All About the NA Big Book


Very similar to The Big Book in AA, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) also provides its members with literature such as pamphlets, booklets, and readings to explain more about their mission. One of the most popular books is the NA White book. It serves as an introductory booklet to the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. While the booklet itself is not meant to be comprehensive, it contains the essentials everyone needs to know to start their recovery journey. 

The NA Big Book

The Narcotics Anonymous Big Book is 453 pages long and breaks down the main chapters of the Narcotics Anonymous program:

  • Chapter One: Who Is an Addict?
  • Chapter Two: What Is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?
  • Chapter Three: Why Are We Here?
  • Chapter Four: How It Works
  • Chapter Five: What Can I Do?
  • Chapter Six: The Twelve Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous
  • Chapter Seven: Recovery and Relapse
  • Chapter Eight: We Do Recover
  • Chapter Nine: Just for Today – Living the Program
  • Chapter Ten: More Will Be Revealed

In addition, the book includes over 200 pages of member stories, from reflections and challenges of working the steps to words of gratitude and hope. The book even explains NA’s symbol, which graphically captures what their universal program is about: goodwill, society, self, God, service, and freedom. 

How It Works

In chapter four, the NA book explains essentially how the program works. It breaks down the steps in NA designed to make our recovery possible and becomes the path effectively to follow as you continue working on your recovery. The 12-Steps of Narcotics Anonymous are:

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 
  6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 
  7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. We made a list of all persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 

At a quick glance, these steps are very similar to those used in AA meetings. However, most NA meetings will focus on narcotics and drugs, occasionally talking about alcohol (AA only tackles alcoholism). These steps also focus heavily on the person’s recovery efforts and journey. Meetings are structured slightly different and will vary by chapter and location. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the NA Big Book

What is the NA book called?

The NA book is known among members as the “basic text.” In it, the book describes NA as a “nonprofit fellowship or society for people whose drugs had become a major problem … and recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.” 

How much does the NA book cost?

You can find hardcover copies of the book online starting at $12.99. However, many NA chapters will share a book PDF on their websites for free. 

Who wrote the NA book?

The NA “Basic Text” book is believed to be written by Jimmy Kinnon, who wrote most of Narcotics Anonymous’s early literature. 

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, please know there’s help available. Attending support group meetings is an important aspect of recovery and treatment. However, it’s also important to contact a rehab center near you to discuss personalized treatment. 

Addiction recovery is a long-term journey that needs comprehensive and personalized assistance from an addiction professional. Most rehab journeys will involve detox, rehab, and aftercare planning, alongside attending group support meetings. Contact one of our caring admission specialists today and start your recovery journey for more information about our treatment programs. 


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