For a more comprehensive list, please view:
Narcotics Anonymous: A Chronology of the Scientific and Professional Literature Paper

Early References To 12 Step Fellowships For Addicts

The following quotes are excerpted from articles and books published prior to 1970 that make reference to Addicts Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other Groups for Addicts. The source documents for these excerpts can sometimes be found in libraries in original form or on microfilm. It is important to note that none of these references appear to be related to the Narcotics Anonymous which began in California in 1953 and grew into the Worldwide Fellowship that exists today. The references themselves show that the groups they describe were quite different than the present N.A. and that they did not apply the Twelve Traditions in the same way.

Alcohol. Science and Society (page 472) reported to contain a statement made by or a question asked of Bill Wilson in 1944 at Yale University

"… organization similar to A.A. which operates among addicts...."

New York Times - June 18, 1950 Group Here Helps Narcotics Addicts

"Anonymous" Unit Applies the Group Therapy Principle to Aid Newly Cured.

Group therapy to help addicts to abstain from the use of narcotics has been applied successfully on a small but increasing scale here by Narcotics Anonymous. The organization has been assisted by members of Alcoholics Anonymous, from which it derived it's name and program, although there is no official connection between the two groups.

The New York City chapter was started five months ago by a discharged patient from the United States Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Ky., where Federal prisoners and voluntary patients receive treatment Like other members he is known only by his first name, Danny.

An addict for twenty-five years, Danny had undergone a number of previous "cures" and once considered his case hopeless. Now he views the future with confidence and intends to devote the remainder of his life to the organization, which describes itself as "an informal society of former addicts" who maintain their own freedom from the habit "by helping other addicts to recover."

Not Cure in Itself

The Narcotics Anonymous program, recently outlined in a booklet prepared by the local chapter, does not pretend to be a cure itself. Like Alcoholics Anonymous, it is interested primarily in helping newly treated sufferers to continue their hard-won abstinence by introducing them to a dedicated "way of life" in which they pass on the benefits of their experience to other suffers.

The program assumes that the cure is not enough. Continual "spiritual assistance" is needed to avoid the "joy pop" or first shot of "junk" that leads to renewed addiction. Members feel they are "living on borrowed time--twenty-four hours a day, one day at a time; but that, by means of this program, they may continue happily to do so."

This group approach to the problem originated in 1947 among patients at the Kentucky hospital. The New York chapter is the first outside branch. A monthly newspaper, THE KEY published at the Federal institution, provides contact between the parent group and ex-patients.

There are sixteen members of Narcotics Anonymous here and membership has begun to expand rapidly. Hampered by a lack of permanent headquarters, the unit holds two meetings a week, on Tuesday and Friday nights, in the Salvation Army building at 535 West Forty-eighth Street....

Field work in the city's prisons and hospitals is an integral part of the organization's activities…..

Maj. Dorothy Berry of the Salvation Army became interested in Narcotics Anonymous through its work in the city's institutions. Miss Ann Huested, a social worker at the Women's

House of Detention, Greenwich Avenue and West Tenth Street, serves as an adviser, as do several physicians here.


Chicago Sun Times - August 17, 1950

Where Can "Junkie" Get Medical Help? Not in This Town! - By Herman Kogan

…..As a matter of fact, there are only two hospitals for drug addicts in the country. Both are run by the United States Public Health Service - one at Fort Worth, Tex., and the other at Lexington, Ky., an overnight trip from Chicago.….

A new group seeking to cut down the ranks of addicts is called "Addicts Anonymous". In intent and method, it resembles the older and well-established Alcoholics Anonymous organization. It was founded in 1947 in Frankfort, Ky., and works, in some cities, with Alcoholics Anonymous.....

American Journal of Public Health - February. 1951 (page 254) - section with the heading - Narcotics Anonymous

Frankly admitting Alcoholics Anonymous as its "guiding star." The New York City chapter

of Narcotics Anonymous has put together a leaflet, Our Way of Life: An Introduction to N.A. This outlines its purposes and the way it works—"an informal society of former addicts who aim to help fellow sufferers recover their health ….. banded together in groups ….. they have no constitution, no by-laws, no officers, no dues or assessments.…." The only requirement is an honest desire to stay off "opiates, sedatives, and alcohol." The recognition of the same mental and emotional sickness that is represented by alcoholism is evident in this new allied group.

