I’m learning about the NA Narcotics Anonymous program. A question someone might have if they’re wondering about NA is what are the terms needed for someone to identify as an addict. A question someone might have could be something like, “If I’m just smoking weed or abusing my legally prescribed medication: does that qualify me for NA?”

If you turn to the basic text in the first page of the introduction, it says, “…our identification as addicts is all-inclusive with respect to any mood-changing, mind-altering substance. Alcoholism is too limited a term for us; our problem is not a specific substance, it is a disease called addiction.”

So, as you can see, there’s a lot of room allowed in this type of definition. I think it’s very purposefully written in that way. As you can see, there’s no mention of any specific drug: with the exception of alcohol, which it mentions to make the point that they’re very intentionally defining things this way to not create a “too limited term.”

I think the way I’m interpreting this passage is correct because it’s fairly straight-forward. It’s saying that the substances which are relevant to the topic of addiction are simply “mood-changing, mind-altering.” There’s no need to specifically discuss ketamine or DMT or heroin or whatever. It’s just in respect to anything that changes your mood or alters your mind.

It continues to say, “Because of the variety of addicts found within our Fellowship, we approach the solution contained within this book in general terms.”

In that passage, I’m highlighting the last two words: general terms.

Then, if you turn to page 3, Chapter 1 of the basic text in the Who is an Addict? chapter, you’ll see it says this:

“As addicts, we are people whose use of any mind-altering, mood-changing substance causes a problem in any area of life. Addiction is a disease that involves more than the use of drugs. Some of us believe that our disease was present long before the first time we used.”

As you can see, that quotation elaborates upon the first one above. The mind-altering, mood-changing substance cause a problem in any area of life. Once again, it’s evident that the term addict is being defined specifically to avoid discussion of specific drugs. The specific drug doesn’t matter. If it’s “mind-altering, mood-changing” and causes you a problem in your life: that qualifies.

I hope this discussion helped. The Basic Text has the ultimate say in this discussion. I think my interpretation is safe because I do think these passages are fairly straight-forward.