Narcotics Anonymous (NA, 2018) is self-described as being an international, community based, “nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem.” The NA program is for addicts who meet regularly to help one another stay clean. The NA meeting, on 10/17/18, was called “NA Fix” and had approximately 25 people that attended with the attendees comprised mostly of young adults and a few middle-aged and older adults. The meeting was held at the Queen Creek Meeting House in Queen Creek, Arizona. The meeting house was once a home that was converted to a meeting facility. The area that was once the living room and kitchen was now a large open area with a large table with chairs. There were also chairs that lined the walls as well as chairs put in rows. The kitchen area still had cabinets, dish washer, sink, and a commercial size coffee maker. Some attendees had their children in the “bedrooms” in the back, where they could play and color, during the meeting. Outside, in the back, was a smoking area.
I will admit that I was a little nervous because I did not know what to expect. I wasn’t sure how to feel or act. I wondered if I would be judged by the members for just sitting there and not talking. Emotionally it was difficult because I have someone close to me that is an addict and refuses to get help. At the same time, I was better prepared emotionally and psychologically. I mentally prepared myself by reminding myself that these groups are for those who need or want help and they are probably nervous too, no matter how often they attend the meetings. Most attendees sat there quietly. Most of those in attendance were addicts and a few were family members/friends/significant others that were there for support. Many people at the meeting have been attending for many years. There were a few that were court ordered to be there. I was actually surprised at the amount of people that attended the meetings. I, honestly, expected the atmosphere to feel tense and somber but there was actually a lot of humor used throughout the meeting and seemed, for the most part, very relaxed. There were a few times when, the few who spoke during the meeting, cried, hung their head, or fidgeted.
I feel that this type of meeting benefits the health of the population in several ways. First, it is helping quite a few individuals who are trying to get clean, help others stay clean, and gives them all a place to feel safe and cared for. The program is supposed to help addicts learn to live a life that is drug-free and help establish a stable and productive lifestyle. When it comes to the loved ones of the addicts, it gives them a sense of relief to see the addicts receiving help and support. All the NA attendees help build one another up and offer unconditional support. NA not only helps the current attendees, but it is open and available to all addicts within the community. Many NA members volunteer in the community with outreach services, such as: community awareness meetings, health fairs, presentations, and public service announcements. These types of outreach services may help younger and impressionable individuals remain drug free or help convince others to seek help.
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