Thursday, February 5, 2009


The following document is presented by Father Roy C. Assenheimer, M.M. 

Maryknoll Alcoholic Center (MAC) founded in Tokyo in 1978 by a Maryknoll Missionary, himself a recovering alcoholic, has grown rapidly from one single Drop-in center for men and women suffering from severe alcoholism and or drug addiction to 40 MAC Rehabilitation Daycare Centers, Family Group Homes and Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers (DARC).  These centers are the only consistently successful treatment facilities in Japan for substance – dependent persons. At any one time 750 to 900 men and women and children are given personal and group guidance during a 3 month Recovery Program in a family type atmosphere.  

The Clients of MAC/DARC are among the poorest, most alienated people in Japanese society. They come to us as broken human beings, having lost the ability even to cry out for help.  We share with them our message of hope, and, as the days go by, they somehow begin to believe that they can indeed be freed from the bondage of addiction and despair.  Not all of them make it. We witness the miracle of so many others coming to life again. Seeing each one begin to smile, then to laugh, is to watch salvation and resurrection happening right before our eyes.  All this will continue to happen all over Japan as long as we can keep our doors open through the contributions and caring friends and benefactors.

How it all began, the roots of MAC/DARC Alcohol and Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Centers in Japan is this story. From very small and penniless beginnings, MAC has spread and is known in many circles throughout Japan. Many times we did not think we would be able to continue, because of lack of funds. But, the God seems to have wanted us to carry on in this pioneering ministry to suffering alcoholics and drug addicts.

Lately, I have been given to recalling our roots. It began in 1973 when another Maryknoller, Father John, who had been working in the Kyoto area for 14 years, was sent home to United States for treatment for severe alcoholism. His recovery from the disease of alcoholism was God’s magnificent gift to the Japanese people, for when Fr John returned to Japan he began gathering around himself men and women who were sick and tired of being sick and tired or their enslavement to alcohol and other drugs.

He began holding informal meetings in coffee shops. These meetings were soon moved to small rooms in various churches throughout the Tokyo area. Thus AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) was born in Japan.  Many doctors and other specialists who knew something of American AA told Father John that AA wouldn’t work for the Japanese. But Father John refused to be discouraged.

Because of Father Johns determination, his keen understanding of the Japanese people and his tireless efforts, Japanese-language AA is now spread out all over the map of Japan. The proof of the miracle is that there are now over 600 AA meetings held each week. Though statistics for AA are hard to come by because membership lists are not kept (‘Keep it simple’ is one of AA’s helpful principles), a conservative estimate is that there are over 4,000 regular and committed members in Japan’s AA. There are now also 40 NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings held in Cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Maebashi and Sapporo.

From the very beginning it was clear to Father John that many of our alcoholics and drug addicts were so alienated from the normal flow of society, so very sick in mind and heart, that they would not be able to plug into AA unless they were afforded special treatment. Many had forgotten how to deal with other people, even how to eat and keep themselves clean. Many had no place to go when they come to us from mental institutions, prisons or from off the streets. It was imperative to have something like halfway houses for these men and women. Thus began the first MAC daycare Treatment Center in Tokyo in 1978, followed by MAC Night Care facilities set up in old houses in the Tokyo area.

At this time three priests, one Japanese and two other Maryknollers, all in various stages of active drinking or in the initial process of recovery, appeared on the scene.  I was one of these. God seems to have planned it all so well. I think that the four of us priests have had a strong sense of having been ‘chosen’ for a very special task. It couldn’t possibly have been merely ‘coincidence’ that the four of us had become ‘drunk priests’ and then were able to achieve sobriety all at about the same time. It had to have been planned from above.  That’s why I always say that the greatest blessing of my life has been my disease of addiction. (I don’t believe in mere coincidences any more.) To me, coincidences are God’s anonymous way of helping us.

In 1977 I headed north to Hokkaido and Father Pete and the Japanese priest, headed southwest, where each of us began the same activities that Father John had begun in Tokyo. The result was the establishment of MAC (Maryknoll Alcoholic Centers) in cities of Sapporo and Obihiro in the north. Father John and his troop of recovered leaders established five more Halfway Houses in Tokyo, including a women’s MAC; and MAC Centers in Chiba Prefecture, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Nagasaki. Some of these facilities have closed since that time because of lack of funds while others have been opened.

As time went on, it became clear that the drug addicts coming to MAC were not identifying well with the alcoholics in the MAC Recovery Programs. And, since most of the drug addicts tended to be younger than the alcoholics, there was the inevitable generation gap. So, in 1985 I rented an old house for our recovering drug addicts, and in 1986 we began Japan’s very first Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center (DARC).

