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Country, Date of election

Hungary 1998



Csaba Kovacs’s program for restoring alcoholics to health and productivity radically alters traditional perceptions and treatment of alcoholism in Hungary.


The social problem of alcoholism is the most critical in Hungary among Central Eastern European countries. It affects the life of the dependents’ families, friends and workplace with its destructive impact. Previous treatments and hospital care were far from ideal as they approached the disease from a moral viewpoint, as a sign of weakness, instead of treating it as a combined spiritual-mental-physical disease. Having recognized this, Csaba Kovács decided that there should be a different, professionally functional, realistic and more human approach.


The foundation provided help and protection to about 8 to 10 thousand people with its new, holistic approach over the last 20 years. The Halfway Foundation helped greatly in spreading the Minnesota Model in Hungary and since then it is already being practiced in several hospitals. Furthermore, it also enables youth to prevent the onset of alcoholism by education, numerous publications and cultural programs and by providing information about the addiction.


The Halfway Foundation, established in 1994, introduced a new, more human approach to the understanding of alcoholism. The program is based on the Minnesota Model which adopts anonymous self-help methods, a 12-step recovery program implemented in a clinical environment where mental and social services and individual and group sessions help initiate recovery.


Csaba’s goal is to keep this hands-on self help system that he established over the last 20 years alive and which he is still working on together with his colleagues. In addition, he wishes to build up a base of professional and human resources which is able to implement the foundation’s philosophy with Csaba’s same commitment (About alcoholism in other ways). This awareness should be able to continue to spread the general acceptance and treatment of chemical addictions as primary diseases on a national level eliminating social prejudice. This is important for the sake of reaching an effective recovery.


The birth of the organization was inspired by Csaba’s own personal experience. He has also suffered from active alcoholism for which - as he soon learned – effective and supporting treatments truly exist. Today he understands and tries to teach others as well that alcoholism is an incurable disease at the moment but its active period can be paused for a lifetime and there’s an opportunity to live a sober, happy life.

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