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Narcotics Anonymous

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Narcotics Anonymous is a 12-step program that was developed in the early 1950s following the introduction of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939. The first Narcotics Anonymous meetings were provided in Los Angeles, California but today NA meetings can be found throughout the country in every state as well as around the world. The program is well established in North and South America as well as Western Europe, Australia, the Middle East, New Zealand and Eastern Europe.

The worldwide organization of Narcotics Anonymous is estimated to have more than 58,000 weekly meetings throughout the world in 131 countries and growing. The Narcotics Anonymous (NA) books and various information packets that provide knowledge and education to members are available in 39 languages and will soon be available in another 16 languages to meet the growing needs of those addicted to drugs throughout the world.

Narcotics Anonymous 12-Step Program

The Narcotics Anonymous 12-step program was first described as, “NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We…meet regularly to help each other stay clean…We are not interested in what or how much you used… but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help.”

Membership to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) like many other 12-step groups is open to all drug addicts. Unlike AA or some other types of 12-step groups in which the membership is limited to those with a particular addiction, Narcotics Anonymous allows members regardless of their particular drug addiction or for any combination of drugs that are used. The program provides a recovery process that includes peer support through a network.

Members of Narcotics Anonymous share the success stories that they have as well as their challenges to overcome drug addiction. Theses goals, triumphs and struggles are shared under the 12-steps and the 12-traditions of NA which are similar to the 12-steps and 12-traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous but have been modified to fit the needs of those addicted to drugs. The 12-steps are the core principles of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program.

NA is a non-religious program in which each member is encouraged to cultivate their own understanding of the various spiritual principles that govern the program. These principles may be religious or non religious for the individual but the goal is to apply the spiritual principles to everyday life. Narcotics Anonymous groups are offered free of charge as the entity is self-supporting through donations and book / literature sales.

The Narcotics Anonymous 12-Steps of Recovery

  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 humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  7. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  8. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  9. We continued to take personal inventory and when were wrong promptly admitted it.
  10. 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.
  11. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How Narcotics Anonymous Works

The NA program works by breaking the recovery process into small sets of changes and acceptances that must be made. The 12-steps begin with accepting that there is an addiction and that there has been a wrongdoing. Throughout the process, the individual uses the guiding principles of the 12-steps to guide themselves to a spiritual awakening in which recovery and freedom from addiction is finally found.

Narcotics Anonymous members take an approach to addiction that views it as a disease. Further, the entire 12-step process is taken as a day to day, life changing process that doesn’t happen overnight. Members realize that they did not become addicted to drugs overnight and that the same holds true for recovery. It will take time and persistence in order to fully recover from addiction.

The spiritual guidance of the 12-steps provides that the only thing which will truly defeat an individual in their own recovery is to have an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward the spiritual principles of Narcotics Anonymous recovery programs. Members are required to maintain honest, and open mind and the willingness to learn how to live without drugs or alcohol. As long as a NA member has these 3 guiding principles and is not against the spiritual realm, they are on their way to recovery.

Narcotics Anonymous emphasizes that there is only one true way to prevent the return to active addiction and that is not to take that first drug. Once the drug is taken, a lifelong recovery process begins regardless of whether the individual has been sober for a day, a year or 20 years. Members of the group recognize that one drug is too many and a thousand times of a drug is never enough. They realize that drugs or substances being used in any form releases the addiction once again and therefore, members remain abstinent from such substances in their recovery.