Alcooliques Anonymes toujours solide à 64 ans
Alcoholics Anonymous still robust at 64
JAKARTA (JP): ""Hi, my name is Joe, and I am an alcoholic ..."" says Joe, lead actor Peter Mullan, in the opening of My Name is Joe, a film directed by Ken Loach and awarded Best British Film of 1998. That is the standard opening statement for anyone who wishes to take part in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
The movie portrays the life of a recovering alcoholic well. So, next time, if a scene from some movie you are watching shows a group of people sitting together, and each of them says ""Hello, my name is X, and I'm an alcoholic"", pay attention. You are watching an excerpt from an AA meeting in progress. Also, note how healthy everyone looks! This is not so far removed from the real setting in almost any AA meeting.
So what is Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA? How did it start, and how did AA become popular abroad? What is so special about AA?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a community-based self-support society of men andwomen, that was started by Bill S., a stockbroker, and Bob W., a medical doctor, in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, U.S. Both men were diagnosed as ""chronic alcoholics"", with little hope of ever recovering from alcohol addiction. Both had lost nearly everything that was of value and importance in their lives through the disease of alcoholism.
Bill S. reached out to Dr. Bob, and found that he was able to stop drinking by reaching out to fellow alcoholic. Finding and helping one another helped them both stay clean and sober. Now sober, by helping one another, and eager to maintain their sobriety, they started reaching out tohelp other alcoholics.
Little did either Bob or Bill know, back in 1935, they were starting a journey that would change the face of recovery from alcoholism forever. Or what they were doing was to become Alcoholics Anonymous, and spread across the entire world.
It was not long after Bob and Bill established the program that AA began carving out phenomenal success with chronic alcoholics, for whom other methods had failed completely. AA became a miracle in the lives of the manyotherwise hopeless alkies (alcoholics), helping people regain lives that had been destroyed by drinking.
With the publishing of a book titled Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939, later nicknamed the Big Book, this society became known by its book title, Alcoholics Anonymous. AA then began to spread rapidly throughout the UnitedStates, as members moved or traveled out of Akron; and shortly thereafter, to other countries.
Turning 64 on June 10, 1999, AA now has, conservatively, well over 100,000 groups meeting throughout the world, in over 180 countries. Add to that online chat groups, e-mail group meetings, and the like. Alcoholics understand other alcoholics far better than anyone else, whatever their background. AA has been solely responsible for the recovery of millions of people from the nightmare of alcohol addiction and alcoholism.
AA is simply a community of people; a group of alcoholics, problem drinkers and/or people who have lost control over their ability to drink safely. People who understand, from direct experience, that they are unableto regain control over their alcohol intake, that their lives have become unmanageable. People who have tried many times, to the point of obsession, to become normal drinkers and failed, over and over again. Now through theprogram of AA, they help each other recover from alcoholism, and stay recovered, by sharing their lives; problems, sorrow, grief, joy and strength.
AA is free, there are no charges to be an AA member. Both rich and poor, educated and uneducated, from all walks of life, blend without conflict andhelp one another with only recovery from alcoholism in mind. The only requirement for membership in AA is a sincere desire to stop drinking.
AA is not an organization in the traditional sense of the word. AA has noleaders or authority figures. AA has no government at all. Each group is autonomous and is totally responsible for itself. A person who is a beginner in AA has the same rights as someone who has been attending AA formany years.
Simply stated, ""AA's only business is helping alcoholics find better a way of life without alcohol"". AA is a simple and clean program; its basic concern: the alcoholic and family of the alcoholic. AA is a program from alcoholics, by alcoholics, for alcoholics.
Why is AA anonymous? Because AA understands the stigma related to addiction like no other can. Anonymity plays an important role in the AA program. ""Who you see here, and what you hear here, let it stay here,"" members always say. That way, members are free to talk honestly and openly about what they feel, think, their problems and find sincere and understanding help.
Based on AA principles and success, other similar groups have followed inits path. There is Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Overeaters Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Criminals and Gangs Anonymous, just to name a few. The earliest group following AA was, of course, Al-Anon. Al-Anon is AA's family counterpart support group that aims to help bring comfort and healing to people whose lives are affected by someone else's drinking.
NA was founded in 1953, in Southern California, U.S. Today, NA has becomethe strongest and most effective program for recovery from drug addiction worldwide. Although relapse does often occur with addicts, many addicts stay completely off drugs, as they continue to work the NA program, and apply the NA principles in their daily lives.
The success of the program lies in the fact that addicts know addicts, intimately, far better than anyone else knows addicts.
AA is not new to Indonesia. AA has been established in Jakarta and Bali for a good number of years now. Yet, over this last decade, AA has been mostly attended by a small, transient group of recovering alcoholics. Most were expatriates working in Indonesia for a short time, or visitors just passing through Indonesia. All meetings were held in English. Until recently, there were no AA meetings in Bahasa Indonesia.
Unlike AA, Narcotics Anonymous is fairly new to Indonesia. Today, NA is still limited to the Jakarta area. Yet, Narcotics Anonymous is gaining rapid popularity from many, many addicts wanting to recover from their destructive addictive lifestyle, and sincerely wanting to stay ""clean and sober"".
Teenagers who had problems with putauw (low-grade heroin), and wanted to recover, started the first NA meeting in Jakarta on April 1, 1997. Most of the original members of NA were expatriates. Today, NA has several meetingsweekly, two of which are held in Bahasa Indonesia.
The local Jakarta AA and NA schedule is advertised every week in The Jakarta Post, You can also check the Internet (http://www.angelfire.com/id/indostep) for a current meeting schedule. (Joyce/David Djaelani Gordon)