What is Narcotics Anonymous?
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a large community where addicts take care of each other and work the 12 steps. NA meetings, whether in-person or through online meetings, encourage growth and the self-discipline needed for the emotional healing of their addiction. These groups aim to inspire and provide a path to recovery based on community support and spiritual transformation. Often, members have a sponsor to help them along, who has followed the 12 steps and achieved recovery.
Narcotics Anonymous meetings encourage members to share personal stories and support each other, much like the format used in Alcoholic Anonymous (AA). Following in the footsteps of Alcoholics Anonymous, NA shares the foundation of recovery, anonymity, and support through its members. However, NA focuses support on members who seek to overcome their addiction to other drugs, not just alcohol.
The 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous
People in NA programs follow the same 12 step system as AA. As found on the Narcotics Anonymous official website, the traditional 12 steps are:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Reach out and take the first step. Speak directly to a professional!
Narcotics Anonymous and Religion
Narcotics Anonymous is not based on religion, although the original language in 12-steps used in AA and NA refers to “God” or “He.” Nowadays, the source of strength to its members is referred to as a “Higher Power,” whatever that may mean to each individual. Sharing personal stories is the inspirational basis where group members do not have to feel alone in their struggle.
Narcotics Anonymous and the success of the 12 steps are attributed to the way they can affect behavioral changes in the addict and offer a changed life of emotional renewal through steady discipline and honesty. No matter the type of substance abuse or particular drug, the whole of the behavior is referred to as addiction, including any type of drug. No matter what type of drug the addict is addicted to, as multiple substance abuse can be common, NA does not specify but refer to it as “the addiction.
The 12 Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority— a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or NA as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.
- An NA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the NA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- NA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Types of NA and AA Meetings
Sharing wisdom and personal struggles forms the foundation of many types of 12 steps meetings, like NA, Overeaters Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, etc. Hearing the testimonies of members and sharing in support of one another helps the addict feel like they’re not alone in their struggles with addiction. The structure of the meetings is flexible and autonomous and seeks always to communicate the value of the steps guiding their transformation. The message conveyed by its seasoned members is that proper recovery is truly possible. Mostly, everyone is invited to come, including family members, newcomers, and those who wish to study.
Here are just some of the groups you may be able to find in Southern California as well online meetings:
Big Book Meetings– a discussion about the Big Book, which is a large volume of literature that goes in-depth with the traditions and steps and the stories of addicts who have achieved recovery. Some consider it as one of the most important books ever written in the United States.
AA Literature groups– Similar to Big Book meetings, there is a discussion based on a readout of AA-approved literature.
Meditation Meeting– A support group for deeper reflection, followed by a readout, meditation, and a discussion.
Step Study– These meetings specifically focus on one or more of the particular steps of the 12 steps.
Traditions AA Meeting– These meetings focus on the 12 Traditions behind the way AA was formed. It is the way AA and NA maintain their integrity as groups.