Drug abuse and addiction occupy dangerous realms. Prescription drug abuse and addiction is no different, yet in many ways these patterns of abuse do vary. Prescription drug abuse has a different set of roots, originating from drugs that are not illicit in origin, drugs that instead have been diverted to be used and abused in an illicit manner.
Due to the unique nature of many prescription drug addictions, a specific and focused dialogue on these forms of abuse may be vastly beneficial to a person working towards strengthening their recovery. Though a large amount of prescription drug abuse originates in medications obtained illicitly off the street, a vast amount of abuse stems from those that misuse their individual prescriptions or those that are diverted from someone close to them.
Because of this, some individuals in recovery may yet have easier access to their former drugs of abuse after they finish treatment. Though every former user—no matter how they obtained their drugs, needs continued support—these individuals may stand to gain even further benefit from support groups. Through these groups, as they are strengthened and informed in both coping skills and tactics that can be necessary in combating this accessibility, members can learn how to protect their drug-free lives.
Recovery Is A Journey
Sobriety is not a definitive point, rather it is an ongoing goal. A person’s pursuit of sobriety doesn’t end merely the moment they become abstinent—instead, it reaches outwards into their life for the long term, as they strive towards maintaining a drug-free life. The truth is, relapse is an ever-present concern. Relapse happens—this is a truth both a newly recovered and more established person in recovery need to be consistently mindful of, in a capacity that embodies a proactive approach to reinvesting and nurturing their sobriety.
Staying Engaged And Focused On Your Recovery Goals
Recovery falters in a state of inactivity, in a way that jeopardizes a person’s sobriety, putting them at high risk for relapse. To counteract this, a person needs to remain focused and invested in their recovery. Today, there exists a variety of support groups, in various formats, that are geared towards helping individuals recovering from prescription drug abuse in staying constant within their recovery. Recovery support groups both engage and encourage individuals within this ongoing process.
12-Step Style Programs
These groups may be faith-based or secular, structured within a 12-step format or other, non-12-step structure or focused only on prescription drug abuse or open to individuals recovering from all drugs of abuse. These options allow for each person to choose a group that will best serve their unique needs, perspectives and life path. In addition, there are also support groups for the loved ones of these individuals, further creating a cohesive environment of proactive responsibility and positive connection. In order to help you formulate a plan, we’ve compiled brief descriptions of various programs that you may find helpful during this time.
The following are programs that employ a 12-step format within their groups:
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) — Though individuals suffering from an alcohol addiction may attend, these 12-step meetings are for individuals currently addicted to, or in recovery from other addictive substances, including prescription drugs. A counterpart to Alcoholics Anonymous, this organization adheres to the same Twelve Steps. An excerpt from their cornerstone text, Narcotics Anonymous, succinctly sums up the group’s purpose, stating “NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.”
These groups begin with everyone introducing themselves and offer opportunities for individuals to share their unique journeys with addiction. A new member will also have the chance to take a sponsor—a person who has successfully overcome addiction and established a stable recovery. The group encourages a reliance on a higher power, suggesting that individuals are not strong enough to find success in recovery alone, while encouraging increased measures of self-love, self-care, introspection and the necessity of making amends.
Pills Anonymous (PA) — Very similar in format and approach to the above, this free support group is designed specifically for those who have struggled with pill abuse or addiction. This focus gives members a unique opportunity that ensures they speak to people who have a greater likelihood of shared experiences, some of which may be very specific to pill abuse, such as abusing one’s own prescription to the point of addiction.
Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) — Also based on the Twelve Steps, this group acknowledges and focuses on the fact that many addicted individuals suffer from a dual diagnosis that may have pushed a person to abuse pills or accelerated their addiction after it began. They seek to help people protect themselves from relapse by “reducing the symptoms of our emotional or psychiatric illness.” Why is this? In answer, they explain that “Both illnesses affect us in all areas of our lives; physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.”
Within this group, they encourage outreach so that members can build a stronger foundation and support network that can enhance their recovery. While they do not advise members on specific treatments for their dual diagnosis concerns, they do offer a “spiritual dimension” and the opportunity to connect to other people as a means to learn accountability and coping skills from their experiences.
Non 12-Step And Other Program Formats
The following programs do not adhere to 12-step formats, rather each may have a structure that is unique to their organization or group:
SMART Recovery — This international group offers a science-based approach to help a person find and/or maintain their recovery in a proactive and self-directed way, while learning “self-empowerment and self-reliance.” Through the aid of various tools and techniques, the SMART Recovery 4-Point Program helps a member to: develop a more constant state of motivation, learn to cope with cravings, balance their emotional and mental states against their actions and create a more balanced and healthy life.
