Could I please put it out there and ask the universe as to whether I should attend a Narcotics Anonymous group? I am now nearly seven months sober but often find myself wondering if I need to be following a program in order to remain clean for the duration and sober in the long term? As I have noted before, I would love for this to be an interactive page and so would you please tell me about your experiences with Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous or even Alcohol Anonymous?
I have been to several N/A meetings but all together my experiences weren’t all that positive. Hang on a second, actually I did take away a number of positives from them in that these groups are a safe space or haven whereby you can open up and honestly communicate what you’re going through. I understand that addiction is a disease of loneliness and isolation and that meetings help to overcome all of this. I realise that I am not unique, I am not alone and that there are many other people out there just like myself in similar situations. As I have expressed before, when it comes to matters of mental health and addiction a sympathetic ear can be a hard one to find. At N/A and other respective groups you have one and so this should be recognised and respected.
There is strength in numbers and by attending such a group I am surrounding myself with a social network. I understand that peer support is not to be underestimated and that you really can draw a lot from the experiences of others. Meetings provide the opportunity for connections of sincerity, depth and weight. Also, meetings are instrumental in helping keep individuals sober and preventing relapse. This one is a big one for me in that I am determined not to relapse and if there is anything I can do to prevent this from happening then I’m going to do it. Another positive and probably one of the biggest ones for me was where I learnt about being of service. I understand that the twelve step program places a big emphasis on this and of course I can see why. Even though I haven’t been attending N/A meetings this really hit a note with me and so I strive to be of service wherever and whenever possible.
Unfortunately the positives for me were outweighed by the negatives in that I came into contact with two women in particular who were increasingly opinionated and pushy! At this point I was at the very beginning of my journey and so I was very much naive and very vulnerable. I found myself being coerced into doing things that I just did not want to do. I’m not necessarily saying that they were a bad influence, quite the opposite in that they had me attending additional meetings, getting a mentor and so on, but they were pushing me into doing things that I was just not ready for. I strongly believe that an individual’s journey is their own, these women were not allowing me the freedom that I needed to heal and grow at a pace that was comfortable for me.
A testament to their pushy ways, I quit and stopped going to meetings all together. So I no longer enjoy the fruits and positive points that I was taking away from attending these groups. Luckily I have not relapsed but I really have had to just rely on my own strength of character, the support I have received from my caseworker and that of my family and friends. At this point I really do feel like I have been deprived of something that could have been quite influential and instrumental in my recovery. So yes, I really am wondering if I could benefit from going to group and having a program in my life because I’ll be honest, when you’re doing it alone it can sometimes be really bloody hard!
The only other thing that I can think of that could help me is ‘SMART Recovery’. To be honest I don’t really know a lot about it at this stage but my caseworker has assured me that it is a structured and well organised meeting lead by one of the facilitators at my local Drug Aid. There is conversation and communication but there is no opportunity for domineering characters to take over and influence things. This sounds quite appealing to me and so I will have to find out more about it.
I am determined to make my posts shorter and sweeter and so I’m going to stop there for today. Always curious and forever intrigued I would love to hear your thoughts on my posts and page. I probably have answered my own questions but I would still love to hear from you and so please do drop me a line and say hello!