Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is a chronic brain disease, and is listed as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)….
Two widely known addiction support group meetings include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. Every individual will have different needs when it comes to his or her treatment plan and recovery process. As such, within these substance abuse support group meetings, there are specialized group meetings that take place. Some people may feel more comfortable participating in AA or NA meetings that are gender specific, some may prefer attending AA or NA meetings geared towards individuals with dual diagnoses (struggling with addiction in addition to another mental health disorder), and other people may prefer to participate in AA or NA meetings that are sensitive to some other self-identifying trait. Regardless of one’s preference, there are countless options with which to choose.
Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, is an international, nonprofit organization that was founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith. AA is a mutual aid fellowship consisting of men and women who have had a drinking problem. There are no age or education requirements. The sole membership requirement is to have a desire to stop drinking. According to Alcoholics Anonymous traditions, its purpose is to enable its members to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” AA is based on achieving personal recovery from the effects of alcoholism by utilizing the Twelve Steps.
The format of Alcoholics Anonymous enables individuals to share their experiences with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem. Members of AA often select a sponsor (an individual in recovery) to provide support and help work through the Twelve Steps. AA meetings are typically discussion based and consist of a facilitator who provides the discussion topic. AA meetings provide a platform for individuals to discuss the work they have accomplished, work they are about to embark upon, and listen to others experiences. There are open meetings and closed meetings. Anyone may attend an open AA meeting (i.e. loved one of someone struggling with alcoholism, individuals interested in the group…etc.), while closed meetings are only for recovering alcoholics.
Narcotics Anonymous, NA, is much like AA as it is a nonprofit, international organization that also follows the Twelve Step model of recovery. Jimmy Kinnon founded NA in 1953, in Los Angeles, California. It was developed directly in response to the success of Alcoholics Anonymous. NA recognizes the prevalence of poly-substance dependence and furthermore does not make any distinction between any types of drug (including alcohol), as NA welcomes any addict who wants to recover. Narcotics Anonymous define themselves as a “fellowship of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem.” NA is not religiously affiliated, but rather is grounded in spirituality. There are no age or educational requirements to becoming a member of NA. Narcotics Anonymous meetings are held in an open meeting format or a closed meeting format. Open meetings welcome anyone who is interested in NA, friend’s and/ or family members of individuals in NA, and are basically open to the general public, whereas closed meetings are intended only for recovering addicts.
There are a plethora of options when it comes to available NA and AA meetings. Identifying which meeting or meetings to attend may seem challenging, but it does not have to be. Here are several options of local women only meetings held in Los Angeles to help get you started:
- Narcotics Anonymous Meetings
- Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
It is important to note that there may be some meetings that do not necessarily resonate with you. Due to the fact that there are so many options, do not feel like you must stick with a meeting that does not jive with you, rather continue to attend different meetings until you find one or more that best fit your unique needs.
Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous.
If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction.
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