P.O. Box 68, Village Station, New York 14.

Time - May 7,1951 (page82) - The White Stuff

Young Danny had an abscessed ear, and to ease the pain a doctor in St. Joseph, Missouri gave him morphine. Danny had been an insecure, troubled child longer than he could remember, both his mother & father died before he was five. At 16, Danny knew nothing about psychology, but he knew that the "shot" gave him a lift. From a peddler he got morphine regularly for six months: then he lost his contact and could get no more. He became weak, nauseated, sweaty, shaky and depressed. Danny was sent to a state hospital.

No Such Thing as a Cure. Danny learned a lot in the hospital. Veteran gowsters taught him how to get a ration of white stuff. When he got out, Danny did not go home. He bummed around the country, doing odd jobs, lying, stealing, forging prescriptions - anything for a bang. Time & again he was picked up and convicted, usually to serve his sentence in the U.S. Public Health Service's hospital for narcotics addicts at Lexington, Ky. "They can withdraw you" says Danny, "but there is no such thing as a cure. You just have to stay away from the stuff."

Between terms, when Danny seemed to be away from the habit, he got married. Danny was shot up again. When his wife left him he tried to commit suicide. And so back to Lexington…..

Eleven out of 80. Last week, Danny stood up in a Y.M.C.A. auditorium in Manhattan and told what had happened to him during his last stint at Lexington, and how this might help other victims. Danny had started listening to members of Alcoholics Anonymous. "It seems religious," he says, "and like most addicts I didn't care anything about God. It might work for those drunks but not for us. But after a while I began to feel that this group had the answer." Danny studied the AA code, saw how it could be applied to discharged dope victims, and founded Narcotics Anonymous.

Now, on the first anniversary of Narcotics Anonymous, Danny could report on about 80 addicts who had tried mutual-aid, group therapy. Six had stayed drug-free for a year of more, five more have been free for a shorter time. Ten are known to have slipped back into the habit; so, probably, have most of the 60 who cannot be traced.

Numerically, it was a small beginning. But the group in Manhattan (and others being formed in Chicago, Los Angeles and Vancouver) offered new hope to men who had suffered the agonies of withdrawal at Lexington or at the similar P.H.S. hospital at Fort Worth…..

The Courier-Journal Lexington Bureau - July 8,1951 - Dope : (article on the front page) - By Joe Reister & Joseph Landau

"I was 20 at that time, about two years ago. While here (Lexington), I became a member of Addicts Anonymous, which is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. At the time, we had a large group of women, between 60 and 70, I believe. The purpose of the group is for one member to help a sick addict, if he wants to be helped, regain his physical and mental health.

To become a member, you have to admit that you are powerless over drugs and your life has become unmanageable, which is so very true. I stayed here for 6 months, leaving as cured on July 28, 1950.…."

Newsweek - September17, 1951 (page 60) - The Junk War- By Karen Salisbury

In a desperate effort to find inner strength, a number of addicts have formed Addicts Anonymous, patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous, a form of group therapy which, doctors feel, reaches in where medicine fails, and saves many apparently hopeless cases…..

Family Circle - October, 1951 (page 21, quotes from page 42) - The Horror of Dope - By Robert V. Seliger


….. because their only chance of recovery depends upon prompt treatment at our Government hospital at Lexington, Kentucky, or the one at Fort Worth, Texas…..

Patients and former patients from Lexington have recently started their own group therapy based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous now has groups in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and in Vancouver, Canada.

Such organizations or some other form of follow-up, plus greatly enlarged hospital space to care for drug victims, are essential…..

The Christian-Evangelist – October 17, 1951 (page 1005) - The Drug Addiction Menace - By Stephen J. Corey

The good work of our Addicts Anonymous group is worthy of treatment by itself, on its own merits. It follows the philosophy and the rules of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement. It has quite a long honor roll of those who have gone out and remained cured. The group was organized over four years ago and was the first among drug addicts. Great help has come from visiting Alcoholics Anonymous men and women who have come for many miles to testify of their victory over drink. A number of those who have been members of the group at the hospital and have gone out and stayed cured, have come back to speak at the meetings and encourage the patients by their own victory over addiction. Both the Alcoholics Anonymous and the Addicts Anonymous members place at the center of their convictions and work the absolute need of a Higher Power in the cure from either liquor or drug addiction. One of my great joys is in the correspondence I have with those who have gone out permanently cured and who give praise in the hospital and tribute to the faith that is in them.

