Alcoholics Anonymous open public meeting

Alcoholics Anonymous will hold an open public meeting at the Galway Bay Hotel tomorrow (Friday ) at 8.30pm. The organisation has more than 800 members in Galway.

The event is being held as part of the organisation’s 38th annual Galway West area convention which takes place at the weekend. Each year it is attended by about 500 members from around the globe.

AA is a worldwide fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other in a bid to solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism.

The fellowship began in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, when a chance meeting took place between two men, a doctor and a stockbroker. Both had been classified as “hopeless alcoholics” by the medical profession, their families and friends.

As a result of this meeting they remained sober adhering to the one day at a time principle until their deaths. They were determined to pass on their message to others and Alcoholics Anonymous spread throughout the USA and then to Australia in 1943. The organisation was set up in Ireland in 1946 when Conor F, an Irish American who got sober in 1943 through AA in Philadelphia, returned to his native home on holiday to visit family and friends. He met Richard, a man from Co Down, who also battled with alcohol addiction and the first Alcoholics Anonymous group in Ireland was formed in Dublin. In 1950 a group started in Galway and today 800 members attend more than 100 meetings in Galway city and county.

Today there are AA groups in 146 countries worldwide with an estimated membership of more than 2,000,000. In Ireland there are more than 900 groups with approximately 12,000 members.

The fellowship does not affiliate with any other organisation, according to a local spokesperson. “It has no opinions on outside issues, neither does it endorse or oppose causes; its primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

“Alcoholics Anonymous is concerned solely with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of individual alcoholics who turn to the fellowship for help. It does not engage in the field of alcoholism research, medical or psychiatric treatment and does not endorse any causes, although AA members often participate in other activities as individuals. AA does not keep membership records or case histories, follow up or try to control its members, make medical or psychiatric prognosis or dispense medicines or psychiatric advice.”

AA membership is open to anyone who has a “desire to stop drinking”. It is up to individuals to decide when they have had enough.

Alcoholics Anonymous in Galway can be contacted by telephoning (085 ) 224 4065 from 12 noon to 10pm seven days a week. These telephones are manned by volunteers. You can also visit the Galway AA web at www.galwayaa.com which contains more information on AA fellowship in Galway.

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