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Anonymous history in
it all started in the City of Kuwait.
HISTORY OF HOW THE RAY OF HOPE GROUP IN KUWAIT
all started in 1982 in the home of one
person, - (Charlie). Just 3 persons would attend (Charlie,
Joe, Romeo). It was not a registered meeting because it
was held in a private home and public knowledge of it might
have compromised the resident of the apartment. (Kuwait
has a culture that does not allow the use of alcohol by
anyone residing in the country).
In 1983 another fellow arrived (Jim) and
the 4 of them started to gather in the grounds of the Holy
Family Cathedral on a Friday afternoon. Still the group
was unregistered but one person – (Joe F.) became
a contact for anyone looking for other recovering alcoholics.
He allowed his telephone number to be placed in the WHERE
TO FIND and was registered as a “LONER” in 1988.
This status continued until 1989 when another
person (Doug B.) returned to Kuwait and made contact with
There was no shelter available for them and nowhere they
could sit down and so they would meet under the shade of
the single palm tree in the compound of the Holy Family
Cathedral for 20-30 minutes on a Friday afternoon.
During this period a few others looking for AA made contact
but these were not local people and they stayed only temporarily.
For the most part, only Joe and Doug were consistent attendees
at the Holy Family Cathedral on a Friday afternoon. At these
gatherings there was no Preamble or Serenity Prayer because
there was no privacy at the time.
Thereafter, Joe and Doug made moves to get the Bishop (Micallef)
to allow them the use of a very small room in the compound.
With a small air-conditioning unit they could now think
about starting a real meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In late 1989 the group had developed to
about 6 persons attending regularly. All of them had contacted
Joe because his home tel. number was registered with GSO
and/or by way of the WHERE TO FIND.
In late 1989, Joe Doug and Bassam took
the message of recovery to the local Psychiatric Hospital.
They provided the hospital with some literature and supported
them for a short while until they were able to get things
going themselves. The meetings were mainly in Arabic.
In August 1990 the country was invaded
by Iraq. This put an end to the meetings for obvious reasons.
In 1991, after the liberation of Kuwait,
the meetings at theHoly Family Cathedral started again.
In a short space of time there were more people arriving.
We now managed then to get use of a porta cabin in the compound.
It was like being in heaven.
In 1992 as a result of the reconstruction
programme in Kuwait and also in Iraq there was a huge influx
of visitors to our region.
As a result, some of these were in recovery and they spilled
over into our meetings.
It was about this time when we decided to give our group
a name. We decided it should be THE RAY OF HOPE
GROUP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS KUWAIT. We
registered it with the GSO in New York.
Over the ensuing years literally hundreds of different people
have found us when they arrived in Kuwait.
Our group expanded from just one meeting a week to 3 meetings
In April 1997 we were informed by the Bishop
that our porta-cabin room would no longer be available due
to extensive renovation and new construction works. He agreed
to provide us with a room in the New Building when the work
We now set about looking for temporary accommodation to
hold our meetings in a public place that could be accessed
by anyone looking for a meeting. This task was easy to say
but quite hard to accomplish. One of our members had to
compromise his anonymity on a number of occasions whilst
searching for a place.
We almost succeeded in being allowed a room to use at the
Evangelical Church but at the last minute someone in the
Church administration objected to Alcoholics Anonymous members
being on the premises and that was that.
Luckily, we had a friend who was one of those patients from
the Psychiatric Hospital meetings that we had helped years
earlier. This man was in recovery and his influence made
it possible for a room to be made available in the Dasman
Complex. This building was in fact owned by the Amiri Diwan.
In November 1997 the Bishop kept his word
and provided us with the use of Room#7 in the New Building
of the Holy Family Cathedral. We have been there to date.
In 2002 we placed the number of a pager
in the local newspaper along with the announcement that
Alcoholics Anonymous was available in Kuwait.
