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Do you spend countless hours thinking about your loved one’s drug addiction problem? Are you troubled and stressed about a loved one’s potentially life-damaging drug dependence? If so, then you’ll be glad to learn that friends and family of drug addicts also have support groups. 

One example of such a group is Nar-Anon, a 12-step group that targets friends and family members of people struggling with drug addiction. 

The main difference between Narcotics Anonymous and Nar-Anon is membership. While NA is meant for former addicts looking to maintain sobriety, Nar-Anon seeks to help members cope with their loved ones’ addiction problems. 

If you’re curious about Nar-Anon and want to know more about the mutual support group, then you couldn’t be in a better place. 

Read on as we take a closer look at Nar-Anon, its policies, objectives, and of course, benefits to members. 

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What Is Nar Anon? 

Nar-Anon is a mutual support group designed to help people with friends or relatives struggling with addiction. Although different from Narcotics Anonymous, Nar Anon also uses the 12-step program and takes a spiritual approach to help members. 

To know if Nar-Anon will suit you well, you’ll need to answer 20 questions that revolve around a loved one’s addiction problem and how it affects you. If your answer to 4 or more questions is ‘Yes,’ then Nar-Anon might be of great help to you. 

Nar-Anon’s 12-steps are almost identical to the 12-steps of Narcotics Anonymous, with the main difference being changes in the phrasing.

The main aim of Nar-Anon is to provide a conducive and compassionate environment for members to discuss their issues, share testimonies and find ways to cope with issues they all face. 

Formed with the aim of helping members develop positive coping mechanisms, Nar Anon opens its doors to everyone struggling with an addicted loved one, regardless of religious background, age, or gender. 

Similar to Al-Anon, Nar-Anon has a unique program for teenagers dubbed Narateen

As the name suggests, Narateen is a support group for teenagers to share their unique experiences and find positive ways to cope with their respective situations. 

What Happens at Nar-Anon Meetings?

Nar-Anon group meetings are led by sponsors, who are experienced members that volunteer to take charge of fellowships and hold the hand of newer members. 

Nar-Anon meetings are usually held in convenient public spaces, religious buildings, or even civic organizations. The meetings mostly follow a similar structure but can be slightly modified to suit member preferences. 

However, meetings usually start with greetings before the sponsor takes it from there and invites other members to share their testimonies and experiences with an addicted family member or friend. 

Although all members are encouraged to speak during fellowships, sharing isn’t mandatory if a member isn’t comfortable talking yet. Members are also encouraged to ask any underlying questions at the end of sessions. 

The whole point of Nar-Anon is to create a safe space for members to share their experiences and interact with other people going through similar experiences. This helps eliminate negative emotions like anger, stress, and hatred, which usually occur when dealing with an addict. 

Members also learn positive coping mechanisms and how to best handle their addicted loved ones.  

The 12 Steps of Nar-Anon 

The 12 Steps of Nar-Anon are similar to the 12-steps of NA or AA. However, the main difference is that Nar-Anon’s focus is on family members and friends of people with substance use disorders. 

Here is a quick breakdown of the 12 steps of Nar-Anon: 

Admitting to being powerless over the addict: Members admit to being powerless over the actions of the addict and their current or past states. This helps overcome feelings of desperation and guilt and create hope for a brighter future. 

Belief that a Higher Power can help restore sanity: Members understand that although situations might appear hard to the extent of hopelessness, a Higher Power can help overcome everything. 

Decision to surrender to a Higher Power: The third step involves surrendering feelings of anger, hopelessness, regret, or disappointment completely to a Higher Power. This step is important as it allows members to let go of potentially toxic emotions that do more harm than good. 

Fearless moral inventory: Members must also analyze themselves thoroughly and sincerely to determine points of weakness and error that can always be improved on. You’ll be required to take a deeper look at your reactions and behavior, especially towards the addicted person. 

Admission to the Higher Power, ourselves, and others of our wrongs: After conducting a thorough moral inventory, members are required to admit to themselves, the Higher Power, and others that they’ve wronged. This could be how you handled an addicted loved one or the many times you’ve behaved in ways that you feel aren’t supportive. 

Be prepared for the Higher Power to remove all the character flaws: For the Nar-Anon program to be effective, members must be willing to accept the change that comes with submitting to a Higher Power. 

Humbly ask the Higher Power to remove the shortcomings: Another important part of the program is asking the Higher Power to help you change by removing your shortcomings and making you content and peaceful. 

Make immediate amends when you do wrong: This step teaches members to make amends as soon as possible to preserve the peace of mind that comes with submission to a Higher Power. It recognizes that we are humans and are likely to repeat some wrongs. But instead of holding on to the flaws, we are asked to seek forgiveness and correct our errors. 

Continue to soul search and take moral inventory: Members must continue to self-assess and be true to themselves. Admitting to wrongs and seeking to make matters right is an important part of lifelong healing. 

Seeking a deeper connection with the Higher Power: The entire Nar-Anon program is centered on spirituality, meaning members must seek to renew themselves and improve their connection (and relation) to the Higher Power. 

Applying the message and spreading it to others: The final step involves spreading the Nar-Anon message to others in need of love, support, and compassion. Members must also remain committed to applying the 12-steps to their daily activities. 

