Is NA similar to AA

To the members that use these programs which one is better suited.

Ive started doing alot of drugs again, especially cocaine.

Would NA be better suited to me or is AA similar and got similar principles?

I also drink alot so im not sure which one i should be seeking help from?

Should i just try both?

If you’re an alcoholic, AA is best. If drugs are your primary vice then NA is best. If you have problems with both, attend both. NA uses a variation of AA’s 12 Steps, but the programs are VERY similar. If you’re like me and not religious, just think of GOD as Good Orderly Direction and leave it at that.

Also paging @77nick77 for his perspective as it’s valuable.

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Yea thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

I was at NA for awhile because I came off pain killers at age 22. I don’t know what AA is like but NA is okay, I have some problems with the 12 step model and how the anonymous programs handle certain things. It was good to get out and meet people but I found it depressing, and seeing someone lose a chip after 8 years cuz he took a pill or had a beer baffles me. That’s gonna make that person so depressed that they’ll probably use again.

Plus you aren’t allowed to cross talk so nobody gives you advice, you just say what happened everyone listens and then nobody mentions it again. What good is that?

If it keeps someone from using then I guess it’s worth it, I have more luck quitting on my own.

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Yes it’s similar though at NA you hug and read more at the beginning but NA meetings oftentimes more have food and don’t always have coffee at NA meetings. I like NA better than AA personally but the best meeting I ever went to was cocaine anonymous lol.

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Well if you have a Cocaine Anonymous group near you it would probably be best but read on. I got addicted to crack in the late '80’s and smoked it for four years. Which included free-basing and powder. I drank as often as I could but I was never an alcoholic.

I went to my first 12-step meetings in 1988 but I used in between but in 1990 I was living in a group home and I wandered downstairs one night and discovered an AA meeting was being held in the dining room. I sat in on the meeting and the people were really friendly and welcoming so I started attending regularly . I count that meeting as the start of my sobriety. I don’t know a 100% on which exact day I got clean but I have always counted January 1st, 1990 as my sobriety date.

I announced many times in that meeting that I was not an alcoholic and that I was a crack addict and no one ever complained or said a word against me being there. And then soon someone told me about two sober houses around the corner that had AA meetings each week and I started attending them. And that’s how I got clean.

I rarely talked at the meetings around the corner but I shard at group level that I was an addict and again, no one said I didn’t belong there. Then I moved into a board & care home and while there I eventually found a couple of CA and NA meetings nearby which I started going to in addition to AA meetings. And soon I was walking or taking the bus to 6 or 7 meetings a week.

I got as sponsor and worked the steps with him and he told me to never turn down an opportunity to speak in meetings so in any of the meetings I went to, if the chairperson opened up the floor to anyone in the room who felt like sharing in front of the group, I did what my sponsor told me and I raised my hand and got up to talk.

I haven’t been to a meeting in awhile but in the 23 years I was going regularly, literally only two people in an AA meeting complained that they didn’t think I should be there. And funny enough, the rest of the group stuck up for me and they didn’t think anything was wrong with me being there. And since I went to the same meetings every week, I always announced I was an addict and so everybody knew at AA that I wasn’t an alcoholic.

That covers it pretty well. I’ve been to a lot of meetings and I feel as comfortable in an AA meeting as I do in a CA or NA meeting But I would have to say that there is a certain “vibe” I get from being in a CA meeting that I don’t get in an AA meeting… It’s just more comfortable being in a n NA or CA meeting because you hear more people who haves similar experiences. But the programs work the same way. The meetings have roughly the same format and work the same. Each program goes by almost exactly the same 12-steps and principles.

The success of he AA program since it was born is based on the principle that an alcoholic can understand another alcoholic better than anyone else can. And because of that understanding, we addicts and alcoholics can help each other better than most anyone else. I would say that if you have NA meetings close to you than go there. If you can’t find a NA meeting near you than attend an AA meeting. Cocaine is a drug and alcohol is a drug and if you can only get to an AA meeting I’m sure the group will accept you. I’m not sure if this helps but hopefully I clarified a few things.


