One addict helping another is an essential part of the NA program.[15] It is therefore highly recommended that NA members find a sponsor. A sponsor is a member of NA who helps another member of the fellowship by sharing their experience, strength, and hope in recovery and serves as a guide through the Twelve Steps. In doing so, NA members often choose a sponsor with experience in applying the NA’s Twelve Steps. Members are given absolute freedom in coming to an understanding of a higher power that works for them. Members who attend the same meeting regularly to establish a recovery network and reliable routine understand this to be their “home group.” Home-group members can participate in the group’s business and play an important role in deciding how the group’s meetings should be conducted.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous religious, spiritual, neither? Findings from 25 years of mechanisms of behavior change research

But the legislation does not specify a process for deciding which methods should be approved, so states and insurance companies are setting their own rules. How they’ll make those decisions is a matter of ongoing discussion. During her sessions with him, she talks about troubling memories that she believes helped ratchet up her drinking. She has occasionally had a drink; Willenbring calls this “research,” not “a relapse.” “There’s no belittling, no labels, no judgment, no book to carry around, no taking away your ‘medal,’ ” Jean says, a reference to the chips that AA members earn when they reach certain sobriety milestones. Hester says this attitude dates to the 1950s and ’60s, when psychiatrists regularly prescribed heavy drinkers Valium and other sedatives with great potential for abuse. Many patients wound up dependent on both booze and benzodiazepines.

Stephen Strobbe

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. 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. Even if someone doesn’t put it in your treatment plan, Patterson advises people to try a few different options, including CBT and SMART Recovery, at least once if possible. While that certainly works for some people, it’s important to remember that you’re not “weaker” or “less” of a person for needing (or simply wanting) some additional help.


  1. “There was never any attempt to reach consumers.” Few doctors accepted that it was possible to treat alcohol-use disorder with a pill.
  2. He was given the hallucinogen belladonna, an experimental treatment for addictions, and from his hospital bed he called out to God to loosen alcohol’s grip.
  3. Finding the right tools is essential to managing addiction; NA is just one of many tools to recover.
  4. Could the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of coverage prompt us to rethink how we treat alcohol-use disorder?

For men only, being a sponsor was predictive of sustained abstinence over 3 years. For men and women, doing service and having a home group was predictive of sustained abstinence over 3 years. Laudet discussed how some of these activities can be translated outside of the 12-Step context to benefit individuals who choose not to participate in 12-Step groups. First, Laudet examined the role of 12-Step affiliation—meeting attendance alcohol detox diet eating healthy during alcohol withdrawal and involvement in 12-Step suggested activities—as predictors of abstinence sustained continuously over one or more years. Attending 12-Step meetings, considering one’s self a member of a 12-Step fellowship, and working the steps at baseline were predictive of sustained abstinence over one year. Continuous 12-Step attendance (weekly or more frequent) over 3 years predicted sustained abstinence over three years.

Treatment Options for Drug Addiction

In 1946, Jellinek published the results of a survey mailed to 1,600 AA members. Jellinek and Mann jettisoned 45 that had been improperly completed and another 15 filled out by women, whose responses were so unlike the men’s that they risked complicating the results. From this small sample—98 men—Jellinek drew sweeping conclusions about the “phases of alcoholism,” which included an unavoidable succession of binges that led to blackouts, “indefinable fears,” and hitting bottom. Though the paper was filled with caveats about its lack of scientific rigor, it became AA gospel. Religious fervor, aided by the introduction of public water-filtration systems, helped galvanize the temperance movement, which culminated in 1920 with Prohibition.

Noteworthy from these moderated multiple-mediational analyses was the relatively small or non-significant mediational effects carried by spirituality. Given that spirituality is AA’s chief purported mechanism of behavior change, at first glance, these findings would appear to be at odds with AA’s own theory of change as explicated in its 12-step program and original text (1,6). Moreover, in a single mediator analysis using this same measure of spirituality in the same sample, as well as other samples, spirituality was indeed a significant mediator of AA’s beneficial effects. It is when spirituality is competing for explanatory variance amidst all the other multifarious mediators, however, that it does not shine through; the only exception being among those AA participants with more severe addiction problems. Alcoholics and narcotics anonymous are 12-step peer support groups where people who have alcohol or other drug problems are supported by others who have had similar problems (“peers”), rather than professionals. They are called 12-step programs because there are 12 steps members are expected to work through.

