The Annual East Rand Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Rally was held on September 1, at the Benoni Methodist Church.
The rally was an opportunity for those who are/were suffering from the disease of alcoholism to partake in a day of sharing their life experiences, and their journey to recovery.
The City Times spoke to one of the AA members ahead of the rally.
The member, known as Larry and who heads up the East Rand offices, explained the history behind AA and how the group operates.
The group, which has a global standing of 83 years, and 71 years in South Africa, is self-funded as Larry explained, and this is owed to the fact that the group wishes to remain independent.
“It’s about one alcoholic helping another stay sober,” said Larry
“Our group follows a book known as the AA Big Book.
“The book contains our traditions, 12 step recovery programme and experiences shared by those who have suffered from the disease of alcoholism and their recovery.”
“No matter how many times you relapse we are here.”
“Once an individual decides on their own that they need assistance to overcome the disease, then we step in and play an active role of support,” he said
At the rally, two individuals who also wished to remain anonymous, shared snippets of the journey in realising they suffered from alcoholism and how they turned their lives around with AA.
I was exposed to alcohol in my teenage years, and by the age of 19, I suffered from my first real episode of too much alcohol.
I had a hangover for four days and caused myself to suffer blood poisoning.
I used to reek of alcohol; I was on a soccer team and the guys would refuse to even walk onto the pitch with me because I would smell so badly of it (alcohol).
My wife was put through quite an ordeal because of my actions.
I now attend AA meetings regularly and it has changed my life.
I even make sure I transport other members to the meetings so I know I have no excuse not to attend.
I was married and divorced four times because of my addiction.
I lost control of my senses and it even went as far as becoming negligent toward my child because I would have a hangover and not take the child to school.
It took some time but I eventually realised I had a problem.
I phoned Lifeline one night and they helped me through the process and advised that I should join AA.
I knew I couldn’t do it on my own and the support received was incredible.
In October I’ll be sober for 15 years.
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