It was a day of sharing stories of determination and grit in overcoming obstacles for many members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) who took part in the seventh year anniversary celebrations of the Madurai Inter Group AA at De Nobili Pastoral Centre on Sunday.

The celebrations brought together members of various AA groups in the city which held meetings regularly.

“If two members in a group have abstained from consuming alcohol for more than six months, they can branch out and form a new group where they can interact and talk to people who want to recover from addiction,” a senior AA member said.

AA Madurai has over 1,000 members, led by 70 senior members. They meet every day and discuss ways overcome alcohol addiction and related issues.

“We emphasise on sharing our experiences. When addicts who want to recover come to the meetings, we focus on stabilising emotions and restoring balance,” a member says. “Drinking cannot be stopped individually and it is only through mutual understanding and support that change can be brought about,” he adds.

A senior member said nearly 30 per cent of the members in the city come to AA on their own accord. The rest usually are asked to join and are put on to AA groups from hospitals and treatment centres.

Family members and friends of the recovering alcoholics who are a part of AL ANON groups also took part in the event.

Narrating the importance of having such a group, the wife of an AA member said the group offered her immense support when she was looking for support. “Meetings with family members of the other AA members helped me since I could talk to other people who were facing the same situation as me. I realised that I was not alone and learned to handle the situation more effectively,” she said.

Dr. A. Samuel Dodd from the Grace Kennet Foundation Hospital and Fr. Britto Packiam addressed the AA members and their families and friends in a special session.

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