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What Are 12-Step Programs, such as Nar-Anon?

Nar-Anon is a support group and 12-Step program designed for individuals whose family or loved ones are narcotic addicts.

While 12-Step programs can be very beneficial for those struggling with addiction, especially when they are combined with professional treatment, it can also be helpful for family and friends to undertake this journey alongside them.

For this reason, Nar-Anon offers programming to help families and friends understand the 12-Step process and the experience of addiction.

Nar-Anon uses a version of the 12-Step model, which was first developed for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Due to the success of Alcoholics Anonymous, and its culture of fellowship, mutual support and privacy, 12-Step programs have grown in popularity.

Although Alcoholics Anonymous chapters have taken shape all over the world, they all follow roughly the same format and approach to recovery.

This allows those in recovery to experience a familiar and welcoming format, no matter where they go.

The popularity of this community-focused treatment approach has increased to include thirty 12-step programs.

These alternate programs help men and women, as well as their loved ones, cope with the reality of specific addictions, including gambling, cocaine, crystal meth, undereating, pills, sexual addiction, narcotics, and nicotine.

These programs do not promote a specific religious affiliation, though they do draw upon spirituality for support and guidance.

In addition to following the 12-Step model and educational materials, these programs follow a similar meeting format.

The original 12-stepsinclude

⦁ Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
⦁ Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
⦁ Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
⦁ Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
⦁ Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
⦁ Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
⦁ Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
⦁ Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
⦁ Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
⦁ Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
⦁ Step 11: 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.
⦁ Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The most significant difference that typically appears in these steps is found in the first step.

For example, for those struggling with narcotics, the first step is “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction; that our lives had become unmanageable.”

However, for Nar-Anon, the first step is “We admitted we were powerless over the addict; that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Yet, while the reference to a specific substance or recovery need may change within he steps, the overall message remans the same.

And for these friends and family members, the goal of Nar-Anon is to learn how to best support their loved one in recovery, without compromising their own mental or spiritual health, or that of the individual in recovery.

Effects of 12-Step Programs, such as Nar-Anon

It can be frightening and lonely to love and support an addict, and Nar-Anon meetings are designed to create an environment that supports the family and friends of those struggling with narcotic addiction.

New members are welcome at any 12-Step meeting, such as Nar-Anon, at any time. And to create a familiar and relaxing emotional space, 12-Step meetings follow a standard format.

At all 12-Step meetings, participants will sit in a semi-circle, with a meeting leader seated in the middle. The leader may ask if any new people would like to introduce themselves, but members are never required to speak or introduce themselves. It is also common to recite the Serenity Prayer as part of the meeting:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

During the 12-Step meeting, you may read, or listen to, a chapter from the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. After which, members of the group may begin to share their stories, participate in icebreaking discussions, or recite affirming statements collectively.

Some members may choose to share personal stories about their loved ones, families, or themselves.

Resist the temptation to interrupt, even with encouragement, feedback or questions. The hope is to create an environment in which all members feel welcome to share, and interruptions may prevent some individuals from speaking.

It is also important to respect the privacy of the group. This may be especially difficult in smaller communities in which you may know members outside of the meeting.

However, acknowledging anything shared outside of the meeting, or sharing information about who attends, may cause some members to leave the group.

Mental illness and 12-Step Programs, such as Nar-Anon

The link between mental illness and addiction is strong and scientifically  confirmed. For example, alcoholism rates are high among those suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Furthermore, many prescription drugs and street drugs interfere with brain chemistry, worsening depression, paranoia, suicidal ideation, and social isolation by changing the way the user perceives reality.

With this in mind, the consistency and openness required from participants in 12-Step programs can be difficult for those who are lost in the addictive cycle, or who are experiencing severe withdrawal.

Instead, 12-Step programs, are often most effective when paired with counseling and an addiction recovery plan, established by a treatment team at a recovery center.

For family members and friends who are seeking to support those facing addiction, these 12-Step programs can provide a sense of community and inspiration, while helping to educate supporters on the stages and challenges of addiction recovery.

Treatment and 12-Step Programs, such as Nar-Anon

12-Step programs can provide valuable support to those seeking addiction treatment. However, they are not by themselves a recovery plan.

For many individuals struggling with narcotic addiction the first step in their recovery program will be a full medical detoxification under the supervision of healthcare professionals.

Detoxification allows the user to become accustomed to the lack of narcotics in their system, and medical assistance reduces the likelihood of a serious complication or self-harm. Once the body is free from narcotics, the individual is free to start addressing mental health issues that may contribute to addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps break the cycle of addiction by revealing how behaviors and environmental factors result in substance use triggers. Those seeking recovery can then explore ways to healthily anticipate and manage those triggers.

At this point in treatment, attending 12-Step programs can be beneficial, and those in recovery may now be more comfortable giving and receiving the support required to benefit from these opportunities. Family and friends of those facing addiction can begin attending Nar-Anon, or other 12-Step meetings, at any time in the recovery journey of their loved one.

In fact, some of the attendees at Nar-Anon meetings may have loved ones who have yet to acknowledge their addiction. However, through Nar-Anon, these family and friends may still find the support and guidance they need to help encourage their addicted loved one to seek the professional treatment they need.

Payment Information

Resurgence Behavioral Health is here to help you focus on the healthy future that awaits you, or your loved one.

Payment at Resurgence is easy, and we accept most PPO insurance and private forms of payment.

We offer payment plans for any financial situation, and our team will even communicate with your insurance provider on your behalf.

Just call us at 855-458-0050 and let Resurgence Behavioral Health show you and those you love a brighter future.

How to Get Help

Our caring and experienced team understands narcotics addiction, and can help you, or your loved one, break free from addiction.

With locations in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Fullerton Hills, as well as a beautiful Outpatient Campus, recovery is right around the corner.

From medical detoxification, to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, to 12-Step programs like narcotics Anonymous and Nar-Anon, we can help you build a support system to achieve your recovery dreams.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health you, or your loved one, can build a life free from addiction – and your healthier future starts today.

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