By Vijay Simha
After Part One examined the often overlooked problem of alcohol addiction in India, especially among the armed forces and Government employees, Part two takes a look at the state of fellowships and self-help groups that deal with addiction in India.
When an anonymous fellowship of alcoholics first came to India in 1957, from remarkable beginnings in the United States, it didn't really take off.
The fellowship seemed to have cracked the mystery of treating alcoholism with a few simple principles. Their success amazed even seasoned psychiatrists in the US.
They said alcoholism was a disease that needed to be understood physically, mentally and spiritually. They said alcoholics needed to help each other if they were to stay sober.
They kept money out of it and gave the fellowship a voluntary character. It seemed perfect for India.
But, Indians were reluctant to join the fellowship. Some alcoholics did, successfully. Most Indians with dependence on alcohol, however, stayed away.
Some twenty-plus years after the fellowship of alcoholics began to work in India, another fellowship was founded – to assist those with dependence of narcotics.
Like in the US, the fellowship of drug addicts worked exactly on the same lines as the fellowship of alcoholics.
These fellowships are still the biggest such in the world. They have had enormous progress elsewhere in the world.
In India, however, the increase in addiction is far greater than the growth of these self-help fellowships.Image: A picture taken on October 1, 2012 shows beer poured from a bottle into a glass of beer in Lille, northern France.