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I attended my Community Support Group meeting at Lindner Center of Hope in Mason OH on Sunday March 24, 2013, the meeting started at 4pm. The group that I participated in is Self-Management and Recovery Training (S.M.A.R.T.) I was asked to sign in at the receptionist and escorted upstairs to conference room. When I got to the conference room, I was greeted by the facilitator, Phil Stern and I introduced myself to him as student observer from Miami University Nursing. There were twenty (20) participants, nine (9) were women from the age of about 23 years to 50 years and the rest were men from mid-twenties to about 60 years old. The meeting began by Phil reading the agenda for the meeting. He also explained to us that SMART does not take any position on higher power, does not approve or disapprove the notion that addiction is a disease. He then stated that SMART is a voluntary, non-profit, science based organization. SMART does not take any political position, does not solicit for funds but donations will not be rejected. During the current news session of the meeting, one participant stated that she saw on the news a study going on about what role genes play in addiction and how to cure addiction. Others also stated that there are some other research looking at the depression and its role of causing addiction. One participant also talked about the origin of the word sobriety, which means calm in ancient Greek era. After the news section, Phil led the Check-in process. This where they ask each person if they have something to say. Though I chose not to say anything, most of the people talked. Some of the issue they brought ranges from family vacation to messy divorce. For example one of participant talked about how his ex-wife will not let him see their kids and it was driving him crazy. One thing I noticed is that the participants did not introduced themselves as addicts but

rather they introduced themselves as having alcohol, or drug problem. The participants were addicted and abuse alcohol, pain killers, heroin, opium, others were suffering from anxiety and depression. Phil then led the group to discuss the SMART recovery 4 -Point program. The four (4) points are: i. ii. iii. iv. Building and maintaining motivation Coping with urges Managing thoughts Living a balance life.

Phil took his time and explain each point and how the participants can accomplish those goals on the SMART 4 Point program. For instance, he told the participants than the first step to wean oneself from addiction is to build and maintain motivation. To do this participants need to engage in activities that takes their mind of alcohol or drugs, also they something, no matter how small, they should be proud of themselves. My impression of the group was that there were more participants in this group than AA. Some of the participants seemed uncomfortable and unease. Phil was knowledgeable and was in control of the meeting throughout the time. There were participants who seemed like they were under influence of drug or alcohol during the session. Since I attended AA meeting before going to the SMART meeting, I did not expect to see that many participants attending the meeting. The participants were mainly minding their business, only a few of them talked. Unlike A.A which is only for alcohol addiction, this group was more of general addiction. The group and the format of the meeting was exactly what I expected. are able to accomplish

My understanding of group development, effectiveness and dynamics, is that the groups main objective is to help people get rid of their addictive behaviors. They did this through sharing of experiences, how they overcame addiction and instill hope in each other by encouraging them that they are not alone in their situation. For example one of the members of the group mentioned that he felt like he was the worst loser and pathetic person but when he started coming to the group meetings, he realized that he was not alone and others have had worst situations, which encouraged him to stay sober. The group also exhibited an identification in a positive manner. For example, one of the group members mentioned that he is beginning to reject labels people give him because of his addiction, he began telling himself that he only has addiction problem. That really sank with me and my understanding of stigma attached to addiction. One other Yaloms curative factor (Kneisl, 2013) exhibited in the group is hope, for instance, Phil encouraged the group members that, as long as they keep attending meetings and following SMARTs four point program, they can break their addiction. Interpersonal learning was also exhibited in the group by people praising those who stayed sober for longer time without relapse. The group focused more on educating the members and also the family members who came to support their love ones about addiction and some of the things that can lead to addiction. A participant mentioned that, he was a basketball player and when he got injured, his doctor provided him narcotic pain killer. Once he was okay, he went back to the doctor and the doctor kept prescribing the same narcotic pain killer to him. His point was one can challenge their doctor if the doctor is leading you to addictiveness. Many of the participants mentioned that they became addicted through prescription drugs. To me not only the group was very educative about the subject of addiction, they provided me with another cause of addiction which I have not

thought about. One member of the group, Brian brought her mother to the meeting and after the meeting she said the group has helped her tremendously to understand the pain and suffering her son was going through. Coming to the meeting helped her learn how to better support her son. The group also provided information about other support groups besides themselves and where one can attend a group meeting, although they do not provide financial support. Attending this group meeting has helped me tremendously in my understanding of people who have addiction issues. For example the group thought me what factors can lead to substance or alcohol addiction. Many of the group members mentioned that, once they get depressed, the only way to feel better is either drink alcohol or take illegal drugs. I also learned that depression can lead to drug or alcohol addiction easily. As a future practice nurse, I will educate my patients on how prescription drugs can lead to drug abuse and addiction. In my Ghanaian community, because of stigma that is attached to mental illness, many people suffers from mental disease but they dont admit it and they depend on alcohol or drugs to ease their pain. This group meeting has given me insight on how to educate people on addictions. At the meeting, i learned about other resources available for people who wants to stay sober from addiction, like the SMART website, AA and other support groups. In conclusion, this group meeting was very informative and educative. I believe that I can impact this knowledge to the people in the African community who has very little knowledge of mental illness, its effect on individuals and their families and how to get help.

Reference(s ) 1. Kneisl, Carol & Trigoboff Eileen (2013,) Contemporary Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing . New Jersey; Pearson. 2. http://www.smartrecovery.org