Driving down L Street in Omaha, Ana* saw an ad: “Say no to drugs, say no to alcohol. Drugs and alcohol destroy dreams.”
“I drank every now and then and got really drunk, but I didn’t like to be like that,” said Ana, who worriedly asked herself: “How do you keep your drinking from destroying your dreams?”
Almost “by accident,” Ana arrived at Alcoholics Anonymous in Lincoln where he heard the testimony of other people: “I realized that I was the victim of a devastating disease that is progressive and incurable because alcoholism can’t be stopped.” Even though Ana said she only drank “three to four times a year,” said episodes were enough to end her marriage and her professional career: “During the meetings with the group I understood you are born this way and that it is not your fault. I was very depressive and angry when I drank, but I felt happy! There are issues one ends up dragging since childhood, and I understood that not drinking was not the solution and that I had to replace the physical activity of drinking.”
Ana continued traveling to the capital city of the State for these meetings until a few years ago when she and other group members founded the AA Omaha 24 Horas Group which offers local support in Spanish: “These meetings are for alcoholics what insulin is for people with diabetes.”
Ana said she was proud of how the group is now 30 members strong: “Over half a dozen are women, among which we have housewives, blue-collar workers, and professionals. I consider this happens because women are respected, and that anonymity is a requirement for all who come here.”
Another great achievement of the AA Omaha 24 Horas Group that Ana share was that: “Douglas County now allows us to bring here inmates who are in jail for a minor alcohol or drug related issue so that instead of being in jail they can stay in our facilities.”
This is very important because, as Ana emphasized, “one of the biggest causes for deportation are DIU” (Driving under the influence), which can have fatal consequences.
To keep the Latino community informed on the topic and so that everyone can learn more about what they do, the AA Omaha 24 Horas Group invites everyone to attend their next event which will have a convivio after the meeting with food, music and wholesome fun.
*The real name of the interviewee was omitted by request
24 Horas Group Omaha / AA
Public information meeting
Free entry for the whole family
Saturday, June 10, 6 p.m.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church – Room
5005 South 23rd St.
Omaha, NE 68107