With numerous treatment options to help overcome an addiction to opiates, it can be confusing to decide what option is best for an opiate addict. There is usually no question as to where to take someone that has taken an overdose of opiates. The most logical decision at that moment is to rush a person into an emergency room for assistance. However, for addicts that have not experienced such a dangerous moment -but are still heavily using opiates- stopping use may be difficult, and requires treatment.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, successful treatment may need to incorporate several components, including detoxification, counseling, and sometimes the use of addiction medications. Multiple courses of treatment may be needed for the patient to make a full recovery.
Not everyone may agree to try all these components, some may be against seeking treatment that uses medicines that can become addictive. Some medications used in treating opiate addiction have addictive potential. However, when prescribed and administered by a medical professional, they can be effective and essential in helping addicts to recover. Still, for addicts that strongly oppose using medications for treatment, other alternatives exist, such as support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
How Can NA Help with Treatment of Opiate Addiction?
Narcotics Anonymous (NA), is a support group much like Alcoholic Anonymous. NA sprang from AA, but the focus is mostly on the illness of addiction to various types of substances, rather than alcohol only –like AA does. Their primary focus is to provide a recovering environment for their members to help support each other by sharing their recovery experiences.
There are no fees or dues to become a member of NA. They do not support the recovery from one type of drug only, rather they want to help all members recover from addiction, regardless what type of drug they use, or how much they have used. Their sole purpose is to help members stay clean and drug-free.
NA members have regular meetings to talk, and share their success and the challenges they meet in trying to stay drug-free. They believe in the therapeutic value of addicts helping other addicts to recover. All members participate together in maintaining and applying the principles of their 12-step program.
In treating opiate addiction, NA does not use medications to reduce the cravings or the withdrawal symptoms that many people experience when they are stopping the use of opiates. Their belief is that an addict can have control over his addictive behavior, and can have the necessary will power to stop using drugs. They believe a member’s spiritual focus can help them overcome their addiction without the use of other drugs, be them medicinal or not.
Foundation of the 12-Step Program of NA
The steps to recovery rely greatly on the support group’s application of the 12-step program. They believe that -regardless of a member’s religious beliefs- by incorporating the spiritual principles of the 12-steps they can live drug-free lives, and become productive members of their communities.
Much of the process of the steps involve the following:
- The member must admit that they have an addiction and that their addictive problem has become unmanageable.
- Believe that a power greater than themselves can help them to recover from addiction
- Learn to live a life free of drugs or other habits that are considered unhealthy
- Help other fellow members to stay clean and drug-free
- Make amends to the people you hurt by the actions you took while you were an addict
Like other types of treatment options available, NA can work wonders for someone addicted to opiates, or it may not. Only an individual can decide which treatment option is best for them. If making a decision is proven to be difficult, then speaking to an addiction specialist can help you or someone you love, decide what can work for them in the long run. Recovery is not easy. However, treatment for opiate addiction is readily available regardless if spiritually based, medications-assisted, or combined.