Banning and Censorship in Narcotics Anonymous

“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. “~Albert Einstein

There are many emotionally mature people in N.A. AND A.A. this article is not talking about them.  The actual by-the-book program of N.A. AND A.A. are good and do work.

Many Narcotics Anonymous Groups commonly ban and censor the words Alcoholics Anonymous from their groups.  If you say it they will oftentimes kick you out of the group.  If you use the word “sober” instead of the word “clean” they quickly censor your writings and delete your experiences.  Narcotics Anonymous is staunch about not even mentioning A,A. in groups, meetings, or even in the smoking area.

As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and a student of human behavior I find their censorship quite interesting and ironic at the least.    For certain without A,A. Narcotics Anonymous and all it’s  copycat (from A.A.) Facebook groups  would not exist.  Narcotics Anonymous has adapted the twelve steps and traditions from Alcoholics Anonymous.  Yes they changed a few key words in the N.A. Text but on the most part their text is from the Big Book.  Often leaders of the Facebook N.A. Groups (which notably are not Narcotics Anonymous or approved by them)  become irate if you don’t abide by their changes in your  fashion of conversation or choice of words.  Censorship is nothing short of intense prejudice and a unequivocal denial of their own generational roots.

There are people that attend both programs.  These people have discovered the benefits of both programs.  Most addicts are also alcoholics and most alcoholics are also addicts.

My observation of common addict behavior around these NA Facebook groups has shown me that addicts tend to see things very black and white.   However a more accurate depiction is that some addicts (not all) live in a realm of  limited original thought and high razor wire walls that hover around their thinking and reasoning.  It seems that oftentimes Facebook NA group members believe all things are either good or bad and nothing in between.  Furthermore they don’t believe in neutralities or vaiables.  So that means that if NA is labelled a good program then AA has to be labelled a bad one.  There can only be one road to recovery and it has to be their road.  If a man shares in group that he got sober another way or clean another way and does not need meetings then the N.A member will have to reason out that this person isn’t a real addict in spite of the persons own experience and life events.  The member is stuck in a mindset that is he needs meetings to stay clean then so must every other addict on the face of the earth.

Therapy and therapists are deemed “bad”.  Church and religion are “bad”.            Because if they were deemed good then N.A. would have to be check-marked “bad”.  And if N.A. were bad then the emotionally immature member himself would also be bad because that’s their program, they feel responsible for the whole of NA somehow.  The immature and fearful addict suffers from very low self-worth.

So my theory is that because of a deep dark doubt of the addicts own self worth any different ideals other than their own is interpreted as a direct hit against their beliefs.               Censorship is a desperate act by the fearful and the prejudicially closed-minded.

                   Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.  ~Potter Stewart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Please give me just one valid reason why there needs to be censorship in Narcotics Anonymous Groups…there is no reason except a desperate thrashing attempt to validate themselves by crushing other peoples expression .  This is sad…no one taught them how to achieve emotional sobriety.


Tradition Ten is not meant to be a vault that locks out one’s personality and views.

Have you ever sat in an A.A. or N.A. meeting and heard someone quote the Tenth Tradition just because someone had the guts to express an opinion on a contraversial topic?   As if it is wrong to have views , religious stances, political opinions and moral beliefs?

These group members delete and hint of controversy or opinion on deep and interesting topics.  They are sadly operating under the belief system that it’s spiritual and mature to censor all opposing views when they surface between people.

Haven’t they ever been to a AA or NA business meetings which makes our programs tick.  Controversy is the root of political growth and our existence.  Discussions of alternating views is a must among grown ups to move forward.  Stifling all controversy also stifles emotional maturity.  Learning communication skills is a priority in recovery and stating ones’ opinion aids in personal growth.  Hiding from controversy is the right of every man and women however controlling other people’s controversy is just that, immature and vastly controlling.

Do not censor my freedom of speech in the name of emotional maturity and spirituality.  Your maturity is actually an act of playing God.  You have brought your sickness into your recovery program and called it good.  Censorship by any other name is still censorship/

Tradition Ten

“AA has no opinion on outside issues hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” 

Have you even been in a private Facebook group where people are discussing matters of interest and someone quotes the Tenth Tradition as if we AAers are not allowed to have or express  an individual opinion in a private group?

What does The Tenth Tradition really mean?  Does it mean that I shouldn’t have an opinion on anything except what shirt to put on?  Does it mean that I cannot agree to disagree with my fellows in a business meeting vote?  Does it mean that I am not allowed to state my opinion in a meeting or a group on Facebook?

PLEASE!  We don’t get sober and do all the 12 step  work  to rebuild our personalities and lives just so we can be opion-less!  Having no opinion on anything is not how AA got formed and built.  The founders had to mull over many choices and argued and got resentments in the process. 

Shrugging away from stating my own personal opinions could be nothing more than fear-based running from responsibilities.

If I am one of the one’s quoting the Tenth tradition in meetings I better read it first so I understand just what I am quoting and what it means.


Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve.

“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people.  Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time.  BUT WHEN IT COMES TO AA AS A WHOLE, THAT’S QUITE A DIFFERENT MATTER.  IN THIS RESPECT WE DO NOT ENTER INTO PUBLIC CONTROVERSY, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT OUR SOCIETY WILL PERISH IF IT DOES.” 

Tradition ten twelve & twelve page 177

Am I saying that we should argue all the time and not “cease fighting”?   No, struggling wears us down and can cause emotional hangovers.  Disrespectful actions will boomerang back at me and hurt me.  However having my own belief system is a healthy stance and a sign of emotional sobriety.  Running from choices could be is a sign of low self-esteem.  What I am saying is that I have an opinion and should express it and even debate it sometimes which has nothing to do with the Tenth Tradition and A.A. as a whole having a public opinion in a political light.

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