Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a 12-step program for people who have struggled with addiction to “narcotics” (which technically refers to opioids, but to the general public has come to mean any and all drugs that aren’t alcohol). Like AA, Narcotics Anonymous is designed to help individuals overcome their addiction through mutual support and a sense of community.
The program is based on the same principles and structure as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), including the 12-steps.
What are the 12 Steps of NA?
The 12 Steps of NA are a set of principles and guidelines for addiction recovery. These are slightly modified from the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous of which they are based on. The steps are not meant to be followed at a strict pace; individuals should work through them at their own pace; though it’s important to work the steps in order.
The first step in the program is admitting that you have a problem with drugs and that you cannot control your addiction on your own. This can be a difficult step for many people, as it requires a level of honesty and humility. However, it is a crucial step in the recovery process that sets the foundation for the work that needs to be done.
The next step is to seek help from others who have been through the same experience. This is where the support of the NA community comes in. Members of the group provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to share their struggles and experiences. This helps individuals to feel less alone in their journey and to see that recovery is possible.
We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
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.
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.
These steps are not religious in nature and can be adapted to fit any individual’s beliefs and understanding. The most important thing is that the individual finds a higher power that they can rely on for strength and guidance in their recovery.
How Narcotics Anonymous meetings work
NA meetings are held on a regular basis and, like AA, are open to anyone who is interested in recovering from addiction. This can also include loved ones of addicted persons, just make sure to check that a meeting is marked as an ‘open’ one. Closed meetings are limited to current NA members.
Meetings can take place in a variety of settings including churches, community centers, and hospitals, or take place virtually. NA’s meeting structure and leadership structure is also very similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. Meetings are led by a chairperson, though the precise meeting format can vary.
In addition to the support provided by the group and the 12-steps, many members of NA also find it helpful to work with a sponsor. A sponsor is an experienced member of the group who is available to offer support and guidance to those who are new to the program. They can help individuals work through the steps, provide accountability, and offer a sounding board for any struggles or challenges that may arise. Working with a sponsor is not a requirement of the program, but many people find it to be an important part of their recovery.
If you are interested in taking part in Narcotics Anonymous, find an NA meeting near you, today.