Nar-Anon is a support group for those whose family members or loved ones are addicted to drugs or alcohol. It provides support groups around the country and assures them that they are not alone.
Robert Stewart Goodrich founded Nar-Anon in 1968 to provide a 12-step program for those whose lives have been impacted by someone else’s narcotic addiction. It is independent of Narcotics Anonymous but operates with them in mind to meet its aims, similar to Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous. With over 24 million Americans taking illegal drugs in the previous month, it is a massive problem that affects spouses, children, parents, siblings, extended family, and others.
What Drugs Are Being Used?
Opioids/Narcotics/Pain relievers, Depressants, and Stimulants are the three major categories of widely misused medicines classified by the US Department of Justice. Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, Valium, Xanax, and Adderall are some of the brands of these medications. Misusing a medication has an impact on decision-making and impulsivity, nutrition, and sleep, as well as increasing the risk of trauma, aggression, and injury. However, drug usage has an influence on more than just the person. Drug addicts’ friends and family are also profoundly affected.
How Addiction Impacts Family
The impacts of drug misuse can be felt by family, friends, colleagues, and even neighbors. It also seeps into the familial dynamic. When one parent is a user, children may act as a surrogate spouse for the clean parent, continuing to live in denial of the addiction and attempting to give support and take on more responsibilities than is developmentally appropriate. Children of addicts, like abuse victims, frequently assume it is their responsibility for their parent’s addiction and feel guilty. They may also believe they are doing anything illegal since they are aware of their parents’ illegal activities. Children that have a parent with a drug abuse disorder are more likely to acquire their own substance use disorder as they grow older. If women use while pregnant, their kid is at risk of having a low birth weight, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and having a variety of birth abnormalities.
Even in the absence of children, spouses who take drugs may suffer severe financial and psychological difficulties. You need money to purchase drugs, and if the user runs out or is unable to work, they may have to rely on their spouse to fuel their addiction. Depending on the substance, the expense of addiction might exceed the average yearly salary in the United States of $61,937. Addiction to OxyContin tablets, for example, may cost more than $70,000 per year if used three times per day.
Anger, tension, worry, humiliation, isolation, denial, and the addict’s protection are all examples of psychological issues. Addicts’ partners may also struggle with codependency. People who struggle with healthy relationships might seek help from Co-Dependents Anonymous. They identify five co-dependence patterns: denial, poor self-esteem, compliance, control, and avoidance. Some of these patterns have been labeled as:
- Remaining loyal to people who do not deserve it.
- Controlling others because they believe others cannot care for themselves.
- Having poor self-esteem and being in denial of their own feelings.
- Compromising their principles in order to prevent rejection or wrath from their spouse.
Because of decreased activity and health issues, older individuals are more likely to be given medications. When a senior develops a drug addiction, it is generally their adult children that take care of them financially. When children take on the job of caregiver for their parents, they may experience emotions of humiliation and worry. Sometimes families believe that isolating the user from the rest of the family is important, yet this can exacerbate the addiction. That is why it is critical that not only the drug user but also his or her family get treatment from an organization such as Nar-Anon.
What Is Nar-Anon?
Nar-Anon is a 12-step program that assists those who have a friend or relative who is addicted. Nar-Anon is not a religious program, but it does emphasize a spiritual way of living and the help of a Higher Power as each individual understands it. They provide a list of 20 questions to help you decide if the program is suitable for you. Nar-Anon may be able to assist you if you answer yes to at least four of the questions. Some of the questions include:
- Do you find it difficult to trust his/her explanations?
- Is it possible that your savings are mysteriously disappearing?
- Are you finding it difficult to invite guests to your house?
- Are you too embarrassed to discuss the matter with your friends and family?
Nar-Anon has 12 stages, 12 traditions, and 12 service ideas. The 12 steps are nearly identical to Narcotics Anonymous’ 12 steps, with the exception of minor phrasing changes when applicable, such as changing “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable” to “We admitted that we were powerless over the addict — that our lives had become unmanageable.” Members can provide one other support and guidance, as well as strive to provide genuine answers to the difficulties that friends and relatives of drug users experience.
Narateen is a 12-step program for teenagers who have a parent who is an addict. Each Nar-Anon group has two Nar-Anon facilitators who have completed a background check, have been confirmed for their location and can supervise the teen group. They help one other and acquire coping methods. Meeting locations for Narateen may be found on their website.
Let Nar-Anon Help
You do not have to bear the burden of living with an addict on your own. Nar-Anon brings together people who have had similar experiences and encourages members to take care of themselves before attempting to care for others. Many drug users strive to keep their addiction hidden from their friends and family for as long as possible. If you suspect someone you care about has an addiction, get help from a qualified treatment provider.