NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS – HELPING ADDICTS GET CLEAN SINCE 1953
Narcotics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of recovering addicts whose primary purpose is to help addicts stop using drugs by utilizing a twelve step approach. NA is not a religious organization and does not require any particular belief system. It teaches basic spiritual principles such as honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, to name a few. The specific practical application of these principles is determined by the individual member.
NA members learn from one another how to live drug-free and recover from the effects of addiction. Although not associated with any religion, political group, organization, or institution, NA cooperates with professionals and the public by providing information about the fellowship.
Membership is open to all drug addicts, regardless of the particular drug or combination of drugs used. Narcotics Anonymous provides a recovery process and peer support network that are linked together. One of the keys to NA’s success is the therapeutic value of addicts working with other addicts. Members share their successes and challenges in overcoming active addiction and living drug-free, productive lives through the application of the principles contained within the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of NA.
There are no social, religious, economic, racial, ethnic, national, gender, or class-status membership restrictions. There are no dues or fees for membership; most members regularly contribute in meetings to help cover the expenses incurred for the rent of facility space.
Narcotics Anonymous is not affiliated with other organizations, including other twelve step programs, treatment centers, or correctional facilities. As an organization, NA does not employ professional counselors or therapists nor does it provide residential facilities or clinics. Additionally, the fellowship does not offer vocational, legal, financial, psychiatric, or medical services. NA has only one mission: to provide an environment in which addicts can help one another stop using drugs and find a new way to live.
Narcotics Anonymous sprang from the Alcoholics Anonymous Program of the late 1940s, with NA meetings first emerging in the Los Angeles area of California, USA, in the early 1950s. The NA program started as a small US organization that has grown into one of the world’s oldest and largest international organizations of its type. For many years, NA grew very slowly, spreading from Los Angeles to other major North American cities and Australia in the early 1970s. Within a few years, groups had formed in Brazil, Colombia, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and Great Britain. In 1983, Narcotics Anonymous published its self-titled Basic Text book, which contributed to NA’s tremendous growth; by year’s end, NA had grown to have a presence in more than a dozen countries and had 2,966 meetings worldwide.
Today, Narcotics Anonymous is well established throughout much of North and South America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Russia. Groups and NA communities continue to grow and evolve throughout the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Asia. Today the organization is truly a worldwide multilingual, multicultural fellowship with more than 63,000 weekly meetings in 132 countries. Narcotics Anonymous books and information pamphlets are currently available in 45 languages, with translations in process for 16 languages.*
*As of May 2014.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS?
Many people are familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) The main difference between A.A. and Narcotics Anonymous is that A.A. is available to alcoholics who are looking to stay sober and N.A. focuses on recovery from drug addiction. It is important to understand, though, that N.A. recognizes alcohol as a drug. Narcotics Anonymous encourages its members to remain abstinent from all drugs – this includes alcohol.
WHO IS AN ADDICT?
Narcotics Anonymous is a program designed for addicts seeking recovery from drug addiction. Not sure if you are an addict? Here is what N.A. has to say on the subject when it comes to who is an addict:
“Most of us do not have to think twice about this question. WE KNOW! Our whole life and thinking was centered in drugs in one form or another – the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. We lived to use and used to live. Very simply, an addict is a man or woman whose life is controlled by drugs. We are people in the grip of a continuing and progressive illness whose ends are always the same: jails, institutions, and death,” (Narcotics Anonymous, “Basic Text,” p. 3)
After reading this excerpt from the N.A. Basic Text, can you relate? If so, N.A. might be the place for you!
WHAT IS THE NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS PROGRAM?
Rather than elaborate on our understanding of the N.A. program, we decided it would be best to let Narcotics Anonymous speak for itself. Here is an excerpt taken from the N.A. Basic Text, which is a book written by addicts for addicts:
“N.A. is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using. We suggest that you keep an open mind and give yourself a break. Our program is a set of principles written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives. The most important thing about them is that they work.
“There are no strings attached to N.A. We are not affiliated with any other organizations, we have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone. We are not connected with any political, religious, or law enforcement groups, and are under no surveillance at any time. Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion, or lack of religion.
“We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only what you want to do about your problem and how we can help. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away. We have learned from our group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean,” (Narcotics Anonymous, “Basic Text,” p. 9).