What is the Narcotics Anonymous fellowship?
Narcotics Anonymous is a twelve-step program, gratefully adapted from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. NA was formed in the summer of 1953 by a group of addicts who broadened the perspective of those Twelve Steps. NA believes that our addiction is all-inclusive–it doesn’t matter what drug or specific substance we used. Since then, NA has helped a great many addicts learn to live clean lives on a daily basis.
My first experience with NA came at a time in my life when nothing else was working, including the drugs I was taking. Even so, I didn’t really understand that I had a drug problem. I thought that I was defective or not able to live in this society.
When I attended my first meeting, I found a group of people there who were like me, except that they seemed to be happier about life than I was. Through them, I found out that NA was simply a group of people who had problems with drugs and met regularly to help each other stay clean. I found hope there, seeing other people who had stopped using and were learning to live life on life’s terms. They helped me understand to my great relief that I was not defective, but that I had the disease of addiction. I now had the opportunity to put my life back together by working a program of recovery “just for today.”
As I continued to go to meetings, I met people from all walks of life, people of all ages, religious beliefs and races. There were bikers and businessmen, housewives and parolees, teenagers and senior citizens. I met Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and atheists. I saw African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and people of European descent at meetings. I met people who used many different things: prescription drugs, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, crack, cocaine, alcohol and others. Even though they all looked different on the outside or used other drugs than I did, they were all there for the same common purpose, to stay clean. I found out that even though they may not look like me, when they spoke, their feelings and their problems were like mine. I found that if I listened, I could learn valuable lessons about how to deal with my daily problems, especially those that made me want to use.
The fact that people like me attend the meetings is something I like very much. There are no mental health or treatment professionals at meetings and NA is not affiliated with any other organizations. No one keeps track of attendance, or says you can or can’t belong. You are a member when you say you are. Even though we may meet in a church, recreation center or hospital, we pay our own rent through voluntary contributions made by the membership of the program. We do this purposely, so that no one can change our message–that recovery from addiction is possible.
If you think you have a problem with drugs and would like to stop using, why don’t you give yourself a break and attend a meeting. There are meetings every day of the week, which can be found on the meeting list on this site. I remember trying so many times to quit using before I came to NA. I tried quitting all together, moderation, substituting one drug for another and even moving to a new town. I always returned to using and the destruction it brought to my life. I have been clean many years now thanks to the NA program and the people in it. You too, can find a new way to live. See you at a meeting!
Public Information Subcommittee Member
Greater San Jose Area of Narcotics Anonymous