What is Narcotics Anonymous?

N.A. is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using. We suggest that you keep an open mind and give yourself a break. Our program is a set of principles written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives. The most important thing about them is that they work. We have learned from our group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean.

Just for Today

May 28, 2024
As we understand
Page 154
"We examined our lives and discovered who we really are. To be truly humble is to accept and honestly try to be ourselves."
Basic Text, p. 36

As using addicts, the demands of our disease determined our personality. We could be whoever or whatever we needed to be in order to get our "fix." We were survival machines, adapting easily to every circumstance of the using life.

Once we began our recovery, we entered a new and different life. Many of us had no idea what behavior was appropriate for us in any given situation. Some of us didn't know how to talk to people, how to dress, or how to behave in public. We couldn't be ourselves because we didn't know who we were anymore.

The Twelve Steps give us a simple method for finding out who we really are. We uncover our assets and our defects, the things we like about ourselves and the things we're not so thrilled about. Through the healing power of the Twelve Steps, we begin to understand that we are individuals, created to be who we are by the Higher Power of our understanding. The real healing begins when we understand that if our Higher Power created us this way, it must be okay to be who we really are.

Just for Today: By working the steps I can experience the freedom to be myself, the person my Higher Power intended me to be.

Spiritual Principle a Day

May 28, 2024
Equality in Anonymity
Page 153
"NA has no classes of membership and no second-class members. The common denominator in NA is the disease of addiction. We are all equally subject to its devastation. We share an equal right to recovery."
It Works, Tradition Three, "Applying Spiritual Principles"

Tradition Three, which insists that there's only one requirement for NA members, comes easy to some of us. We found recovery in NA, after all, and no one asked us about our qualifications. We may take for granted that everyone else finds it that simple. Maybe we'd lived a fortunate life with a tight circle of friends despite our addiction, so the idea of not belonging had never occurred to us. If we shared a language and culture with others in attendance, fitting in may not have been a challenge for us. Maybe we looked around the room and saw faces that looked like our own. Or maybe our desperation had dulled our cynicism just enough to allow us to receive the warm welcome we found in our first meetings, despite any outward differences. No matter the specifics, many of us unthinkingly assumed that others felt equally welcome. The disease of addiction tries to weaponize our differences to keep us sick.

The fact is that barriers exist for many potential members despite our individual efforts to extend that classic NA welcome. Some of us struggle with accepting hospitality from members who seem different from us in all of the ways that society deems important. "I constantly disqualified myself from NA," one member wrote. "I got clean young, didn't use certain drugs, and I am transgender. My disease tells me that I don't belong, that I somehow deserved to stay separate and alone." Before we set aside our differences—as practicing anonymity would suggest—it may be helpful to recognize that identification may be a little more difficult to come by if we don't yet see other members like ourselves in meetings.

Established NA members do well to emphasize our common disease. Regardless of the specifics in our experience, using brought us all to isolation, shame, and degradation. Identifying on an emotional level is often a good place to start. Our common path to a better life is summed up by the NA message: "An addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live." The disease does not discriminate. NA must not either.

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Recovery is precious, so I will strive to make it more accessible by emphasizing our similarities and taking no addict for granted.
cover of the Spiritual Principle a Day book