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The programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are systems of recovery from drugs and alcohol. These programs each contain two main elements, that, if one is honest, can achieve not only sobriety, but a new, happy, and fulfilling way of life.

The first and foremost of these elements is meetings. Meetings are very important to the newcomer and the veteran alike. The newcomer finds fellowship, people like them, that have the same issues and have found the solution to their addiction problem. For the veteran, its a place where where they can find newcomers to help, which in turn, helps them to maintain sobriety. Meetings also provide a place for service work, which is key to maintaining sobriety.

The second element is the twelve steps, which, between AA and NA, are virtually the same. The steps involve admitting powerlessness over the addiction, developing a relationship with a higher power, taking a moral inventory of oneself, making amends with people, and living spiritually, and helping others. Many people are put off by the “higher power” part of the program, but many agnostics and atheists do recover, with a little bit of willingness. The steps are just suggestions to recovery, and they are not only a way to maintain sobriety, but they are a foundation and “blueprint” to living a new and spiritual life; a schematic to living a life on a new plane of existence.

A third element is the texts of each program. The book for AA is the volume of Aloholics Anonymous, or, the “Big Book,” and the text for NA is Narcotics Anonymous, or, “The Basic Text.” These volumes, having their considerable differences, are laid out the same: the first, small section, speaks of addiction, and the twelve steps of recovery, and the latter bulk, contains stories of the addiction and recovery of AA and NA members, respectively.

The AA and NA logos above are links to the main websites for each program, and there are images of the Big Book and Basic Text below, along with the AA twelve steps and preamble. There are also local offices for each program called “intergroup offices” located in most major metro areas. There are also offices that serve specific areas that encompass multiple rural communities. These offices sell AA and NA books and literature, medallions, offer meeting schedules, and also have twenty-four hour phone lines. The intergroup offices are great places to do service work.