The stigma that still surrounds Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings has got to go away. It’s time for us, as a society, to decide that drug addicts need help, bottom line.
Addicts are not bad people, or bad decision makers necessarily, they are people who need tools to get well, and they need love and acceptance.
Drug addict recovery meetings need to be welcoming and conducive to the real-life, everyday struggles of those in the throes of addiction. Recovery can start in rehab, but some of the hardest days come after formal treatment. Consistency needs to continue when a client leaves and has to decide to stay sober each day.
In the early stages of recovery especially, so basically the time in rehab and the year following a formal treatment program, camaraderie is so important. None of us can do it alone. Newly sober addicts need one another, and the support of people who have endured more days of choosing sobriety.
When are a place of safety, the serenity needed to stay drug free is available. I need to be able to tell you my struggles and vulnerabilities, and I need to make you feel comfortable enough to do the same with me. It helps you to help me, and vice versa.
A lot of addicts have a problem with the religious component of the Twelve Steps, but whatever you want your Higher Power to be, it can be. When you can form connections with peers and really allow those relationships to grow, you always have someone to call when you feel like using, and you are there to help others when they may slip too.
The stigma is wrong, and needs to be released by us, meaning all members of our society.
If someone seeking help doesn’t feel comfortable admitting that he or she is going to an NA meeting, then the NA fellowship, that could have provided so much support, love and acceptance to this young addict is lost. And for what? To stay cool in the eyes of others who do not understand addiction and what is necessary to stay clean each and every day? Not good enough. Too many people will stay sick if our mindset does not change.
Drug addict recovery meetings give so much, and “paying it forward” can include those outside the actual NA and AA meetings when people drop the negative connotation that surrounds addiction and getting the help you need.