U.S. Public Health Service - Public Affairs Pamphlet #186 , September, 1952 - (Section entitled Addicts Anonymous on page 29)

In 1947 an organization patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by patients of the federal hospital at Lexington. The founders called it Addicts Anonymous, and got help in getting started from members of an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter in a nearby town. The organization has the same basic principles of mutual help in warding off the threat of relapse governing the original AA group, which has scored impressive successes in saving many former alcoholics from falling off the wagon. Chapters of Addicts Anonymous have been established in several large cities. All ex-addicts are welcomed as members. So far, the results have been most promising.

The Narcotics Menace - By AIwyn I. St. Charles (1952) - Borden Publishing Co.- Los Angeles - 1952

(page 185) Attending the meeting were two members of the Los Angeles group of NA (narcotics anonymous), also known as AA (addicts anonymous), an organization founded at the Narcotics hospital at Lexington, Kentucky. They were cured of their addiction and offered themselves as living proof of the fact that given proper treatment dope addicts can be healed.

(page 201) Following a careful survey of the situation, and thoughtful analysis of the problem, they decided (1) that laws need changing so that young addicts will be treated as ill persons instead of criminals; (2) that as many kids as possible must be steered to Narcotics Anonymous, as an informal group of former addicts who try to help fellow sufferers recover their health; and (3) that some dramatic method of getting the horrors of narcotics over to the kids had to be found.

Look - March 10,1953 (page 98, quote from pagelo3) - A Monkey On My Back (condensation) - By Wenzell Brown

When my interest in the drug traffic was first aroused through Dave Trosser's attempted theft of my typewriter, the only organization which I could find to which the addict had easy access was Narcotics Anonymous, a one man organization run by a former addict....

At least five community centers in Manhatten...... Unfortunately, however, most of these centers, like Narcotics Anonymous, need money. Two of them have closed down altogether and others have been forced to restrict their programs.

The Saturday Evening Post - August 7,1954 (page 22) - These Drug Addicts Cure One Another - By Jerome Ellison

A new approach to a tragic social problem - drug addiction - has been found by the ex-addicts of Narcotics Anonymous…..

…..They met twice weekly to make this freedom secure, and worked to help other addicts achieve it. The New York group, founded in 1 950 and called Narcotics Anonymous, is one of several which have been piling up evidence that the methods of Alcoholics Anonymous can help release people from other drugs than alcohol--drugs such as opium, heroin, morphine and the barbiturates..

The drug addict, like the alcoholic, has long been an enigma to those who want to help him. Real contact is most likely to be made, on a principle demonstrated with phenomenal success by Alcoholics Anonymous, by another addict...The N.A. member first shares his shame with the newcomer. Then he shares his hope and finally, sometimes, his recovery..

To date, the A.A. type of group therapy has been an effective ingredient of "cures' – the word as used here means no drugs for a year or more and an intent of permanent abstinence—in at least 200 cases. Some of these, including Dan, the founder of the New York group, had been pronounced medically hopeless. The "Narco" Group in the United States Public Health Service Hospital at Lexington, Kentucky has a transient membership of about eighty men and women patients. The group mails a monthly newsletter, THE KEY, free to those who want it, currently a list of 500 names. Many of these are interested but non-addicted friends. Most are "mail-order members" of the group--addicts who have left the hospital and been without drugs for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. The H.F.D. (Habit-Forming Drug) Group is a loosely affiliated fellowship of California ex-addicts who keep "clean" --the addicts' term for a state of abstinence--by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with volunteer AA. sponsors. The Federal prison at Lorton, Virginia, has a prisoner group which attracts thirty men to its weekly meetings. Narcotics Anonymous in New York is the sole "free world" (outside of institutions) group which conducts its own weekly open-to-the-public meetings in the AA. tradition…..

