With two weeks left in National Recovery Month, the Sun spoke with an area resident about her experiences with Narcotics Anonymous, how she found hope and why she thinks more people should get involved in its 12-step program.
Rebecca — a pseudonym adopted to maintain anonymity in the spirit of the program — is a recovering addict. She’s been sober for 16 years and now lives happily in west Kentucky.
When she became involved in NA, the program made a big difference in her life.
“First of all, it allowed me to become clean and stop using and abusing all types of drugs — including alcohol,” she said. “I was also able to go back to college and get a degree and work on my relationships with my friends and family, which was rough. I now have a career related to my degree and it’s helped me to get more out of myself and think about other people who really care.”
NA, Rebecca said, provided her with a sense of community.
“That’s one of the biggest benefits of NA, the way that we all really care about each other. There’s a bond there and it’s so supportive,” Rebecca said. “Coming in, we know that every other member has been through rough times. The only requirement is that somebody wants to stop using, and we don’t want to know any other details except what we can do to help you.
“A hand is always out there. A lot of people say that NA’s their family.”
There are a number of regular Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Paducah:
• Clean and Serene, an open discussion group, meets at 6 p.m. Sundays and Thursdays at Trinity United Methodist Church.
• Sanity at Noon meets at First Presbyterian Church noon on weekdays.
• How It Works meets at 23 Park Road at 6:30 p.m. Mondays.
• Kicking Addiction meets at 6 p.m. Tuesdays at Trinity United Methodist Church.
• The Real Deal meets at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at 23 Park Road.
A full list of area meetings in west Kentucky can be found attached to the online version of this story.
Aside from in-person meetings, people can participate in statewide Zoom call meetings at 5 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. That Zoom number is 721-506-8827.
For more information or to get in touch with local NA meeting leaders, people can call the Bluegrass-Appalachian Region of Narcotics Anonymous helpline at 833-625-3688.
Other programs and resources for substance abuse recovery can be found at www.recoverymonth.org.
Now a veteran of the program, Rebecca has served as a sponsor to several women that have been involved in the group and she likes to think she’s made a positive impact in their lives, like her sponsor has in hers.
“My sponsor is there for me to help or share her experience, strength and hope — the experiences she’s been through, what gave her strength in those times and hope for the future,” she said. “It’s awesome as a sponsor to get to see other people grow and build the relationships back up with their family or get a job or go back to school.
“It’s wonderful to get to watch somebody go through those changes and to feel better about themselves.”
If Rebecca had the chance to say something to an addict in hope of recovering, she would tell them there’s hope and there are people here, locally, who want to help.
“The program will work for them. Life is worth living. So often when we get caught up in drug abuse the depression pulls us down and it’s hard to hang on to that hope,” she said. “I want them to know that if they make that initial contact, whoever it is that comes to help them out will go to the max to help them. If they really want to be clean, people are here to help them. They are not alone.”