Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous can play an important role in helping the individual lead a life free from drug addiction
For individuals who completed their drug addiction treatment programs and those who are presently undergoing intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization programs for their substance addiction, a social support network is often necessary to help them remain faithful to their treatment and recovery goals.
It should be understood that social support networks like Narcotics Anonymous or NA are not substitutes to highly individualized treatment programs especially those that are heavily based on current best clinical practices. These support groups do not provide counseling nor any form of treatments. What they do provide, however, is the camaraderie and the bond that exist among individuals who share vastly similar life experiences. It is here where people are able to find the courage and the motivation to remain sober and addiction-free for as long as they possibly can.
Narcotics Anonymous was established in 1953 and is largely based on the principles of the 12-step program. The goal of the group is to help or assist individuals recovering from drug addiction to regain as much control of their lives as possible. Individual members are strongly encouraged to verbalize and share their experiences. The one basic requirement to becoming a member that is accepting that one is truly powerless in his addictions. Additionally, all members must be willing to share their experiences with substance addiction as well as show a firm resolve to lead a much better life. While some would argue that 12-step programs are largely fatalistic in that they put the outcome of one’s efforts solely on some “higher being,” the mere fact that it has millions of members who have been living free from addiction for a long time is testament to the effectiveness of social support groups.
New member must be able to convince that they are indeed powerless regarding their addictions. However, this doesn’t mean that there is nothing they can do about it. Throughout the 12 steps of the program, the individual, with the help and assistance of a sponsor, performs daily moral inventory. This has nothing to do with being morally right or wrong but rather whether the individual recognizes the thought or behavior as right or wrong. If the individuals firmly believe that it is wrong, then they must be able to admit it. Narcotics Anonymous members do not strive to become morally uptight individuals nor do they strive for perfection. However, they do strive to become much better persons than they previously were. Once the individual finishes the 12-steps of NA, they can then take the role of a sponsor and help a new recovering addict in navigating the same 12 steps.
More Information on the Narcotics Anonymous Group
It is this cyclical nature of support that allows the group to really flourish. As one goes through the 12-step process, they naturally develop skills to become a better person. They also imbue some of the ideal characteristics of a good leader.By the time they have completed the process, they become the facilitator and the guide for others who are just beginning on their road to addiction recovery. Technically, the learner becomes the teacher and the cycle is repeated.
The interpersonal relationships formed in these groups are based on peer support. Individuals are more likely to trust someone who has gone through the same life experiences than someone who is heavily reliant on books and literature. It is in the sharing of life experiences – how to stay sober, how to manage triggers, and how to save your social relationships, among other things – that make peer support groups so enticing. When an individual who has been sober for a very long time can naturally command the respect of every newcomer in the group, they are looked up to. They are considered a shining example of how groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programs can help struggling individuals in their addiction treatment and recovery. For many individuals, when this person talks, the life experiences they share are so compelling that it becomes an excellent source of motivation for everyone else.