Narcotics Anonymous is a nonprofit, international, community-based organization for recovering addicts, which is active in over 129 countries. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) members learn from one another how to live drug-free and recover from the effects of addiction in their lives. If you have considered recommending Narcotics Anonymous to someone who has a drug problem, you may have a few questions about our organization. This pamphlet is designed to answer those questions.
Who are members of NA?
Anyone who wants to stop using drugs may become a member of Narcotics Anonymous. Membership is not limited to addicts using any particular drug. Those who feel they may have a problem with drugs, legal or illegal, including alcohol, are welcome in NA. Recovery in NA focuses on the problem of addiction, not on any particular drug.
The basic premise of anonymity allows addicts to attend meetings without fear of legal or social repercussions. This is an important consideration for an addict thinking about going to a meeting for the first time. Anonymity also supports an atmosphere of equality in meetings. It helps insure that no individual’s personality or circumstance will be considered more important than the message of recovery shared in NA.
NA’s primary approach to recovery is its belief in the therapeutic value of one addict helping another. Members take part in NA meetings by talking about their experiences and recovery from drug addiction. NA meetings are informally structured, held in space rented by the group, and are led by members who take turns opening and closing the meeting. NA meetings and other services are funded entirely by member contributions and the sale of recovery literature. Financial contributions from non-members are not accepted. Most NA meetings are held regularly at the same time and place each week, usually in a public facility. There are two basic types of meetings those that are open to the general public and those closed to the public (for addicts only). Meetings vary widely in format. Some formats are: participation, speaker, question and answer, topic discussion, and some have a combination of these formats. The function of any meeting is always the same: to provide a suitable and reliable environment for personal recovery.
How does NA work?
Addicts helping each other recover are the foundation of NA. Members meet regularly to talk about their experiences in recovery. More experienced members (known as sponsors)work individually with newer members.
The core of the NA program is the Twelve Steps. These “steps” are a set of guidelines outlining a practical approach to recovery. By following these guidelines and working closely with other members, addicts learn to stop using drugs and face the challenges of daily living.
Narcotics Anonymous is not a religious organization and does not mandate any particular belief system. It does teach basic spiritual principles such as honesty, open- mindedness, faith, willingness, and humility that may be applied in everyday life. The specific practical application of spiritual principles is determined by each individual. Recovery in NA is not a miracle cure that happens within a given period of time. It is a process, ongoing and personal. Members make an individual decision to join and recover at their own pace.