12-step meetings such as AA and NA are often valuable resources for people recovering from addiction. Even if you have completed a residential or outpatient treatment program, attending 12-step meetings can help keep you on track by offering a ready-made support system of people who understand what you’ve been through and are ready to listen. Maintaining involvement in a 12-step program helps keep you focused on recovery and gives structure to life post-treatment — a time when many people feel a bit disoriented. For these reasons, treatment programs often encourage their clients to attend 12-step meetings once they leave treatment.
In addition to the standard 12-step programs, it may also be a good idea to attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings. 12-step programs like these are intended for family and friends of people with substance use disorders. Many people who struggle with substance use assume these programs aren’t for them but there are some good reasons they should consider attending these meetings too.
Addiction Is a Family Disease
First and most importantly, addiction is a family disease in every sense of the word. Substance use disorders have a strong genetic component. About half of addiction risk is thought to be inherited. Additionally, addictive behaviors are largely learned through modeling within the family system. Finally, people who grew up in dysfunctional families often develop substance use issues to cope with challenging emotions. Growing up in a family with some sort of substance abuse is a strong indicator of subsequent struggles with addiction.
Whenever possible, it’s good to have family involved in treatment and recovery. However, if you are recovering from addiction and you have a parent, sibling, or even a child who is struggling with substance use issues of their own, it can add significant stress to your life and even expose you to drugs and/or alcohol. Attending 12-step meetings like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon can help you cope with the stress of having another addicted loved one in your life. Additionally, these support groups can help you to better understand the effect an addicted parent or loved one might have on your own behavior patterns.
You Get a Different Perspective
Attending support groups like Al-Anon, Nar-Anon can give you a new perspective on your behavior. When you attend AA or NA, meetings, you’re always talking to other people with substance use issues. While many of them are keenly aware of the negative affects their substance use has had on their families, it’s not quite the same as truly seeing things through the family’s eyes. In addition to helping you cope with your own family members, you can better appreciate what they experienced while you were in active addiction. This is often unpleasant but it can also increase your empathy and motivation to persevere in recovery.
Everyone will have different needs in recovery. For some people, coming to terms with their family member’s substance use will be a key factor in their sobriety. For those people, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings can help a lot. At Tree House Recovery of Orange County, we know that everyone is unique. We understand that path to long-term sobriety looks different depending on the individual. Our holistic treatment program is designed to treat men with substance use disorders on several different levels. To learn more about our treatment process, call us today, at 855-202-2138.