Group helps people to give up drinking

DUBAI — Steven first tasted liquor at the age of 15. The fancy of the first 'kick' soon developed into an obsession. In his pursuit of alcoholic pleasure, Steven lost everything, including his family, friends and relatives.

By Joy Sengupta

Published: Fri 18 May 2007, 9:54 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:24 AM

Today, however, Steven is a changed man. A marketing executive in Dubai, the man has got a new life with a happy family, relatives and friends. To him now, alcohol is a thing of the past. But even then, Steven is one of the active members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which celebrates its 30th anniversary today.

"It was never a social drinking affair for me. I don't remember when I got addicted to liquor. The fact is that I lost everything. It is not that I didn’t try quitting. I went to hospitals, the private nursing homes, counsellors, psychiatrists et al. But nothing helped. The AA was the last resort for me. I joined it in 1991 and I am a changed person now. The AA has saved me and my family. And now I am helping others with the same problem to get over the deadly habit," he said.

Steven is an active member of the ‘Road to Sobriety’ group, one of the many branches of AA in the emirate. It is one of the first groups of AA in this region. The AA has branches in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah as well.

A member of the group said; "We cannot be named as our group is an anonymous one. The AA is a fellowship of men and women who share their experiences with each other in a bid to solve their common problem of drinking and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There is no fee for AA membership. We do not associate ourselves with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary motive is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”

Among the members are both men and women. The AA follows a 12-step recovery programme. "We can call it a spiritual programme. All the members sit in one place and then talk and discuss the problem among themselves. We discuss the negative things that affected us as alcoholics. Then we talk about the present and about how most of us are changed people. This gives a hope to the ones who have joined. This AA works on this particular principle," the member added.

The ‘Road to Sobriety’ group has nearly 100 members. The meetings are held in a room in the parish hall near St. Mary's Catholic Church in Dubai on Wednesdays and Fridays.

People can call up 050-6870648 and get more information about the AA. In Abu Dhabi, one can call 050-4143042.

Another branch of AA, termed 'Alanon', is meant for the family members of the alcoholics. One can call 050-6974393 and get information about this group.

The group will hold its annual meeting at the Metropolitan Palace Hotel today from 11.30am. Interested persons can join the meeting to know more about Alcoholics Anonymous.

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