For decades, Russia has had an extremely high rate of alcoholism. Years of communist rule, forced atheism, and the consequent sense of hopelessness have all fed into the problem. Alcoholism, in turn, is often to blame for Russia’s high rates of domestic violence, family breakups, traffic fatalities, and suicide.
When Fr. Myron and Fr. Dan first came to Russia, few people even discussed alcoholism as a problem. But, in time, Fr. Myron met Dr. Sergei Yakovlev, who was head of the Vladivostok chapter of the Moscow organization No to Alcoholism and Narcotics. By 2001, the two had spoken to more than 50 school and university classes about alcoholism, its progression as a disease, and the numerous false treatment methods and “cures” that were becoming available.
The Alcoholics Anonymous program came to Vladivostok in 1993, and soon the parish began offering space for meetings. In 2003, AA celebrated 10 years in Vladivostok. The event included an open meeting, followed by a reception in our church’s social hall. Now, the parish provides a room for four AA meetings each week, and also offers space for occasional all-day seminars.
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