New Delhi: Ever since the coordinates of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) were aired on the Aamir Khan-hosted Satyamev Jayate, the AA office phones have been continuously ringing and their website has crashed because of an unprecedented spurt in traffic.
But not many in India know about the entity and the help alcoholics or alcohol abusers can get there. AA, an international mutual aid movement founded in 1935, lists this as its main aim: "primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety". Built on strong evangelical values in consonance with 1st century Christianity, its founders Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, along With other early members, developed AA's twelve-step programme of spiritual and character development. They are called the 12 Traditions.
The 12 Traditions state (in unchanged American English):
Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
In India, the AA programme has more than 1,100 groups with more than 30,000 members. It runs the completely free-of-cost programme which has gained credibility all across the world. But considering the magnitude of the problem in India, it is just a flash in the pan. Many states in India still do not have AA self-help groups.