- Written by Marcel Gemme C.C.D.C
Narcotics Anonymous History
Narcotics Anonymous is a spin-off from the popular Alcoholics Anonymous. Since AA meetings were only for alcoholics and were not open to drug addicts, Bill W. actually discussed opening a fellowship for drug addicts. In 1947, NARCO (also called Addicts Anonymous) was a group that met in Kentucky’s federal prison, to handle drug abuse together. There were three other 12 steps groups that had emerged for drug addicts, one in California, one in Texas and one Virginia.
One of these people within these meetings was Jimmy Kinnon. They first called these meetings AA/NA. He was one of the people who helped get the permission to use theand Twelve Traditions, but only if they did not use the AA name anywhere. Therefore, the name Narcotics Anonymous was founded in September of 1953.
In 1954, Jimmy K. released the first publication for Narcotics Anonymous entitled “The Little Brown Book." Narcotics had a rough beginning as it was not recognized as a good thing at the beginning. For example, since alcohol is legal, but drugs are not, many of the NA members were scared of getting arrested by police if they found that they were using drugs. But another big problem is the fact that the NA groups themselves were not following the Twelve Traditions, which outline the functioning of AA and now NA groups. Some groups started accepting money from outside sources, which goes completely against the philosophy of groups being self-sufficient. Some groups were also adding a religious aspect to some meetings, which is not part of the 12 step philosophy. And one of the major problems was that they were often fusing Alcoholics Anonymous with Narcotics Anonymous, which went against the initial agreement made with AA.
In the late 50s, the number of NA meetings held really started to decline and in 1959, there no NA meetings held for a period of four months. Jimmy K. was dedicated to getting these NA meetings to grow again. In 1962, the NA White Booklet was written and became the heart of Narcotics Anonymous. This booklet led to the publishing of a more extensive piece in 1966, which was named the NA White Book.
In 1960, there was also the NA phone line that was established, which helped a lot of addicts get into the fellowship. There were some ups and downs in the 1960s, but Narcotics Anonymous really started growing in the 1970s. It is at this point that NA meetings started appearing all over the world, and it has not stopped growing ever since.