How to Find Narcotics Anonymous Meetings

Narcotics Anonymous was created specifically to help those addicted to drugs, and meetings are held nationwide. Learn more here.

Are 12-Step Meetings Effective for those with Substance Use Disorders?

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) was founded by James Patrick Kinnon, or “Jimmy K.” in 1953, nearly 20 years after Alcoholics Anonymous was created. NA serves those who need support to stop using addictive substances other than alcohol. People addicted to any type of drug — not only narcotics — are welcome at NA.

The organization shares the same 12 spiritual principles used in AA.1     

Narcotics Anonymous


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Narcotics Anonymous Spiritual Principles

The Narcotics Anonymous spiritual principles are:

  • Honesty
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Willingness
  • Humility
  • Love
  • Discipline
  • Patience
  • Awareness
  • Service

The “steps” of an NA program are the foundation the program believes is necessary to live a substance-free life and avoid addiction relapse. Participants contemplate and actively work on these steps as a part of their recovery. 

Narcotics Anonymous 12 Steps

The 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous are:2

  • 1.  Admitting the power of addiction
  • 2. Believing in a power that could restore a clear mind
  • 3. Deciding to turn over control to that power
  • 4. Completing an accurate self-inventory of morals
  • 5.  Admitting to a higher power, the self, and others the details of past mistakes
  • 6.  Readiness to have a higher power remove character defects
  • 7.  Asking the higher power to remove shortcomings
  • 8.  Listing those harmed by addictive behaviors
  • 9.  Making direct amends when possible
  • 10. Continuing to admit wrongs and take personal inventories
  • 11.  Seeking healing through prayer and meditation
  • 12.  A spiritual awakening and commitment to these principles in all matters

Each new member of NA begins at step one and works their way through the list. However, the steps are not always a linear tool. Members may return to focus on any of the steps as they continue in their recovery, using them as guidelines and inspiration for personal growth. 

What Are the Different Types of Narcotics Anonymous Meetings?

All NA meetings follow the same 12-step program, but there are different types of meetings to meet each individual’s needs.

Narcotics Anonymous open meetings allow family members, friends, and other community members to attend and observe. Only regular attendees are invited to speak or actively participate. Open meetings are a safe and friendly way for those considering joining NA to understand what the group is about. 

Closed Meetings

Closed meetings are available only to those who acknowledge they are addicted to a substance and seek sobriety.

Virtual Meetings

Narcotics Anonymous online meetings have become a popular option for those who cannot join meetings in person or cannot find NA meetings in their area. People who frequently travel also benefit from online 12-step meetings.

Specialized Meetings

Gender, religious, and LGBTQ-specific meetings are also available, as well as Narcotics Anonymous Big Book meetings, 12-step meetings, Speaker meetings, and more.

Regardless of the meeting type, you can expect the gathering to last between 60 and 90 minutes. There is never any obligation to speak, and attendees are free to leave whenever they wish.

How to Find Narcotics Anonymous Meetings

For those who have access to the internet, the easiest way to find “Narcotics Anonymous meetings near me” is with the NA meeting finder search tool on the Narcotics Anonymous World Services website.3

Users simply fill in their location, the dates they want to attend, and the meeting format they are looking for. 

Tips to Finding a Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Near You

Those who don’t have internet access may still wonder how to find a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Here are a few tips to make your search for an NA meeting easier:

  • Check local churches; NA meetings are frequently held in places of worship
  • Check colleges and universities
  • Contact your local library; they may host meetings
  • Mental health clinics, outreach centers for the homeless, and other social services organizations should be able to provide Narcotics Anonymous meeting information
  • Speak with your doctor or mental health professional

Narcotics Anonymous meetings and other 12-step meetings are more prevalent than you realize. With only a small amount of effort, you can find an NA group that is right for you. 

Terminology for Your First Meeting

Attending an NA meeting for the first time can be intimidating. Being around strangers and not knowing what to expect is enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but understanding some terminology can make it easier.  

Basic Terminology

Knowing these basic terms will help you understand more about your first NA meeting:

  • Addict: A person who is addicted to a substance
  • Basic Text: The fundamental texts used in NA — one book includes the steps and traditions, and another includes personal stories from people in the NA community
  • Group: Any gathering of two or more people who wish to recover from drug addiction can be referred to as an NA group
  • Higher Power: A power that is greater than the individual — this may refer to God, but a belief in God is not mandatory
  • IPs: An abbreviation for NA information pamphlets, including service pamphlets
  • Newcomers: People who are new to attending NA meetings
  • Relapse: A return to using substances
  • Sharing: When people at a 12-step meeting speak about their personal experiences
  • Sponsor: A member with a solid history of recovery who helps a newcomer
  • Trusted Servants: Members who help make meetings possible by holding positions such as a secretary or treasurer

You will encounter many other 12-step terms if you attend meetings regularly. Members are always happy to answer questions. 

Narcotics Anonymous Criticism

Narcotics Anonymous Effectiveness and Criticism

The success rate of Narcotics Anonymous or any recovery program is almost impossible to quantify. However, The National Library of Medicine reports that multiple studies confirm the effectiveness of Narcotics Anonymous.4

While no single recovery program is effective for every person, an analysis of 27 different studies involving over 10,000 participants found that participation in 12-step programs led to longer periods of sobriety than other treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Controversial Narcotics Anonymous Belief Systems

The concept of a “higher power” is fundamental to NA. This is a concept that not everyone seeking recovery support is comfortable with or interested in.

Concerns about confidentiality are also an issue for some. Even though “anonymous” is in the name, members have no legal obligation to refrain from sharing information outside of a meeting. Members must rely on one another’s integrity and honesty, which is not always foolproof.

Another criticism of NA and 12-step meetings, in general, is that they have not always been sensitive to matters of cultural identity, assuming all members have the same access to resources and share the same obstacles.

Get Help for Drug Addiction at Concise Recovery

Narcotics Anonymous meetings are an important part of our recovery services at Concise Recovery.

Along with other evidence-based approaches, alternative therapies such as yoga, and other mind-body-spirit activities, we strive to provide comprehensive treatment programs that consider every individual’s personal needs.

Get help for addiction today. Contact Concise Recovery to learn more.