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How To Find Effective Narcotics Anonymous Meetings?

Learn everything you need to know about Narcotics Anonymous meetings and where to find them.

What Is Narcotics Anonymous?

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a peer-to-peer support system based on the idea that addiction is a disease and aims to achieve and maintain sobriety via the 12-Step process. NA consists of nonsectarian and not-for-profit groups prioritizing support and collaboration to help members recover from drug addiction.

Narcotics Anonymous
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History of NA

Narcotics Anonymous was formally established in Los Angeles in 1953 by Jimmy Kinnon and his colleagues. Today, nearly 76,000 meetings are being held across 143 nations. It follows a 12-Step program that adheres to many of the same values, customs, and beliefs as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).1

What Is an NA Meeting?

One of the main components of Narcotics Anonymous is being able to talk about experiences with drug addiction in a judgment-free environment. Meetings can be “open” to both members and guests or “closed” to members and prospective members only.

Members may discuss their issues during frequent sessions and swap tales with others who have gone through comparable situations.

What Are the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous?

According to Narcotics Anonymous, the 12-Steps are as follows:2
  1. 1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
  3. 2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  5. 3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  7. 4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  9. 5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  11. 6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these character defects.
  13. 7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  15. 8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  17. 9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  19. 10. We continued to take personal inventory and promptly admitted it when we were wrong.
  21. 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.
  23. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening from these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Twelve Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous

The Twelve Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous are:3
  1. 1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity.
  3. 2. For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority— a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  5. 3. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.
  7. 4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or NA.
  9. 5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.
  11. 6. An NA group ought never to endorse, finance, or lend the NA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  13. 7. Every NA group should be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  15. 8. Narcotics Anonymous should remain nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  17. 9. NA, as such, ought never to be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  19. 10. Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name should never be drawn into public controversy.
  21. 11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  23. 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, reminding us to place principles before personalities.

The Science Behind the 12 Steps

12-Step programs are effective because they offer a community that draws in and keeps individuals interested over time. Members of this support group gain advantages for their mental health, which lowers the chance of relapse. 

Research suggests that the 12 Steps result in a 20% higher rate of abstinence after one year compared to other therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).4

Spiritual Aspects of NA’s 12 Steps

Because the NA 12 Steps include “God” and “Higher Power,” NA’s recovery method may be viewed as religious. However, the program is not affiliated with any religion or requires members to be religious. 

Narcotics Anonymous focuses on a more spiritual outlook and encourages members to find meaning in the 12 Steps through any method they choose—religious or not.

The 12 Steps in NA offer a highly beneficial way for people to release much of their emotional distress, discover enduring healing, and transfer their concerns to the larger world.

What to Expect at Your First NA Meeting?

It’s common for people to feel anxious before their first meeting. Nevertheless, you may relax knowing that every person in the room has been where you are right now, and most members are usually highly hospitable, welcoming, and supportive.

Terminology for Your First Meeting

Here is a short dictionary of phrases from the NA’s official “Intro to NA” literature that are used in meetings:
  • Addict: The phrase used to describe oneself because it is believed that addiction is the issue, not the usage of a particular substance.

  • Basic Text: NA’s fundamental principles are written in the book Narcotics Anonymous.

  • Group: Members who host one or more NA meetings regularly.

  • Higher Power: This refers to any supportive influence that aids a member in maintaining their sobriety and seeking healing.

  • Sponsor: Knowledgeable participant who provides direction and assistance through the 12 Steps.

  • Trusted Servants: Members of NA who hold leadership roles.

  • IPs: NA informational leaflets.

  • Newcomers: New NA participants.

  • Relapse: A slip in sobriety that leads to a temporary or protracted return to drug usage.

  • Sharing: Describing one’s journey through addiction and recovery.

What Happens at Your First Narcotics Anonymous Meeting?

At your first meeting, you’ll get to meet other people who are in your shoes. You will collaborate with members and begin to form relationships to kickstart the recovery journey.

Strength and Accountability in Numbers

The community is one of NA’s most potent elements. Meetings may provide newcomers a warm environment of support and healing since NA comprises people in recovery who look out for one another and understand what it feels like to be in their situation.

Benefits of the 12 Steps of NA

Discover the benefits of the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous below.

Using 12-Step Programs for Relapse Prevention

12-Step programs help prevent relapse because addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder that needs continual assistance. The 12 Steps provide structure, guidance, and community to help and support people during their recovery journey.

Addiction Treatment

The program aims to help members achieve sobriety through social support, acknowledgment, and responsibility. The 12 Steps is an excellent program to pair with other forms of addiction treatment, such as medication and individual therapy.

Drug Addictions

The goal of the 12 Steps of NA is to help people battling all sorts of drug addiction on their way to recovery.

Improve Mental Health

It may also help improve mental health and well-being in the long run. One study in 2015 measuring the impact of NA on quality of life found that 92% experienced an improvement in family relationships, 88% in social connection, 81% in hobbies and interests, 77% in stable housing, 75% in employment, and 56% in education advancement.5
Narcotics Anonymous

How Does an NA Meeting Work?

Answers and information on Narcotics Anonymous meetings will be detailed below.

Can I Be a Member of NA if I’m on Medication Treatment for Addiction?

The only requirement of NA is to have the desire to stop using drugs. So, you can be a member if you are on medication treatment for addiction.

Narcotics Anonymous Meetings Can Help Drug Addictions

The main goal of Narcotics Anonymous is to help members achieve a drug-free life. NA meetings can help drug addictions because members are in the company of people with similar problems, helping each other to recover.

Narcotics Anonymous and Religion

Narcotics Anonymous is not affiliated with any religions, nor does it require any members to practice religion or be religious. Instead, members of NA are urged to acknowledge that they have no control over their addictions and that their recovery depends on a higher power. For example, a higher power could be any entity or force of motivation, even oneself.

Closed vs. Open Meetings

Meetings of Narcotics Anonymous can be open or closed, just like meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. Anyone can attend open meetings, but closed sessions are solely for members in recovery.

Finding a Narcotics Anonymous Group

Visit the Narcotics Anonymous website to find a local program when you’re ready to attend your first meeting. There should be vast opportunities available depending on where you reside; some could even take place virtually.

Is There an NA Meeting App?

You may use applications to attend a virtual meeting or locate one nearby. There is an NA Meeting Search app for iOS and Android.

NA Meeting Near You

Search online or visit the Narcotics Anonymous website to locate NA meetings near you.

If you need help finding a local NA , or need further support achieving and maintaining sobriety, know that you are not alone. Reach out to our Ripple Ranch Recovery Center team today for the resources and guidance you need.