Mangaluru, Jan 26, 2018: Mangaluru city was the privileged chosen venue for the 2nd International convention of the now world wide Alcoholics Anonymous and Diamond (60 yrs) Jubilee celebration. With tasteful fan-fare on January 25, Thursday evening at the Agnes special school ground the inauguration was a red letter day for the city, which has a very active AA organisation and the oldest perhaps in all India. The theme of the convention is : ’To serve with gratitude’.
Many of the guest participants from several overseas lands, and India states marched with banners, traditional drum beaters bands and enthusiastic followers from the Bendur church hall (labeled ’serenity’) to the venue across the road. The AA spirit was palpable....for this is note, a movement of human spirit and personal choice supported by motivation from those who know. The stage programme commenced with the recitation of the AA prayer passage : ’God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference’. A meaningful and colourful welcome classical dance by ’Saurava Kala Parishad’ set the glorious mood for the inauguration. After the formal welcome address by a member, one of the yeomen philanthropists of this cause in Mangalore Patrick Colaco gave a recap of AA in the region for more than 60 years. Later, a few members gave an account of their knowledge of participation in AA. The dignitaries also spoke glowingly of this work in turn and AA souveniers were released. members who had maintained their resolve for near 60 years were decorated with medals.
The convention was set on a meaningful take off course by very committed and honest dignitaries of the city by releasing colorful baloons from the stage. The dignitaries of the day were : Rev Dr. Aloysius D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore, the chief Guest. Guests of Honour - Mangaluru MLA J R Lobo, Dr.M R Ravi, CEO ZP, Rev. Antony Serra Parish Priest Bendur, Dr. Rohan Colaco, Chairman General, Service Board of AA presided. The aim of A A International Convention is to create awareness among the general public about the dreadful scourge and disease called Alcoholism and to find the right paths and ways to regain hope to lead a good life for all sections of humanity in total anonymity.
Brief backdrop :
A A 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 dues or fees for A A membership ; self supporting through voluntary contributions. A A is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. The primary purpose of A A members is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety ( This is the preamble of A A). A A members place principles before personalities. Thereby maintaining anonymity. Not every person who drinks becomes an alcoholic , there are
many categories among alcohol consumers.
‘Alcoholism’ is declared as a illness by Word Health Organization (WHO) in the year 1956. The syndrome called alcoholism can only be described but cannot be defined. This is a syndrome of mental obsession to drink intoxicants, and later the physical allergy takes over activating the urge to drink more alcohol. The rationality of an alcoholic stops working after his first drink. The third part of the illness is a hidden malady called spiritual bankruptcy. This is a progressive disease and ends up in epilepsy, hallucination or premature death. An alcoholic shuns reality and seeks refuge in alcohol. An alcoholic addict cannot imagine life either with or without alcohol. Drinking is only the outer manifestation of an inner problem of deep seated emotional disorder. Alcoholism cannot be cured but can be arrested, it can be controlled only through abstinence by accepting the A A program, thus leading to a life of sobriety. In A A the members who have recovered from this malady of alcoholism, guide the new comers, to keep away from the first drink and help them to tackle their day to day problems and lead a life free from alcohol.
Alcoholism is an age old problem. Many scientists, countries, organizations, institutions and social workers have failed to find a solution for Alcoholism. A A has a program to help suffering alcoholics to find a remedy for their problem only if they have a ’Desire To Stop Drinking’. It then becomes the business of A A to help alcoholics to avoid relapses and attain sobriety through the simple spiritual program which is derived from all religions along with a little help from medicine and some principles of psychology . The program enables to keep away from the first drink one day at a time.
A A was born in 1935 in the city of Akron USA. The co-founders of A A were Bill.W. a stock broker and Dr. Bob a surgeon who were alcoholics and suffered immensely. They met each other by sheer chance and the duo found a way to get over this malady of alcoholism. Ever since then the fellowship of AA slowly spread in more than 120 countries and at present more than 40 lakh members are leading a life of sobriety by staying away from that first drink.
Pro-action in Mangaluru : In 1957 a Mangaluru Harry.M. got the A A message through a recovering alcoholic from Canada. Out of the first five recoveries in India, four were from Dakshina Kannada District. A A groups started in Mumbai and later Vittal Pai took the lead to form General Service Office (India) of A A in Mumbai and served as its chairman for seven years (May 5, 1957 is considered as the day of the first A A Meeting). The A A Message reached Mangalore in 1958 through late Jimmy . M. and Charles D’sa. At present many A A groups are functioning every day in Mumbai and Maharashtra, Chennai, Bangalore, Mangalore, Mysore, Udupi, Utthara Kannada and many other places all over India and the number of members runs in thousands. Identities are are not used or disclosed in this set up. In spite of the great increase in the size and the span of the fellowship, at its core it remains simple and personal. Each day somewhere in the world , recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength and hope.
A driving Force now - Dr. Rohan Colaco : Of a family whose members are committed to good causes in and around Mangaluru, is a BE in Civil engineering; Gold Medalist in M . Tech( Construction Technology and management), PhD of NITK in Risk Analysis. Managing Director: Jual Infratech Pvt Ltd, Managing Trustee: Jual Charitable Trust(R). Propreitor: Balehole Estate Third generation coffee planter. Past executive committee member , Karnataka Planters Asscoiation. Also ’A’ Class Trustee Elect Alcoholics Anonymous India Has completed design and construction of four churches in Chikmagalur district without fees. Two more churches are under construction. Has been recognised by the community and felicitated many time. Past President of Rotary Club of Mangalore Downtown. Dr. Rohan (B 1980) is an earnest family person with two children, a person of great character, integrity and deep spiritual depth, he has contributed and continues to do so immensely.