Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the two oldest and largest 12-step programs out there. Two alcoholics formed AA in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. The founders created it to help those who have developed an unhealthy dependence on alcoholAn organic compound used in many products, most notably intoxicating drinks. Alcohol addiction is known as alcoholism. The first 12-step program was devised to deal with that malady. More. It remained the only 12-step programA 12 step program includes 12 steps of recovery to help those struggling with substance addictions or behavioral addictions. The 12 steps are also used in programs dedicated to helping loved ones of addicts. 12 step programs include 12 step meetings where members go to share their experience strengt... More in existence until Narcotics AnonymousNA is the second-largest 12-step program. Formed in 1953, it is designed to help those who wish to recover from drug addiction. More was founded in California 18 years later.
The two deal with a similar problem, namely the debilitating effect of substance addiction. However, the two organizations deal with distinct forms of dependence. AA focuses on alcohol, while NA is an organization dealing with controlled substances we commonly refer to as ‘drugs.’
What is the Difference between Alcohol and Drugs?
In the minds of most people, the difference between the two is massive. Society as a whole views alcohol with a certain degree of mistrust. However, drugs can be utterly disqualifying and put a person outside of acceptable circles, especially when hard drugs are concerned. While an individual can go to an office party and have too many martinis, it is unthinkable to attend that same party and use heroinAn opioid used as a recreational drug that is often injected. It has a euphoric effect on the user and is highly addictive both psychologically and physically. It is known for being one of the primary drugs involved in opioid overdoses and for its particularly nasty withdrawal symptoms. More. The social stigmaEvery addiction carries with it a certain amount of disapproval, which can also lead to discrimination. This is known as stigma. This can vary greatly following the specific addiction. More surrounding illicit substances is incomparable.
The social stigma is not justified. Research into the social and individual harm wrought by different substances shows that alcohol causes tremendous damage. When researchers calculated all of the consequences for the user and society were tabulated together, they found that alcohol causes far more than most forms of illicit drugs.
On a score of 1-100, researchers ranked alcohol 72. The closes illegal drugs were crack and heroin, both of which scored in the 50s. According to this study, alcohol is no less than three times as harmful as cocaineA strong stimulant developed initially for medical purposes, but now used primarily as a recreational drug. It is an addictive drug; however, it induces mental rather than physical withdrawal symptoms. More. The main problem with alcohol is that it has an outsized negative influence on society, which other drugs do not match. It has caused 88,000 deaths per year and had a wide-ranging negative impact throughout society through car accidents and various forms of violence.
Alcohol does tremendous harm to the body of the user. Physicians have linked excessive alcohol use to over 60 diseases. However, some drugs cause more damage to the user. The study determined that heroin, crack, and crystal meth does the most damage to the individual. Still, it is ironic that the least socially stigmatized drugA name for a wide variety of chemical substances capable of altering the function of your mind and body in significant ways. These can include over the counter prescriptions, alcohol, and controlled substances. Most drugs are either physically and/or psychologically habit-forming. More causes the most damage to society.
AA Versus NA
NA and AA do have some differences, and we will discuss them. However, what is more, important are the similarities between the two. Both organizations base their approach on the 12-step system, which places a premium on spiritual growth as a recoveryThe process by which addicts attempt to break the hold a certain substance or behavior has on their lives. This can refer to participation in a wide variety of methods. What they all have in common, is a sense that life is improving and the addict is regaining control. More factor. NA and AA similarly stress the importance of the group and the sponsor in helping individuals on the road to a happier and more fulfilling existence.
Both 12-step programs also stress the importance of coming to terms with the wreckage addiction has wrought in the lives of the addictAn individual with an unhealthy dependence on a substance or behavior. An individual remains an addict even years into recovery and must therefore remain active in recovery. Read more about drug & alcohol addiction & withdrawal at Withdrawal Info. More and others’ lives.
As we have seen, alcohol is just as damaging as most types of illegal drugs. It appears to cause considerably more damage than most. They are also highly addictive. The main difference between the two is social.
Are There Differences Between the Two?
Despite the many similarities between AA and NA, there are also a few differences. AA tends to stress the importance of help from a Higher Power to a greater extent than NA.
Therefore, there are some subtle differences in the stepsThe term "12 steps" refers to the core principles of the approach to addiction exemplified by Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar groups. The 12 steps are a set of guidelines designed to help individuals overcome addiction and rebuild their lives. They were created by the founders of Alcoholics A... More the fellowships use. A good example is the first step. In AA, that initial step is “we admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” Meanwhile, the first NA step is “we admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.”
The different phrasing is a substantial difference. The AA approach indicates an addiction stemming from an external source, which is the alcohol itself. Meanwhile, in NA literature, powerlessness stems from the addiction.
This difference also influences the means of pursuing recovery. Since addiction is internal for NA members, they tend to look at their addiction and recovery responsibility. Meanwhile, AA members stress the importance of allowing a Higher Power12-step programs greatly stress surrender to and daily communication with a Higher Power. Having trust in something greater than yourself is considered essential for returning sanity in the unmanageable life of an addict. This can be a traditional deity, a spiritual entity or a social one such as th... More to remove destructive impulses.
Which One Is Right for You?
There may be an obvious choice for many people. Since the two organizations deal with different forms of dependencies, individuals suffering from an addiction to one rather than the other should refer to the logical organization. In other words, if you are consuming alcohol rather than drugs, consider going to AA meetings. However, if you cannot control your use of illicit substances rather than liquor, NA may provide better answers for your problems.
The issue is more complicated for individuals suffering from the overuse of both alcohol and drugs simultaneously. One way to choose is by focusing on the role of religion. Individuals who are less comfortable with stressing a Higher Power role in recovery may prefer to try NA. Meanwhile, addicts looking to establish a more vital spiritual component to their lives may select AA.
Since the differences are not that major, perhaps the best way to choose is to attend a few meetings. Regardless of whether the group is under NA or AA’s auspices, you may find you have a better connection with people in one group rather than another.
Either way, do not let uncertainty over which fellowshipThis refers to the members of AA and the bonds of support between them. It is this fellowship that allows addicts to share their stories and accept each other in a world that is not always understanding. More may be right for you stop you from getting the help you need. 12-step programs work, and both NA and AA are likely to greatly benefit your life and assist you in your journey towards recovery.