Narcotics Anonymous Still Growing by primusboy


									Narcotics Anonymous Still Growing
Drug treatment centers are all over the country and ads for these
facilities are everywhere. The Google ads you read on this web page are
probably for drug treatment centers, offering a variety of approaches to
help addicts get through withdrawal and back to health.
But the old saying "the best things in life are free" is more than
appropriate when it comes to the recovery phase of addiction.
Organizations like Narcotics Anonymous aren't looking for dollars, just
the desire to get healthy. There are no dues, no mandatory contributions
to the cause, just support from people who know addiction and more
importantly understand what the addict is experiencing.
NA grew out of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement of the late 1930's,
offering a recovery process and support network. Instead of saying
alcohol in its 12-Steps, NA used "addiction" to reflect its membership.
Like AA, NA has its own book, published originally in 1983.
The NA website says the book is published in 34 diffe rent languages, and
16 more are to be added in the future. I share this with you because I've
met people who are all too quick to dismiss organizations like NA and AA,
even though there has been documented success and continued expansion.
Its literature states, "NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men
and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We meet regularly to
help each other stay clean. We are not interested in what or how much you
used, but only in what you want to do about your prob lem and how we can
All local groups are autonomous and no membership fee is required. Like
AA, the purity of the NA mission is uncontaminated by the need for
constant fund raising, or the urge to ask members for money.
Still, people will look for a sinister motive. They will claim a
religious bias, or some other divisive force is at work. They confuse
religion with the practice of spiritual principles.
Members may examine their own spiritual beliefs and learn to gain a
greater understanding of those beliefs, without pressure to adhere to any
religious doctrine, practice or tradition. With no proclamation of
specific beliefs among members, no requirement of cash, it is hardly a
target to be called a "cult," yet those accusations persist. The fact
that it's free may irritate those who believe that there is the necessity
to pay your own way.
Another popular target of criticism for NA and AA, is the encouragement
for its members to abstain from drugs and alcohol. For some, the idea of
treatment is limited to getting well enough to use again without getting
But the NA and AA approach is more holistic, regarding body, mind and
spirit as being equally as important, and so drugs and alcohol get in the
way. The organization is made up of people who have walked through the
tunnel and who desire to help people overcome their addiction and lead a
fulfilling life. It takes no stand on prescribed medications, so taking
such medications under the care of a physician is not seen as a
compromise to the goal of abstinence.
NA and AA do not endorse or oppose the positions of other groups
concerning their methodology or philosophy. They do not weigh in on other
issues relating to addiction, such as the law, public health, political
dialog on drug legalization, etc. They are concerned only for the support
and well being of addicts.
Some will claim that NA is ineffective in helping members through the
recovery process. Because no dues are needed, because attendance is not
taken at meetings and because there is no strict control over membership,
it is difficult to determine the exact number of people who have overcome
through NA participation. Some may remain active for years, helping
others and spreading the message. Others may just go back to living their
If freedom is the only goal and statistics are unnecessary; if money is
not the object and membership rolls are immaterial; if the activities and
practices of any other group is not their concern, then it is all too
easy to merely dismiss and marginalize NA. If someone has walked through
the tunnel and come out the other side alive and well, that says enough
for NA.
Ned Wicker is the Addictions Recovery Chaplain at Waukesha Memorial
Hospital Lawrence Center. He author's a website for addiction support:
Drug Addiction Symptoms

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