Most of us do not have to think twice about this question. We know! Our whole life and
thinking was centered in drugs in one form or another—the getting and using and finding ways
and means to get more. We lived to use and used to live. Very simply, an addict is a man or
woman whose life is controlled by drugs. We are people in the grip of a continuing and
progressive illness whose ends are always the same: jails, institutions, and death.
NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a
major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.
This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for
membership, the desire to stop using. We suggest that you keep an open mind and give
yourself a break. Our program is a set of principles written so simply that we can follow them
in our daily lives. The most important thing about them is that they work.
There are no strings attached to NA. We are not affiliated with any other organizations. We
have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone. We are not
connected with any political, religious, or law enforcement groups, and are under no
surveillance at any time. Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed,
religion, or lack of religion.
We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what
you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to do
about your problem and how we can help. The newcomer is the most important person at any
meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away. We have learned from our
group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean.
Before coming to the Fellowship of NA, we could not manage our own lives. We could not
live and enjoy life as other people do. We had to have something different and we thought we
had found it in drugs. We placed their use ahead of the welfare of our families, our wives,
husbands, and our children. We had to have drugs at all costs. We did many people great harm,
but most of all we harmed ourselves. Through our inability to accept personal responsibilities
we were actually creating our own problems. We seemed to be incapable of facing life on its
Most of us realized that in our addiction we were slowly committing suicide, but addiction is
such a cunning enemy of life that we had lost the power to do anything about it. Many of us
ended up in jail, or sought help through medicine, religion, and psychiatry. None of these
methods was sufficient for us. Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until, in
desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous.
After coming to NA we realized we were sick people. We suffered from a disease from which
there is no known cure. It can, however, be arrested at some point, and recovery is then possible.
If you want what we have to offer, and are willing to make the effort to get it, then you are
ready to take certain steps. These are the principles that made our recovery possible.
1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had
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 a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to
addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
This sounds like a big order, and we can’t do it all at once. We didn’t become addicted in one
day, so remember—easy does it.
There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery; this is an
attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles. Three of these that are
indispensable are honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. With these we are well on our
We feel that our approach to the disease of addiction is completely realistic, for the
therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel. We feel that our way is
practical, for one addict can best understand and help another addict. We believe that the
sooner we face our problems within our society, in everyday living, just that much faster do we
become acceptable, responsible, and productive members of that society.
The only way to keep from returning to active addiction is not to take that first drug. If you
are like us you know that one is too many and a thousand never enough. We put great
emphasis on this, for we know that when we use drugs in any form, or substitute one for
another, we release our addiction all over again.
Thinking of alcohol as different from other drugs has caused a great many addicts to relapse.
Before we came to NA, many of us viewed alcohol separately, but we cannot afford to be
confused about this. Alcohol is a drug. We are people with the disease of addiction who must
abstain from all drugs in order to recover.
We keep what we have only with vigilance, and just as freedom for the individual comes
from the Twelve Steps, so freedom for the group springs from our traditions. As long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would tear us apart, all
will be well.
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express
Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or
NA as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry the message to the addict
who still suffers.
6. An NA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the NA name to any related facility or
outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our
7. Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may
employ special workers.
9. NA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees
directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be
drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always
maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place
principles before personalities.