When Consciousness Recognizes Itself: Narcotics Anonymous Members’ Experiences of Spiritual Awakening in Southeast Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Ph.D. Candidate in Nursing, Nursing Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 2. Associate Professor, Department of Psychology Nursing ,Razi School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Critical Care Nursing, Razi School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

4 Associate Professor, Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, Razi Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Introduction: The 12-step Narcotics Anonymous (NA) program can provide support for the recovery of people with substance use disorder. This organization considers spirituality as the most important factor in fighting temptations and finding ways for long-term improvement through personal change and spiritual awakening. Thus, this study was conducted in southeast Iran to explore the lived experiences of the members of Narcotics Anonymous and to clarify what spiritual awakening means to them.
Methods: This is a hermeneutic phenomenological study inspired by Ricoeur’s philosophy and explained by Lindseth and Norberg. The participants were asked to narrate their experiences of spiritual awakening via in-depth semi-structured interviews. Interpretation of transcribed interviews was performed in three stages: naïve understanding, structural analysis, and comprehensive understanding.
Results: The present study showed spiritual awakening in the NA members can be considered as opening the doors of perception to a higher reality. This theme consists of seven subthemes, including (1) Being accepted and embraced by fellow pain sufferers through their very presence, (2) Being connected to a higher power and freedom from self-centeredness, (3) Self-reorganization and acceptance through self-reflective practice, (4) Taking responsibility by stopping making excuses and starting making changes, (5) Cultivating a culture of continuous care, (6) Connecting with the true self and spreading unconditional love, and (7) Living in the flow of life and learning from nature.
Conclusion: Following the principles of the 12-step program, the NA members managed to recover from addiction, fill their existential voids, and become loving people who have accepted guidance and have surrendered. Conducting qualitative studies and reflecting on the experiences of people who have recovered from addiction is a source of knowledge that can be a guide to implementing preventive measures and medical interventions for other addicts, the general public, and healthcare providers.



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Volume 11, Issue 2
June 2022
Pages 139-147
  • Receive Date: 16 March 2021
  • Revise Date: 10 May 2021
  • Accept Date: 12 July 2021
  • First Publish Date: 01 June 2022