We have never received any funding the Japanese Government. It will be a long time before we do, because Japan still does not recognize alcoholism and drug addiction as medical problems. Addiction falls into the categories of either ‘character defects’ or ‘mental disorder’.  So, it was generous and caring people such as you who have been co-founders and abstainers of our MAC/DARC Centers.

Without your continued assistance, spiritually and materially, we would not be in existence today. In the name of all of out hundreds of ‘clients’ (we call them beginners), both recovered and those still in treatment, as well as our counselors and volunteers, I Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You have my promise of prayers for you and for your loved one. Thank you many times over.  

Father Roy C. Assenheimer, M.M. MAC/DARC Coordinator of planning and development

Contributions are gratefully accepted:
Make checks out to MAC/DARC or Maryknoll Fathers.
Post office transferal number:
00120-193274- MAC/DARC
Bank Transferal account number:
Mitsubishi Bank Nippori Branch No. 180
Account: MAC/DARC Koenkai No. 0172099

 Please write us at:
Alcohol and Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Centers
Ueno Post Office
Box 56
Tokyo 110-91 Japan
Phone: (03) 5685-6128
 MAC/DARC JAPAN Telephone Numbers
Sapporo MAC: (011) 812-3736
Sapporo MAC Women’s Kyodo Sagyojo
Sapporo APARI Office: (011) 613-3786
Hakodate MAC (0138) 31-7035
Asahikawa MAC: (0166) 34-4530
Hokkaido Women’s MAC Asahikawa: (0166) 34-4530
Sendai DARC: (022) 261-5341
Niigata MAC: (0258) 32-9291
Gunma DARC Fujioka ‘Awakening’ House: (0274) 28-0311
Gunma APARI (Asia-Pacific Addiction Research Institute (0274) 20-4110
Fukushima Ibaragi DARC Bandai ‘Recovery’ House: (0241) 33-2077
Ibaragi DARC ‘Just for Today House’: (0296) 35-1151
Kashima DARC: (0299) 93-2486
Minowa MAC: (03) 5974-5091
Minowa MAC ‘Meaney Residence’ : (03) 3382-0743
Sanya MAC: (03) 3871-3505
Sanya MAC ‘Live’ Sagyojo: (03) 3802-1033
Japan DARC: (03) 3844-4777
Tokyo DARC: (03) 3807-9978
Tokyo DARC Second Chance: (03) 3875-8808
Tokyo DARC Women’s Halfway House: (03) 3822-7658
DARC Women’s DAY Care Center ‘Flicka’: (03) 3822-7658
Tokyo APARI Office: (03) 5465-0226
Yokohama MAC: (045) 383-1664
Women’s group Home ‘Mayu no Ie’ : (045) 383-1664
Kawasaki MAC: (044) 266-6708
Yokohama DARC: (045) 731-8666
Nagoya MAC: (052) 912-5508
Nagoya MAC ‘Pete House’: (052) 911-7437
Nagoya DARC: (052) 915-7284
Mie DARC: (059) 222-7510
Osaka MAC: (06) 6621-2996
Osaka DARC: (0726) 96-9980
Kochi DARC: (0887) 35-2997
Miyazaki DARC: (0985) 38-5099
DARC Women’s House Kyushu:
Kyoto MAC (075) 465-3634
Hiroshima MAC (082) 252-2335
Oita DARC: (0975) 47-2375
Kita-Kyushu DARC: (093) 521-1388
Fukuoka MAC: (092) 474-7734
Fukuoka Women’s MAC
Fukuoka Women’s MAC for Mother and Child: (090) 4872-5140
Kyushu DARC: (092) 471-5140
Nagasaki DARC: (095) 848-3422
Okinawa Ryukyu MAC: (098) 858-5048
Okinawa Women’s MAC: (098) 898-0018
Okinawa DARC: (098) 893-8406
Okinawa APARI Family Guest House: (098) 890-4444
Substance Abuse Web Sites
AA World Services, Inc:
American Society of Addiction Medicine:
Center for SA Prevention:
Center for Substance abuse treatment:
Correctional Counseling, Inc:
Narcotics Anonymous:
National Association of Children of Alcoholics:
National Clearinghouse for A & D Info:
National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dep:
National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Office of Juvenile Justice and Del Prev.
Office of National Drug Control Policy:
Guest House:
Guest House Home Page:


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