I use the NA literature - but only because I believe that we can substitute the word "drugs" for whatever our addictive substance is. Alcohol is a drug. Who is an addict: Most of us do not have to think twice about this question. WE KNOW! Our whole life and thinking was centered in drugs in one form or another - the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. We lived to use and used to live. Very simply, an addict is a man or woman whose life is controlled by drugs. We are people in the grip of a continuing and progressive illness whose ends are always the same: jails, institutions and death.Why are we here? Before coming to the fellowship of NA, we could not manage our own lives. We could not live and enjoy life as other people do. We had to have something different and we thought we had found it on drugs. We placed their use in front of the welfare of our families, our wives, husbands and children. We had to have drugs at all costs. We made many people great harm but most of all we harmed ourselves. Through our inability to accept personal responsibilities we were actually creating our own problems. We seemed to be incapable of facing life on its own terms. Most of us realized that in our addiction we were slowly committing suicide, but addiction is such a cunning enemy of life that we had lost power to do anything about it. Many of us ended up in jail or sought help through medicine, religion and psychiatry. None of these methods was sufficient for us. Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until in desperation we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous. After coming to NA, we realized we were sick people. We suffered from a disease from which there is no known cure. It can, however, be arrested at some point and recovery is then possible. How it works: If you want what we have to offer you, and are willing to make the effort to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps. These are the principles that made our recovery possible. 1.We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable. 2.We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3.We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care 0f God as we understood him. 4.We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5.We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6.We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7.We humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings. 8.We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. 9.We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10.We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11.We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12.Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. This sounds like a big order, and we can't do it all at once. We didn't become addicted in one day , so remember - easy does it. There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery: this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles. Three of these that are indispensable are honesty, open-mindness, and willingness. With these we are well on our way.The Twelve Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous 1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity. 2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority * a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern. 3. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. 4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or NA as a whole. 5. Each group has but one primary purpose * to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. 6. An NA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the NA name to any related facility or outside enterprise lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary purpose. 7. Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. 8. Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional but our service centers may employ special workers. 9. NA as such ought never be organized but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. 10. Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. 11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. The 12 concepts of service 1. To fulfill our fellowship's primary purpose, the NA groups have joined together to create a structure which develops, coordinates, and maintains services on behalf of NA as a whole. 2. The final responsibility and authority for NA services rests with the NA groups. 3. The NA groups delegate to the service structure the authority necessary to fulfill the responsibilities assigned to it. 4. Effective leadership is highly valued in Narcotics Anonymous. Leadership qualities should be carefully considered when selecting trusted servants. 5. For each responsibility assigned to the service structure, a single point of decision and accountability should be clearly defined. 6. Group conscience is the spiritual means by which we invite a loving God to influence our decisions. 7. All members of a service body bear substantial responsibility for that body's decisions and should be allowed to fully participate in its decision-making processes. 8. Our service structure depends on the integrity and effectiveness of our communications. 9. All elements of our service structure have the responsibility to carefully consider all viewpoints in their decision-making processes. 10. Any member of a service body can petition that body for the redress of a personal grievance, without fear of reprisal. 11. NA funds are to be used to further our primary purpose, and must be managed responsibly. 12. In keeping with the spiritual nature of Narcotics Anonymous, our structure should always be one of service, never of government.