In search of NA Part I: Early History of Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous recently released the 6th edition of its text: Being that Orange County has a very active NA community that mixes in with the rooms of AA that I frequent, I heard some of the excitement about the new edition of the text. I decided that I wanted to learn more about the writings, history, and tradition of NA…

Narcotics Anonymous recently released the 6th edition of its text.

Being that Orange County has a very active NA community that mixes in with the rooms of AA that I frequent, I heard some of the excitement about the new edition of the text. I decided that I wanted to learn more about the writings, history, and tradition of NA…

In search of NA Part I: Early History of Narcotics Anonymous

Drug Addicts Struggling before the Jimmy K. era

If you think back to the early 50’s, drug use and addiction was more taboo then than it is now. Social mores against “junkies” caused even the Alcoholics Anonymous crowd to alienate narcotic drug addicts from their ranks.

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous were seen as a potential program of recovery by hopeful drug users and the families of drug addicts. The U.S. government had set up special “hospital properties” in Kentucky and Texas for the the housing and rehabilitation of addicts. On these premises 12-Sstep support groups were facilitated for addicts of opium based drugs as early as 1947. These were known as Narco Groups. A Salvation Army in New York started a “AA for Drug Addicts” group that had 13 steps (the 13th step was: God Help Me).

Jimmy K. Begins Attending AA

Beginning in 1950 Narcotics Anonymous founder Jimmy K began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in North Hollywood as an alcoholic pill popper. like many who come to AA, Jimmy K did not understand much of what was going on but he “kept coming back.”

There were a few groups for “habit forming drugs” (HFD meetings) that were created for the benefit of drug addicts, but Jimmy K felt that there could be a better program for drug users. Even Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, has written articles about the problems of drug addicts attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings because much of the language and philosophy of the program is so focused on “King Alcohol.” Jimmy K found many others who shared his plight…