with AFS is a great opportunity to do that. I feel as if AFS provides one of the few places where it is an outlet for that and to be heard.

One thing I do know is that I want to continue taking part in the engagement work and have my voice heard as this is so important to me.


Get Involved 

The impact of lived experience involvement is invaluable for AFS, and as you’ve read, also for the people we work with. We are keen to expand our involvement work, so if you’d like to share your stories or your views, we’d love to hear from you!

If you or your organisation would like to get involved with our work, please get in touch with our Involvement team


Monday 2 November 2023