In 2003 a member set up a web site to help
people locate a meeting when they came to Kuwait. This web
site has enabled many people to find the meetings.
In April 2005 after much discussion a mobile
telephone was donated to the group by one of its members
to provide a more efficient means of contact to those looking
for help and support.
This help line was published in all 3 local
English language newspapers – The Arab Times, Kuwait
Times, Daily Star.
During this period the group had decided to see if inroads
could be made with practicing our Third Legacy of
Service by developing our P.I.C.P.C. work.
A member of the group who had volunteered to undertake this
part of Service approached various professional bodies in
Kuwait and offered Conference Approved Literature on the
subject of Alcoholism.
A letter was also published in the Arab Times through one
of our members. This had the effect of bringing a very limited
response from a few members of the local community. This
was also a part of the P.I.C.P.C. work.
Our group member visited Hospitals, Schools, Companies,
Embassies, and Community Groups etc. The disbursement of
the literature was not readily accepted by many of the professionals
There was a great deal of hesitancy and downright
refusal by more than one doctor and or company
In fact on one occasion the group member who was trying
to distribute leaflets announcing that there was indeed
help available to those who had a desire to stop drinking
was detained by security personnel and the police
He had a hard time explaining that he was only trying to
provide a public service………(When he relayed
this to the group members later it was laughed at, but it
could have been quite problematic. At the same time a hard
lesson was learned.)
In November 2006 the Ray of Hope Group
successfully hosted the Arabian Gulf Convention with 59
attendees (Theme - The Art of Living). To enable this to
be conducted without the fear of intrusion by the local
Ministry of Interior, our group P.I.C.P.C. representative
had a meeting with the head of the (C.I.D.) department of
the Ministry of Interior to explain our aims.
We were not provided with anything in writing as we had
requested but our members were assured verbally by the (Head
of the C.I.D. at that time) that that we could go ahead
with our convention without hindrance.
Again in November 2012 the Ray of Hope
Group successfully hosted another Arabian Gulf Convention
with 75 attendees - (Theme - The First Step).
For several years past it is observed that the great majority
of the newcomers to the ROH group make initial contact through
our local website (www.aaarabia.org)
The webmaster estimates that around 75-100 persons each
year make contact through the site. Many of these are just
making cries for help and are pointed in what we hope is
the right direction.
Some are looking for help for their spouses of relatives.
Some are already in recovery and are hoping to come to Kuwait
for work. Others are passing through and want to find a
It is plainly apparent that in Kuwait the medium of the
Internet has become most effective way for people to find
Over the years since 1992 our records indicate
that we have an average of between 8 and 9 members per meeting
over the year. The ROH has 3 meetings each week as follows.
The ROH group also freely provides to EVERY newcomer after
they have attended 3 meetings, the following Conference
Steps and 12 Traditions
In recent times and in order to inform those attending meetings
that our group has a single purpose the Group Conscience
decided it has become necessary to include the following
statement to be read out at the start of our meetings:
The Ray of Hope Group
offers you a warm welcome to this closed meeting of Alcoholics
In support of A.A’s singleness of purpose, attendance
at closed meetings is limited to persons who have a desire
to stop drinking. If you think you have a problem with alcohol,
you are welcome to attend this meeting. We ask that when
discussing our problems, we confine ourselves to those problems
as they relate to alcoholism.
NOTE: The above statement was first raised
for group discussion in June 2013 and implemented
as part of the group format in August 2013.
This statement is also read out at the OPEN meeting on Fridays.
This action has resulted in encouraging most of our dual
addicted membership to confine themselves to their problems
with alcoholism. We are not quite there but there has been
a lot of improvement.
THE ROH group encourages our dual addicted members to read
the pamphlets available related to problems other than alcohol.
We have ample supplies of literature which members
are encouraged to use. There are no charges to
The above information is to the best of my knowledge reasonably
accurate. Where I have put specific dates these are taken
from my records.
Yours in service………………Doug