The Narcotics Anonymous program describes addiction as a disease. NA does not qualify its use of the term “disease” in any medical or specialized therapeutic sense, nor does NA make any attempt to persuade others of the correctness of its view. NA asserts only that its members have found acceptance of addiction as a disease to be effective in helping them come to terms with their condition.
Narcotics Anonymous encourages its members to observe complete abstinence from all mood-altering drugs, including alcohol, although the only requirement for membership is “a desire to stop using” drugs. It has been our experience that complete and continuous abstinence provides the best foundation for recovery and personal growth.
The core of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program is a series of personal activities known as the Twelve Steps, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. These “steps” include admitting there is a problem, seeking help, self-appraisal, confidential self-disclosure, making amends where harm has been done, and working with other drug addicts who want to recover. The “Twelve steps” are a set of principles which outline a practical approach to recovery. By following these principles and working closely with other members, addicts learn to stop using drugs and face the challenges of daily living.
Central to the NA program is what is referred to as a “spiritual awakening”, where we emphasize its practical value, not its philosophical or metaphysical importance. NA itself is non-religious and encourages each member to cultivate an individual understanding, religious or not, of this “spiritual awakening”.
One more thing needs to be said about the Narcotics Anonymous program. Its members recognize that NA is but one organization among many addressing the problem of drug addiction. NA members feel they have had significant success in addressing their own addiction problems, but NA does not claim to have a program what will work for all addicts under all circumstances or that its therapeutic views should be universally adopted.
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