DANBURY, Conn. -- When Linda began going to a Nar-Anon support group, her life changed dramatically -- so much, in fact, that she decided to start a group closer to her home in Danbury.
The Danbury Nar-Anon meetings are now up and running. They meet in the Community Room at St. Gregory The Great Church on 85 Great Plain Road on Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m.
At every meeting, "we hear from other people just like ourselves, share our experiences of strength and hope they can help us in how we are feeling in dealing with the addict in our own lives," she said. "We learn that we are completely powerless over the addict."
Meetings are open to adults partners, spouses, parents, siblings and friends of those who are affected by someone else's addiction.
Nar-Anon is a fellowship with groups all over the world. Previously, the closest location of Nar-Anon was in Brewster, N.Y., according to Linda.
There are no dues or fees to join. Donations are accepted and go toward rent for the meeting space and the purchase of literature handed out at meetings.
There is no commitment. "We welcome anybody and everybody whenever they want to walk through that door," said Maxine, the outreach chairperson for the New England region of Nar-Anon, which consists of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
According to Linda, the Nar-Anon guidance of philosophy is based on the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Nar-Anon is an offshoot of Narcotics Anonymous.
Those who attend Nar-Anon meetings will find they are not alone. "That is the key thing. There are others who will understand exactly what they are going through.
"We learn that drug addiction is a disease, and we aren't responsible for that. The drug addict needs help — and so do we."
At the meetings, participants will find understanding, love and hope, Linda said. "People in the group usually have similar experiences and feel the same hurt and anger and anxiety, and to share these feelings with people who understand this is very, very comfortable.
"There are no experts, we don't disperse any advice. Folks are not expected to speak, there is no pressure," she said.
There are many advantages of handling problems as part of a group
"Being alone usually creates a great deal of isolation and anger, hurt and anxiety, which might never disappear if it's not shared and changed," Linda said. "If I am thinking only within my own frame of reference, I will come up with the same solution and nothing will ever change for me. But if I get to hear the experiences of strength and hope from others I might find a different way of looking at things."
Maxine said when she first came into Nar-Anon in 1986, "I wanted to fix the addict, and I stayed because I wanted to change me. It has taught me the value of life and to appreciate living in the day."
Topics addressed at the group include powerlessness, control, gratitude, hope, powerlessness, love and fear.
Linda said she has benefited in many ways. "I've been to so many meetings over the last few months, and I am amazed that every time I leave a meeting, I leave with a pearl. I now wear a strand of pearls that come from Nar-Anon. It's something I clutch and it's very dear to my heart."
Linda said she believes in the program and its values. "I am beyond grateful and that is the reason I put so much effort into building a program here in Danbury," she said.
For more information on the group, click here .