She is a Fellow if the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy and was previously president. 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. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Differences Between AA and NA

It is likely the key ingredient in 12-step groups is the peer support, rather than the 12 steps themselves. We know from other types of peer support, and anecdotally from people in recovery, this type of support is helpful and highly valued. The 12 steps have a strong religious element including commitments to prayer, making a moral inventory of yourself, making amends to people you’ve harmed, and, once you’ve achieved your “spiritual awakening,” promoting the program to other people in need of help. AA uses its own literature, including “The Big Book” (Alcoholics Anonymous) and other resources, which are geared toward addressing alcohol addiction. NA has its own literature, too, such as the “Basic Text” and other publications, which are tailored to address narcotics addiction. Alcohol addiction and substance abuse are two serious matters that a lot of people in the world are struggling with.

Treatment Options for Drug Addiction

  1. We’ll explore the differences, similarities, and subtleties of NA vs AA to help you pick the right one to stay on the path of lifelong recovery.
  2. At baseline assessment, 12 of the studies surveyed inpatients, 1 sampled day treatment patients, 4 sampled outpatients, and 2 sampled a combination of patients.
  3. First, let’s go over some basic background behind each of these addiction treatment programs.
  4. One of the other criticisms of 12-step groups is that the drop out is quite high – estimated at around 40% in the first year.
  5. Youth were sampled from Canada in two studies but the remainder was sampled in the United States from a total of 11 states (two studies had sampled multiple states; regarding the most prevalent states, five studies were completed in California, three in Illinois, and three in Pennsylvania).

(Hughes became a treatment entrepreneur himself, after retiring from the Senate.) If Betty Ford and Elizabeth Taylor could declare that they were alcoholics and seek help, so too could ordinary people who struggled with drinking. Today there are more than 13,000 rehab facilities in the United States, and 70 to 80 percent of them hew to the 12 steps, according to Anne M. Fletcher, the author of Inside Rehab, a 2013 book investigating the treatment industry. These complex analyses found that, overall, AA confers benefit through multiple mechanisms simultaneously, but in particular, through facilitating adaptive social network changes alcohol withdrawal and by boosting social and negative affect abstinence self-efficacy (40)). The relative importance of these mechanisms also was found to differ depending on whether one had higher or lower addiction severity (40), was a man or a woman (47), and young or old (48). Specifically, those with lower addiction severity, on average, tended to benefit from AA almost entirely through social mechanisms. This was also true to a large extent for the more severe patients, but these patients also benefitted by AAs ability to mobilize changes in spirituality/religiosity and by helping participants cope with negative affect without drinking (40).

Information on Alcoholics Anonymous

Thousands of people have benefited from these two programs to cure their alcohol or drug addictions. AA requires regular meetings that members should consistently attend. It aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for people to share their experiences, struggles, and successes in dealing with alcoholism. Meetings are open to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking, and they are often held in a variety of formats, including open meetings (where anyone can attend) and closed meetings (for members only).

A new type of therapy, with the goal of getting people engaged in 12 step programs and reduce drop out, was developed in the 1990s as part of a large research project. From what we do know, success at maintaining abstinence is fairly low, even according to the fellowship’s own data. One AA study found only 27% of participants were alcohol-free for up to a year (73% relapse rate) and only 13% maintained abstinence for more than five years. These figures are best case because they only include people who were still members of AA, not people who dropped out of the program.

Without any formally agreed upon definition of what “spirituality” actually is, AA’s focus on gratitude, hope, forgiveness, and compassion, might be considered spiritual in essence. It has facilitated a self-defined notion of spirituality, including even a non-spiritual, secular spirituality (52) if one chooses, to ensure everyone has a chance at making use of its “protective wall of human community” and all that it has to offer. So, circling back to the original question posed at the outset, is AA religious, spiritual, neither?

Remember to focus on working through the steps rather than criticize yourself based on the outcome. The 12 steps of NA are a guide you can use to help you in your recovery. Generally, New NA members must complete each step before moving how to pass a urine drug test with baking soda on to the next one. However, these steps are dynamic and non-linear on where you are on your recovery journey. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is one of the many support groups available for people who need a support network while recovering.

