Narcotics Anonymous is an international, community-based association of recovering drug addicts with more than 63,000 weekly meetings in over 132 countries worldwide. There are currently 223 meetings held across Ireland each week.
- What is NA?
- NA as a Resource for Communities and Professionals
- Further Resources for Professionals
What is NA?
Narcotics Anonymous sprang from the Alcoholics Anonymous Program of the late 1940s, with meetings first emerging in the Los Angeles area of California, USA, in the early Fifties.
NA’s primary approach to recovery is its belief in the therapeutic value of one addict helping another. Members take part in NA meetings by talking about their experiences and recovery from drug addiction.
Addicts helping each other recover are the foundation of NA. Members meet regularly to talk about their experiences in recovery. More experienced members (known as sponsors) work individually with newer members. The core of the NA program is the Twelve Steps. These “steps” are a set of guidelines outlining a practical approach to recovery. Principles incorporated within the steps include:
- admitting there is a problem;
- seeking help;
- engaging in a thorough self-examination;
- confidential self-disclosure;
- making amends for harm done; and
- helping other drug addicts who want to recover.
By following these guidelines and working closely with other members, addicts learn to stop using drugs and face the challenges of daily living.
Narcotics Anonymous is not a religious organization and does not mandate any particular belief system. It does teach basic spiritual principles such as honesty, open-mindedness, faith, willingness, and humility that may be applied in everyday life. Recovery in NA is a process, ongoing and personal. Members make an individual decision to join and recover at their own pace.
Anyone who wants to stop using drugs may become a member of Narcotics Anonymous. Membership is not limited to addicts using any particular drug. The basic premise of anonymity allows addicts to attend meetings without fear of legal or social repercussions. Anonymity also supports an atmosphere of equality in meetings.
For more information about the history of NA and its organisational philosophy, see here
NA as a Resource for Communities and Professionals
Volunteer committees of NA members are formed to coordinate many services within the community. NA accepts no financial contributions from non-members, has no professional counselors and maintains no clinics or residential facilities. Below is a list of services that NA offers in Ireland:
- Community Awareness Meetings may be conducted by NA members to inform the community of the existence of Narcotics Anonymous and its available services.
- Health Fairs and Conferences are events conducted by professional organizations at which NA may have a display booth and/or presents information at a workshop.
- Presentations can be provided to churches, gardaí, judges, counsellors, nurses, doctors, unions, and schools, among others, for information purposes.
- Phoneline Services provide local meeting information and general information about NA.
- Meeting Lists, locally produced schedules that contain times of and locations for meetings in the community, are generally available.
- Services to Hospitals & Institutions are provided by local committees through meetings/presentations to introduce those people attending to some of the basics of the Narcotics Anonymous program. They carry the NA message of recovery to addicts who do not have full access to regular NA meetings. Meetings or presentations are provided to hospitals, jails, addiction treatment facilities, detox centers, and other institutions.
- Literature Services include a variety of books, booklets, pamphlets, audio and large-print editions. Narcotics Anonymous literature is published in English and several other languages.
To enquire about any of these services contact [email protected]
Further Resources for Professionals
- In Times of Illness: This relied-upon booklet was recently revised to reflect members’ experiences with challenges such as mental health issues, chronic illness and pain, and supporting members with illnesses. It includes section summaries in the table of contents.
- NA Groups and Medication: Our Twelve Traditions remind us that medication use is a member’s personal decision, and is an outside issue for NA groups. This piece is intended for groups as they consider this issue. It does not address members’ personal decisions, nor does it try to change members’ opinions about medication. Groups are often better able to carry the message and welcome everyone when members come together to discuss this issue.
- For Those in Treatment: In this pamphlet, we offer some suggestions and a basic plan of action to help recovering addicts in the transition from treatment, to continuing recovery in Narcotics Anonymous.
- By Young Addicts, For Young Addicts: This pamphlet was developed by young members of Narcotics Anonymous to illustrate the fact that young addicts around the world, speaking many different languages, are getting and staying clean in NA.
- An Introduction to NA Meetings: Offers a welcoming introduction, and explains practices unfamiliar to those at their first meetings, and provides tips for groups to preserve an atmosphere of recovery.