Narcotics Anonymous NA – 12 Step Support For Recovering Addicts
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to help people struggling with drug addiction recovery. Today, it is a worldwide organization with meetings in over 140 different countries. There are no dues or fees for NA membership. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop their addiction. It is set up in a very similar fashion to Alcoholics Anonymous, except it is designed for those struggling with drug abuse.
- The big difference is that NA helps people recover from addiction, while AA helps alcoholics find lasting recovery.
The NA format includes regularly scheduled meetings. In addition, attendees usually have “home groups” Members are encouraged to share a sponsor (mentor), a leader, anniversary chips, and open and closed meeting ideas. They never mention drugs or drug use, only “addiction.” Their primary purpose is to carry the NA message to the addict who still suffers. NA has several recovery books and various forms of literature.
It is a spiritually-based program, using a higher power of each individual’s understanding. The process of recovery includes working the 12-Steps process and being of service to others.
There are no dues or fees for NA membership. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop their addiction.
Jimmy Kinnon officially founded NA in 1953. It was initially known as AA/NA. In 1943 the first publication was a printer called the “Little Brown Book.” It included their modified version of the 12-Steps and other information. In return for not using the AA name, it uses the 12-Steps. It was at that point the name became Narcotics Anonymous.
Like most organizations, NA struggled with growing pains and internal disagreements. At one point in 1959, there were no NA meetings at all. NA began to grow in the 1970s. In 1970 there were only 20 regular meetings. By 1976 there were over 200 and over 1,100 meetings by 1981.
There are never any attendance records, so total worldwide membership information is unavailable. However, NA is the second-largest 12-Step organization in the world.
- As of May 2014, there were 63,000 meetings in 142 countries.
In 1990, a study in London, England, concluded a direct relationship between NA and long-term recovery participation. They also noted an increase in self-esteem.
A 1995 study in Australia found that after 12 months, 68% of the participants had reduced their drug use and increased their self-esteem.