Narcotics Anonymous

Based on the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) helps those addicted to prescription painkillers stay sober in the outside world. The first NA meetings were held in the early 1950s in Los Angeles, California. As found on its Web site (, the organization described itself this way in its first publication:

NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We . . . meet regularly to help each other stay clean. . . . We are not interested in what or how much you used . . . but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help.

In the more than fifty years since, NA has grown into one of the largest organizations of its kind. Today, groups are located all over the world, and its books and pamphlets are published in thirty-two languages. No matter where the group is located, each chapter is based on the twelve steps first formulated in AA:

1. We admitted we were powerless over drugs—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, and to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We're entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Narcotics Anonymous

According to NA's beliefs, reliance on a "Higher Power" can play an important role in recovery from drug dependence.

Each individual is different. This means that no single treatment for drug dependence will work with all people. Treatment approaches need to be designed and adapted to meet individual needs.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand 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 drug addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Though attendance at and participation in NA meetings will not guarantee a recovery free from temptation and relapse, they can play an important role in staying sober.

Continue reading here: Principles of Treatment

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