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Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

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Those who battle addiction on their own are more likely to suffer from a relapse in the future, while those who get help and support are more likely to stay sober. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the average member has been sober for about 10 years. The group states that 24% of all members have been sober for 2 to 5 years, and 13% of members have been clean for 6 to 10 years.

Alcoholics Anonymous forms the basis for other 12-step programs, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The originators of NA devoted the group to helping those with an addiction to illicit drugs. Once you find a meeting in your area, you can attend them and meet other people who abused drugs and are trying to get or stay clean too.

An Average Meeting

“One of the biggest benefits to drug addiction support groups like NA is that you hear personal stories directly from people who are recovering from drug addictions.”Before you attend a meeting, it can be helpful to know what to expect. The meetings often provide coffee and sometimes desserts for socializing before and after the actual meeting. The host usually opens the floor to anyone who would like to share after the opening remarks are made. Often, prayers or sayings specific to the NA tradition are recited throughout the meeting, many of which focus around the concept that a higher power will help you stay sober.

One of the biggest benefits to drug addiction support groups like NA is that you hear personal stories from people who are recovering from drug addictions, which helps most people feel like they aren’t alone in their struggles.

Working with a Sponsor

Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programs give members the chance to work with a sponsor. They are people who have been drug-free for a while and will support you as move through the steps. Most sponsors are available whenever you need help, so you can call them any time you feel tempted to use drugs in the future. Most groups require you to work with a sponsor of the same gender because it reduces the risk of complicating the relationship with sex.

Attending Meetings

support group meetingAccording to NA, there are groups in more than 139 countries, and members attend more than 67,000 meetings every week. The meetings exist in hundreds of different cities, including larger and small communities, and most are held in community halls, churches, community colleges, and other buildings with meeting rooms. Depending on where you live, you might have access to meetings in different locations every week.

Following the Steps

The foundation of Narcotics Anonymous relies on the 12 steps first outlined by AA. A person must begin by admitting that they have a problem, which is the first step. A few of the guiding principles outlined in the steps include:

  • Believing that a higher power can help with the addiction.
  • Turning their life over to that higher power.
  • Asking the higher power for help in battling the addiction.
  • Making amends to those hurt by their addiction.
  • Participating in meditation and prayer.
  • Helping others who have addictions.

Finding Meetings

The easiest way to find a meeting is to either google “NA meeting in [your city]”. You can also visit NA’s meeting search page here and see where and when a group is held near you. If you have a friend who you know attends local NA meetings, you could ask them if you could come with them to the next one, too.

Did You Know?

  • Nar-Anon is an offshoot of NA and is targeted to the loved ones of recovering drug addicts.
  • Though Alcoholics Anonymous references God in its literature, the group encourages members to seek their own higher power for help.
  • Those who belong to 12-step programs typically attend an average of 2 meetings every week.

While the best way to get clean at first is to go through a detox program, followed by an inpatient or outpatient rehab, 12-step programs like NA can function as a good complement to the work you’ll do in more formal treatment settings. The important thing is to ask for the help you need today so you can begin your recovery journey.


  1. Alcoholics Anonymous. (2014). 2014 Membership Survey.
  2. Narcotics Anonymous. (n.d.). Home.
  3. Krentzman, A.R., Robinson, E.A.R., Moore, B.C., Kelly, J.F., Laudet, A.B., White, W.L., Zemore, S.E., Kurtz, E., & Strobbe, S. (2011). How Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Work: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 29(1), 75–84.
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