Meetings in NA, on the other hand, focus on the challenges and experiences related to narcotics addiction, including the use of narcotics, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms. Like AA, the NA meetings are the core of the organization, providing a space where individuals in recovery can meet regularly to discuss their challenges and successes. These meetings are inclusive and open to anyone with a desire to stop using drugs. Individuals of all backgrounds, races, genders, and beliefs are welcome. NA found troubles establishing itself outside of California until the 1980s when the crack and cocaine epidemic caused a surge in membership. NA bases its 12 steps and 12 traditions on AA’s program and has a basic text known as Narcotics Anonymous.

There is no mandatory national certification exam for addiction counselors. The 2012 Columbia University report on addiction medicine found that only six states required alcohol- and substance-abuse counselors to have at least a bachelor’s degree and that only one state, Vermont, required a master’s degree. Fourteen states had no license requirements whatsoever—not even a GED or an introductory training course was necessary—and yet counselors are often called on by the judicial system and medical boards to give expert opinions on their clients’ prospects for recovery. In 1976, for instance, the Rand Corporation released a study of more than 2,000 men who had been patients at 44 different NIAAA-funded treatment centers.

You may gain new members every week, and some may not show up at all. One of the other criticisms of 12-step groups is that the drop out is quite high – estimated at around 40% in the first year. Mainstream treatment in Australia has a dropout rate of around 34%. Since 2008, Florida’s behavioral health leader,, is a convenient and worthwhile way to receive the support you need. Let’s examine the similarities and differences of each program so you can make a well-thought decision.

Finally, Laudet presented data from a quasi-experimental study on the influence of holding a 12-Step meeting on-site at a treatment program on clients’ 12-Step participation and substance use outcomes after treatment. Participants were drawn from two similar alcoholic eyes treatment programs with the key difference between them being that one held a weekly 12-Step meeting on-site and the other one did not. Participants did not differ significantly across programs in terms of substance use, treatment, or 12-Step history.

He bought into the program and the idea of a fellowship where people helped one another. It also contains stories written by the co-founders and stories from a wide range of members who have found recovery in A.A. The WSC through the World Board is responsible for the NA World Service Office located in the Chatsworth, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, United States. This office handles the production of all approved literature, provides resources for projects approved by the WSC, and also provides limited services to the fellowship as a whole.

“Once an alcoholic – always an alcoholic” is a simple fact we have to live with. During those sessions, Willenbring checks on J.G.’s sleep patterns and refills his prescription for baclofen (Willenbring was familiar with the studies on baclofen and alcohol, and agreed it was a viable treatment option), and occasionally prescribes Valium for his anxiety. Doesn’t drink at all these days, though he doesn’t rule out the possibility of having a beer every now and then in the future. As the rehab industry began expanding in the 1970s, its profit motives dovetailed nicely with AA’s view that counseling could be delivered by people who had themselves struggled with addiction, rather than by highly trained (and highly paid) doctors and mental-health professionals. Jellinek, however, later tried to distance himself from this work, and from Alcoholics Anonymous. His ideas came to be illustrated by a chart showing how alcoholics progressed from occasionally drinking for relief, to sneaking drinks, to guilt, and so on until they hit bottom (“complete defeat admitted”) and then recovered.

If one AA meeting isn’t working, try attending a different meeting or group altogether. Because it’s so accessible, you likely won’t have problems finding other meetings. Sometimes, Patterson notes, you may meet someone at a 12-step or SMART meeting who is simply attending these meetings and not getting professional treatment. AA uses a 12-step model that begins with a person admitting that they’re powerless over alcohol and that their lives had become unmanageable.

These steps guide the alcoholic into growing spiritually, becoming aware of the hurt and pain they have caused to themselves as well as to others, and making amends for that pain. As the person progresses through the program, he learns the importance of embracing these principles throughout every area of his life. In addition, he also becomes passionate about and learns the skills to help others as they begin and complete their own journey toward sobriety. This has proven to be a very effective model for treating alcoholism because people can draw upon each other for the support they need. This set of results suggested that AA helps different people in different ways. Or, another way of saying this, is that people may use AA differently to help them cope with the different challenges that are particularly salient to them in their lives at that time in their recovery.

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