March 31, 2012
ON MARCH 31, 1947 eight people gathered in room 202 at The Dorchester Hotel, London.
Those eight people, one woman and seven men, were recovering alcoholics and that meeting became the first recorded meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the UK. Sixty five years later AA meetings take place in every town and city throughout the UK. Meetings are also held in prisons, hospitals and treatment facilities. Within the Plymouth area there are 32 meetings held each week. Who would have thought that a self-help group for drunks would flourish throughout the UK and still be here 65 years later? This was accomplished without a CEO, directors, managers, supervisors or outside funding.
The courts in some American States (The US was the birthplace of AA in 1935) often defer sentencing someone, who has been convicted for certain types of alcohol related offences, on condition that they attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days. When those who choose this option reappear for sentence, they do so as people who have been sober for three months or longer and undergone a change in thought and attitude. Their attendance at each meeting is confirmed by an appointed group member.
During almost 31 years of sobriety I have always felt a sense of wonder when a person comes through the doors of an AA meeting for the first time, because it signals that another human has taken a step towards having their dignity restored and discovering a way of life that they never imagined was possible. What makes me an alcoholic? The simple answer is alcohol. If I had never taken alcohol into my system I would not have become an alcoholic. The difference between me and a normal drinker is that I could never handle alcohol, alcohol always handled me. I have never felt the desire to drink six or more pints of tea, coffee, milk or cola, but after just one drink of alcohol the desire for more was always present and my ensuing behaviour was usually irrational and unpredictable. It is OK not to drink alcohol, it's no big deal.
If alcohol is costing you more than money and you would like to stop drinking then call Alcoholics Anonymous on 0845 769 7555.
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