What Is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?

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.

Find a meeting here!

April 13, 2024
Finding the Hope We Need to Heal
Page 107
"We don't have to deny reality to have hope or gratitude. We feel what we feel, and we do the footwork anyway."
Living Clean, Chapter 7, "Living Our Principles"

A lot of us have had a hopeless moment when we are going through something difficult, and a fellow recovering addict shares their opinion that "feelings aren't facts"—and we want to chop their head off. Perhaps more helpful—and hopeful—is this fact: Feelings are real and one thing we learn in NA is that we can feel them and survive them. We do so not merely by grasping onto hope that they'll change soon, but by taking actions in spite of them. As one addict rhymed, we "feel, deal, and heal."

We deal by engaging the familiar NA footwork: going to meetings, sharing the feelings, and listening for solutions; doing stepwork around an issue, such as our resistance to change; praying and meditating; and focusing on others, not just our own strife. And of course, there's the footwork that's specific to our particular situation. Loss of employment, for instance, requires footwork to replace it. A mental health issue might warrant an appointment with a professional. We retake a course we failed or initiate lifestyle changes to improve our health. We end a marriage. We certainly aren't guaranteed a pain-free life in recovery, and sometimes the footwork is painful, too. Hope is a bridge to relief.

A fresh perspective, especially when infused with gratitude and hope, helps us heal. When we lose that job, many of us will go down the road of fear and self-pity. Taking a moment to shift our perspective to one of gratitude (I have come so far) and hope (There are other opportunities out there for me)—and faith, too (I'll be okay no matter what)—won't deny us our very real feelings. Instead, perspective keeps reasonable feelings of sadness and fear from morphing into abject despair or outsized anxiety. We don't wait until the fear has gone, or the stress or anger or sorrow, before we get back on the path. The feelings might still linger, but we're moving, letting change happen, even taking risks. We're healing.

———     ———     ———     ———     ———
Through NA, and in my relationships with fellow addicts, I find the hope I need to heal.