New Nar-Anon Group Formed on Cape

heroin02SOUTH YARMOUTH – A new support group for family or friends of people addicted to narcotics starts this week in South Yarmouth.

The Cape’s first Nar-Anon Family Group will meet every Friday at 6 PM at Saint David’s Episcopal Church. The church is on 205 Old Main Street in South Yarmouth.

The first meeting is Friday, September 5.

Three or four people started the group including a Cape woman named Linda. She asked that her last name not be used in order to honor the group’s philosophy of anonymity.

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Nar-Anon is a 12-step program that offers recovery and support for family and friends of addicts.

Linda, like others in the group, has a family member who suffers from addiction. In her case, it is her son who has been struggling for three years with addiction.

Linda explained, “It’s for people like myself who have feelings of desperation due to the addiction problem of someone I love.”

Like other 12 step programs, the new Nar-Anon group, Linda said, will use the premise that by taking actions, “by showing your hope, strength and experience” and sharing that with other people in the same situation, it will get better. “It is a family disease,” she said.

There are over 2,000 Nar-Anon groups across the nation and internationally, including eight in Massachusetts.

Linda said she felt a group was needed locally. “I know many people who have loved ones, whether it is their children or significant other who really need this program,” she said.

The rise of opiate use on the Cape contributed to the need for the group, Linda said. “Treatment is usually 30 days. . . . This is for people to cope on a daily basis,” she said.

Linda said that the friends and family of addicts have specific needs.

“When people are going through this, they feel isolated. They don’t feel like their family understands them. It can seem like you’re enabling the addicts,” she said.

Linda said the program does not follow a specific religion but it is spiritual. “It’s a spiritual program that suggests a loving, higher power that will guide the members down the path of recovery,” she said.

Linda described how the meeting can help someone with an addict in their life.

“You come in pretty broken, hurt, disappointed. You’re trying to fix that person you love. It’s really an inside job. It’s you having to change. From my own experience, I did a lot of enabling, trying to help. . . .They have to find their way,” she said.

She said the program focuses on the family or friend and their needs. “It comes down to the addict has to take responsibility. For a person like myself, it’s for me to take responsibility for my life. My son became obsessed with drug addiction and I became obsessed with trying to save him,” she said.