Amir Khan’s endorsement of Alcoholics Anonymous in SATYAMEV JAYETE’s 9th episode on Alcoholism raised rays of new hopes in suffering alcoholics and their families.
Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Ashish Deshpande, on the show went on to explain Alcoholism – a disease; not mere habit and can be tackled with the help of A.A.
Particularly frightening the fact that whereas earlier the average age of the alcoholic was around 35 years and above, mainly consisting of males. In recent times it has been found that youngsters and women are affected in growing numbers. Therefore the educated and qualified youngsters are unable to function effectively in the very period in which their productivity should be at its peak.
Dr. Vivek Benegal pointed out that 50% of drinkers exceed permissible limits; the largest number compared to any other country in the world. He informed that 60% casualties are reported due to drinking.
Alcoholics Anonymous, popularly known as A.A. exists in 185 countries with guesstimated membership over 3 million. As such there is no requirement for membership except a desire to stop drinking, which, very few people have because of unique nature of illness.
Aamir Khan generously offered entire proceeds from the show to A A . The organization, bound by its own tradition of Self-support, politely declined the money. Though AA help is free, A A members contribute voluntarily towards expenses of the fellowship declining outside contributions.
The response to this telecast was tremendous , in the very first 45 seconds of displaying our helpline number we received a thousand calls, this escalated to a virtual flood with almost 12,000 calls in the next 15 minutes, and had reached 55,000 by 2nd July evening. So we can all begin to see the magnitude of the problem. And we feel that it is the responsibility of the entire society to understand the problem lend their support, particularly the pillars of the society like media persons, Industrialists, Social workers, in fact we cannot think of a single category which cannot help in this task
Seeing this overwhelming response, AA members in thousands pulled together their resources and got in action with their families, extended helping hands to suffering alcoholics asking for help and their families.
Anticipating pleas, A.A. and Al-anon members were ready with contact details of National helpline 09022771011 (Cloud telephony), SMS to AAAA on short code 56363, Temporary call centers were set up in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Nagpur, Chennai and other cities.
Functioning as a parallel is the fellowship of Al Anon which work in a similar manner with those who do not drink but are emotionally involved with the alcoholic as the spouse, family member friend, etc. There is also the Fellowships of Alateen which helps the children of alcoholics, in their teens and Adult Children of Alcoholics which helps the grown up children. While these follow the same principles they are actually separate entities which function autonomously but do cooperate with AA whenever the occasion arises.
LOCAL HELPLINE: 9868030419