Chapter 2: What is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?

What is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?

N.A. is a non-profit 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.

There are no strings attached to N.A. We are not affiliated with any other organizations, we have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone. We are not connected with any political, religious or law enforcement groups, and are under no surveillance at any time. Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion.

We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away. We have learned from our group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean.

Narcotics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who are learning to live without drugs. We are a non-profit society

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and have no dues or fees of any kind. Each of us has paid the price of membership. We have paid dearly with our pain for the right to recover.

We are addicts, surviving against all odds, who meet regularly together. We respond to honest sharing and listen to the stories of our members for the message of recovery. We realize that, at last, there is hope for us.

We make use of the tools that have worked for other recovering addicts who have learned to live without drugs in Narcotics Anonymous. The Twelve Steps are positive tools that make recovery possible. Our primary purpose is to stay clean and to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. We are united by our common problem of addiction. By meeting, talking with, and helping other addicts, we are able to stay clean. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting because we can only keep what we have by giving it away.

Narcotics Anonymous has had many years of experience with literally hundreds of thousands of addicts. This mass of intensive first-hand experience in all phases of illness and recovery is of unparalleled therapeutic value. We are here to share freely with any addicts who want it.

Our message of recovery is based on our own experience. Before coming to the fellowship, we exhausted ourselves trying to “use” successfully, or trying to find out what was wrong with us. After coming to N.A., we found ourselves among a very special group of people who have suffered like us and found recovery. In their experiences, freely shared, we found hope for ourselves. If the Program worked for them, it would work for us.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. We have seen the Program work for any addict who honestly and sincerely wants to stop. We don’t have to be clean when we get here, but after the first meeting, we suggest that newcomers keep coming back and come back clean. We don’t have to wait for an overdose, or jail sentence, to get help from Narcotics Anonymous, nor is addiction a hopeless condition from which there is no recovery.

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We meet addicts like ourselves who are clean. We watch and listen to them and realize that they have found a way to live and enjoy life without drugs. We don’t have to settle for the limitations of the past. We can examine and re-examine all our old ideas and constantly improve on them or replace them with new ones. We are men and women who have discovered and admitted that we are powerless over our addiction. When we use, we lose.

When we discovered that we cannot live with or without drugs, we sought help through N.A. rather than prolong our suffering. The Program works a miracle in our lives. We become different people. The steps and abstinence give us a daily reprieve from our self-imposed life sentences. We become free to live.

We want the place where we recover to be a safe place, free from outside influences. For the protection of the fellowship, we insist that no drugs or paraphernalia be brought to any meeting.

We feel totally free to express ourselves within the fellowship, because no law enforcement agencies are involved. Our meetings have an atmosphere of empathy. In accordance with the principles of recovery, we try not to judge, stereotype or moralize with each other. We are not recruited and it doesn’t cost anything. N.A. does not provide counseling or social services.

Our meetings are a process of identification, hope and sharing. The heart of N.A. beats when two addicts share their recovery. What we do becomes real for us when we share it. This happens on a larger scale in our regular meetings. A meeting is two or more addicts gathered together to help each other stay clean.

At the beginning of the meeting, we read N.A. literature which is available to anyone. Some meetings have speakers, topic discussions or both. Closed meetings are for addicts or those who think they might have a drug problem; open meetings welcome anyone wishing to experience our Fellowship. The atmosphere of recovery is protected by our Twelve Traditions. We are fully self-supporting through voluntary contributions from our members. Regardless of where the meeting takes place, we remain

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unaffiliated. Meetings provide us with a place to be with fellow addicts. All we need are two addicts, caring and sharing, to make a meeting.

We let new ideas flow into us. We ask questions. We share what we have learned about living without drugs. Though the principles of the Twelve Steps may seem strange to us at first, the most important thing about them is that they work. Our Program is, in fact, a way of life. We learn the value of such spiritual principles as surrender, humility and service from reading the N.A. literature, going to meetings, and working the steps. We find that our lives steadily improve, if we maintain abstinence from mind-altering, mood-changing chemicals and work the Twelve Steps to sustain our recovery. Living this Program gives us a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves, corrects defects, leads us to help others, and where there has been wrong, teaches us the spirit of forgiveness.

Many books have been written about the nature of addiction. This book concerns itself with the nature of recovery. If you are an addict and have found this book, please give yourself a break and read it.