Every Thursday at 6 p.m. a group gathers in the St. Francis Conference Room at 294 Center Street , on St. Joseph Healthcare’s Bangor campus.
The members come together for the same reason — with hope and intent to help others as they help themselves. This group of incredible people are givers, survivors, and care givers. They also worry, and are filled with a mix of fear and hope for their loved ones.
This is Nar-Anon.
From the Nar-Anon website:
The Nar-Anon Family Groups is primarily for those who know or have known a feeling of desperation concerning the addiction problem of someone very near to you. We have traveled that unhappy road too, and found the answer with serenity and peace of mind.
When you come into the family group, you are no longer alone, but among true friends who understand your problem as few others could. We respect your confidence and anonymity as we know you will respect ours. We hope to give you the assurance that no situation is too difficult and no unhappiness is too great to be overcome.
Kim is the coordinator for the group that meets at St. Joe’s on Thursdays and she gives her time and attention to ensure folks have a place to meet, a safe comfortable, respectful place to come to talk, cry, ask questions, give advice, feel included, and feel less alone.
I asked Kim if she could ask the group to send me a few personal thoughts that I might be able to use for a blog – in hopes of spreading the word and helping others.
Here were some of the responses:
– NarAnon helps me understand about addiction, and how to take care of myself.
– NarAnon is a safe place where I am surrounded by supportive people who understand. It’s priceless to have people I can be completely honest with without any fear of judgement.
-NarAnon has helped me focus on myself. I’ve learned how to remove myself from their (addicts) dysfunctional behaviors so I can be okay, even when my loved on is not.
-NarAnon helps me to focus on my own life and the things that I can control, rather than worrying about the addict. I am fortunate to have friends and family that are supportive of me, yet they do not understand the disease of addiction like my NarAnon family does. This is a safe space for me to cry, vent all my frustrations, and celebrate progress, no matter how small. In the insanity that is addiction, these people keep me sane.
-When I came to NarAnon, I was unaware of how ‘sick’ I was as a result of having a loved one with this disease. Though my motive at first might have been to save the addict, I now realize I only have control over my own life. I’m learning how to let go of those things and people I have no control over, and am learning how to be at peace with myself, whether the addict is using or not. It’s too hard to do alone. …I need these wonderful people in my life to help me!
Here is a paragraph from the book this group keeps and shares that sums it up:
In our despair, we have searched for an answer.
We come to NarAnon because we are burdened with responsibilities and feel that we are alone.
We come here to change the behavior of the addict but soon find that it is our own thinking and attitude that must be changed if we are to have relief.
We find people in NarAnon who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us.
In NarAnon, we learn how to live one day at a time; we stop projecting.
We learn how to deal with our feelings of fear, guilt, obsession, anxiety and denial.
We look at ourselves and put our energy where we do have some power over the choices in our own lives.
To Kim and all the ‘Kims’ out there helping their fellow neighbor, with all our hearts we thank you.
To anyone who is hurting as they watch their loved one suffer from a substance use disorder, call Kim at 356-6542 or please, come to the meeting. You will be welcomed. You will be included. You will find support.
To those out there who are in pain, we love you. We cannot change you and we need to protect ourselves to be able to help others. When in an airplane, in the event of an emergency, we are told to put our face mask on first. I love you. My face mask is on…