There are many different groups, organizations, and nonprofit charities that focus on helping people recover from substance abuse and addiction. One of these programs, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), not only provides support for adults but also for teenagers. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and AA both help teenagers who may feel like they have no one who can understand what they’re going through. Teen NA and AA meetings are very helpful for young people suffering from addiction because the programs show them that they’re not alone and that other people also deal with addiction issues.
The 12 step program has been used by millions of people around the world for several decades. More recently there has been a focus on teenagers and AA and NA support groups have become an important tool for them. Although not many people know, AA and NA support groups work with young adults who have succumbed to drugs and alcohol by using a modified version of the 12 step process.
This article is about Teen NA and AA. The article mentions a study which found that teenagers who attend NA or AA meetings following in-patient substance addiction treatment are much more likely to stay in long-term recovery. The study followed 160 teenagers who underwent inpatient treatment for substance abuse for about a month. Following treatment, the teenagers were referred to AA or NA meetings at discharge. The study found that those who attended AA or NA meetings within six months after treatment were more likely to remain sober than those who did not. The best results were seen with the teenagers who continued attending meetings over the entire eight year study period. According to the article, “During the first 6 months of recovery, study participants who went to one to two meetings a week fared better in the long run than those who passed on AA/NA altogether. A threshold of three meetings each week was associated with complete abstinence during the study period.”
It’s obvious from the article that NA and AA support groups are highly beneficial for teenagers. Although three meetings a week is a good number to aim for, most addiction experts recommend “90 meetings in 90 days.” It’s recommended that anyone attending AA or NA make as many meetings as possible.
Teenagers are very dependent on their own social structures and they need their friends to support them as much as possible. This article cites another study involving teens and their AA and NA participation. The study found that teens are much more dependent on their social environment and their friendships than their adult counterparts. Teenagers may be more susceptible to peer pressure, but they’re also more likely to rely on their support groups and the sober friends they’ve met. The support groups NA and AA also connect teenagers with a sober mentor, who acts as the teen’s sponsor. The sponsor has usually been sober for a while and they have the experience to advise others on how to stay sober.
According to the Associate Director for the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital John F. Kelly, “These findings support the common clinical recommendation that individuals should ‘go to meetings, get a sponsor, and get active’. This is the first evidence to support this common clinical recommendation among young people.” AA and NA groups, meetings, mentorship, and even participation are great options for teens battling substance abuse and addiction. Although there is never any guarantee that anyone will remain clean and sober, AA and NA support groups can have a positive impact on anyone who attends.