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Narcotics Anonymous Explained: What It Is and Why It Works

a group of people in narcotics anonymous watch the sunrise

Addiction is one of the most isolating diseases that people can experience. Cycling through the stages of abuse, tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal is taxing on the body and mind of the person going through it. While they experience these waves of addiction, they may also ruin their bonds with the people who trusted them most, like family and friends. Once they finally graduate from an addiction treatment program, they may find it hard to relate to people who have not gone through it. Narcotics Anonymous, or NA, helps connect people on the lifelong recovery journey to share experiences and strategies to stay sober.

What Is NA?

Narcotics Anonymous has its roots in Alcoholics Anonymous, which was founded in 1935. The program for NA was developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s by people who were struggling with addiction to drugs other than alcohol. In 1953, the first NA meeting was held in Los Angeles.

The group was founded by Jimmy Kinnon, who went by “Jimmy K.” He struggled with addiction and wanted to help others in the same position. The organization grew quickly, and by the 1960s, there were NA meetings in cities across America.

Who Uses Narcotics Anonymous?

Narcotics Anonymous is open to anyone who wants to recover from addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using drugs.
People in NA can be addicted to any substance, including:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription drugs
  • Alcohol

People of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from NA. The program is flexible, and people can tailor it to fit their individual needs.

What Are the 12 Steps?

The 12 steps are the foundation of NA. They provide a framework for recovery and a path to sobriety.

The 12 steps are:

  1. We admitted 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, ourselves, and 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 do so.
  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 practice these principles in all our affairs.

Though there are references to religious figures in the 12 steps, there is no requirement to be a religious person to attend Narcotics Anonymous. Many of the references are to provide a general guideline to follow to stay sober.

Why Does NA Work?

Narcotics Anonymous has a proven track record of helping people stay sober. The 12 steps provide a framework for recovery, and the program is flexible enough to meet the needs of any individual.

People in NA can benefit from sharing their experiences with others who understand what they are going through. They can also learn new coping mechanisms and strategies for staying sober.

NA is a lifelong commitment, and people who attend meetings regularly are more likely to stay sober. The program provides support and guidance for people in all stages of recovery.

Start Your Recovery Journey Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, finding help can be the support you need to start recovering. NA is an excellent resource for people who have already completed detox and rehab programs.

Our team at Northpoint Recovery can help you take the first steps on your path to sobriety with a supportive, professional medical detox center and rehab resources. Call us at 888.296.8976 today to get started.