Narcotics Anonymous -- A.A.'s Young Brother

The American interested himself in Frank Buchman's Oxford Group, found sobriety, and told an inebriate friend of his experience. The friend sobered up and took the message to a former drinking partner, a New York stockbroker named Bill. Though he was an agnostic who had never had much use for religion, Bill sobered up. Late in 1935, while on a business trip to Akron, Ohio, he was struck by the thought that he wouldn't be able to keep his sobriety unless he passed on the message. He sought out a heavy-drinking local surgeon named Bob and told him the story to date. They sat down and formulated a program for staying sober -- a program featuring twelve Suggested Steps and called Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill devoted full time to carrying the A.A. message, and the news spread. The now famous article by Jack Alexander in The Saturday Evening Post of March 1,1941, made it nationally known, and by 1944 there were A.A. groups in the major cities.

In June of that year an inebriate mining engineer whom we'll call Houston `hit bottom' with his drinking in Montgomery, Alabama, and the local A.A.'s dried him up. Houston gobbled the A.A. program and began helping other alcoholics. One of the drunks he worked with--a sales executive who can be called Harry--was involved not only with alcohol but also morphine. AA took care of the alcoholic factor, but left Harry's drug habit unchanged. Interested and baffled, Houston watched his new friend struggle in his strange self-constructed trap.

The opiate theme of the narrative now reappears. Harry's pattern had been to a roaring drunk, take morphine to avoid a hangover, get drunk again and take morphine again. Thus he became "hooked"--addicted. He drove through a red light one day and was stopped by a policeman. The officer found morphine and turned him over to the Federal jurisdiction, with the result that Harry spent twenty-seven months at Lexington, where both voluntary and involuntary patients are accommodated, as a prisoner. After his discharge he met Houston, and, through A.A. found relief from the booze issue. The drug problem continued to plague him.

During this period, Houston, through one of those coincidences which A.A.'s like to attribute to a Higher Power, was transferred by his employers to Frankfort, Kentucky, just a few miles from Lexington. "Harry's troubles kept jumping through my brain," Houston says. "I was convinced that the twelve Suggested Steps would work as well for drugs as for alcohol if conscientiously applied. One day I called on Dr. V.H. Vogel, the medical officer then in charge at Lexington. I told him of our work with Harry and offered to assist in starting a group in the hospital. Doctor Vogel accepted the offer and on Feb. 1 6,1947, the first meeting was held. Weekly meetings have been going on ever since."

The Phenomenon of "Physical Dependence"


Some months later, in a strangely woven web of coincidence, Harry reappeared at "Narco" as a voluntary patient and began attending meetings. He was discharged, relapsed, and in a short time was back again. "This time," he says, "it clicked." He has now been free from both alcohol and drugs for more than five years. Twice he has returned to tell his story at meetings, in the A.A. tradition of passing on the good word.

In the fall of 1948 there arrived at Lexington an addict named Dan who had been there before. It was, in fact, his seventh trip; the doctors assumed that he'd continue his periodic visits until he died. This same Dan Inter founded the small but significant Narcotics Anonymous group in New York. Dan's personal history is the story of an apparently incurable addict apparently cured....

This is the interval of greatest vulnerability, N.A. members say, to the addicts inevitable good resolutions. He has formed the habit of using his drug when he feels low. If he breaks off medical supervision before he is physically and mentally back to par, the temptation to relapse may be overwhelming. It is during this period, Dan says, that the addict most needs the kind of understanding he finds in N.A....

……As a result he (Dan) was among the first prisoner patients at the new United States Public Health Service Hospital for addicts at Lexington, when it was first opened on May 28,1935...

……On his (Dan) seventh trip to Lexington, in 1948, he was in a profound depression.

After a month of sullen silence, he began attending group meetings, which were a new feature at the hospital since his last trip. "I still wouldn't talk" he reports, "but I did some listening. I was impressed by what Houston had to say. Harry came back one time and told us

His story. For the first time, I began to pray. I was only praying that I would die, but at least it was a prayer." He did not die, nor did he recover. Within six months of his discharge he was found in possession of drugs and sent back to Lexington for a year – his eighth and, as it turned out, final trip.

"This time things were different, " he says. "Everything Houston and Harry had been saying suddenly made sense. There was a lawyer from a southern city there at the time, and a midwest surgeon. They were in the same mood I was – disgusted with themselves and really ready to change. The three of us used to have long talks with Houston every Saturday morning, besides the regular meetings." All three recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of their emancipation from the drug habit.

