Narcotics Anonymous is one of the ways that recovering addicts maintain their sobriety. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is for people who are or were addicted to drugs. Similar is Alcohols Anonymous (AA) which is specifically for people recovering from an alcohol addiction. I, a recovering drug (heroin) addict has attended hundreds maybe thousands of NA meetings throughout my attempts at recovery. As recovering addicts, our ultimate goal is to find a way to get sober and stay sober. It doesn’t matter what our method of treatment was, as long as we make it there. So while NA may work for you, it doesn’t work for everyone. Take a look and decide for yourself, you might just learn something new.
What is Narcotics Anonymous?
Narcotics Anonymous, NA for short is a worldwide non-profit organization that is designed for people who suffer from the disease of addiction. It does not matter what type of drugs you use or how you use. They welcome people from all walks of life.
The definition given by the program itself is as follows. NA 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.
The program is based on a 12 step program that the NA members follow in order to help them maintain their sobriety. The program suggests that each person gets a sponsor. A sponsor is simply a fellow recovering addict who has been in recovery for years, works the steps of the NA program, and can help to guide you through the recovery and NA process. You can confide in a sponsor and talk to them about your addiction, recovery, and anything else you feel is necessary to discuss.
There are millions of different groups that host meetings. There are different types of meetings including speaker meetings, group meetings, studying the NA Big Book, and so on. It is recommended that you attend meetings as often as possible. For newcomers, the slogan is 90 in 90, meaning 90 meetings in 90 days. Along with getting a sponsor, a person is told to pick a home group which hosts different meetings and you will be a part of this. Each home group has a specific set of rules and their own way of doing things.
If you would like to know the specifics of NA, you can visit the official Narcotics Anonymous website, here.
In Narcotics Anonymous, the meetings especially speakers meetings are where you will tell your personal story of addiction and what led you to recovery. The format is always the same, what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like today. Members of NA believe that sharing your personal story will help others. Fellow members will be able to hear your story and the similarities, the differences, the hopes, the experience, and the success you have had. If your story helps at least one person, you speaking was a victory to celebrate.
NA Is Not For Me
Personally, I don’t do NA. Over the years, I have attended numerous NA meetings, I’ve had a sponsor, and I worked the steps. No matter how many times I have tried, Narcotics Anonymous simply wasn’t what I needed for my recovery.
My main reason for not being a part of Narcotics Anonymous truly is the program itself. It’s simply not for me. My past is something I don’t want to discuss. I feel as if a big part of NA is war stories. To me, it’s a constant reminder of the worst time in my life. I measure my success on my urge to use and how much I was able to change and improve my life. I do not like to constantly have my past brought up to talk about. For me, it’s something that I choose to leave in the past.
Please remember, this is a personal choice. Narcotics Anonymous may be perfect for you and where you are in your recovery.
Don’t think that I am saying NA is bad. It is really good for some people. People that are very vocal about their past and need to express that to others need NA. I on the other hand like discussing my issues with a therapist or with someone who understands.
As I just mentioned, even though Narcotics Anonymous is not right for me. By no means does it mean that it’s not right for you. Why don’t we take a look at the pros and cons of NA so, that you can decide for yourself?
Here is a list of the ways that NA can be beneficial to your recovery and for you personally. After that, are the cons of NA. Simply, NA may not be what you need.
- Each person has a sponsor to hold you accountable for your actions.
- Also, a sponsor will guide you and help you work through the steps.
- NA is a fellowship of organization and structure with a detailed program
- Be part of a fellowship with other individuals who are in similar situations.
- Shows you how to have fun while being sober.
- Many people in addiction live in solitude, now you are a member of a group.
- Easily be able to hear similarities between you and your peers.
- Make healthy and long-lasting relationships.
- Newcomers can feel unwelcome.
- There are cliques in the rooms.
- Newcomers may be prey to some (victim to the 13th step)
- Some meetings are social events with no recovery.
- People can be singled out,
- You will be able to point out people who are actively using which can be a trigger to some.
- Others feel as if people glorify war stories.
- 13 Step – Place to hook up
One thing that you must keep in mind is that there are pros and cons to every form of treatment. Unfortunately, at Narcotics Anonymous meetings, there will always be people who have a legal or work obligation to attend these meetings. For instance, people at inpatient rehab facilities or on house arrest must attend these meetings to get a signature on their form. This further encourages the meeting to become a social event and a place to hook up.
There will always be people who don’t take their recovery seriously. Furthermore, there are people who lie about their current phase of recovery, their amount of clean time, or their clean date.
It is known that Narcotics Anonymous is a 12 step program so, what is this talk about a 13 step? Honestly, it is not an “official” step. Thirteenth-stepping is when a recovering addict who is not new to the rooms tries to begin a sexual relationship with a newcomer or a person who has been sober for less than one year.
Narcotics Anonymous suggests not to start any type of relationship for the first year of your sobriety. This is due to the fact that your first year of recovery is the hardest. The potential for relapse is at its highest. If you fall victim to a bad relationship it is a risk for your sobriety. Not to mention, during the first year of your sobriety, you are to focus solely on yourself. A relationship takes the focus off of you as you are constantly thinking about the other person.
People who have been in the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous for more than a year often prey on the newcomers. Newcomers are naive, fragile, and emotional since they are in the early stages of recovery. They need guidance and long for acceptance. Sadly, they are taken advantage of. This is one major con of the Narcotics Anonymous fellowship. Yet, the fellowship does not condone this behavior nor tolerate it. There truly isn’t much one can do. It’s not illegal to have a sexual romance blossom.
What You Want
Even though, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous span the globe, the programs are not the only way to recover. There are treatment options for addiction to fit your own personal needs. You have to do what you want. Choose the method of recovery that best suits your personal needs, requirements, and values.
Recovery is not only about becoming abstinent from drugs. It’s about finding yourself, trying to amend all the destruction you caused during active addiction, and creating a new life where you are proud, happy, and healthy. I didn’t need NA to get there. Choose your own way to recover, NA is not mandatory for recovery.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think of Narcotics Anonymous? Good or bad, I’m curious to know your experience.