NA Meetings

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a nonprofit fellowship of men and women who have an issue with drug addiction. The only criterion needed to join Narcotics Anonymous is a desire to surrender an addiction to drugs.

As a multi-faith, multi-racial, peer-to-peer network, the goal of Narcotics Anonymous is to achieve and maintain abstinence from drug addiction using the 12-step framework. It uses a community network to support people with drug addiction during recovery.

What is Narcotics Anonymous?

Narcotics Anonymous was founded in 1953 and has 70,000 meetings in 144 countries. It is a global community of current and former drug addicts who support each other in achieving and maintaining a drug-free life. Narcotics Anonymous is a mutual aid organisation that facilitates voluntary, collaborative exchanges among community members to achieve drug sobriety.

Narcotics Anonymous’s focus is on the disease of drug addiction rather than the substance or symptom. Similarly, there is no focus on one drug in particular.
The programme teaches basic spiritual principles such as honesty, open-mindedness, trust, willingness and humility – all principles that can be practised in everyday life.

The 12 Steps and drug addiction

The 12 steps are a practical application of the principles for drug addicts in recovery. They are open to individual interpretation:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him
  4. 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. 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 practise these principles in all our affairs

How does Narcotics Anonymous work?

The Narcotics Anonymous programme is centred around meetings and relies on the therapeutic power of one person with a drug addiction helping another. These meetings can take the form of a discussion or speaker meeting.

  • Discussion meetings: these allow members to take turns sharing.
  • Speaker meetings: only selected group members will share.

Visitors and newcomers are always welcome – make sure you let the secretary of the group know when you arrive. The community works hard to cultivate an atmosphere of recovery during the meeting, meaning that groups have a say in how they choose to run the meeting. There are three types of meetings:

  • Open to all: open to anyone, including family members and friends.
  • Open by request and drug addicts only: these meetings are only for drug addicts and those who think they may have a problem with drugs.

Depending on your region, online and in-person meetings may also be available. Anonymity is a significant part of the programme, allowing recovering drug addicts to attend meetings and focus without fear of legal or social repercussions.


Sponsors are an important part of the Narcotics Anonymous programme. Sponsors help you navigate membership, answer questions, and act as a confidante to help overcome drug addiction. Most importantly, they are there for accountability. Your sponsor will be a senior member who has been in recovery for at least a year.

What are the benefits of joining Narcotics Anonymous?

Numerous studies and academic literature have supported the benefits of joining Narcotics Anonymous to treat drug addiction.

Spirituality and drug addiction recovery

Spirituality is a well-known part of the Narcotics Anonymous programme and is beneficial thanks to the connection, community, and routine it creates. For drug addicts who suffer social isolation and trauma, spirituality acts as the bridge from drug addiction to recovery.

The benefits of the 12-step programme for drug addiction

For drug addicts, 12-step programmes serve as a readily available, easily accessible, and no-cost resource for individuals with drug addiction disorders. There also exists a high correlation between attendance at 12-step meetings and drug addiction abstinence periods, with many highlighting the benefits of group-led community support. The fundamental positivity of 12-step programmes has also been found to have a significant effect on the long-term recovery of those suffering from trauma- similar to the experience of many current and recovering drug addicts.

Studies pointed to the power of connectedness when discussing drug addiction recovery. The NA-specific features, such as a non-judgmental approach and mutual understanding through sharing, create a climate where connections can be made.

Academic literature contains a disclaimer regarding Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step drug addiction programmes: consistency and an open mind are linked to successfully overcoming drug addiction.

Taking the first step as a drug addict joining Narcotics Anonymous can feel daunting. Their website has an inspiring page of audio interviews with members who have overcome drug addiction. Tune in and learn more today – you might be inspired yourself.

The Narcotics Anonymous map – local support for drug addicts

Over 1,000 weekly meetings are held throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, often in Churches and community halls. Do you feel you have an issue with drug addiction and need help? You can find a list of your nearest NA meetings here.
Narcotics Anonymous meetings near me

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Are Narcotics Anonymous meetings free?
Narcotics Anonymous meetings are completely free. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using drugs.
What if I don’t believe in a higher power?
Narcotics Anonymous is not a religious organisation and doesn’t discriminate against anyone holding religious or spiritual views. Although ‘God’ may be mentioned in the literature, a ‘higher power’ can be anything you choose to help surrender your drug addiction – whether it’s nature, the power of the group or the support network you build together.
Are there Narcotics Anonymous meetings for certain demographics, such as LGBTQ+ and teenagers?
Yes, there are meetings that cater to different demographics. Narcotics Anonymous recognises that anyone can be affected by drug addiction. A list of different meetings is available here.

(Click here to see works cited)