Dan, conscious of what seemed to him a miraculous change of attitude, returned to New York full of enthusiasm and hope. The twelfth of the Suggested Steps was to pass on the message to others who needed help. He proposed to form the first outside-of-institution group and call it Narcotics Anonymous – N.A. He contacted other Lexington Alumni and suggested they start weekly meetings.

There were certain difficulties. Addicts are not outstandingly gregarious, and when all the excuses were in only three – a house painter named Charlie, a barber named Henry and a waiter we'll call George – were on hand for the first meeting. There was uncertainty about where this would be; nobody, it seemed wanted addicts around. Besides, missionary, or "twelfth step," work of the new group would be hampered by the law…..

…..Drug peddlers were not enthusiastic about the new venture. Rumors circulated discrediting the group.

Out of the gloom, however, came unexpected rays of friendliness and help. The Salvation Army made room for meetings at its 46 th Street cafeteria. Later the McBurney Y.M.C.A., on 23 rd Street, offered a meeting room. Two doctors backed their oral support by sending patients to meetings. Two other doctors agreed to serve on an advisory board.

There were slips and backslidings. Meetings were sometimes marred by obstinacy and temper. But three of the original four remained faithful and the group slowly grew…..

Group statistics estimate that 5000 inquiries have been answered, constituting a heavy drain on the groups treasury. Some 600 addicts have attended one or more meetings, 90 have attained effective living without drugs…..

…..One relapse after the first exposure to N.A. principles seems about par, though a number have not found this necessary. "A key fact of which few addicts are aware," Dan says, "is that once he's been addicted, a person can never again take even one dose of any habit-forming drug, including alcohol and the barbiturates, without running into trouble.

The weekly "open" – to the public – meetings are attended by ten to thirty persons – addicts, their friends and families and concerned outsiders. The room is small and on Friday evenings when more than twenty-five turn up, crowed.

There is an interval of chitchat and visiting, and then, about nine o'clock, the secretary….. opens the meeting. In this ceremony, all repeat a well-known prayer: ….. The secretary then introduces a leader – a member who presents the speakers and renders interlocutor's and evening – describe their adventures with drugs and with N.A….

…..Harold and Carl have now been four years without drugs; Manny, three; Marian, Don, and Pat, one…..

Besides the Friday open meeting there is a Tuesday closed meeting at the Y for addicts only. As a special dispensation I was permitted to attend a closed meeting, the purpose of which is to discuss the daily application of the twelve steps…..

The Narco meetings at Lexington have born other fruit. There was Charlie, the young GI from Washington, D.C., who..........discovered that there was a concentration of addicts in the

Federal penitentiary at Lorton, Virginia. Working with Alcoholics Anonymous, which already had meetings going in the prison, he obtained permission to start a group like the one at Lexington. Now a year old, these meetings, called the Notrol Group -- Lorton backwards --attract the regular attendance of about thirty addicts…..

Friendliness of ex-drug addicts with former devotees of alcohol sometimes occurs, though Bill, the same who figured so prominently in A.A.'s founding says a fraternal attitude cannot be depended upon. The average A.A., he says, would merely look blank if asked about drug addiction, and rightly reply that this specialty is outside his understanding. There are, however, a few A.A.'s who have been addicted to both alcohol and to drugs, and these sometimes function as "bridge members."

"If the addict substitutes the word "drugs" whenever he hears `Alcohol' in the AA. program, he'll be helped," Houston says. Many ex-addicts, in the larger population centers where meetings run into the hundreds, attend A.A. meetings. The H.F.D. (Habit-Forming-Drug) Group, which is activated by an energetic ex-addict and ex-alcoholic of the Los Angeles area named Betty, has dozens of members, but no meetings of its own…..

The roll call of ex-addict groups is small. There is the parent Narco Group, Addicts Anonymous, P.O. Box 2000, Lexington, Ky.; Narcotics Anonymous, P.O. Box 3, Village Station, New York 14, N.Y.; Notrol Group CIO U.S. Penitentiary, Lorton, Va.; H.F.D. Group, c/o Secretary, Bay Area Rehabilitation Center, 1458 26th St., Santa Monica, Calif…...

New York Herald Tribune - August 21, 1956 (article page l2) - Danny Carlsen. Founder Of Narcotics Anonymous

Danny Carlsen, fifty,..... died Sunday (8/19)......He was founder of Narcotic Anonymous.

