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Clean vs. Sober: Why NA and AA Have Their Differences

Whether you are a member of Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, the goal is the same: abstinence and recovery from drugs and alcohol. You may hear some nit-picking of semantics when it comes to saying you’re clean, sober, or clean and sober, but the endgame is living a life free of addiction.

Some may argue with this statement, but finding the right 12-step program for you comes down to where you feel most comfortable. If you’re an alcoholic but feel most comfortable in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, by all means, go there. The same goes for addicts and Alcoholics Anonymous.

In terms of differences, there are a few. In AA, you identify as an alcoholic whereas in NA, people identify as addicts. In NA, problems with drugs AND alcohol are included, and they do not have to be mutually exclusive. If you go to AA, try to keep your language to the problem of alcohol. Some people don’t get upset if a little drug talk is slipped in during a meeting, but some people do. Whichever group you attend, respect  its traditions and keep to its main purpose.

Another difference between the groups, is that the 12 Steps in NA usually take more time than in AA. The reason being, NA uses a working guide book to get through the steps, and can involve a lot more writing than in AA. Since the topics differ, so does the literature. In AA, the books used are Alcoholics Anonymous and The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, and NA uses Narcotics Anonymous and The Narcotics Anonymous Step Working Guide. Each offers a wealth of information and literature on drug addiction and alcoholism, and shows you how to live in recovery.

If you are struggling with addiction, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or both, there is hope for you. Millions of people are part of 12 Step programs, and no matter which one you choose, recovery is possible. Don’t wait another day to get the help you deserve. We can help you transition into recovery safely and comfortably. Give us a call, and start your new life in recovery today.

Detox is the first step toward a life of freedom in recovery. Addiction does not have to be the end of your story. Make a safe and comfortable detox the first chapter. The Serenity Recovery Center, conveniently located at the Encino Hospital Medical Center, offers a home-like environment for all stages of detox so you can begin your recovery in a healthy state of mind, body, and spirit. Call us today: 866.294.9401