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Anonymous Recovery Meeting Acronyms and What They Mean

a group meets discussing aa acronyms

The journey to successful recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can be lonely and often littered with unexpected hurdles. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was one of the first 12-step support groups created for people struggling with addiction to find help outside a treatment center. 12-step support groups are available around the world to provide support for people continuing to overcome their addiction. With so many of these support groups spanning several types of addiction, what do all of the anonymous recovery program acronyms mean?

At Northpoint Seattle, we know the benefits that anonymous groups can provide people in recovery. Whether someone uses them as the first step toward sobriety or as a support system after completing an addiction treatment program, the care found in these peer support programs can be immense. Finding AA meetings in Washington state or across the country could help you stay on track to a healthy, happy future.

Why Are There Different AA Acronyms?

AA was originally developed to help people struggling with alcoholism. Over time, people with other substance and process addictions have found relief and support in the 12 steps of AA. As more people began using the 12 steps, they could better mold the process to their specific addictions, which led to the development of other specialized anonymous groups.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)


The original 12-step program was created in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The program uses the idea of being powerless over alcohol and that with the help of a higher power, people can maintain sobriety through spiritual growth, fellowship, and service.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)


Narcotics Anonymous formed in the 1950s as people struggling to stay sober from alcohol realized they needed additional support to abstain from drugs. The 12 steps of NA are similar to those of AA, focusing on complete abstinence from all drugs.

Pills Anonymous (PA)


Pills Anonymous is a program for people struggling with addiction to prescription pills and over-the-counter medications. The PA program uses the 12 steps of AA as its foundation. This program can especially help those addicted to opioids.

Overeaters Anonymous (OA)


Overeaters Anonymous is a 12-step program that began in the 1960s for people struggling with food addiction and compulsive overeating. The OA program helps members develop a healthy relationship with food, their bodies, and themselves.

Cocaine Anonymous (CA)


Cocaine Anonymous is a 12-step fellowship for people who want to abstain from using cocaine, crack, and all other mind-altering substances. CA meetings focus on sharing personal stories of addiction and recovery to help others achieve sobriety.

Gamblers Anonymous (GA)


Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step program for people who want to abstain from gambling. GA uses the AA 12 steps as its foundation and helps members develop a healthy relationship with money and gambling.

Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA)


Dual Recovery Anonymous helps people who struggle with both a mental health disorder and addiction. DRA helps members find sobriety and recover from their addiction and mental illness.

12-Step Therapy at Northpoint Seattle

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, our team at Northpoint Seattle can help. We offer 12-step therapy as part of our holistic approach to addiction treatment. Your custom treatment plan will work to help you build the foundation for a happier, healthier future. We offer outpatient treatment through a few different programs, including:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP) –  Our most intensive level of outpatient treatment, our PHP allows you to live at home while coming to Northpoint Seattle for therapy during the day.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP) – The IOP is perfect for those who need more structure than what traditional outpatient care can provide but don’t need 24/7 care.
  • Outpatient treatment – Our outpatient program meets a few times weekly and can be tailored to your unique needs.

Contact us today by calling 888.483.6031 to learn more about our programs or get started on your recovery journey.

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Anonymous Recovery Meeting Acronyms And What They Mean