Have you ever wondered why there are so many active AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) groups around the world? While you know that substance abuse is rampant in our society, what makes these groups so special? Once you understand the format of how these groups are set up, you’ll begin to understand why addicts are encouraged to share their stories.
A Brief Rundown on the Typical AA or NA Meeting
If you’ve ever attended an AA or NA meeting, you’ll know that introductions go in Round Robin fashion around the room or table. Members introduce themselves by first names and then say something to the effect of they are a recovering addict with so much time clean and sober. It could be a day, a week, 30 days, 60 days or many years. Once the preliminaries are over, anyone is encouraged to share their story. It is not mandatory, but for some recovering addicts, this is a vital step in their recovery. Here is where they get to stay in touch with what led them down the path of destruction and where others find the encouragement to continue on the steps of recovery. Sharing their stories is an important part of recovery.
A Look at Treatment Programs
When you look at residential treatment programs for substance abuse, you will see that each patient gets one-on-one time with counselors, but there is usually a group meeting at least once a day. Here is where they are encouraged to share their stories if they want for the very same reasons addicts are encouraged to share their stories at meetings. The very act of voicing the painful journey through addiction is often one of the most healing parts of treatment and one way to keep focused on a life free from substances.
It Isn’t Only Addicts Who Need to Share
If you have a loved one who is suffering from addiction, you’ll understand that substance abuse is a family disease. When one member suffers, the entire family can suffer as well. Sometimes we are at a loss of how to cope or what to do in certain circumstances. Sharing our stories can help other families learn to cope with addiction and help to keep them strong during the darkest hours when they are concerned for the future of their loved one who is in treatment or recovery. By the very nature of telling our stories, our paths become clearer and sometimes we learn to forgive ourselves in the process of forgiving those who have harmed us with their addiction.
All the research views addiction in the same way, as a chronic illness, and this is how it should be treated. Keep telling your story and keep sharing your road to recovery. Whether you are an addict or a family member of an addict, the best road to recovery is to walk in the light. Keep your journey fresh and in the process of recovering, you just might be that light in the darkness for someone else who has fallen by the wayside. Remember, sharing is healing so share what you are comfortable with and watch as the light gets brighter with each telling of the story you have to share.