(continued from 12 Step Meetings, Part 1)
In order to choose the most appropriate group for one’s recovery, it is important to have guidelines that assist people in determining which group(s) will be of best benefit.
Some meetings feel comfortable because they are gender specific. Women might feel safer discussing personal issues in women-only support groups. (Although they may report that they don’t “trust” women, this is usually more an issue of self-trust. Both men and women find that they can readily learn how to convince members of the opposite sex of things that their own gender will catch them out on. Those who have been practicing addictive behaviors usually have become quite adept at manipulating others to get what they want.) In these cases, it is important that they learn to trust those of their own gender who will call them out on dishonest motivation and old behaviors. This is important, as those old behaviors will become dangerous to the newly recovering person.
Find meetings that feel comfortable and safe. People share their stories in these settings, and members need to know that their stories are kept within the confines of the meeting.
The concept of anonymity is vital for those who wish to keep their personal involvement with 12-step recovery out of the public eye. This involves not only their identity and what they share, but the traditions of 12-step recovery mandate that they maintain silence about membership in a 12-step program. This protects individual members, as well as the group. Anonymity is a difficult concept for many. Its use here maintains that a person may disclose their addiction and their recovery, but NOT their membership to a particular group. If they violate their recovery with relapse, it will not damage the efficacy of the group itself.
Most who are familiar with recovery from addiction understand relapse as part of the process. However, this does not mean that 12-step recovery does not work. It means there was something about the person’s recovery process that did not work to effectively protect them from relapse. The rest of the group will be safe from the repercussions of this person’s behavior and relapse. Their recovery can continue.
There are numerous programs available for drug addictions. Narcotics Anonymous is the oldest and largest of those available for drug addiction recovery. There is also Cocaine Anonymous, Pills Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, and Nicotine Anonymous. Not all, but some of these groups, provide programs affiliated with addiction-recovery program meetings for families of addicts.
Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions’ counselor.