If you or someone you care about has been struggling with a narcotics-related substance use problem, you might have already thought about getting into the. But how does Narcotics Anonymous work, exactly? Is it better to deal with addiction by going to NA meetings or getting into a professional addiction treatment program?
NA meetings are where people with drug addictions can meet each other and find support in recovery. People recovering from addiction can help each other pursue healthy choices by attending and participating in NA meetings. Put simply, NA meetings in the U.S. and worldwide are, as mentioned in their official literature, for addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
What Is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?
Before figuring out how NA works, it’s essential to understand the NA program. Like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous is a nonprofit society for those who have a desire to stop using addictive substances. In fact, many programs like this trace their foundations to AA and its famous 12 Steps.
NA members are recovering addicts who meet regularly–these meetings help them stay clean and sober. The program demands complete abstinence from all drugs, and the desire to stop using is the one and only requirement for membership. NA members follow their version of the 12 Steps because they’ve been proven to work.
As with AA, there are no strings attached to NA. NA is not affiliated with any other organizations, has no fees or dues, has no pledges to sign–and is connected with any religious, political, or law enforcement groups. Anyone may join NA, no matter their age, creed, race, religion, or sexual identity.
NA is not interested in what or how much a person has misused in terms of addictive substances. NA is similarly not interested in who your connections are, what you have done in the past, or how much or how little you have. When you attend NA meetings, you’ll see that members are interested only in what you want to do about your problem and how they can help. Newcomers are the most important people at any NA meeting because NA members can only keep what they have by giving it away.
How Does Narcotics Anonymous Work?
How does it work? Narcotics Anonymous has its own 12 Steps, which has been adapted from AA:
- Admitting powerlessness over addiction and that their lives had become unmanageable
- Believing that a power greater than themselves could restore their sanity
- Deciding to turn their will and lives over the care of God
- Making a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves
- Admitting to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of their wrongs
- Being entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
- Humbly asking Him to remove our shortcomings
- Making a list of all persons they had harmed and becoming willing to make amends to them
- Making direct amends to such people wherever possible
- Continuing to take personal inventory and promptly admitting when we’re wrong
- Seeking through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God
After having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, carrying this message to others and to practicing these principles in all our affairs
While there are mentions of “God” in these steps, the concept of “God” depends on the understanding of each NA member. NA promotes recovery through this 12-Step program that incorporates peer support and fosters abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
How Does Narcotics Anonymous Help Clients Dealing with Alcohol Addiction?
For many members of NA, the program works to keep them sober way after the end of any professional programs they’ve attended. Treatment centers, rehab programs, therapy and counseling, and then going it alone won’t work for everyone. Some people need NA meetings because these group events are a continuance of rehab that they can fit into their daily lives.
The community support and 12 Steps found at NA meetings seem to be the missing link for many people with substance use disorders who wish to stay sober. Of course, there is no guarantee that their members won’t experience a relapse. The same is true for professional programs.
12-Step programs such as NA can be helpful, but it shouldn’t be your only step in your recovery path. Talk to your doctor–or, even better, to the staff of an addiction treatment center — about other things you can do to strengthen your recovery journey. For example, you can go through medical detox if you’re having trouble quitting addictive substances alone.