India: Sobriety Through Anonymity: How AA Groups Help Alcoholics Battle Addiction

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V PADMAJA June 04,2017

58 year old Rakesh* was in his early twenties when he first took to the bottle. His drinking slowly spiraled out of control and he became a full-blown addict. Alcoholism began affecting his mental health and strained his relationship with his family. Not only was his personal life in shambles, his drinking took a toll on his career too.

Despite being a graduate of Shree Ram College of Commerce; he ended up in a job that paid him close to nothing. After struggling for nearly two decades, he finally decided to seek help. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 1996 and has been sober for 18 years now.

Like Rakesh, many addicts in India have turned to Alcoholic Anonymous groups to get back on the road to sobriety.

AA is a voluntary, non-profit society of recovering alcoholics founded in 1935 in the United States of America. It was established with a purpose of combating alcoholism, considered a moral sin at that time. Since then, AA has evolved into a holistic recovery program for alcoholics with a strong global network. It claims to have a membership of over 30 lakh alcoholics worldwide and 40,000 sober alcoholics in India alone.

The group relies on a ‘12 step programme’ for recovery and adheres strictly to the principle of maintaining anonymity. Through anonymity the society ensures the creation of a safe space for its members and protects their reputation from any stigma that maybe associated with addiction.

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