This is exactly what a group was like I was part of. I was expecting advice but it was just people unloading their issues.

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If you need guidance, refer to the program book (Alcoholics Anonymous a.k.a. "The Big Book) if you’re in AA or the NA or CA equivalent for those programs. Also, get a sponsor, they’re the ones who help steer you through the recovery obstacle course.


Thanks for the info @77nick77

I know this is a stupid question but what is this sponsor you talk about? Whats their role?

I think drugs are worse than the alcohol side for me aswell, i drink when i can but i dont think it impacts me as much as the drugs. But im not too sure.

Im sure there will be groups in Cape Town, im going to have to just try google some and check it out.

I suppose im just abit nervous going to one !

A sponsor is basically a fellow member who has a significant amount of time clean and sober and is working the program successfully and has a good recovery. The time clean can vary, there is no rule about how much clean time a sponsor needs but you wouldn’t ask someone with a month clean to sponsor you. Someone with a couple of years clean would be OK but it tends to be that peoole with more clean time have more experience which can help. But there’s also the fact that some people with two or three years clean can be working the program better than some alcoholic who has 10 years clean.

A sponsor is the person who takes you through the 12-steps. He’s someone you pick to help you through the steps and show you how the program works. He gives you support and often he will give you his phone number to call 24 hours a day if you run into a crisis.

And by the way, AA will tell you, sponsors should be the same sex as you. Males should sponsor males and females should sponsor females. In all my years clean I think that I heard only one time of a male sponsoring a female.

As sponsor should be a responsible addict or alcoholic who you like and feel comfortable with. You find your sponsor in meetings, if you have a regular meeting you go to and you see someone who has a good recovery than walk up to them and talk and see if they want to sponsor you. I’ve heard of peoole who offer to sponsor someone but the majority of the time it’s up to the individual to approach the member they would like to sponsor them.

So the sponsor is there for guidance and support. It’s not unusual for a sponsor and a sponsee to become friends and do stuff outside the program like go out to coffee. But you don’t have to be good friends. And also, you can “fire” your sponsor at any time if you feel the relationship isn’t working or some other reason.


Thanks for the information!!!

Ive googled a few places that have support groups so ill see what they have to say.

Im abit nervous going to one though.

Ive always thought to myself that as soon as i needed help like rehabs, AA, NA etc, that I would then actually consider myself an actual addict. Which of course is the complete wrong thinking from me ( I was just just making excuses )

It sux though cause after 24 I managed to get off drugs, i might have slipped up a few times up until 29, but nothing worth really worrying about. But its just randomly flared up again…

Thanks for the information though, its good to know.

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I went to AA after going to one NA meeting for alcohol in August 2016. Then 4 or 5 months ago I started going to NA again because my psychiatric care provider takes a van full of people to NA on Mondays. I’ve been going to NA ever since. I was impressed with the gratitude people expressed at NA. Originally I didn’t go to NA because I had drinking problem, not drugs. But NA considers alcohol a drug, and includes it when you say you’re an addict.

I would add my NA sponsor found out I was taking Klonopin that my psychiatrist prescribed. He said that I couldn’t take Klonopin because people abuse it. So I stopped taking Klonopin. NA is a program of abstinence from all drugs. I’m just glad my sponsor said Risperdal was ok. I would have had to say No if he wanted me to stop taking that.

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And how do your sponsors and fellow members treat you if you slip up and use drugs again?

They’re similar except that at NA meetings, drug pushers often go to those meetings to sell. They’re real jerks to do that. I think AA is safer as far as drug dealers go.

Lol serious?

Thats hectic

Yes. I was a cocaine addict at 19. The drug dealers were always trying to sell at those meetings. I even went to different meetings but had the same problem everywhere.

Well thats not gonna help my cause then lol

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Well they just welcome you back to NA if you slip and use drugs.

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