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What to Know About Narcotics Anonymous, 12-Step Programs, NA Meetings, Step Work and Recovery

You may be wondering, ‘what is NA?’ or ‘Narcotics Anonymous’? Perhaps you want to find out, ‘what are the 12 Steps of NA?’ or ‘what are Narcotics Anonymous meetings like?’ You may want to know how to join NA recovery programs or ask, ‘where can I find NA meetings near me?’ The following information will provide you with more information about Narcotics Anonymous programs and answer any questions you might have about NA.

Narcotics Anonymous drug programs at a glance:

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is an alcohol and drug addiction recovery organization that was founded in 1953.1
  • There is no cost to attend and the program is open to anyone who wants to overcome any substance dependence.2
  • The NA recovery model uses 12 Steps, which emphasize reliance on social support and a Higher Power in order to maintain sobriety.3
  • Even though the Narcotics Anonymous 12 Steps use the Higher Power concept, the program is not affiliated with any religion.3
  • Sharing at these substance recovery meetings is voluntary and participation is confidential.4

What Is Narcotics Anonymous (NA)?

You may have questions about what NA programs are like and what type of substance users are permitted to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Although the organization was originally founded to counter narcotic abuse and addiction, NA now welcomes anyone who is trying to overcome any type of dependence on drugs or alcohol. NA began as an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The NA 12-Step program was designed to parallel that which was implemented by AA and was meant to be a recovery pathway, with all participants following a set of guidelines and supporting each other’s efforts to stay clean.3,5

What Is the Purpose of NA?

The goal of NA is to help those suffering from addiction through the process of recovery and to spread the message that recovery is possible. Whether you are suffering from an addiction to marijuana, alcohol, heroin or crystal meth, you can find long-term sobriety with the right help.

What Is an NA Program?

NA programs work through an anonymous 12-Step system. They offer a safe space where members do not have to give their name or any other identifying information. The program is open to people of all ages, races, sexual orientations and religions.2,3

NA has no fees, dues or pledges. The only requirement for participation is the desire to quit using drugs. Narcotics Anonymous 12-Step programs are not affiliated with any other organizations or political, religious or law enforcement groups.2,3

What Are the 12 Steps of NA?

Many people wonder, ‘Is NA a 12-Step program?’, and the answer is yes. You might have heard about the spiritual element of NA, and you may be wondering, ‘what are the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous really about?’

Similar to AA, NA helps participants recover by walking them through a process of 12 Steps. Followers of 12-Step Narcotics Anonymous programs complete Step work and must work all the elements of their programs to maintain sobriety. Although the 12 Steps of NA are meant to be explored in order, many people who are struggling with alcohol and drug addictions will visit and revisit various NA Steps over time:

The NA 12 Steps3,5

  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 had 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 the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Spirituality of the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous

Did You Know?

According to the NA website, the number of members and meetings has increased dramatically since the publication of its Basic Text in 1983. Each week, 67,000 NA meetings are held in 139 countries around the world.

You may have asked the question, ‘is Narcotics Anonymous religious?’ Similar to AA, NA is not affiliated with a particular religion. However, as is true of many 12-Step recovery programs, NA’s recovery program may be considered ‘spiritual’, since the NA 12 Steps refer to ‘God’ or a ‘Higher Power’.

Some individuals may already feel comfortable with this spiritual element of the NA recovery program. Some may feel indifferent about it but may find during the recovery process that they end up benefitting from this spiritual aspect. Others may not feel comfortable with any level of spirituality in their recovery process. These individuals can seek out one of the few secular 12-Step programs or one of the handful of non-12-Step programs that do not incorporate any level of spirituality. However, the 12 Steps in NA provide a widely valuable means by which people are able to hand their problems over to the wider universe, relieve themselves of much of their internal suffering and find lasting recovery.

What to Expect at NA Meetings

people talking at an NA meeting

Because all Narcotics Anonymous groups act autonomously, types of members at meetings may vary from group to group. Some 12-Step NA meetings are closed, accepting only recovering addicts. Other meetings may be open or welcoming of non-addicts who wish to attend in support of a loved one or gain knowledge and understanding.

If you are seeking recovery only from alcohol addiction, you may find greater understanding in NA groups with larger numbers of recovering alcoholics; alternatively, Alcoholics Anonymous is also open to you and may provide some more specific help for your needs.

General NA Meeting Rules

Regardless of the group type, here are rules you can expect at NA meetings:

  • Every attendee should be treated with respect.
  • Personal sharing is voluntary.
  • Some meetings may include speakers who can share their own insights.
  • Only first names are used and attendance is kept private within the meeting.
  • Meetings are free to attend; money is accepted by voluntary donation only.
  • Meeting location does not necessarily indicate affiliation; meetings may be held in public spaces or religious buildings.

What Are the 12 Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous?

How to Find Narcotics Anonymous Recovery Programs or Drug and Alcohol Meetings Near Me

The 12 Steps of NA have positively impacted people around the world by applying the same principles and traditions universally (these are outlined in the Big Book of AA). If you or a loved one is ready to start down the path to sobriety and you are wondering, ‘where can I find Narcotics Anonymous meetings near me?’, find a Narcotics Anonymous meeting or organization in your area by visiting the NA Meeting search page. Meeting schedules may change, so it’s best to verify the information through the local chapter’s website or helpline.

Members of these chapters are making the same journey to sobriety that you are and you’ll benefit from continued support throughout your recovery with the 12 Steps of NA.

American Addiction Centers maintains a strong partnership with a large group of insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities. You can contact us to speak to one of our admissions navigators for free about treatment options at . Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies. There are also free alcohol and drug abuse hotline numbers you can call.

How to Find Other 12-Step Programs Near Me

Other 12-Step programs include: is not affiliated with Narcotics Anonymous, NA World Services, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries. This information is provided as a resource for those seeking third-party information.

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