MESH Monday: Experience, Strength, and Hope

Melody was over 60 when she walked through the doors, shattered by the grief that addiction brought into her life. It happened the first time in her late 40s, and now she was going through it again. Addiction gripped a family member, and she could do nothing to help. Now she was the one who needed help—from a Nar-Anon support group.

The real hope Melody found was that she wasn’t the only one, and everyone kept coming back.

“You think the whole world is on your shoulders,” Melody says, “and suddenly the whole world is not on your shoulders.” In the Nar-Anon group, Melody learned to say a “we” form of the Serenity Prayer. “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change.” This made her feel like she wasn’t alone but had the support of friends and family.

Over time they see they don’t have to be angry and sad. They can keep living.

Melody was attending a meeting regularly when it came to her as a calling to start one in another part of town. “I was not going to do that!” she says. She thought about it for a couple of months. Eventually the calling took root, and Melody took steps to begin a group—MESH, Monday: Experience, Strength, & Hope, a fellowship for those affected by someone else’s addiction. This included registering as a Nar-Anon group, purchasing a kit with everything for running a meeting, and seeking advice from someone experienced with organizing a group.

An obvious need was a space to meet that was inviting with some degree of privacy. Melody turned to her Colorado Springs, Colorado, church, which provided space.

New people come in and think they can’t say anything, Melody explains. Most are angry and sad about the addicts in their lives. Over time they see they can keep living. The addicts are on their own journeys. Some addicts go into recovery, but some members of the Nar-Anon group live with the pain of their loved ones’ addiction without an end in sight. Melody says, “I have the fellowship of people who count on me and I count on them back.”

A support group offers the acceptance of friendships and the understanding that when it comes to the addictions of loved ones, “we didn’t cause it, we can’t control it, and we cannot cure it.” And with this understanding comes a better, heathier way to live.

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