Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the organisation that offers supportive group-based self-help therapy to sufferers of alcohol addiction, commemorates its 60th year of operation in South Africa today, 18 October 2006.
Little more than a decade after AA was established in the United States, a desperate man named Solomon from Alexandra township north-east of Johannesburg, whose life had been ravaged by chronic alcohol abuse, wrote to the New York AA office to enquire about the solution the AA organisation appeared to offer alcoholism sufferers.
Almost simultaneously a man named Arthur (from Rosebank, Johannesburg), his life also chaotic as a result of alcohol abuse, made a similar enquiry of the New York AA office. Arthur founded the first South African AA group in central Johannesburg, which held its inaugural meeting on 18 October 1946.
New national helpline
Sixty years later AA commemorates its milestone anniversary in South Africa with the launch of a single national helpline number. People seeking help for an alcohol problem can simply phone 0861 HELPAA (0861 435 722) from anywhere in South Africa, and they will be guided to one of eight regional offices or 314 AA groups countrywide.
Adapted from information supplied by Alcoholics Anonymous
- Health24, October 2006
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