The General Service Office (GSO) of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) India, which operates from a tiny municipal school in Byculla, was bursting at its seams as nearly 100 AA members and volunteers attended to a torrent of calls after a national TV show flashed AA’s helpline numbers and website details, on Sunday, July 1, 2012.
In its ninth episode which first aired at 11am, Satyamev Jayate focused on alcoholism and featured interviews with experts and recovering alcoholics, including AA member Laxman. As the show’s producer and host Aamir Khan announced the number on air, AA offices across the country braced themselves.
Gajanan, Rotated trustee of AA India who was at the AA office in Mumbai, said, “The number was first flashed on the show at 11.37am and at 11.40am we received the first call.Within 20 minutes, the AA website had crashed. At 12.30am, all telephone lines were jammed and missed calls started piling up. Within the next hour, we received 8,600 missed calls.” By 4pm, AA centers across India had received 13,000 calls which jumped up to 28,000 by 7 in the evening after the show aired. At the time of going to print, More than 31,000 calls were recorded.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of recovering alcoholics who follow the universally accepted 12 Step program for recovery from addiction. Mr. Gnyaneshwar, general manager, AA India, said, “After a lot of groundwork, the show’s research team came to the conclusion that AA programme is a reliable recovery source for alcoholism that is available pan-India and completely free of cost.”
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