.….(He) finally "kicked" the habit in 1949 after he returned to New York City following his eighth stay at the Public Health Service Hospital for addicts in Lexington, Ky. This time, he brought back with him the idea for Narcotics Anonymous, based on the day-to-day principles of Alcoholics Anonymous…..

The Salvation Army welcomed Mr. Carlsen and his project and gave him a small office in which he held twice-a-week meetings with other addicts anxious to rehabilitate themselves. The idea, like its prototype Alcoholics Anonymous, spread, and within a year there were similar organizations in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago, and elsewhere…..


Mr. Carlsen had suffered the loss of one kidney as a result of the use of drugs, and had been in poor health a long time before his final illness.

New York Times - August 21, 1956 (article pageL+ 29?) - Daniel L. Carlsen Dies

Former Drug Addict Founded Narcotics Anonymous in `50

Daniel L Carlsen, founder of Narcotics Anonymous, died Sunday at Montefiore Hospital, the Bronx, after a long illness. He was 50 years old…..

Mr. Carisen was also executive director of the National Advisory Council on Narcotics, an educational group.

What's New (plus a symbol) - Single sheet of paper - Part of a larger document that was probably published at Lexington an the mid-i 950's (Found in Federal Archives in Atlanta)

Several years ago a former patient who knew of the successful results obtained by Alcoholics Anonymous decided that the same program might be helpful to narcotics addicts. After thorough study of AA, and with full cooperation of the hospital, he organized a group patterned exactly after AA and called Addicts Anonymous. The group is still small - about 35 men and 28 women regularly attending weekly meetings - but the members are enthusiastic. Visiting members of both Addicts Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous come to the Hospital frequently to work with the patients who have joined the movement. Since there are very few groups outside the hospital many members join Alcoholics Anonymous groups after discharge, and are readily accepted.

New York Post - January 10, 1958 (page M2) - Drug Addicts. USA - Article V of series - By Fern Marja and William Dufty

Boredom is the chief extracurricular activity. Some of this is relieved by total griping, some by meetings of Narcotics Anonymous, an organization patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous that has survived only fitfully outside institutional walls..

("There's a mystic element about NA that's terrifying,t1 said Prince. "They all get together and confess their sins and, after you listen to five or six of them, you realize how much pleasure they're getting out of it. They're empty people and its their only adventure.")

New York Post - January 14,1958 (page M 2) - Drug Addicts. USA - Article VIII of series - By Fern Marja and William Dufty

Celia had herd about Narcotics Anonymous. She got their address. She didn't know that it had virtually ceased to exist. Meanwhile, Johnny decided to look up a psychiatrist. "I told him my heroin problem was just incidental. But when I mentioned the word, he flipped, didn't even want me in his office. He told me to call Riverside Hospital. That's for kids, I told him. All they do is give them a guilty complex. I left."

Time was running out. Celia wrote to NA, portraying herself as an addict in need of help. After several days she got a call from Major Dorothy Berry of the Salvation Army's Prison Department. The hearty Shavian Major is a veteran of many frustrating years trying to help the problem people in the city's underground. Major Berry referred Johnny and Celia to Nathan Zucker, director of the National Family Council on Drug Addiction at 401 West End Av. They got an appointment the same day.

New York Post - January 19,1958 (page M4-M5) - Drug Addicts. USA Article XII of series - By Fern Marja and William Dufty

Even the crypto-religious ideas at the root of Narcotics Anonymous seem foredoomed to failure outside an institutional setting because of the shadow of the law. Major Dorothy Berry of the Salvation Army, a cheerful individualist who is waging a one-woman war against the myths that have been incorporated into drug addiction laws, sums it up out of bitter experience.

"The 12-step approach of Alcoholics Anonymous won't work with addicts unless you could try it in the lobby of the YWCA."

"If a fellow was about to go back on drugs and called a former addict to come to his room to sit with him and help him, the former addict couldn't risk it. The place might be raided and you'd have two fellows in trouble instead of one."

Virtually the only place left then where addicts, former addicts and their relatives and friends can meet in safety is on hallowed ground. There are only two such oases in Our Town.

