Should I Go To AA Or NA?

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anoonymous) are similar organizations

One devoted to recovering alcoholics and the other to recovering drug users.

IMPORTANT: AA and NA are only one tool or piece of after care when it comes to recovery.

These groups are not necessarily run or managed by addiction professionals, or even therapists and counselors.

Although we do encourage attending meetings regularly, we do not in any way suggest that they are by themselves a substitute for professional help.

One should not rely solely on these meetings at any point in their recovery. This is a mistake many make, and end up paying for in the end.

However, these groups can and do make up an important component of after care services provided by The Recovery Way.

Things AA Does Not Do

There are also certain things that AA does not do:

  • It does not insist that members attend any or all meetings. Members are free to come and go as they wish.
  • It does not give medical advice.
  • It does not accept money from government or any organization outside AA.
  • It does not try to persuade alcoholics to join.
  • It does not check up on members to see that they are not drinking, nor does it use any form of testing.
  • It is not a religious organization.

It is not connected with any other organization, although it will co-operate with other organizations that have similar aims, and, indeed, some members may work for similar organizations as well as AA.

How Do These Groups Work?

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking or taking drugs. Anyone can attend meetings, and both are worldwide organizations.

At AA the meetings are either “open” or “closed”.

At open meetings members can bring friends or family and speakers will relate how and why they drank, how they came to AA and how it has helped them. Closed meetings are for members only and again anyone can speak, ask questions and share their thoughts with other members.

Members can get help with personal problems in staying sober. Other members will explain how they handled their problems in order to help newer members.

Members of AA and NA do not swear off drink or drugs for life, but rather concentrate on staying sober one day at a time. So they will not worry about whether they may or may not have a drink tomorrow but focus on not drinking right now – today.

Who Organizes AA?

AA does not have a hierarchy.

Each group is free to work out its own way of holding meetings in whatever way suits it, provided it does no harm either to AA as a whole, or to other groups.

A group may have officers, but their only job is to see that meetings run smoothly – they do not issue instructions or give orders to anyone. However, groups may help each other in the same way that individual members of a group do.

Groups everywhere may share experiences by writing to the AA General Service Office which is based in New York.

Local groups who are in the same area may set up a local “central office” if they wish.

Once a year the AA General Service Office holds an annual conference which representatives from US and Canadian groups may attend. They may make suggestions, but do not make any rules or issue instructions or orders to anyone.


Members are known only by their names, and may even use a pseudonym.

This ensures that all members may remain anonymous and their membership wil not be disclosed to anyone outside AA. It is felt that this enables new members to admit their addiction and join the group which many would otherwise not do.

Whether you are recovering from alcoholism or drug addiction, joining AA or NA can only help you in the fight to stay sober.

It costs nothing, and you can discover answers to problems that you may be facing that have already been used successfully by other members who have recovered.


Not a Substitute for Continued Professional Care

These programs are not a substitute for ongoing clinical care in most cases.



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