A Brief Look at Narcotics Anonymous
Founded in 1953, this addiction recovery treatment program is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.
NA meetings are usually open to anyone struggling with substance abuse.
The faith-based treatment program relies on a 12 step program.
Information shared at meetings are confidential; members can stay anonymous.
Narcotics Anonymous was officially formed in 1953 although similar programs existed before then. The general gist of this treatment program stems from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The structure of the meetings is similar. The theories behind them are also almost identical. Both AA and NA meetings are part of a 12-Step program. The only difference lies in the fact that AA meetings cater to alcoholics, and NA meetings cater to drug addicts. NA meetings welcome anyone who is struggling with a drug addiction. There’s no cost involved at all.
Both AA and NA meetings are anonymous programs. Drug addicts can join these meetings, share their personal stories and access recovery tools anonymously. No one has to use their real name, and everything shared in these meetings are kept confidential. No one’s information leaves the room. The goal is to create a safe space for drug addicts to share their stories. Members mutually support one another to create a strong support network. Some members link up with a mentor who will show them the ropes. People who attend AA meetings can also attend NA meetings if they struggle with polydrug abuse.
What Are the Benefits of NA?
Much like with all other addictions treatment, numerous studies have gone into researching the effectiveness of AA or NA meetings. The actual success rate of these meetings is unknown. This is because the definition of success is different for everyone. With that said, many drug addicts have chimed in. According to recovering addicts, NA attendance can:
- Improve family relationships and social connections. Many drug addicts find the social support they need from these meetings. They connect with others in similar situations, so they feel less alone. They also help one another abstain from drugs and alcohol.
- Help members find other hobbies to occupy their time with. It’s hard to reach out to others when you have a problem. By reaching out, drug abusers can find other pleasurable hobbies and activities that will keep them on the straight and narrow.
- Find resources that help them deal with cravings and other issues. People in AA or NA will usually know where to look for the right resources. Old members can teach new members any tricks they’ve picked up over the years. For example, some members may have a specific routine they follow when they begin to crave drugs or alcohol.
- Keep members clean and sober. It’s much easier for drug abusers to stay sober when they have the support of others. Willpower and mental health is crucial in the addiction recovery process.
Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey. That’s why many addicts will often attend at least one meeting a week for the rest of their life. It’s also important to find a group that works. Drug abusers should attend the same meeting for the rest of their recovery. These meetings can help them move forward in life and away from their addiction.
The Different Types of NA Meetings
- Speaker meetings. These meetings are fairly straightforward. There’s a primary speaker who shares his or her experiences. At times, these meetings will allow for more than one speaker. Various members share their personal stories and experiences with drug or alcohol abuse. There’s no judgement at these meetings at all, so many drug abusers feel comfortable in sharing their stories. These meetings can improve one’s mental health. Sharing can help many people feel less stressed.
- Discussion meetings. These meetings focus on various topics related to drugs or alcohol. The topics in these meetings will change all the time. Some meetings focus on how to get the most out of behavioral health therapies. Others will focus on how to deal with cravings. Some meetings will have members draft up a plan for facing cravings and triggers. These meetings can be very educational and informative.
- Step meetings. These meetings discuss various steps. They talk about the theory behind the steps and how each step contributes to an addict’s recovery.
Each group will announce the type of meeting that they are hosting ahead of time. It’s usually in the best interest of drug abusers to attend all of these meetings. Joining the same group week after week will also be beneficial. It helps members build a strong social support network and rapport with others.