Narcotics Anonymous Group

I had no idea what to expect when I attended my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting; however, it was a lot different from what I thought it would be. The atmosphere seemed to be relaxed and everyone seemed happy to be there. I was expecting a more dismal, quiet environment. There were only 9 people there, mostly men. The session was conducted by a licensed social worker and followed a rather loose format. The first thing the social worker did was welcome all returning and new members. I thought the introductions would be similar to those we see in the movies: “My name is Joe and I’m an addict.

” That was not the case. The group went around the circle and each person stated only their first name and how long they’ve been “clean. ” One man, we’ll call him “Joe,” has been clean for six years. I was surprised to find out he still attended the meetings; but later found out he acts as a sponsor for some attendees and still attends to set a good example and share his stories with newcomers. The word “clean” is used quite frequently throughout the meeting. It means a complete abstinence for using addictive substances.

“Clean” is certainly the most used word during the meeting. It’s what the group is there for, after all. Sponsors are one of the most important aspects of Narcotics Anonymous. Each person has a sponsor, most of whom are recovering addicts. When a group member feels they need to talk to someone or feels they might relapse, they can call on their sponsor at any time. NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS GROUP Page #2 After the introductions, the social worker asked if the new attendees wanted to explain their stories of addiction and how they came to be there that day.

There were two new people: One was a teenage boy, maybe about 18 years old or so, and the other was a middle-aged woman, maybe in her mid-30s to early-40s. The teenage boy – we’ll call him “Bob” – was quiet throughout the entire session. He seemed bored and only shared his name and the fact that he had been addicted to Oxycontin. It seemed as though someone had forced Bob to attend. The middle-aged woman – whom we’ll call “Jane” – was very talkative. She was addicted to prescription painkillers, as well as smoked a large amount of marijuana. Jane willingly shared her story. She struggled throughout her life with drug and alcohol problems.

It wasn’t until 1997, after a bad car accident left her with a back injury, that she became dependent on painkillers. Jane voluntarily committed herself to a rehab program, but left after a short time. She has been to Narcotics Anonymous twice already and is determined to get clean this time. The others seemed interested in her story, often shaking their heads as if they completely understood what she was going through. She was visibly upset, wiping her eyes with a tissue. She apparently had no support system because shortly before the accident she divorced her husband and no longer sees children.

Other attendees chimed in after this, telling her they understood, with a few of them explaining their situations to her and letting her know they’re going through the same thing. One man explained to the group that he had been addicted to painkillers and NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS GROUP Page #3 has been clean for seven months. Everyone clapped and he encouraged her that she has his and everyone else’s support. The social worker said that the most important part of every meeting is the newcomer. The most difficult part of addiction, she said, is the first step you take to quit – because it’s so daunting and stressful.

So support from the other addicts is greatly needed. She began to talk about sponsors and asked if anyone had used their sponsors lately, to which no one answered. She suggested to both newcomers, Bob and Jane, they work on getting sponsors. After this, the social worker asked if anyone had any “readings or passages” to share with the group. Joe had one by an unknown author. A group member informed me that he had one each meeting. After the meeting, I asked Joe if I could copy the poem for my research paper. It was entitled “Begin Again”: “One of the best things we can do in our lives is this: Begin again.

Begin to see yourself as you were when you were the happiest and strongest you’ve ever been. Begin to remember what worked for you (and what worked against you), and try to capture the magic again. Begin to remember how natural it was when you were a child – to live a lifetime each day. Begin to forget the baggage you have carried with you for years: The problems that don’t matter anymore, the tears that cried themselves away, and the worries that are going to wash away on the shore of tomorrow’s new beginning. Tomorrow tells us it will be here every new day of our lives; and if we will be wise, we will turn away from the problems of the past

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS GROUP Page #4 and give the future – and ourselves – a chance to become the best of friends. Sometimes all it takes is a wish in the heart to let yourself … begin again. ” Following the poem, the entire group clapped and nodded in agreement. The social worker then announced that until the next meeting, everyone should try to focus on number eight of the “Twelve-Step Program” – “Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all. ” After the meeting, the group socialized with each other. The teenager left immediately – and probably would not return.

The social worker handed “Jane” a list of the “Twelve-Step Program,” to which she said, “Thanks, I lost my old one. ” I was amazed at the group’s willingness to get clean. They seemed supportive of each other and, as I said before, just plain happy to be there. I would recommend attending Narcotics Anonymous to substance abusers simply because they won’t feel alone in their addiction and recovery. They can relate to the group. I’ve always felt it’s difficult to confide in someone who has no idea what you’re going through. This program gives them what they need the most: Support and understanding.

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