Alberni’s Alcoholics Anonymous drop cloak of anonymity

Lana smiles when she says she’s five months clean and sober. It’s quite an accomplishment for the diminutive woman, who has struggled for years with alcohol and drug addiction.

She only goes by her first name because she is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and one of the tenets of participation is anonymity.

“Because of my alcohol and drugs I lost my job, I lost my partner in November from alcoholism and drugs. I reached out for help and AA was there,” Lana said.

Lana attends regular AA meetings, which follow a core program that was started by founders Bill and Bob in the 1940s. Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other to stay sober.

“The disease hasn’t changed and the solution hasn’t changed” since 1940, she said.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not well-publicized in the Alberni Valley, but a group of volunteers is hoping to change that with a public information luncheon for professionals, slated for June 1. Volunteers are hoping nurses, lawyers, accountants—anyone working in a professional field with people who have a drinking problem—will attend the lunch and learn more about the organization.

“We’re anonymous, but we don’t want to be invisible,” said Nancy, part of the organizing committee. “That’s part of the purpose of the luncheon; we want to show there’s success stories. We want the community to know AA is alive and well in Port Alberni.”

The organization used to hold an annual luncheon, but hasn’t done so since 2004, Nancy said.

Participants will learn about the organization and how it can help people who are ready to be helped.

AA meetings are held every day at noon and every night at 8 p.m. in the Alberni Valley. There are two meetings per week in Tofino and two per week in Ucluelet as well. The Valley boasts of several groups that work autonomously, but which are bundled together in a district spanning Nanaimo out to the West Coast.

To be included in the lunch, please RSVP by Wednesday, May 25 to 250-723-2372 or 250-731-4740 and the location will be provided at that time.

If you feel you need the services of Alcoholics Anonymous, please call the toll-free number at 1-800-883-3968 and you will be put in touch with someone who can help.

editor@albernivalleynews.com