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Narcotics Anonymous is a society or association of recovering addicts who possess the desire to stay clean. At the meeting, DSM IV diagnoses for Axis I included persons recovering from an exacerbation of schizophrenia, a major depressive episode or a flare-up of panic disorder. The meeting was held in a tent behind a church. The attendees included three women and eight men, all of whom were recovering addicts. Individually, I felt a little anxious given this was my first meeting and I was not sure of was to expect, except for the information I had gathered from my friends about the program. At the venue, there were people seated: some in groups talking while some seated quietly alone. I decided to take a seat close to the door just in case I wanted to quickly leave the room. The attendees sat in a circle of chairs and one woman, who I later learn was the chairperson of the meeting for the day, sat at the center of the circle. The chairperson asked everyone to join in reciting the serenity prayer, and then inquired whether there were any first timers or newcomers, in attendance who were willing to introduce themselves. Handfuls raised their hands, and were each offered an opportunity to say their names. 12-step meetings are founded on the principle confidentiality; the group has the word “anonymous” in the title. ...
During the meeting, the chairperson repeated a common 12 step saying to remind everyone of the significance of anonymity and confidentiality. The chairperson declared the step that was to be discussed, after which she read the step chapter from the book, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,”. She then asked whether anybody had any experience, hope and strength with regard to the step, which they felt like sharing. This particular section was to me the most interesting part of the meeting. It was amazing to see people share their experiences with narcotics and relating it to the step as some appeared to follow my own personal experiences. As the meeting continued, attendees started talking, each beginning by introducing themselves as "Hello, I am (first name) and I'm an addict". At the end of their talks, everybody in the room would thank them then the next person would begin speaking. After everyone had shared, the chairperson asked whether there was any announcements and then announced that it was time to say the serenity prayer. The defense mechanisms used by some of the member at the meeting included denial and reluctance to admit addiction Everyone in the meeting put their arms around one another and recited the Serenity Prayer. This marked the end of the meeting. Sharing at the meeting benefits the individuals as it gives them a chance to release tension and unburden themselves. Other participants are able to give a different viewpoint on what has been shared, making them feel more of important contributors to the meeting. The law provides for involuntary commitment for substance abusers if (1) he is dangerous to himself, herself, or others when under the influence or (2) seriously disabled. The form used to appeal that a substance
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