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NA Meetings vs. AA Meetings in Boise: What Are the Differences

“I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.”

~ Alcoholics Anonymous literature

Idaho hosts both Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but when it comes to NA vs. AA, what are the differences between the two? Nearly everyone has heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve steps – but did you know that there is an equivalent support group for addicts as well? Both AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are committed to providing a safe environment for alcoholics and addicts alike to share their stories. This post examines what you can expect from NA and AA meetings in Boise, ID.

What to Know About Narcotics Anonymous Meetings in Boise, ID

Narcotics Anonymous has been around for over sixty years, and now hosts almost 67,000 weekly meetings in 139 countries around the world – Boise, ID included. In fact, there are at least two dozen weekly Narcotics Anonymous meetings around the state of Idaho – you can find local NA meetings. Like Alcoholics Anonymous before it, Narcotics Anonymous relies on a twelve-step program for moving through its meetings. These twelve steps are similar enough to AA that it is sufficient to list them in the section below. However, NA is also based on what the organization calls twelve traditions, which helps give a better understanding of what Narcotics Anonymous meetings are and how they work. While listing every principle is not necessary to gain a picture of NA meetings in Boise, ID, some of these principles are listed here:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity.
  2. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.
  3. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.
  4. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promoting; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  5. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

These principles make it clear that the overarching goal of Narcotics Anonymous – in Boise, ID and all around the world – is to provide a safe, anonymous, and supportive space for dealing with addiction and recovery. But what do meetings actually look like? The head organization of Narcotics Anonymous addresses the question of what happens at an NA meeting directly: “People have all sorts of reasons for attending NA meetings, but the purpose of each meeting is to give NA members a place to share recovery with other addicts. If you are not an addict, look for an open meeting, which welcomes non-addicts. If you’re an addict or think you might have a drug problem, we suggest a meeting every day for at least 90 days to get to know NA members and our program.” In other words, Narcotics Anonymous is a group support meeting put on by addicts in an effort to help other addicts along their road to recovery. It is a place to experience a shared recovery. But what do NA meetings in Boise, ID look like in practice? In its welcome packet and introduction (linked above), Narcotics Anonymous outlines several things that can be expected in a meeting:

  • NA is not concerned with types or amounts of drugs used; meetings focus on the ways addiction and recovery affect our lives.
  • NA meetings are not classes or group therapy sessions. Individuals simply share their personal experiences with addiction and recovery.
  • Meetings are usually either discussion or speaker meetings. Discussion meetings allow members to take turns sharing, while speaker meetings allow one or more members to share for an extended period of time.
  • NA relies on the “therapeutic value of one addict helping another”.
  • Newcomers are encouraged to listen closely to identify experienced members they can relate to who might make good sponsors or friends, or offer other guidance and support.
  • NA meetings vary widely in size and style; some are small and intimate, while others are large and loud. Most importantly, NA meetings are where addicts share experiences, strength, and hope.

The main takeaway for NA meetings in Boise, ID (and anywhere else in the United States, for that matter) is that the meetings provide a safe space for sharing both your struggles and triumphs with addiction. Narcotics Anonymous meetings are not meant to completely replace other addiction treatment measures, such as an intensive outpatient program, but they are very valuable in keeping you on track during your recovery process.

What to Know About Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings in Boise, ID (400)

Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for close to a century and represents one of the best ways to get alcoholism help in Idaho. According to the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, going to the meetings and even participating comes with no obligation, only with support: “Going to an AA meeting is simple. You can find where and when there is a meeting convenient for you and you just turn up. That’ sit. There’s no signing in, no money to pay, no appointment to make. There are no intrusive questions, no obligations. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected. You’ll never be met with a demand to come back to any meeting or indeed to AA. You can go to different meetings as often or as little as you wish. Many of us had no idea what to expect from our first meeting. For some of us the idea was quite scary, so we were greatly relieved to find that our fears were groundless. AA meetings are relaxed, friendly and open.” Nearly everyone has heard of the twelve-step program, which forms the backbone of the Alcoholics Anonymous. Knowing what these steps are can help you form a good idea of what to expect to form an AA meeting in Boise, ID. The twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are as follows:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

These twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are followed in meetings around Boise, ID and all around the world. Some people get hung up on the fact that these twelve steps have a connotation of a higher power, but this is not necessary to follow the underlying theme of each step. In fact, some people have rewritten the twelve steps for agnostics and atheists, but the message remains the same: to give up control, humbly seek help, and work toward supporting others. You can contact various Alcoholics Anonymous resources to obtain a meeting list in Boise, ID or your surrounding area.

Looking Forward: What are the Differences between NA Meetings and AA Meetings in Boise, ID?

The discussion of both AA and NA meetings above makes it clear that there is not much of a difference between the two support groups. One group tailored to alcoholics, with the other is tailored to addicts – though even that distinction is not necessarily sharp since NA meetings tend to treat alcohol as a drug. Either way, both NA meetings and AA meetings in Boise, ID can help you continue on your path to recovery. If you have further questions about Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or how to get help for addiction or alcoholism in Idaho, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you have a story or comment to share about NA vs. NA meetings, feel free to leave a comment below.