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Narcotics Anonymous Explained

In this post, we discuss Narcotics Anonymous (NA). NA is an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Whilst AA began life in the late 1930s, NA was not established until the 1950s. Like AA, NA is 12-step based.

NA aims to help its members stop using drugs of any sort. It is important to stress that NA also classes alcohol as a drug.

NA is centred around mutual support groups. Here, 'recovering' drug addicts typically meet once or twice a week in order to enrichen each other's lives. You may locate a local NA group taking place in your town or city on NA's website. We list this website in the resources section below.

How NA came into existence

NA was established in 1953 by a recovering addict called Jimmy Kinnon. NA began life in California. NA grew out of a need to cater to the needs of drug addicts. This typically means illicit drugs, although alcohol is also classed as a drug by NA, so those who may be recovering from alcoholism are also welcome to attend NA meetings.

In 1944, AA's co-founder, Bill W, expressed a desire to form a 12-step group for drug addicts. This was because many drug addicts were not addicted to alcohol, and hence many of these people were not entirely suited to AA meetings because they did not have a desire to stop drinking alcohol. After all, these people were not addicted to alcohol.

The first official NA publication was published in 1954. This was titled the 'little yellow book'. This book contained the 12-steps.

How does NA differ from AA?

Whilst AA aims to help its members refrain from drinking alcohol, NA aims to help its members recover from drug addiction. It is important to note that alcohol is also categorised as a drug by NA, so those who wish to refrain from drinking alcohol are also welcome to attend NA meetings.

What underpins NA's programme?

NA is a fellowship that aims to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by drug addiction. NA was founded by and currently controlled by recovering addicts. NA is run by laypeople and not by professional counsellors or medical professionals.

The aim of mutual support groups is to help members stay clean. NA aims to help members embrace total abstinence. NA thus does not encourage 'moderation management' or 'harm reduction'.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using drugs. The 12-steps is designed so that it is simple to carry out in members' daily lives.

Like AA, NA is not affiliated with outside interests. It is free to attend NA and NA is not affiliated with any political, religious or governmental groups. Anybody may join NA regardless of race, sex, age or religion.

Does NA offer medical solutions?

It's important to understand that NA isn't an addiction treatment provider. NA cannot offer you a drug detox or rehabilitation. NA is run by laypeople, not medical professionals. Although some medical professionals may attend local NA meetings, they will not be attending in their capacity as a medical professional.

If you require a drug detox, contact us today on 0800 088 66 86 and we shall refer you to a suitable facility in your home town.

If you attend NA meetings, you will also learn of local detox options that may be either free or highly affordable. After all, many NA members will have experienced the detox process themselves.

What does the NA programme entail?

NA is a spiritual programme that asks you to reach out to a higher power that will restore you to sanity. You don't have to believe in God to work the 12-steps, and for many people, this 'higher power' is the programme itself.

NA's programme is aligned with AA in that it classes addiction as a disease. Also, NA stresses that the only way to cure the disease of addiction is through abstinence.

Some of the central principles of NA include:

  • You attend fellowship meetings with other recovering addicts
  • You commit to not using drugs on a 'one-day-at-a-time' basis
  • A sponsor helps you work through the 12-steps so that you begin to integrate them into your lifestyle

What are the 12-steps of NA?

Below, we list each of the 12-steps of NA:

  1. We admitted that 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, to ourselves, and to 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 asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong 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 to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Getting help

If you would like to attend NA, then it's vitally important that you stop using drugs. Abruptly stopping your drug use could be dangerous to your health. For this reason, it's best that you undergo a detox from the safety of a rehab clinic. Contact us today on 0800 088 66 86 to discover suitable rehab clinics in your local area.

Useful resources

Published by: Rehab Recovery

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