The basis of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program is a series of personal activities known as the Twelve Steps, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is perhaps the prototype for the self-help group movement, in which NA is a part of. The core difference between the two Twelve Step groups is their concentration; AA being a fellowship of recovering alcoholics and NA being a fellowship of recovering drug addicts. This term paper is a lot more than just another homework assignment to me. I’m currently struggling with my own addiction and have wanted to attend a Twelve Step meeting, whether I was ready or not. This assignment gave me a reason other than my need for help, to go and check one out. That may seem a bit silly, but for me its exactly what I needed. It is because of this reason that I chose to attend two NA meetings instead of one AA and one NA meeting. My focus will be on how the Twelve Step program has and can affect me and what I got out of either meeting.
The first meeting I attended was conveniently located just across the intersection by my house. The second, was a bit of a drive but totally worth it! Before attending any meeting, I had an idea of a couple things I knew I would need to experience from these two meetings in order for me to continue going beyond the requirements of this assignment. One would be for me to be inspired in moving toward recovery and the other would be my feeling of comfort in seeing someone, just one person, that I could relate to. My need to meet or just see someone like myself, who can truly understand why I’m dealing with an addiction in the first place and then for me to understand why their at the meeting, what gave them a reason, is plenty of inspiration by itself. I just thought that, that was asking for too much and setting myself up for failure.
I look for that person every day. I don’t want to deal with my addiction anymore, I’m ready, but I definitely need that initial push.
For me to give you a mental image of what I experienced at the first meeting, you have to understand that I was very uncomfortable mainly because I had no idea what to expect. Not only was this my first meeting, I was by myself, I didn’t know what paper to get signed, or who to get to sign it, and I felt disrespectful being there for a school assignment. Even though the meeting was “open,” I felt like I was Stottrup 2 disrespecting the other members because of a reaction I got. I had asked a lady, who was organizing a bunch of papers, what paper I needed to get signed and who I needed to get to sign it, and I mentioned how it was for school.
As she handed me a Meeting Guide she gave me a nasty look. Like, as if she were saying: how dare you come to this meeting if your not one of us / a drug addict (little did she know), as if I came to watch and observe a circus act or something and she didn’t like the fact that she was part of the circus! Then the meeting secretary handed me a laminated paper with the heading: The Fourteenth Tradition, and asked me to read it out loud. This caught me totally by surprise, because I saw these laminated sheets of paper on random seats when I walked in and purposely sat elsewhere. But, I accepted and I’m still alive to tell about it today (sarcasm). Fortunately, the remainder of the meeting was not as exciting.
At first, I didn’t like the fact that I was seemingly, the only one at the meeting that didn’t ride a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. It made me feel like I didn’t belong there and that I wouldn’t be able to get as much out of the meeting, because I couldn’t relate to them and vice a versa. I was humbly wrong, I ended up getting more out of this meeting than the second one. I knew that if I left this meeting with nothing more than a signature, it was my loss. So I knew I had to figure something out, some way I could benefit from what went on at this meeting. As each speaker shared their experiences I began to feel low. I realized that I was sitting in a room full of recovering drug addicts who even with there less than glamorous lifestyle, found the strength and will to pull themselves toward recovery. So what in the world is my excuse. I don’t have one , not anymore! So, it took me a while but I ended up seeing these people as an inspiration. Just because there not people I would ever choose to associate myself with doesn’t mean that their stories can’t help me.
I did not take any notes at this meeting, especially after the way that lady made me feel. Actually, I didn’t even think about the fact that I was going to have to write a paper on it until after the meeting was over and I had to pick up my signed paper at the front as I walked out. I had like sixty seconds to think Stottrup 3 about what concepts would be of relevance to this meeting and try to talk to anyone if I needed to. The first one is that, the Narcotics Anonymous program is a very simple, experience oriented disease concept of addiction. According to the disease model of addiction, habitual use of alcohol or drugs can be characterized as a disease. As stated by Palm Coast NA, “Narcotics Anonymous does not qualify its use of the term “disease” in any medical or specialized therapeutic sense, nor does NA make any attempt to persuade others of the correctness of its view.
The NA movement asserts only that its members have found acceptance of addiction as a disease to be effective in helping them come to terms with their condition.” The second meeting I attended was totally different, it was a youth night meeting. This time I brought a friend with me, but I was so comfortable at this meeting, I almost wished I’d gone by myself. I have very little to say about the second meeting, only it helped fulfill my second idea, about seeing someone I can relate to. There was a girl sitting three persons down from me. Because of the two people between us, I couldn’t get a good look at her, only side views. The thing that totally tripped me out about her, was the fact that not only did she look like someone I could relate to, she looked just like me! I mean literally, she really looked just like me! I was so relieved to finally know there’s someone out there just like myself.
The reason I say this meeting was totally different from the first is because the first meeting was very structured. There were specific speakers and the whole meeting went very smooth. The second meeting didn’t have a speaker so we passed around a suggestion box and then had an open discussion on each topic in the box. The Tripod Recovery Net states that, “Programs which have applied both psychological and spiritual principals have shown promise in sustaining complete remission.” They also say that, “drug addiction is a compensatory process for unfulfilled spiritual needs. For this reason, applying psychoanalytical theory in a spiritual context should be of unity in the treatment of addiction.” The Twelve Step program of Narcotics Anonymous offers such a treatment.
To conclude, John Briere’s model of “good house”, “bad house” fits in my opinion with the meetings when considered together. In my mind the first meeting resembles what I think of as a “bad Stottrup 4 house” and the second meeting resembles what I think of as a “good house”. Yet both meetings were full of drug addicts. My life has been truly enlightened because of these two meetings and I have chosen to continue going to the second meeting once a week from here on out. From my experiences of the Twelve Step program of NA, I have only wonderful things to say. I hope to experience each and every one of the twelve steps soon and continue them for the rest of my sober life! References “Facts about Narcotics Anonymous.” Palm Coast Area Narcotics Anonymous.