Overcoming addiction can be difficult, especially if you’re doing medication-assisted treatment. The most popular medications used to treat addiction include methadone, naltrexone, and suboxone. However, methadone and naltrexone treatments can result in severe side effects like cramps, nausea, depression, and anxiety.
Fortunately, suboxone is known for having less severe side effects compared to its predecessors. In fact, treatments with this drug result in 45% fewer emergency room visits versus methadone. Suboxone’s most common side effect is throwing up.
Finding a support group to help you through recovery is also very helpful. Support groups can be extremely beneficial, especially when paired with drug recovery programs. Support of other people can improve your coping skills and increase your motivation to keep fighting. Here’s what you should know before looking for help at a support group, specifically Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
What Is a Support Group?
The general definition of a support group is a group of people that meet to share experiences, give comfort, and get advice.
However, it’s recommended to join one in conjunction with adequate treatment. The combination of treatments and support groups is often the key to success.
Tips When Joining a Support Group
- Take a friend or family member with you – If you’re feeling anxious about attending your first meeting, we recommend taking a friend or family member. A familiar face can make the experience easier.
- Respect other members – Members often share meaningful stories and experiences which should be kept in this circle of trust. Respect the privacy of other members.
- You don’t have to participate if you don’t feel ready – You should never feel pressured to talk at support groups. The most important step is to feel confident and comfortable before you speak.
What Are NA Meetings?
Narcotics Anonymous is a support group founded in 1953, with over 67,000 weekly meetings worldwide. Meetings are held weekly, like Alcoholics Anonymous. The NA’s goal is to create a support group where members can walk the path to recovery together. This is achieved by sharing experiences, learning about the challenge of recovery, and celebrating achievements.
What Are the Narcotics Anonymous’ 12 Steps?
Like Alcoholics Anonymous, recovery at NA is divided into the following 12 steps:
- “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.” Recognizing the impact of addiction is the first step to your recovery.
- “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This step mentions that having faith and “believing in a greater power” can help you recover.
- “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over the care of God as we understood Him.” In this step, members decide to work towards recovery through spirituality.
- We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” This step requires understanding the challenges members may face and how to overcome them.
- “We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Members are encouraged to discuss their fears and weaknesses, as well as releasing their guilt.
- “We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” Members should let their fears and weaknesses go and walk towards better behaviors.
- “We humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.” This step mentions that challenges may happen along the path, but faith is important so they won’t affect you.
- “We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them.” Acknowledging who you’ve harmed because of your addiction problems can help you improve your relationships.
- “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” In this step, members are instructed to make amends with those they harmed.
- “We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” Members should constantly remind themselves of their objectives and monitor their actions.
- “We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” In this step, it’s encouraged to keep fighting with intention and focus.
- “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This step encourages members to help others complete the 12 steps.
Do NA Support Groups Work?
Support groups help members stay focused when everything seems hopeless. Many members consider the 12 steps to be an extension of the path to recovery applied to their daily lives. For others, it’s the only thing that worked.