Nicotine Anonymous

Nicotine Anonymous

Nicotine Anonymous® (abbreviated as NicA) is a no-pressure, on-going self-help group in the tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a fellowship of men and women helping each other to live free of nicotine. Meetings are free and open to anyone who desires to quit using nicotine.

Nicotine Anonymous started in the 1980's, and is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization or institution. There are currently about 550 individual groups worldwide. You can learn more by visiting the Nicotine Anonymous Web site at

Nicotine Anonymous is a 12-step program of recovery from nicotine addiction based on the same principles and traditions as Alcoholics Anonymous. The only requirement for Nicotine Anonymous membership is the desire to be free of this powerful drug. There are no dues or fees for membership as the program is self-supporting through member contributions.

Our Promises

On our path to freedom, joy, and serenity, we are guided by the Twelve Steps of Nicotine Anonymous, which allowed us to successfully steer the treacherous curves of craving, emotionality, turmoil and unmanageability. Our spiritual life is not a theory; we have to live it. Physical improvement has been almost immediate. Our sense of smell and taste returns: the world takes on a new dimension of color and clarity. Our self-esteem is fueled by the genuine realization that a Power greater than ourselves has pulled us from the muck of denial where we have been ever so slowly killing ourselves. We no longer have to answer the "craving call" every twenty minutes! We choose to ask for the help this program offers so that we can reduce our risk of becoming one of the millions of premature nicotine related deaths each year. What relief!

We are learning to assert ourselves where previously we have been aggressive or passive. We are also beginning to love ourselves. As the numbness lifts, we begin to feel again, sometimes, to the temporary peril of those around us!

Gradually, our interest is focusing on Nicotine Anonymous rather than nicotine. We begin to forget we had been nicotine users, except at meetings. We now realize we have been participating in a grand hoax. We haven't given up anything at all!

Health is a new experience. We are humbly grateful for this gift. Our Higher Power, through this program, has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.

The 12 Steps of Nicotine Anonymous

  1. We admitted we were powerless over nicotine - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. 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 the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to nicotine users, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The 12 Traditions of Nicotine Anonymous

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on Nicotine Anonymous unity.
  2. For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for Nicotine Anonymous membership is a desire to stop using nicotine.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or Nicotine Anonymous as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the nicotine addict who still suffers.
  6. A Nicotine Anonymous group ought never endorse, finance, nor lend the Nicotine Anonymous name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every Nicotine Anonymous group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Nicotine Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. Nicotine Anonymous, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Nicotine Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues: hence, the Nicotine Anonymous name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. We need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

The 5 Tools of Nicotine Anonymous

    The power of meetings is the group support we receive. We have a remarkable similarity of experience and a shared goal of freedom from nicotine. In meetings, we share our experience, strength, and hope. Most of us have found that at every meeting someone, somehow, has said something that touches us. Someone with our same weakness has shown us a way to be strong; someone who was without hope has been inspired to hope and then sparked our own hope; someone has used humor to overcome a difficulty, and reminded us to keep a light touch in our own lives.

    Meetings are a powerful tool in our program. Attending on a regular basis strengthens our resolve and commitment to be nicotine free. We experience acceptance and support as we share without fear of cross talk, unsolicited advice, or criticism. We learn to keep the focus on ourselves and to share with honesty and love. We do not need to analyze the recovery process. We only know it works, so we keep coming back!

    The Phone List
    The phone list includes first names and phone numbers of all group members who are willing to offer and receive support between meetings.

    For those groups that offer lists, the customary etiquette is to call during the day or early evening. Even calls at unusual hours are forgiven if you are in urgent need of support to maintain your abstinence. Some groups also include e-mail addresses.