Catholic Digest - September1962 (article page 88) - The Junkie Priest (condensation) By John D. Harris

…..Today he is chaplain to New York's Narcotics Anonymous, an organization that functions in roughly the same manner as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Problems In Alcoholism And Narcotics - (1962) Proceedings of the Institute of Pastoral Psvchologv, Fordham University, under the auspices of the Dept. of Psychology, June, 1959 - Edited by William C. flier, S.J. - Fordham Univ. Press, New York

(page 206).....Members of Narcotics Anonymous, modeled after A.A., are very eager to talk with clergymen about their first-hand experiences with addiction.*…..

(footnote- page 206) * Narcotics Anonymous meets only on Wednesday nights at the McBurney YMCA, 215 West 23rd Street, New York 11, N.Y.

The Addict - Edited by Dan Wakefield (1963) published by Fawcett World Library, New York -- article entitled A Bridge to the Addict by Oona Sullivan (page 166)

Father Egan is chaplain of Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.), patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous and founded in 1945 by Daniel Carlsen, who had been a heroin addict for twenty-five years. Before he died of cancer in 1 956, Carlsen, by his courage and perseverance, had been able to inspire many addicts to follow his example. He was helped in large measure by Brigadier Dorothy Berry of the Salvation Army. Through the Army's social welfare department she provided countless addicts and former addicts with food, clothing and shelter; through her constant sympathy and patience, especially in the early days when the police seemed to be the only people interested in addicts, she has helped countless others to start a new life. N.A. has had its ups and downs over the years. It has been hampered by lack of money, places to meet and, particularly in the beginning, by the addicts' fear that police spies or informers would infiltrate their meetings. For a little while a few years ago N.A. had its own headquarters in an old store but, except for for a donation from the Catholic Worker which paid the first month's rent, it received no financial support and had to close. Since then N.A. has met in a Salvation Army building and later in the 23rd Street YMCA. Currently N.A. has four meetings a week: at the Y, the House of Detention, and more recently in rooms provided by St. Augustine Episcopal Church and St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church, both in the Bronx. Father Egan hopes to see a chapter started in Brooklyn soon and another priest, Father Andrew Van Groll, a Capuchin, is trying to organize one in Rikers Island prison with the help of N.A.'s present leader, Rae Lopez.

Mrs. Lopez began using heroin in 1930 while still in her early teens. She was addicted for nineteen years. Finally, with the help of Carlsen and Narcotics Anonymous she stopped using drugs in 1949'.....Meanwhile she continues a rigorous schedule of trying to get addicts into hospitals, attending N.A. meetings and advising those who want to start new chapters.

As concern about narcotics addiction has grown, N.A.'s open meetings have been visited by priests, ministers, social workers and nurses trying to learn about addiction, and lately by an occasional politician looking for votes on the promise of supporting legislation helpful to addicts. Sometimes addicts from New Jersey come to New York Meetings; .....

Handbook for Patients - July, 1964 (page30) - Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare - Public Health Service - Lexington, Kentucky

Addicts Anonymous

The Hospital cooperates in the sponsorship of an Addicts Anonymous group, an affiliation you may well want to continue later in the city where you live.


Addicts Anonymous is patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. Anyone is eligible who admits powerlessness over drugs and expresses a sincere desire to stop taking them It is a bond of communication for an addict, who, after he goes outside, often feels that no one can understand him but another addict. Joining an AA Group can fill this need, reassure the addict that he is not alone, and reinforce his own determination to stay oft drugs by helping other addicts do the same.

Regular meetings of AA are held three times a week. Find out who your AA chairman is from your Aid or Supervisor.

Joint male and female AA group meetings are held once a week.

The KEY is the official publication for the Hospital's Addicts Anonymous Group. It is published once a month under the direction of the Vocational and Educational Unit and provides members of AA with an opportunity to express their views in print. Literary contributions are encouraged and may be submitted to the Editor and Chief of the Vocational and Educational Unit. The Key is devoted exclusively to AA and related subjects.

The War Cry (Salvation Army Publication) - April 24.1965 (page 5) - From Crisis To Crisis - By Mrs. Brigadier John Troutt

For almost 20 years Brigadier Dorothy Berry has been available to drug addicts who live in or near New York City…..

Sometimes she makes arrangements for them to go to the hospital at Lexington, Kentucky....

