Running head: MUTUAL HELP GROUP
Mutual Help Group Reflection
Social Work Student
SWK 370-A: Substance Abuse/Mental Illness
Instructor: Emily Kawski
November 15, 2018
Today, the use of drugs is one of the most common problems that affect our community. The use of drug substances can affect at any time because addiction can occur very quickly without discrimination of age, gender or ethnicity. This means that after consuming only one, two or three times, a person can have strong cravings for the drug that force them to return to consume, even they know it would be better not to do. Also, addiction is a chronic and recurrent brain disease. For anyone addicted to drugs, the compulsive need to use drugs can be overwhelming, affecting all aspects of their lives, either socially and financially. There are many variables that lead a person to the use of any type of these substances. For example, when you suffer from a psychological disorder such as depression and anxiety, or when you grow up in an environment where it is usual to see your family members use these substances regularly. I cannot speak from the perspective of an experience close to me of any relative, but I have had the opportunity to visit a narcotics anonymous meeting. Many of them shared their stories, and how this help group has been one of the most essential steps to keep them free of the use of these substances that affected them at some time in their life.
Narcotics Anonymous is an association composed of people for whom the use of drugs has become a very serious problem, affecting their social and financial environment. This is an abstinence program that gives these people the opportunity to meet regularly to help them stay clean of all types of drugs. The only requirement that you need to be a member of the narcotics anonymous program is the desire to stop using alcohol. I use the word alcohol because, this is the word they used to replace by the word addiction, to eliminate the specific language of drugs and in turn reflecting the concept the disease of addiction. This is a non-profit organization because you do not have to pay to belong to these groups. Anyone is welcome no matter your age, race, identity, sexuality, or religion. In this program only you share experiences related to the problem of alcohol to find the best form of help for abstinence. It is voluntary and does not keep any records of people who attend meetings. This specific group has two meetings per week. Mondays are for women and Fridays are for men, but family members are also welcome to be part of the support group. The day I was there, a man enters. It was funny because he asked if the meeting is only for women, but he was welcome to the meeting. Despite being the only man I noticed that he felt comfortable. Something that surprised me and like it, was that the woman who was in front of the rest of the group she was holding her 3-year-old child in her arms. While she was explaining her process in this program, she also argued that when she knew she was pregnant, know if this was enough reason to leave the alcohol. Also, she added that it is the same time she has been free of alcohol. Some of the rest of the women who were there gave testimonies of how proud they feel about her because they were witnesses of her process, at the same time was an example to many of them.
One of the things that caught my attention is that people who come regularly to this help group started reading verses of support, known between members as “The White Booklet.” The verse below was the one I liked the most: “We are not interested in what or how much you used … but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help.” The reason why this specific verse caught my attention was that this is the best way to let them know that the only interest of the members of this group is to help them find a solution. No matter what they have done before, the only purpose of this program is to provide support for abstinence of the use of alcohol. In this way, nobody feels judged or rejected because at some point in life most of these members have gone through a similar experience. Also, they share something in common, to live day by day at one time to keep clean. Another thing that I noticed is that people who attend these meetings regularly must have reduced or eliminated the cravings to use alcohol. But, many of them also agreed that group meetings are not enough to keep clean. Also, it requires other things. Each person has to repair the life situations that led them to use alcohol initially, will have to rebuild a new life to replace the one that was destroyed by the addiction, and the most important is a desire and inner strength to stop. Therefore, I believe that this program offers a high probability to stop consuming alcohol to those suffering from this dependence.
