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 What Is Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Image showing the purpose of the Narcotics Anonymous program.

Narcotics Anonymous, or NA, is a 12-step ongoing support network where anyone struggling with drug addiction can get help. People recovering from drug addiction can support others in making good decisions and preventing a relapse.

Every day throughout the United States and in countless other nations, NA meetings are held locally. Here, members get the support they need to overcome addiction. 

Narcotics Anonymous: Background

James Patrick Kinnon, better known by his stage name as “Jimmy K,” founded Narcotics Anonymous in 1953 in Los Angeles, California.

It was founded with the intention of aiding its members in quitting drug use. However, AA did not focus on narcotics but instead just alcohol. Kinnon was aware of the benefits a 12-step program may provide for those struggling with drug use.

More than 70,000 Narcotics Anonymous meetings took place in 144 countries in 2018. Narcotics Anonymous is open to everyone who wants to stop using drugs and other substances and lead healthier lives.

People occasionally attend NA meetings while using drugs, detoxing from drugs, or undergoing drug replacement therapy. Members of the Narcotics Anonymous group learn advanced, effective techniques to cope with drug cravings.

Narcotics Anonymous 12 Steps

The 12 steps are the foundation of the Narcotics Anonymous international organization. They provide a framework for recovery and a path to sobriety. The 12 steps are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admitted to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. We humbly ask Him to do so.
  8. We made a list of all persons we harmed and became willing to make amends to them.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, we promptly admitted it.
  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Although the 12 steps make mention of religious figures, it is not necessary to be religious to attend Narcotics Anonymous. Most references offer a generic motivation for sobriety.

Treat Drug Addiction with Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous has an impressive track record of assisting individuals in maintaining sobriety. The 12 steps provide a structure for getting well, and the program is adaptable enough to fit your needs.

Sharing one’s experiences with those who can relate to them can be helpful for people in Narcotics Anonymous. 

Additionally, they can pick up fresh coping processes and sobriety-preserving techniques. Narcotics Anonymous is a lifetime commitment, and those who regularly attend meetings are more likely to maintain sobriety. The program supports every stage of recovery and also offers advice. Assessing the effectiveness of Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programs for their participants is challenging. 

Although studies have shown that 12-step programs are successful, there is no guarantee of this because it is also difficult to quantify success in terms of precise information. Furthermore, the majority of study focuses on a particular historical period. So even if a member of Narcotics Anonymous may be sober during data collection, relapse may still happen for weeks, months, or even years afterward.

Like other rehabilitation groups, Narcotics Anonymous is effective for some people but ineffective for others. Additionally, it might momentarily function for certain folks. To effectively manage addiction, the correct tools must be found; for many, this program is one of those tools.

One of the main components of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program is the meetings. Members can discuss their issues at these frequent sessions and swap stories with others going through comparable situations. Additionally, peers can offer and receive support and encouragement from others in recovery throughout the meetings.

Narcotics Anonymous meetings provide a place for members to celebrate their recovery milestones, share their success stories and personal experiences, give advice to others, and discuss the difficulties of drug recovery.

Meetings can be open to both members and guests or closed (for members and prospective members only). Open meetings are often available to loved ones and supporters who are not themselves in recovery.

Closed NA Meetings: Only participants in the Narcotics Anonymous program are allowed in closed meetings. All participants in closed meetings agree to maintain the confidentiality of the discussions and the identities of those in attendance.

This is a tenet of both 12-step programs and NA traditions. With everyone in the room having the exact expectations for privacy, closed meetings enable participants to speak candidly and openly.

Open NA Meetings: Oppositely, public attendees interested in NA are welcome at open sessions. The media, local guests, and those who struggle with drug usage are all included. Available meetings are, in essence, open to everyone attentive to learning more about the program.

Even if you do not want to enroll in a recovery program, open meetings offer a chance to learn more about NA’s drug-free lifestyle and the Twelve Steps. 

In online arrangements, you can also take advantage of the experiences shared by other individuals in quitting alcohol addiction and coming on the life track in the affordable yet most accessible way.

Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Principles to Follow

The following set of principles for NA meetings can assist everyone remains focused and in good order:

  • Respecting other participants of the NA program.
  • Only share your experiences with other members of the NA group if you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Keeping regular attendance confidential and using just first names in the NA meetings.
  • Regular meetings occur in various public or religious settings, which does not imply affiliation. 
  • Be gentle and kind to other members of the NA group. Always motivate them by telling them that drug addiction is curable and can be treated if the affected person wants to recover.

The Twelve Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous are a set of twelve principles on that Narcotics Anonymous, like other 12-step programs, bases its operations on. The aim is to support members in leading drug-free lives and healthier interpersonal connections.

Many Narcotics Anonymous members think attending meetings frequently is an excellent way to maintain their drug-free status and return to the long-term recovery process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of the NA?

A peer-to-peer support system, Narcotics Anonymous (NA), is nonsectarian and not-for-profit. NA is based on the consciousness that addiction is a disease and aims to achieve and maintain abstinence through the 12-step process. 

Narcotics Anonymous groups are active in most nations, originating in the US. The key to ensuring that members can engage without worrying about legal or social repercussions is anonymity. Member meetings are informal, no membership list is kept, and anonymity is a significant component.

What does the NA group mean?

A Narcotics Anonymous group is any gathering of two or more recovering addicts who get together regularly at a set time and location to work on getting over their addiction. The 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous are the guiding principles shared by all Narcotics Anonymous communities. Narcotics Anonymous aims to help new members experiencing drug addiction and not finding enough courage to eliminate the problem.

What does NA stand for in AA?

Although they follow a similar group format and 12-step plan, Narcotics Anonymous has bred some differences. For starters, Narcotics Anonymous doesn’t put as much emphasis on a higher power. This matters a great deal to some people; while the AA program is excellent, it is highly spiritual.

What is an NA message?

As quoted in the Basic Text, the NA message states any addict can discontinue consuming drugs, lose the craving to use, and find a new way to poison free life. Narcotics Anonymous has one promise: freedom from active addiction. Research has shown that following the NA message has helped several people quit alcohol addiction and live healthy lives.

Find Quality Help from The Recovery Team

Alcohol addiction is a chorionic disease and, if ignored, can result in severe consequences. If you or a loved one is experiencing a drug addiction problem, let The Recovery Team support you in your journey. The Recovery Team is one of the top ten recognized US drug rehab centers helping thousands of individuals every day.

We at The Recovery Team offer treatment services for drug addiction to mental health disorders. Our residential, partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient, outpatient, and transitional living assist people in reaching recovery in a safe and comfortable environment. 

Call us at (800) 817-1247 to learn more about our treatment facilities and services charges. Our round-the-clock customer support is available to answer all your questions.