That year a “Parent Service Board” (later renamed the World Service Board) was formed to ensure that NA stayed healthy and followed closely to the traditions. Confusingly, in 1962, the Salvation Army started a group also called “Narcotics Anonymous” that followed a different “13-step” program, but this program soon died out. Members of the program learned what was effective and what was not. Relapse rates declined over time and friction between NA groups began to decrease. In 1944, AA’s co-founder Bill Wilson discussed a separate fellowship for drug addicts.[19] In 1947, NARCO (also called Addicts Anonymous) met weekly at the U.S. Jimmy K., who is credited with starting the NA as we know it today, did contact Rae Perez, a leading member of this NA fellowship.

It was decided that the book would use the Little White Book as its outline, filling in and expanding on the subjects discussed in that text. In 1970, there were only 20 regular, weekly meetings, all of them in the United States. Within two years there were 70, including meetings in Germany, Australia, and Bermuda.

The Zonal Forums are service-oriented organizational structures designed to improve communication between RSCs. In 2003, NA World drinking levels defined national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism niaaa Services approved a new text entitled Sponsorship.[27] This book endeavors to help people explore the concept of NA sponsorship.

Typically, both NA and AA meetings begin with reading the 12 Steps. You may also hear people reciting the serenity prayer or the 12 Traditions. After that, you’ll find that meetings are all quite different from each other. Some meetings may include speakers, or people sharing about their experiences.

It’s best to work with an addiction specialist to receive the proper combination of treatments for your condition. It’s also difficult to compare 12-step groups to mainstream treatments, such as cognitive behaviour therapy and motivational interviewing because it is now rare for contemporary treatment to be longer than two to three months at a time. Because alcohol and other drug problems are seen by AA/NA as an incurable disease, participation is a lifetime process. The founders, a stock broker and a surgeon, developed a system of peer support and then formalised the 12 steps, largely drawn from their own and others’ experience of recovery. The best way to choose between AA and NA is deciding which meeting you like best and does the most to help you in your path to lifelong sobriety. For most alcoholics this is AA and for most drug addicts this NA, but you don’t have to choose.

The office also administers the legal responsibilities of the fellowship concerning copyrights, intellectual property, and accounting. An RSC is composed of the regional committee members (RCMs) of all the participating ASCs in a region. It is similar in organization to an ASC but is further crack addiction symptoms and treatment removed from the day-to-day activities of individual home groups. Many of the issues dealt with by RSCs are the same ones that will come before the World Service Conference, with the RSC being the best way for local groups to help craft policies that will affect NA as a whole.

At the time, support for AA specific behaviors and beliefs as mediators, such as spirituality, was limited, but research on the topic was generally sparse. Since that review, however, a number of additional methodologically rigorous studies have supported AA working through its own purportedly central mechanism – increasing spirituality (34–36). Also, AA participation and, specifically, increased spirituality have been shown to explain lower depression among individuals with AUD (37). Conversely, methodologically rigorous studies since the initial review testing AA’s other major purported AA mechanisms such as reduced selfishness/self-centeredness (38) and reduced anger/resentment (39) have not been supported. If several single mediators are tested separately and shown to partially explain AAs effects, one is left wondering which of these variables carry the most weight, since we know that interventions like AA work through multiple mechanisms simultaneously. As with adults, it appears that substance abuse treatment among teens is superior to no treatment.

Leads to increased rates and lengths of abstinence compared with other common treatments. On other measures, like drinks per day, it performs as well as approaches provided by individual therapists or doctors who don’t rely on A.A.’s peer connections. It’s difficult to measure how effective NA and other 12-step programs are for its members. Although studies show its effectiveness on participants under 12-step programs, it’s not a complete guarantee. Discussion meetings allow members to share their personal stories.