For those who are looking to break free from the grips of substance abuse, 12-Step programs have long been an effective tool to help struggling addicts achieve that goal. Through the Steps and support from those in the program, 12-Step programs provide people with the structure and encouragement they need to work their individual program of recovery. While most people are familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there are over fifty 12-Step programs in existence worldwide that cover a wide range of addictions. Perhaps the most well known of those programs outside of AA is Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

narcotics anonymous 12 steps

What is Narcotics Anonymous 12 Steps?

Narcotics Anonymous is a 12-Step fellowship that is open to all who believe they have a drug problem and have the desire to be in recovery. NA meetings are open to anyone regardless of drug addiction, age, race, sexual preference, religious or socioeconomic background. As with other 12-Step based programs, NA does not have any opinion on any outside issues that deal with religion, science or politics, and NA does not endorse any specific outside organizations or institutions.

Narcotics Anonymous first got its’ start in the early 1950’s in Southern California. Narcotics Anonymous grew very slowly over the years and established itself throughout the United States and throughout Australia in the early 1970s. Within a few years, groups had formed in South America, Europe and Asia. Today, NA is firmly established worldwide with over 63,000 weekly meetings which span 132 countries. Currently, Narcotics Anonymous books and information pamphlets are currently available in 45 languages.

What Types of Meetings Does NA Offer?

There are two types of meetings that are offered at Narcotics Anonymous 12 Steps. Open meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend.  Groups that have open meetings may structure them in such a way that opportunities for participation by non-addicts are limited only to short birthday or anniversary presentations. Such a format allows the meeting to retain its focus on recovery shared one addict to another.  NA groups commonly offer open speaker meetings in order for the community to see what the group is about, and those who come are free to ask any questions about NA.

Closed meetings are open only for  addicts or those who think think they may have a problem with drugs. Closed meetings provide an safe and support atmosphere in which addicts can feel more certain that those attending are going through similar experiences to their own and will be able to identify with them. For that reason, newcomers may feel more comfortable going to a closed meeting.

Are There Different Meeting Formats?

Within open and closed meeting types, there are a variety of formats that each group can employ. For example, the group may use a participation structure in which the leader opens up the meeting for others to share on any subject that is related to recovery. Groups can also adopt a meeting structure that revolves around a specific topic. There are also study meetings in which the group can use an NA-related text, pamphlet or other form of literature and use a specific part for further study.

Additionally, NA groups will also offer speaker meetings in which one or two group members will share their recovery experiences. These meetings can allow speakers to talk for the entire duration of the meetings, or groups can combine a speaker meeting and have a topic-centered meeting afterwards. Lastly, groups can also offer newcomer meetings that are led by more experienced members of the group. These members share their experiences in recovery as well as the NA program then will take questions.

Is There A Cost To Attend Narcotics Anonymous Meetings?

There is no cost in attending a Narcotics Anonymous meetings. During the meeting itself, the leader of the group may “pass the hat” to ask for donations. This keeps with the Seventh Tradition of Narcotics Anonymous which states that each group needs to be fully self-supporting and not accept donations from any outside organization. It is believed that if an NA group accepts outside donations those organizations have some form of influence over the group and it would compromise its spiritual and true structure. Donations received goes towards room rental, literature, anniversary chips and any dues that need to go to the local, state and federal offices of NA.

Are You Seeking Help for Your Drug Addiction?

Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-Step programs are a great tool in helping those struggling with addiction find meaningful sobriety. These programs are especially effective for people when paired with quality drug treatment programs. If you or a loved one needs help, call Guardian Recovery Network today. Our experienced and dedicated treatment professionals utilize a wide array of evidence-based programs and services that can be individually tailored to meet your specific needs and recovery goals.

Why wait another day to address your addiction? Call Guardian Recovery Network toll-free today!


Reviewed for accuracy by:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.