Advantages of Nar-Anon

Nar-Anon takes a similar approach to its parent organization Narcotics Anonymous. It provides support for its members using the 12-steps.  

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of Nar-Anon and why you should consider joining. 

Safe Environment for Members to Share

People with addicted loved ones often hold back or withdraw from family members and close friends due to the fear of judgment. Nar-Anon was formed to help such people find a compassionate, judgment-free environment to share and learn from people in similar situations. 

All Nar-Anon members are either dealing with present drug addicts or have experience dealing with former addicts. This means that you’ll get to interact with people in similar situations that understand exactly what you’re going through. 

An Opportunity to Belong 

Living with an addicted husband, wife, family member, or friend can prove challenging to the point of social isolation. On most occasions, the loved ones of addicted people struggle to fit in and fear societal judgment or stereotypes. 

However, Nar-Anon provides the perfect opportunity for people experiencing the full effects of drug addiction despite not abusing drugs to feel at home, loved, and appreciated. 

Positive Coping Mechanisms

Without the right guidance, family members and close friends of people struggling with substance use disorders might develop negative coping disorders. 

The anxiety, stress, and depression can become overwhelming, especially when a loved one develops a chronic addiction that keeps going from bad to worse. 

However, by joining a Nar-Anon group near you, you’ll learn from other members who’ve experienced similar situations. Consistent interaction with people sharing similar experiences ensures you learn positive ways to cope with the effects of an addicted loved one. 

Reduced Chances of Mental Disorders

Bottling up emotions can easily lead to mental disorders like anxiety and even depression. If left unchecked, depression can become severe to the extent of suicidal thoughts. 

And while addicts are usually at increased risk of mental health illness, family members and friends, too, can develop mental health issues when overwhelmed by stress. 

However, Nar-Anon provides the perfect environment for members to share their stories and receive the necessary support from the listeners. 

Sharing regularly while also listening to other members’ experiences allows people to heal, which significantly reduces the chances of mental illnesses. 

Members Learn How To Deal With Addicts 

Dealing with an addicted loved one can prove overwhelming, especially if the individual is not willing to change despite the adverse effects of the disorder. 

But since Nar-Anon is a support group for family members and friends of addicts, members get to learn how to deal with their addicted loved ones. 

As a good rule of thumb, you should always handle an addicted loved one with love and compassion. 

Granted, it might be hard to control your emotions, especially when massively disappointed. But by interacting with people in similar situations, you’ll learn positive ways to handle your loved one without straining your relationship further. 

FAQS About Nar-Anon

Is Nar-Anon a 12-step Group?

Nar-Anon is a 12-step group that observes a similar format to AA and NA. However, the main difference between Nar-Anon and other self-help groups is that it targets friends and family members of people struggling with drug addiction. 

Will I Need to Pay to Join Nar-Anon?

You won’t need to pay to join Nar-Anon as the group is free for all people regardless of race or status. However, a contribution basket is usually passed across at the end of meetings for voluntary contributions.

Are there Virtual Nar-Anon Meetings?

Besides physical meetings, Nar-Anon also allows for virtual meetings for groups that find it hard to meet in person. You can join a virtual meeting by heading to the virtual meeting page on the official Nar-Anon website. 

Virtual meetings are held in several languages, from English to Turkish, Dutch, German, Polish, Spanish, and even Russian. 

Are Nar-Anon Meetings Anonymous?

Nar-Anon strives to create a welcoming and highly conducive environment for members by keeping all interactions anonymous. Members cannot discuss what they see or hear in Nar-Anon meetings with external parties. 

Can I Join Other Meetings? 

Nar-Anon does not restrict members from joining other groups. Members can join any other groups they deem fit as the main goal is to achieve peace and holistic healing. 

Moreover, Nar-Anon does not have a bare minimum for meetings attended as everyone is allowed to attend based on their availability. 

Is Nar-Anon a Religious Group

Nar-Anon is not a religious group and does not endorse any religion whatsoever. The program is based on the 12 steps of AA and NA and is centered on spirituality as opposed to religion. Members are free to choose what their “Higher Power” is depending on religious affiliations. 

Is Nar-Anon Effective?

Nar-Anon’s effectiveness largely depends on how serious you take the meetings. For instance, members that attend meetings regularly are likely to benefit more than those who skip. 

The group provides a great opportunity for people undergoing similar situations to interact, share, advise, and support each other.

Must I share In Nar-Anon Meetings?

It’s not mandatory for members to share during Nar-Anon meetings as the decision to talk solely lies on an individual. However, for effective outcomes, it is advisable to create a habit of sharing regularly to ensure you heal and perhaps even help others out. 

Listening to other members’ testimonies is also a great way to learn positive coping mechanisms. 

Get Help Today

Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

Wrapping Up 

If you’ve been stressed out about a loved one’s drug addiction, then you might want to try out Nar-Anon. 

The self-help group opens its doors to everyone affected by an addicted friend or family member and holds regular in-person and virtual meetings. 

If you cannot find an in-person Nar-Anon meeting near you, you can join virtual meetings as they are also effective and a lot more convenient. You can also look for the best drug rehab centers in your area.

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