One of the great helps to addicts is Narcotics Anonymous. Brigadier Berry has worked with NA since it first started back in 1947 when she provided a meeting place for the group – in a room at the Manhattan Men's Social Service Center. Since then she has attended hundreds of their meetings, sometimes visiting a parents' group the same evening.

The parents' group, known as CMCNA, adopted the name "Committee for Medical Control of Narcotics Addiction" from the name of a group of medical doctors well versed on the subject of narcotics...

The person who is the greatest help to an addict is someone who has traveled the same way and has licked the habit. Rae, who was a professional dancer, became addicted and remained an addict for 19 years. But Rae is now the head of Narcotics Anonymous and a valued employee in the Narcotics Coordinator's office of the City Department of Health, with a record of 14 years of clean living.

The Drug Addict as a Patient - By Marie Nyswander, M.D. (0 1965) - Published by Grune & Stratton - New York (Section of chapter on Rehabilitation -- page 144)


This organization was founded in 1948 by Danny Carlsen, an ex-drug addict Knowing how difficult it is for post-addicts to stay off drugs, he felt that they would immeasurably helped by joining some group activity. His intuitive reasoning was that drug addicts would be most likely to gain support from ex-addicts -- the only people, in their opinion, truly able to understand their frailties and their tremendous temptation to fall back to the habit of drugs. The organization, still in its infancy, is patterned on and functions very much like Alcoholics Anonymous. Financial problems from the start cramped their program: outside support has been negligible and addicts themselves are not usually people of means. However, at present there are branches of this group in most large cities throughout the United States and Canada and they hold group meetings twice a week.

Mr. Carlsen attempts to contact drug addicts while they are hospitalized for withdrawal or while they are still in reformatories or prisons. His warm interest and understanding form the patient's first bulwark against future relapse. He is often there when the patient is released and escorts him to a group meeting which has been carefully selected with his best interests in mind. The whole group takes a lively interest in a new member, putting him at ease, urging him to obtain employment and giving him practical help toward that end.

In its early days Narcotics Anonymous was widely suspected of being merely a convenient blind -- a place for addicts to meet and share information about drug sources. To counter this propaganda their meetings are frequently opened to physicians and other interested non-members. When a member relapses, the group effort is immediately directed toward getting him off drugs. Often their scanty funds are pooled to help send a member to Lexington or elsewhere for withdrawal treatment. Although members actively on drugs are not retained in the group, they are assured of acceptance once they are off drugs and, even more important, the group's interest does not lessen because they have relapsed. In these meetings, an individual often for the first time hears others discussing their temptations and problems. It is vary enlightening for him to hear others using the same rational he has used so frequently and thought was exclusive with him. Like the alcoholic, every drug addict feels that his problem is unique.

Narcotics Anonymous members are very active; a new member is assigned to the care of an older member, and whenever the going is rough he calls his patron, who usually insists that they meet to talk things over.

The group therapy method in a setting exclusively for ex-addicts is particularly effective for those addicts with a history of antisocial behavior. In general, the group's present membership is of a fairly limited educational and social level, and it does not offer much of a solution for the patient from a middle or upper middle class background, Branches in different cities will of course vary in this respect.

It is too bad that Narcotics Anonymous has had so little encouragement and backing from community leaders that it must struggle along with insufficient funds. The by-passing of this group is in all probability due to the deeply ingrained and widely held belief that drug addicts cannot get together for any constructive purposes.....

Mainline To Nowhere - By Yves J. Kron, M.D. and Fdward M. Brown, B.D. (1965) The World Publishing Company - Cleveland, Ohio (page 192)

Appendix B - Treatment Centers Available to New York City Narcotics Addicts...

Narcotics Anonymous -- City-wide group meetings in at least four locations...

Narcotics -- An American Plan - By: Sam Jaffee (l 966) published by Paul S. Eriksson, Inc - New York - (page 10)

The groups performing heroic tasks are composed of dedicated human beings, and there are hundreds of such persons -- in Narcotics Anonymous, a group patterning itself to some extent after Alcoholics Anonymous and in a group which carries the somewhat overwhelming name, The Lower East Side Information and Service Center for Narcotics Addiction in New York City…..

(Note: The United States Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky closed in 1973 and Addicts Anonymous Group which was founded there probably died out at that time.)