Presentation on Narcotics Anonymous

This was given at the ‘Power of Peer Work’ Community Forum 22 Apr 15. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of the man who delivered the presentation but perhaps somebody who reads this can update me on this!

My notes from the presentation can be found here Narcotics Anonymous – The Fellowship.

In summary, one of the strengths of the 12 Step Fellowship is seen to be in the diversity of the membership – everyone can find within the walls people ‘like them’.

How does the Fellowship work?
• There are no leaders
• Recovery starts with the individual
• Start with home group: group opinion re what should happen urgently; moves on up the structure
• Entirely self-supporting: this is the reason why there is no data on effectiveness. This is part of the deal with anonymity.
• 12 Steps are a personal framework of how to look at your life (‘not kill yourself’)
• 12 Traditions as to how you might like to interact with the rest of the world (‘not kill others’)
• Everyone has a sponsor who is there to hear/ be told anything.

The presenter then gave a quick overview of both the 12 Steps & the 12 Traditions.
Incidentally, the word ‘addiction’ originates from Latin and means ‘enslaved’. “The substance is the master, we’re the servant.”

Tens of millions of people have/ are successfully engaged with this Fellowship.

Presentation on SMART groups (Self-management & recovery training)

This was a presentation I attended last month in which we heard from Palmerston workers who are running these SMART recovery groups which, incidentally, are co-facilitated by Peer Support Workers. They are designed to give people a toolbox of strategies to achieve their goals whether this include abstinence or control over their use.

My notes for this session can be accessed here SMART presentation_Self-management & recovery training and give some specific guidance for groups, although training is required to run them.

It was emphasised that these are not therapy groups, they are self-help and are based on four principles:
• Building/ maintaining motivation
• Dealing with urges/ cravings
• Problem-solving
• Lifestyle balance

When people stop engaging in addictive behaviours it can leave a big space; the program helps people create meaningful lives with achievable goals. The SMART acronym is also used in relation to goal devt ie goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable (also ‘adaptable’), realistic & time-framed.

The SMART group concept is based on ACT which is in turn based on CBT ie based on ‘doing’ things and on challenging and changing unhelpful thoughts. The focus at a SMART meeting, which ideally only has 4 – 8 participants, is very much on the ‘here and now’. Facilitators use a seven day focus – what’s worked/ not worked and support the person to make a plan for next 7 days. The approach is strongly strengths-based, looking at what works, and reinforces that people are responsible for their own goals hence move at their own pace.

Power of Peer Work – Margaret Doherty presentation 22Apr15

Here are my notes from a presentation that Margaret gave at a day entitled “The Power of Peer Work” held in Perth, W.A. on 22/4/15.
Power of Peer Work – Margaret Doherty

In this presentation Margaret outlines the nature, intent and ongoing work of MHM2, the peer organisation she founded in 2010 which is primarily focused on systemic action & advocacy. Already there are more than 600 members & supporters who are working to assist people with multiple unmet needs & their families & wider networks.

Margaret and her team run the organisation on a volunteer basis as they have no core funding. Despite this they offer advocacy, including court attendance and the like; scholarships for education and training and participation on Steering Groups as they all have recent, relevant lived experience.

They developed a Framework of Values underpinned by critical reflection which can be summarised by ‘advocacy that is
• Gracious
• Hopeful
• Just
• Informed
• Resolute’

More detail can be found in my notes.

Margaret exhorts us all “if you don’t know what to do just do something”, citing principles of justice, encouraging every one of us to get into movement.