New organization is planned to help alcoholics

Gulf Daily News, Bahrain



A NEW wing of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is about to be launched in Bahrain. It is being established by YMCA Bahrain, which is flying in a specialist to give a five-day course on combating addiction and family counselling.

Reverend E J Joseph is being brought from India by the YMCA's Bahrain Counsellors Forum (BCF) and he will hold classes at the old Falcon Hotel, Gudaibiya, from October 18 to 22.

He is director of the Marthoma Guidance Centre, Kochi, Kerala, and will conduct the course in Malayalam.

Only 30 candidates will be admitted to the class, which targets those working in the field of tackling addiction, along with housewives, teachers and social workers, said chief consultant and YMCA Bahrain vice-president Dr John Panackel.

To register for the classes, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm daily, contact course coordinator Samuel Baby on 36053119 or e-mail

"At the end of the course, the YMCA will form an AA Group for those who desire to stop drinking," said Dr Panackel .

Rev Joseph is a US postgraduate in counselling and was the director of the Mochana de-addiction centre in Manganam, Kottayam, for more than 10 years.

"Thousands of families in Kerala were brought into sober life under the guidance of Rev Joseph, saving them from the clutches of alcoholism," said Dr Panackel.

"He is also a spokesman of AA, which is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no fees for AA membership, they are self-supporting through their own contributions.

"AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. Its primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

It is estimated that there are more than 114,000 AA groups and over two million members in over 180 countries.

AA was started in 1935 by a New York stockbroker and an Ohio surgeon in an effort to help others who suffered from alcoholism.

AA meetings also take place in Bahrain at Sacred Heart Church and American Mission Hospital.

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