In fact, research has been done for a period of three years about addiction mutual help groups. This research was made by health care professionals and scientists in the broad areas of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. There were several reasons for the study. Evaluate and describe rates of participation of mutual-help groups and the indices related to addiction severity, but also to explore patient demographics such as sex and age. One of the advantages of these groups include the fact that they have a recovery focus, are widely available and accessible without cost, and can be dealt with informally without any paperwork, insurance approval or disclosure of personally identifiable information. Also, these meetings provide access to a specific social network for abstinence that can offer flexible support, especially at times of high risk of relapses, such as nights and weekends. However, despite the flexibility, ubiquity, and not cost of these community resources, some patients discontinue participation after some initial attendance and others elect not to attend at all. As a result, it was demonstrated that these groups are very beneficial for the participants who frequent it because they achieve a great abstinence and fewer drinks per day, without discrimination of gender. This means, that patients who participated in Narcotics Anonymous had better results. Also, these researchers emphasized that it is very important to spread the evidence about mutual help organizations and find ways of involving individuals to them.CITATION Joh06
l 1033 (Wiley Online Librerary, 2006)However, several investigators have examined the relationships between the duration of abstinence and recovery of psychological well-being in a sample of 128 members of Narcotics Anonymous throughout the United States. These participants completed an online survey that evaluated the duration of abstinence and other variables related to recovery in psychological well-being. These studies focused on four subscales such as self-acceptance, which is the tendency to have a positive attitude towards one’s self. Personal growth, which is the extent to which one has a sense of continuous development and self-improvement. A purpose in life, which is in which one has beliefs that give life meaning. Finally, positive relationships with others, where manifest having satisfying, trusting relationships with others. During a 4-year follow-up, for all people with less than 10 years of abstinence, the duration of abstinence and recovery showed a positive increase in psychological well-being. It was also noted that longer abstinence durations with the control of alcohol consumption were associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression.CITATION DeL16
l 1033 (Journal of Happiness Studies, 2016)On the other hand, the high rate of opioid use is a major public health concern in the United States. Of the 2.1 million initiators of opioid misuse per year in the US, 1.2 million (57%) are women, who needed treatment for illicit drug use did not receive specialty treatment. Women with substance use face specific concerns accessing treatment such as fear of reprisal and loss of children. Therefore, there was a small qualitative study that provided important data of mothers with a history of substance use disorders to gain insight into the treatment barriers, facilitators, experience, and needs of women. The mean age of the focus group of women was 31 years and self-identified as white. Sixty percent of the women had children in their care. The mean age of the children was 4 and 5 years. Substance use histories included methamphetamines, marijuana, and opioids. A majority of women had wanted to attend a treatment program at some point in their life but were unable to. The most common reason that prevented them from not attending the program was fear of losing their child and a lack of space for children at these services without childcare options. All women responded that they would likely attend a substance use disorder treatment program that would allow women to bring their child. This lack of childcare generated creative solutions. It was demonstrated that in a women-only recovery group compared to a mixed-sex recovery group, those in the women’s group had greater continued reductions in substance use in a period of 6 months. Also, it was identified that women-only programs facilitated discussion of topics underlying women’s addiction including abuse, physical health, childcare, and self-image. CITATION Elm18
l 1033 (Harm Reduction Journal, 2018). In summary, the need for support and the safe atmosphere for women to reduce substance use are important for programs to meet these unique needs for their treatment and recovery. At the same time, help to increase their ability to provide a safe and healthy life for herself and their child.
Therefore, I believe that the Mutual Help Group of Narcotics Anonymous is one of the best opportunities for successful recovery in individuals that are suffering from the use of alcohol consumption, helping them in the process of reducing the use, and even to leave it completely. One of the positive points of these groups is that participants are never against on their will. It is a self-help program where associate talk about their stories, needs and the rest listen to them. The mission is to provide an environment in which addicts can help each other to stop using drugs and find a new way of living.
BIBLIOGRAPHYDeLucia, Christian; Bergman, Brandon G; Beitra, Danette; Howrey, Hillary L; Seibert, Stephanie; Ellis, Amy E; Mizrachi, Jessica. (2016, April). Journal of Happiness Studies. Retrieved from Beyond Abstinence: An Examination of Psychological Well-Being in Members of Narcotics Anonymous: https://dbproxy.lasalle.edu:6033/docview/1774297040?pq-origsite=summon
Elms, Natasha; Link, Kendra; Newman, Adam; Brogly, Susan B. (2018, August). Harm Reduction Journal. Retrieved from Need for women-centered treatment for substance use disorders: results from focus group discussions: https://dbproxy.lasalle.edu:6033/docview/2089859188?pq-origsite=summon
John F Kelly, Robert Stout, William Zywiak, ; Robert Schneider. (2006, August). Wiley Online Librerary. Retrieved from A 3?Year Study of Addiction Mutual?help Group Participation Following Intensive Outpatient Treatment: https://dbproxy.lasalle.edu:2083/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2006.00165.x
Johnson Memorial Methodist Church. ( Open). Women, Varies. 3117 Longshore Avenue,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19149-2023.