    Our literature includes several pamphlets, and the books: Nicotine Anonymous: The Book, Our Path To Freedom, 90 Days, 90 Ways (daily meditations), and The Twelve Traditions (booklet). These materials have been written by recovering nicotine users who have volunteered their services. All literature with the Nicotine Anonymous logo was approved at Nicotine Anonymous World Services Conferences. The pamphlets cover a variety of issues and help to explain aspects of this program. Nicotine Anonymous: The Book has much to offer the recovering nicotine user, including a full text about each of the Twelve Steps.  Our Path To Freedom contains the stories of members who offer their experience with nicotine and recovery.

    Newcomers are encouraged to read as much of the literature as interests them. We have found that rereading the literature at a different stage of our abstinence and recovery can sometimes strike a new chord within us and provide new insights.

    Sponsors are members who are committed to abstinence and are willing to share their experience on a one-to-one basis. They live the Twelve Steps to the best of their ability. Sponsors act as a guide in the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of recovery up to the level of their experience. A sponsor passes along that which he/she has received from others in the program and finds this as the best way to keep his/her gift of recovery.

    To find a sponsor you can approach someone you believe has what you need to help you achieve ongoing abstinence. After several meetings, if you have not successfully arranged for a sponsor, talk with your chairperson. He or she may be able to suggest someone to sponsor you. Temporary sponsorships are sometimes arranged. Each person decides for him/herself. E-mail sponsors may also be arranged when available for those without access to traditional sponsors.

    Carrying the message of freedom from nicotine to nicotine users who still suffer is the basic purpose of our Fellowship. We look to find for ways to inform people that Nicotine Anonymous is available. However, we remain mindful that this is a program of attraction, not promotion. We do not try to persuade people, only to inform them. Any service, no matter how small, that helps reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery.

    Our presence and sharing our experience, strength and hope at meetings is our most important service in carrying the message. In addition, setting up a meeting room, maintaining literature inventories, welcoming newcomers, posting meeting announcements, doing whatever needs to be done in the group or for Nicotine Anonymous as a whole, gives back what we have so generously been given. We do what we can when we can. We gain as we give and thus learn the value of service as another tool of our recovery.

    A Special Welcome to Newcomers

    It is not necessary for you to have already stopped using nicotine in order to come to these meetings. All you need to bring is your desire to stop using nicotine. If you are new to this program, we encourage you to come to more than 1 meeting before you decide whether it can be of benefit to you.

    First come to meetings, then come to understand, then come to believe. Take what you need for now and leave the rest for another time.

    Most people come with a sense of fear that they will not be able to live their lives without nicotine. They have difficulty even imagining the possibility. Often, it's been a long time since most of us have spent any time without our "companion," so we accept these feelings as a normal reaction. However, we've come to learn that this perception can change after attending meetings for a while.

    There is no pressure or shame from the group to get you to quit. We've all been there, we understand. If you need time to come to believe it is possible to live without nicotine or to set a quit date. . then take your time. Listen and then share your story, read the literature, use the phone, study the steps in the book, keep showing up! . . . Recovery is a process that we practice each day. Keep in mind that many have come before you with just as much fear and doubt and now live free and clean.
    Some of the "tools" we use to help us get free of nicotine are meetings, the Twelve Steps, and the phone list. For now, if you're still using nicotine, it may be more important to just focus on showing up at the next meeting. Try not to worry about when or if you are going to stop smoking. It is our experience that those who continue to regularly attend meetings will eventually stop using nicotine.

    The Twelve Steps are the heart of our program of recovery. They suggest a spiritual approach to gaining and then maintaining freedom from nicotine. By spiritual we do not mean religious. Our reference to God in the Steps is our way of involving a power greater than ourselves in our recovery. Each person comes to his or her own understanding of a Higher Power without anyone else's urging or influence.


    Guidance and Advice For the Newcomer

    It doesn't matter in what form you have used nicotine or how many times you may have tried to quit. If you have a desire to live nicotine-free you are welcomed here. We have found that as we attend meetings regularly, we come to believe in the shared experience of our fellow members. Sharing together creates hope and helps us to keep an open mind. We suggest attending a number of meetings to discover for yourself how the caring support of others and the daily practice of Nicotine Anonymous principles has helped us experience the gift of freedom from nicotine.

