How to help persons achieve recovery in Twelve-Step programs.
Must people do not realize how many addicts and alcoholics have achieved recovery in Twelve-Step programs like NA and AA; doctors, unfortunately, are as unaware of this as members of the general public. We know that doctors fall short in referring patients in need of 12 step community based, peer support the suggestion to go to meetings. One problem that limits doctors’ understanding of this road to recovery is that very little research has been carried out with people who have successfully turned their lives around in the rooms. And doctors, even more so these days, are influenced by research findings.How can we turn this situation around? We need to support research that demonstrates just how successful Twelve-Step recovery is, and we need to do this in line with the high standards maintained by medical researchers. Here are some examples of areas that need to be addressed: How does prayer, as expressed in Step 11, help to relieve addicted people of craving and the risk of relapse? How can people who have been put on drugs to avoid relapse to painkillers or heroin achieve recovery through the spirituality in the fellowship? How can we show Veterans Administration programs that the growing problem of addiction among the veterans can be addressed through Twelve-Step recovery? These are just a few questions for which we need answers. This will help to get through to the medical community that they should encourage patients to start out on the path toward fellowship.
A small number of physicians have worked tirelessly to get this issue across to their colleagues, and this is illustrated by the Committees established in the two lending medical addiction organizations, the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. Dr. Marc Galanter, who chairs those Committees, and is also a Professor of Psychiatry at New York University, points out that, “We need more support for research on what 12 step recovery can do for people. With proper support, we can now apply contemporary research techniques to show the changes that take place in people who have achieved long term abstinence through working the Steps. But we don’t have the kind of public organizations that support work like this the way that the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society do for their diseases. We need this for addiction to assure that lives will be saved.”
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Disclaimer: Narcotics Anonymous is a Twelve-Step fellowship; we are a self-help recovery-oriented organization and employ no medical, legal, chemical dependency or any other types of professionals. NA is not affiliated with any other organizations and has no affiliation with this research project or McShin Foundation. For more information about the NA program, please access our website at www.na.org