In a disturbing trend noticed by Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism seems to be becoming a problem of the young in the Tricity.
“Earlier the problem was common in the age group of 35-40 years, but in the last two years, it has gone down to 20-25 years. As much as 40 to 45 per cent of the people coming now are in this age group,” says Sanjeev, secretary of AA in Chandigarh.
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AA does not keep a record to maintain the anonymity of those coming to it, but about “150 members’’, both new and old, attend its meetings regularly in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. The meetings are held in schools, colleges, hospitals and police stations.
Sanjeev says drinking starts at the age of 15 or 16 among school-going kids. It begins with casual drinking with friends in parties and discos, but later turns into a serious problem, creating a mess in an individual’s life. It is the residents of urban and semi-urban areas who are mainly being trapped in the vicious habit.
AA runs a 12-point de-addiction programme, which includes counselling, discussions, meditation, prayers and self-correction.
Sanjeev says there is no test for alcoholism, but they provide a questionnaire which helps an individual to know and face the reality in terms of alcoholism. It contains questions like, “Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year”, “do you have blackouts?”. They are asked to make a list of persons they have harmed and make amends.
He says 15 to 20 per cent of the cases are recommended by hospitals and about one-third are pushed by the family to sign up for de-addiction. The organisation is working in collaboration with the Chandigarh Police and hospitals.
On Tuesday, AA celebrated its founders’ day at Carmel Convent School in Sector 9. It was founded by Dr Bob Smith and Bill Wilson in 1935 in Ohio.