    Deciding to Stop Using Nicotine
    Most of us smoked cigarettes. It is the most efficient way to get nicotine to our brain - through our lungs. There are other means of getting nicotine such as cigars, pipes, dipping and chewing. Then there are the withdrawal aids: inhalers, the patch, and gum. The common element in all these is nicotine. Each of us had our "reasons" for using nicotine, even if only to temporarily relieve the continuous craving. Many of us have used nicotine to lessen physical and emotional pain.

    Now that you have made a decision to stop using nicotine, you might feel some anxiety as you begin this process. For many of us, early recovery was difficult. However, with the group's support, our worries were eased and our struggle was often less than we had anticipated.

    Most of us have used tobacco for years, and it was hard to imagine living without our "constant companion." A sense of isolation is at the core of our addiction. We receive strength and understanding from our fellow members, which especially helps when we feel we might be "losing it."

    You Control Your Attitude
    Make freedom from nicotine a challenge! Look at the process as an adventure. Use the "bumps in the road" to strengthen your skills and spirit to smooth out the next "bump." As your connection with fellow members develops, new attitudes are learned. Anxieties may appear, but only for moments. Keep in the present; that's where the gift is. Start living "One Day At a Time."

    Ask for Help
    This is a "we" program. We work together to help ourselves and each other reach our goal. We experience Step Two, "a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity," in action when listening at meetings.

    Make a commitment to E mail your sponsor before you put any nicotine in your body again. Talk to another member after a meeting. We don't have to wait for a major problem to develop before talking to someone. Writing an E mail will usually put off a craving until it passes. E mailing before a craving even starts is good insurance toward abstinence. The E mail list keeps us connected to a true source of support.

    Step Two, "came to believe," becomes an even more intimate experience when we ask for help from a Higher Power of our own understanding. This is all part of a recovery process toward your own spiritual awakening and a life with more hope, joy, and peace.

    The Urge Passes Whether You Use Nicotine or Not
    We've learned to dismiss the lie that we "must" use nicotine to function. Our addiction is a disease that progressively gets worse if we don't stop. The only way to truly be free of nicotine cravings is to stop putting that drug into our bodies. Each nicotine dose insures the next physical craving cycle. Withdrawal is difficult, but unpleasant symptoms decrease with abstinence and time. Our own faith in recovery grows as we witness the freedom and joy in others, then ourselves.

    If You Debate It, You'll Lose
    A slip starts in our heads before we put tobacco in our hands. To accept Step One - that we are "powerless over nicotine" - is to also realize that using is not negotiable. For many of us, living nicotine-free takes several attempts. We only fail when we stop trying. If we pay attention, our trial runs can teach us a lot about what triggers our "need."

    Make a List of What You Want from Recovery
    Many of us may have set aside certain goals or dreams by medicating our anxieties and disappointments with nicotine. We settled for less. Our continuous nicotine use limited our possibilities. Now recovery offers us new hope to change old patterns and accept new opportunities.

    Make a thorough list of reasons not to use nicotine, such as increasing your self-esteem, taking deep breaths, having more energy, really tasting food again, etc. Rereading your own words can be a source of strength, especially during times of stress. Leave room on the list for new hopes. Freedom from nicotine creates new possibilities.

    Get Involved in NicAnon
    Our addiction does not take a day off. What we do today to stay nicotine-free does not guarantee our recovery tomorrow. Make your return to abstinence and sanity easier: Get involved. Come to as many meetings as you can during the week, or start a meeting. Share your experience, strength, and hope. You have a valuable story for the newcomer and old-timer too.

    Commitment creates change. Be of service to the group or another member. Help to set up, put out literature, or clean up after the meeting. Consider anything that needs to be done for the group to function. Service is gratitude in action. Gratitude can be a gateway to a peace and serenity that can help you remain nicotine-free and have a more joyous life.