This organization believes that members can salvage the positive aspects of their life and learn to live in a more fulfilling way. To encourage this, they are continuously educating during their group meetings and constantly updating their information to keep up with current addiction and recovery research. Lastly, they do support mental health care and the use of prescribed medications in certain instances.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) — This anonymous, secular group has meetings throughout the world. They focus on research-based information, and “respect diversity, welcome healthy skepticism, and encourage rational thinking, as well as the expression of feelings.” They strive to remain separate from outside controversies and remain independent by relying on group contributions to continue. This group is based on self-help, in that it encourages abstinence, self-actualization and development, aided by the relationships and stories you are privy to within the meetings. They assert that “Honest, clear, and direct communication of feelings, thoughts, and knowledge aids in recovery and in choosing nondestructive, non-delusional, and rational approaches to living sober and rewarding lives.”
LifeRing Recovery — This abstinence-based group also has worldwide meetings. Their outreach is based off of peer-to-peer support that utilizes the strength and direction gleaned from member’s personal journeys through abuse and addiction into recovery. In sum, as explained on their website, “Our approach is based on developing, refining, and sharing our own personal strategies for continued abstinence and crafting a rewarding life in recovery. In short, we are sober, secular, and self-directed.” To do this, they stress the the “3-S” Philosophy; three fundamental principles that guide their meetings and member’s recovery journeys: Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help.
They focus on two aspects of a person’s journey or perspective, in offering their belief that each person has a Sober Self and an Addict Self that conflict, creating what could be a dangerous situation without the proper support and direction. It is by connecting with the Sober Self of other members that a person may become self-empowered to overcome the temptations and negativity of their Addict Self, thus maintaining abstinence.
Support For The Individual In Recovery And Their Family
Certain factors may be present in both the addicted individual and their family. This includes codependency, a harmful pattern of enabling behavior that is often present within relationships where one member (or both) suffer from addiction. Essentially, codependency exists when one, or both parties depend on these patterns of unhealthy behaviors that are present within an addiction to create a sense of self-worth or self-fulfillment. Even after sobriety, these patterns may still be present. Because of this, a support group has been created to help these individuals thrive and regain a balanced life.
Co-Dependents Anonymous — This group helps members find freedom, develop better aspects of self-care and establish more fully developed boundaries—all of which may have fell to the wayside in the height of an addiction. This group also utilizes a 12-step format. These and various principles help members overcome negative and compulsive behaviors, specifically, certain harmful patterns, including: denial, low self-esteem, compliance, control, and avoidance patterns.
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Helping You To Heal And Support Your Loved One
The stark truth is that drug abuse and addiction does not affect only the individual who uses—a user’s loved ones also suffer at the hand of these addictive substances, experiencing changed and damaged lives, a host of negative or confusing emotions and lingering doubts. Often, these elements are set against a backdrop of hope, the desire to learn how to best support their loved one within their recovery journey and a need to heal their own emotional and mental wounds incurred from the toxic situation. Because of this, support groups exist to help these people.
This benefit is twofold; first, the family member can learn important skills to help them better deal with their loved one’s addiction and recovery. Secondly, they may also learn coping skills and support methods that will help them engage their loved one better as they transverse the landscape of their recovery, so they can more fully help their addicted family member. Examples include:
Nar-Anon — Like Narcotics Anonymous, this program stresses that it is spiritual in nature and not religious. It also follows a 12-step format—family members within the program work through the Twelve Steps of Nar-Anon, in order to better help them overcome their experiences with a loved one’s drug abuse. Within these meetings you may develop your hope and perspective by connecting to others with shared experiences and lives altered by these types of addiction. This link is a good resource to help you determine if these groups may be a good fit for you.
Adult Children of Alcoholics — Contrary to what you might think, this program is not just for children of alcoholics. Instead, as explained by their site, it is also for anyone from a “dysfunctional household,” who has found their adult life transformed by their experiences as a child of an addicted individual. This group will help you to better overcome the ways these happenings may have shaped how you live your life, relate to other people or struggle with addiction as well.
It can be exceedingly difficult for many individuals to create this positive and active mindset on their own; fortunately, there are resources existing to help combat this that engage and support individuals and their families during this critical time. You don’t have to commit to the first group you go to; rather, we recommend that you take your time in deciding and even visit several groups before you decide which one is the best fit for you.
Let Us Offer You Further Support
At The Treehouse we want you to have every opportunity to become whole again and forge a more balanced and drug-free life. We know this isn’t always easy, which is why our compassionate staff is eager to speak to you. We can help you further develop a plan for sobriety or enhance your current recovery goals. Contact us today and take control of your life.