Varghese saved 10,000 alcoholics in 13 years

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Fifty-year-old Varghese Kandathil claims that he is the happiest man on earth. He has reason to believe so. In the last 13 years, he has saved nearly 10,000 alcoholics from the brink of ruin.

Once an alcoholic himself, Varghese, a native of Vazhakkala in Kochi, believes that it was a sort of miracle that he kicked the habit in 1999, “after going through hell during which I even landed in jail.”

According to Varghese, he was sent to a de-addiction centre run by Fr Sebastian Vechukarottu of Penuel Immanuel Ashram in Thambalakkad near Kanjirapally by his mother that fateful year but on the way he and his friend spent all the money she had given them on drinks. “I reached the ashram dead drunk. But the priest was patience personified. He took care of me and in the following weeks helped me to rewind my past --- even the silliest incidents --- and in the process I realised the futility of my alcoholism.”

Varghese’s fight, against the “liquor monster” started then and there. One by one, he brought his other friends to the ashram’s seven-day counselling course. “I didn’t realise then that I would undertake this work for so long (14 years),” he told Deccan Chronicle.

On an average 40-50 alcoholics or their families seek Varghese’s help every month. On the 10th of every month, he takes them to the ashram after a small prayer and a heavy lunch (lunch should be heavy otherwise the men may seek alcohol on the way).

They return on the 17th and most of them have kicked the habit by then and that too without any medicine, solely through counselling and meditation.

Varghese, a high school drop-out, runs a small dairy farm with 50 cows for a living and all his money goes into this mission. He is also supported generously by his eight brothers.

When asked about his success rate, he said that his assessment was that about 80 per cent of people could kick the habit successfully. “On occasions, some of them fail, but I comfort them saying that it is like a child taking his first steps and faltering.” Varghese can be reached at 0484-2421014, mobile: 9446950550

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