Issue #120 / October 2020
What do you think about NA? As a recovering heroin addict, I am having difficulty getting into the Narcotics Anonymous scene. I see how it can help but I feel as if many people replaced doing drugs with talking about when they used to do drugs. I am trying to find a good support system but it is hard. Perhaps I am being too cynical and not giving it a chance? Do you have any more advice for a recovering heroin user?
EVAN, PORTLAND, USA
Personally, I have a lot of time for Narcotics Anonymous, but I do understand your resistance to the idea. I was the same. In my heart I never really got it — never felt the same connection other people seemed to have. I always felt outside the idea, looking in. I could never fully commit.
However, I think it would be fair to say if it weren’t for NA I probably wouldn’t have survived my heroin addiction. Narcotics Anonymous was this thing, steady and ever-present, that just never ever went away, a place I could come crawling back to, again and again, year after year, and be accepted and welcomed, welcomed back in. In this respect I owe Narcotics Anonymous my life. When no one else would have me, Narcotics Anonymous always would.
The basis of Narcotics Anonymous, the Twelve Steps, a series of suggestions as to how to live a life — the original ‘antidote to chaos’ — seems to me to be an extraordinarily effective way to navigate the world, for all people, addicts or otherwise. Having said that, I do not follow The Twelve Steps myself, to my detriment I would say. Doubtless, I would be a better person if I did.
In the end you find your own way. Ultimately I found mine outside of NA, with my wife, but it took Narcotics Anonymous to show me the way.
Reading your letter again, Evan, my advice to you — and to me — go to a fucking meeting.