Goa’s Alcoholics Anonymous Inter Group Goa (South) completed 50 years of its existence with a programme at Ambaulim, Quepem. Pratik Parab discovers how the group helps people stay away from the bottle.
The Worldwide Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous has completed 81 years of its formation. Alcoholics Anonymous has saved lives of millions of alcoholics and the families since then. Its membership is free and the only requirement is the desire to stop drinking. The Alcoholics Anonymous held its anniversary celebration on June 19, at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall in Ambaulim, Quepem.
Alcoholics Anonymous Inter Group Goa (South) was set up in Goa in the year 1965 and ever since it has grown to be one of the most volunteered and one of the most responded group of Goa. The AA begun its group activities from Cansaulim village through Walfreido Antao in the year 1965. AA was introduced to Antao in Pune and later he got it to Goa. Today AA has grown to 65 groups all over the state of which 50 are active in South Goa.
On the occasion of the 81st Anniversary the AA had an Awareness programme for their fellowship which got a huge response. The anniversary celebration was attended by over 400 people. The Quepem MLA, Chandrakant Babu Kavalekar, was the Chief Guest for the function and Fr Savio Viegas, the Parish Priest of Ambaulim, was the guest of honour. The Quepem MLA while speaking at the occasion expressed his surprise over the fact that how AA has been able to garner participation of people who have a desire to get rid of alcohol. “I was surprised how people volunteered into the activity and have shared their experiences. I was surprised even more when realised that there are so many who have shown willingness to get rid of the habit of drinking” Kavalekar said. “I extend all my support to the fellowship of AA,” the MLA added.
Several spouses of alcoholics also attended the anniversary celebration under the banner of Al-Anon a fellowship specially made for the spouses of the Alcoholics. The women spelled out their experiences on the battle they fought against the habits of their partner.
The AA has over 50 village groups of people willing to get rid of Alcoholism and they meet regularly at different villages in the south. Some meetings are held twice a week some thrice and some once a week. These one-hour meetings have only sharing of experiences of achievers who have got rid of Alcoholic addiction and how their lives change for good after quitting.
The AA is run without taking any monetary help from any person or institution. The meetings are held in the halls of various villages and are done with contribution from the members of the meeting group.
The Chairman of Alcoholics Anonymous said that the success rate of the group is high because of the practical approach to convincing the alcohol addicts. The Chairman, claiming a success rate of 10%, says: “At the village and group meetings the alcoholics share the bad experiences they faced when they were alcoholics and how life has improved after they got rid of the habit.” “Over 10% remain sober after they attend the meetings of AA,” added the Chairman proudly.
However, most of the alcoholics do not accept that they are addicted to liquor which poses a major hindrance in the entire exercise. The AA has helplines for people to approach them. However, most of the people and mostly families of the Alcoholics approach the AA for their services. “Our formula of sharing experiences makes us acceptable amongst the affected persons and also makes the person ponder hard upon the fact that they have been spoiling their and their family wellbeing all this time” the Chairman told.