21 thoughts on “NA Language

  1. The old timer’s in AA will tell you it is for unity of purpose. However, I don’t get offended if someone says sober etc. We all share the same disease and getting upset about semantics doesn’t seem to serve a useful purpose.

  2. the clarity statement tells us that using terms like sober in NA confuses things and implies that there is more than one disease. Like alcoholism is something different from addiction. In fact AA steps say alcoholics are powerless over alcohol just like CA says they are powerless over cocaine. NA talks about being powerless over this thing we call addiction which has little to do with the substance and more to do with the way we think. Sober implies dry of alcohol. Clean means clean.

  3. Call yourself what you wish, as long as you’re being honest with yourself. But what I really appreciate about NA is that we stress that alcohol is a drug, and even if you’re not getting high, if you still drink then you’re not yet living the NA way. I also attend AA meetings and I get a lot out of them, but I’m amazed how many AA people are sober but are clearly still in active addiction to drugs (pot, pills). My sponsor goes to both fellowships is qualified to be in both fellowships … when she’s at an NA meeting, she identifies herself as an addict, and at AA she’s an alcoholic. She doesn’t do the “alcoholic and addict” thing that seems to be gaining popularity. Again, I don’t care what you call yourself as long as you’re honest.

    1. I do not understand “qualified” to be in both programs or even why someone would go to both programs. It does imply that NA is somehow not enough. Every addict I know used ethanol in mass quantities. Thinking of alcohol as different from other drugs … thinking you need two programs or you qualify for both, IS thinking of alcohol is bring different from other drugs and NA is not enough. I keep my program very simple. One disease, one fellowship. I know, I’m a purist and and old timer.

      1. I’m clean 31 years. Been a member of AA, NA, and still other fellowships that whole time. Why I choose to do so is no one’s concern but mine, and to imply that NA stakes claim to some totality of all an addict needs or, more to the point, DESIRES is misleading and contributes to the holier-than-thou attitude that has made NA in my area smaller and smaller and smaller . . .

  4. Because the clarity of the message is blurred when we speak in terms of clean and sober or say addict and alcoholic. In NA, we focus on the disease, not just a mere symptom. Yes they are major symptoms, but the disease is much more deadly if left untreated.

  5. I think we should read the clarity statement and then let it go. There is no need to nitpick the way people talk. Let everyone find their way. It takes some people longer than others to find a home in particular fellowship. What we can do is share in a manner that we feel is appropriate and hope to identify with newcomers. But let’s not try to control the way others talk or call it “NA Language” like you have to learn some secret handshake to be welcome here.

    We are presented with a dilemma; when NA members identify
    themselves as addicts and alcoholics, or talk about living clean
    and sober, the clarity of the NA message is blurred. To speak in
    this manner suggests that there are two diseases, that one drug is
    somehow separate from the rest, requiring special recognition.
    Narcotics anonymous makes no distinction between drugs. Our
    identification as addicts is all-inclusive, which allows us to
    concentrate on our similarities, not our differences.

  7. Brian, I agree about finding your way.. One of the things I love about NA is the fact that there is a way, but there are no set rules about how you work your program.. I do not hear many people with any clean time that have been around using other “non-NA” terms.. it is always people that are finding their way that are young in the process that use those terms..

    I also agree that confusing the terms at first would have possibly taken me in another direction if I had no one there to guide me.. I did have someone get in my face at the first meeting and tell me to get a sponsor.. That helped me in my journey..

    Keep comin’ back right?

  8. I am a member of both NA & AA and sometimes “slips” in my word choice are not intentional. I just happen to spend more time in AA, so I hear that “language” more often.

    1. Why do you need two programs if you agree with our lit. that “Alcohol is a drug.” The truth is I really believe people who feel they need two programs do not believe this time tested quote from our lit. Remember it says, ‘somehow’ thinking….

      1. there is nothing wrong with going to both types of meetings. I attend both because when i need a noon meeting near me on any day but Wednesday, I can only find an AA meeting.

      2. You sound very judgmental. Depending on where someone lives, some meetings are better than others. For example, in my county, the NA meetings are full of people who show up high. The AA meetings are generally better. There are some good specific NA meetings, but the AA meetings in general have people who are more serious and committed, so while there is a good NA meeting I can attend on Fridays, the rest of the week I stick with AA. It’s not about the programs, it’s about the particular meetings. It’s not hurting you any what I do or anyone else does so why judge? If it helps someone to go to both kinds, let them.

  9. I go to both types of meetings to broaden my base, but only practice the NA program. I don’t see it as needing both but there aren’t any women’s meetings near me so I go to an AA women’s meeting about 10 minutes away from my house, instead of the NA women’s meeting on the southside of town that conflicts with my regular Sunday meeting.

  10. Submitted on 2015/08/10 at 10:08 PM
    I was just reading comments on our “clarity” or “dilemma” statement read at some of the meetings I attend. It is a statement read in my home group as part of the format. To me that statement can’t be any more clear than it is; yet, even if it is a person who is in a service position that reads it, I have heard them identify themselves in a contrary manner to that statement right after reading it. In order to “practice the principles in all our affairs” it would seem that we would do well to listen, understand and apply them rather than reciting our literature by rote or some automoton without understanding what we’re doing. If we keep what we have by giving it away, should we not take caution on what we’re giving away? What do we really want back in return? Is it the same mixed messages we lived, experienced and contributed to when we were surrendered to our disease? Our Traditions state, “It is only through understanding AND application that they work.” I pose these questions: Can we separate any one part of the program from another? Does the “understanding and application” only apply to our Traditions? Or, does it apply to ALL of the spiritual principles of our program? Thank you for your reflections on this comment.

    In loving recovery,

    Ken C.


  12. The stated “clarity statement” is not NA’s clarity statement. If you can find it, please show it to me in our literature (not some opinion you found on the WSC website). Our clarity statement is on roman numeral page XXV in the 6th edition Basic Text. It states very clearly, “The Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous, as adapted from A.A., are the basis of our recovery program. We have only broadened their perspective. We follow the same path with a single exception; our identification as addicts is all-inclusive with respect to any mood-changing, mind-altering substance. Alcoholism is too limited a term for us, our problem is not a specific substance, it is a disease called addition.” This is in direct line with the statement made in the 3rd tradition in the IWH&W. “We learn to practice tolerance of addicts who don’t look like us, think like us, or share like us. We teach by example. Pressuring new members to talk or act like we do may send them back to the streets. It certainly denies them the right to recover and learn in their own way.”

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