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Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Frequently Asked Questions

Narcotics Anonymous Q&A

Narcotics Anonymous, or NA, is a 12-step fellowship program that welcomes people suffering from any drug addiction.

Typical questions about NA include:

  • General questions about NA: what the 12 Steps are, how NA is funded and when it was founded.
  • How NA meetings work and how to find one.
  • The religious and spiritual aspects of NA.

General Narcotics Anonymous Questions

What Are the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous?

The Narcotics Anonymous 12 Steps are:

  1. “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction; that our lives had become unmanageable.”
  2. “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
  3. “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
  4. “We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
  5. “We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
  6. “We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
  7. “We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
  8. “We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
  9. “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
  10. “We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
  11. “We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood 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 addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

How Did Narcotics Anonymous Begin?

Narcotics Anonymous began as an adaptation of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was founded in 1953. NA didn’t gain popularity until around 1983 when its Basic Text, the Big Book of AA, was published.

How Does Narcotics Anonymous Help Me Quit Abusing Substances?

Narcotics Anonymous uses a 12-step program adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. The Steps are designed to help you admit your powerlessness to your drug addiction. You then move past your guilt and shame by admitting your faults and making amends with those you’ve harmed.

While working the 12 Steps, you receive support and encouragement from fellow members and your individual sponsor. This support helps you to quit drugs and embrace sobriety.

What Are Some Popular Narcotics Anonymous Quotes and Sayings?

Some popular NA quotes are:

  • “Recovery delivers everything drugs promised.”
  • “Relapse starts long before the drug is used.”
  • “NA is not for people who need it. It’s for people who want it.”
  • “Even my worst day in recovery is better than my best day using.”
  • “The smartest thing an NA member can say is, ‘help me.'”

What Is ‘Just for Today’?

Girl from NA walking at sunset
NA members often tell themselves a series of “Just for Today” mantras to remove the pain of the past and fear of the future:

Just for today, my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of drugs.

Just for today, I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.

Just for today, I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.

Just for today, through NA, I will try to get a better perspective on my life.

Just for today, I will be unafraid, my thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear.

Is There a Narcotics Anonymous Program for Family Members and Friends of Addicts?

Nar-Anon Family Groups helps those who have an addicted loved one. It helps to promote peace of mind and serenity within the member affected by a loved one’s addiction.

Is There Narcotics Anonymous for Teens?

Teen-Anon is a program specifically designed for teens suffering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs. It follows the 12 Steps popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and helps teens to regain control over their unmanageable lives.

Who Funds Narcotics Anonymous?

Narcotics Anonymous is entirely funded by donations. The program is 100% free to join. Members don’t pay any hidden fees. Optional collections are taken during the meeting but are not mandatory.

Can Narcotics Anonymous Help Me Fight Cravings?

Yes, Narcotics Anonymous can help you fight cravings. Cravings are a completely normal part of recovery. Even if you do your best to avoid trigger situations, cravings may still occur.

Narcotics Anonymous owes much of its success to sponsorship. If you have the urge to use drugs, you can call or meet with your sponsor to discuss your cravings. Talking it out can remove the power from cravings, and they will pass.

Your NA sponsor is there for you throughout the 12-step fellowship program and is a source of strength and support.

Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Questions

What Are Narcotics Anonymous Meetings Like?

At NA meetings, you’ll meet people who have been clean for different periods of time. People will support your quest to get clean and remain sober for life. You will receive respect and encouragement as you listen and share your drug addiction experiences.

You won’t be required to do or believe anything. But you may get suggestions as you work the 12 Steps.

Where Can I Find a Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Near Me?

You can find a local Narcotics Anonymous meeting on NA’s website.

Religion and Spirituality Questions

Does My Higher Power Have to Be God?

No, your higher power doesn’t have to be God. Many people who don’t believe in God have found solace in following a different spiritual or existential path to recovery. A higher power is a force beyond yourself that can help you to get and remain sober.

What Alternatives Can I Consider to Be My Higher Power?

Your higher power can be anything that you believe in beyond yourself. It helps if you choose something you are passionate about.

How Do You Work the 12 Steps if You’re an Atheist?

You don’t have to be religious to join Narcotics Anonymous. The 12 Steps mention “God” as a higher power. But the program encourages members to choose whatever higher power will help them get clean. Some atheists or secularists choose to identify “reality” as their higher power—the reality of their addiction and that their actions have consequences. The wording of the Steps may have to be tweaked. But the overall premise remains: They acknowledge that they can’t keep living the way they are and want to change.