The English-speaking group of Alcoholics Anonymous in Torrevieja celebrated its 20th birthday on September 6.
A number of visitors, primarily from the UK and Ireland, together with other English-speaking AA members from the rest of Spain, joined local members to celebrate this special anniversary.
The group in Torrevieja started in 1988, initially with meetings at an urbanisation on the outskirts of the town, La Siesta. The founding member, then in her early months of sobriety, often sat alone waiting for others to come along, which they eventually did, usually visitors from the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.
She still lives on the Costa Blanca, although not in Torrevieja, and remains in AA to this day. Her continuing sobriety is just one example of how the programme of AA works for those with a genuine desire to stop drinking and who are willing to work its universal 12-step programme of recovery.
Continuing the traditions of the fellowship founded in the USA in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous in Torrevieja and on the Costa Blanca has expanded dramatically over the last six years. In the last 20 years, many already sober alcoholics have moved permanently to the area, bringing with them their AA experience of living life without the need to drink, one day at a time, and sharing this with newcomers – that is how AA works. They have been joined by a growing number who have found freedom from their obsession with alcohol for the first time by attending AA meetings and working the famous 12-step programme. Members’ stories, periodically published in The Euro Weekly News, reveal the varying depths to which alcoholics sink before surrendering and seeking help. There is no need for an alcoholic to end their drinking ‘career’ alone, destitute or institutionalised, but it can happen, unless they recognise earlier that they have become, or are clearly becoming, a slave to drink.
In this year alone, local newspapers have reported the deaths of two expats evidently as a result of prolonged alcohol abuse – further evidence of the need for a strong AA presence within the English-speaking community in the area.
Many members first come to AA as a result of persistent pressure from their partners, family or friends. Perhaps this is not the best motive for going to an AA meeting, but, by identifying with all or part of the stories they hear from members, they continue to attend for their own well-being and, by doing so, improve the quality of their home life. By 2001, global membership of AA was, conservatively, estimated at two million people attending meetings organised by 100,800 groups in 150 countries. It is a fully self-supporting organisation, actively declining donations or assistance from outside its own membership.
source: Euro Weekly News