Narcotics Anonymous (NA) describes itself as a “nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem”. Narcotics Anonymous uses a traditional 12-step model that has been expanded and developed for people with varied substance abuse issues. and it is the second-largest 12-step organization.
As of May 2010 there were more than 61,800 NA meetings in 131 countries.
Membership and organization
The third tradition of NA states that the only requirement for membership is “a desire to stop using”. NA says its meetings are where members can “meet regularly to help each other stay clean”, where “clean” is defined as complete abstinence from all mood and mind-altering substances, unless taken as prescribed by a doctor. There is a matter of controversy whether a member taking Suboxone or methadone is “clean”, however this is decided between a member who is taking these medications, their sponsor, and “clean” network if their use is beneficial to recovery or being used as a replacement for drugs. Membership in NA is free, and there are no dues or fees.
The foundation of the Narcotics Anonymous program is the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Narcotics Anonymous “has no opinion on outside issues,” including those of politics, science, or medicine, and does not endorse any outside organization or institution. The fellowship does not promote itself, but rather attracts new members through public information and outreach. NA groups and areas supply outside organizations with factual information regarding the NA program, and individual members may carry the NA message to hospitals and institutions, such as treatment centers and jails.
The nature of addiction
NA describes addiction as a progressive disease with no known cure, which affects every area of an addict’s life: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. NA suggests that the disease of addiction can be arrested, and recovery is possible through the NA twelve-step program. The steps never mention drugs or drug use, rather they refer only to addiction, to indicate that addicts have a disease of which drug use is one symptom. Other symptoms include obsession, compulsion, denial, and self-centeredness.
Regular meetings, hosted by NA groups, are the basic unit of the NA Fellowship. Meetings are held in a variety of places such as church meeting rooms, libraries, hospitals, community centers, parks, or any other place that can accommodate a meeting.
Members who attend the same meeting on a regular basis to establish a recovery network and reliable routine understand this to be their “Home Group”. Group members are able to participate in the group’s business, and play an important role in deciding how the group’s meetings should be conducted.
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