Can You Be in Narcotics Anonymous While You’re Taking Methadone?
Narcotics Anonymous is one of the most common community and peer based drug treatment programs. It is based off the philosophy that the only way to succeed is through abstinence from all drugs. Narcotics Anonymous is a completely free program that accepts almost all people based off the belief that everyone can get off drugs through their program and by following the 12 steps. Like almost all 12 step programs there are aspects of community involvement and spirituality.
Methadone is a drug replacement therapy. It stops opiate and opioid cravings and helps a person recover from addiction while still treating the symptoms of withdrawal. Some Narcotics Anonymous groups view this as a violation of their policy of abstinence from drugs. It is important to recognize the problems with attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings while on methadone.
What are the Rules of Narcotics Anonymous?
Although there are no official rules of narcotics anonymous, there are some unwritten rules. These unwritten rules govern many of the meetings and organization events. The rules boil down to follow the program, be polite, and it is an anonymous program. These rules change depending on the different groups. Each group is capable of developing their own rules. It is important to ask about general rules when you first join a specific group. Some groups allow a recovering addict to use medications to help treat the addiction. Other groups do not want anyone using while they are participating in the program.
Since each group is independent of the whole movement and the only hard and fast rule is to remain anonymous, each group has their own agenda. Most are extremely welcoming to newcomers even though they might not like it if you use methadone as a form of treatment.
Methadone and Narcotics Anonymous as Part of Methadone Treatment
Narcotics Anonymous is extremely popular because it works. There are thousands of people who get off and remain off narcotics due to the Narcotics Anonymous program. It is little wonder why many people wish to join Narcotics Anonymous as part of their treatment program. The problem lies in the overall philosophy of this program and the fact that methadone is a drug. Methadone is an opiate as well as a treatment protocol for opiate addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone treats opiate and opioid cravings as well as the chronic pain that often prompts opiate abuse. This makes it a very viable treatment for narcotic addiction. It also makes it very easy to abuse. Many people who use methadone as a treatment for drug addiction wind up addicted to it.
When Methadone use is not okay in Narcotics Anonymous
Although some groups accept methadone use as a part of treatment, some people become addicted to methadone and have the same issues that they did before. It is important to recognize if your problem is with methadone you should stop using it to be in Narcotics Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous is against abusing drugs first. If someone is abusing a drug, they need to be clean in order to reap the full benefits of the program.
Those that have already stopped using understand what it is like to use drugs and be controlled by them. One of the primary beliefs of Narcotics Anonymous is that everyone needs to be clean. This is how the program works. If you are experiencing the same issues with methadone as you did with other opiates then the program is not going to work.
In order to complete the program you need to be off the methadone. It is one of the final steps to it. There is a chance the program will not work for you if you do not follow all of the steps of the program. Following these steps is impossible while still on methadone.
What to do if you are Using Methadone and Wish to Attend Narcotics Anonymous Meetings
When you choose to use methadone as a drug replacement, it does not exclude you from attending Narcotics Anonymous Meetings. Depending on the group there are a few things you should keep in mind. These are:
- Understand that many Narcotics Anonymous members have a very staunch belief that no one should be using.
- Know that some members might have issues with you using methadone as a replacement drug.
- Some meetings encourage only listening and speaking with other members only when there is a break. This is because using methadone might confuse new members.
- Sharing is not allowed if you are under the influence of drugs, methadone is a drug.
Although these may seem unfair there are reasons behind it. Some of those reasons are because of new members while others are because of the strength it takes for someone to quit without methadone. Whether you share about the methadone use or not is your choice.
Quitting Methadone to Complete an Narcotics Anonymous Program
Although some groups frown on the use of methadone while you are in the Narcotics Anonymous programs, others do not. It is important to find a group that does not think that the use of methadone is a form of drug abuse. If abstinence is not possible, then methadone can help. It is important to utilize all of the tools available. Although the first group that you find might not be conducive to you using methadone to remain off the opiate you are addicted to, there are others that can help.