Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a global fellowship of people who share the common goal of recovering from drug addiction. Founded in 1953 in Los Angeles, California, NA has grown to include over 70,000 meetings weekly in 144 countries. The organization’s approach is based on the 12-step model developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, adapted for those struggling with drug addiction. For those seeking support on their recovery journey, the Narcotics Anonymous symbol serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the core principles that guide the NA program.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a global fellowship of people who share the common goal of recovering from drug addiction

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a global fellowship of people who share the common goal of recovering from drug addiction

History of Narcotics Anonymous

NA was founded by Jimmy Kinnon and others who saw a need for a program specifically tailored to those recovering from drug addiction. The first NA meeting was held on August 17, 1953, in Southern California. The NA program is based on the idea that addiction is a disease and that complete abstinence from all drugs is necessary for recovery. The fellowship grew slowly at first but gained momentum in the 1960s and 1970s as drug addiction became more prevalent in society. Today, NA is the second-largest 12-step organization in the world, after Alcoholics Anonymous.

The NA Symbol and Its Significance

At the heart of the NA symbol is a square inside a circle. According to NA’s website, the square represents honesty, willingness, open-mindedness, and humility – four key attributes members strive to practice in their lives. The circle around the square represents wholeness, oneness, and the strength found in the unity and support of the fellowship.

Within the square are four sides, each with profound meaning:

  • Self: Taking an honest look at oneself is the first step of the recovery journey. NA encourages rigorous self-examination and making amends for past wrongs.
  • God: This represents the spiritual awakening that occurs in working the 12 steps. Each member defines their higher power in their own way, whether it be a traditional conception of God or simply a power greater than oneself.
  • Service: Helping others strengthens sobriety. Sharing experience, providing sponsorship, and engaging in service work are key components of the NA program. Service can take many forms, from setting up chairs at meetings to speaking with newcomers.
  • Society: This side represents “carrying the message” to addicts still suffering and reintegrating as a contributing member of society living by spiritual principles. NA members aim to be productive citizens and to make amends to those they have harmed.

In the center of the symbol is a stylized “NA” initial which can also be viewed as a person reaching up for help or a person kneeling in prayer and humility. A diamond shape, representing goodwill, encircles the initials. Spelled out below are the words “Narcotics Anonymous.”

The Overall Spirit of the Symbol

Beyond its graphical elements, the NA symbol embodies the spirit of transformation, freedom, and a new way of life. By surrendering to the process, working the 12 steps, and connecting with the power of the fellowship, countless addicts have found sustainable recovery in NA. The symbol serves as a daily touchstone and reminder of the ongoing journey of healing and growth in sobriety.

NA was founded by Jimmy Kinnon and others who saw a need for a program specifically tailored to those recovering from drug addiction

NA was founded by Jimmy Kinnon and others who saw a need for a program specifically tailored to those recovering from drug addiction

NA’s 12 Steps and Traditions

Like other 12-step programs, NA’s approach is based on working through the 12 steps with the guidance of a sponsor. The steps involve admitting powerlessness over addiction, coming to believe in a higher power, making a searching and fearless moral inventory, making amends, engaging in prayer and meditation, and carrying the message to other addicts. NA also has 12 traditions that guide the operation of the fellowship, emphasizing principles such as anonymity, unity, and self-support.

A Shared Solution and Mutual Support

While Narcotics Anonymous does not endorse any specific treatment centers, professional addiction treatment can be an important complement to participation in NA. At JourneyPure, our mission is to help those suffering from drug addiction reclaim their lives through evidence-based clinical care and connection to vital recovery support services. Our team of compassionate professionals includes medical staff, licensed therapists, and recovery coaches, many of whom are in recovery themselves.

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to narcotics, reaching out for help is the first courageous step. Call JourneyPure today at 888-985-2207 to speak confidentially with a caring admissions specialist about treatment options. We offer a full continuum of care, from medically-supervised detox to residential treatment to outpatient programs and sober living. We also place a strong emphasis on aftercare planning and connection to community support groups like NA. A new life in recovery is possible, and we’ll walk alongside you every step of the way.

Staff Spotlight

Will Long


Writer
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • years in the field

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