How does Narcotics Anonymous work? It’s our team question we receive frequently from those looking for additional support. In this article, we discuss what Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is, how it works, and where you can find support from this organisation.

What is Narcotics Anonymous?

Narcotics Anonymous (also known as NA) is a community of recovering individuals who have a desire to stop using drugs and who come together to support each other in their recovery journeys. Perhaps you’re asking yourself, what are NA meetings? Well, NA meetings follow the principles of the 12-step programme that emphasises personal growth, mutual support, and spiritual principles. Often people attend NA meetings feeling as though they won’t fit in or find someone else who is going through the same experience they are; however, hearing others talk about their own struggles with drug addiction often helps them to release how similar these are to their own experiences.

NA meetings provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, struggles, and successes related to addiction and recovery. These drug addiction meetings are typically held regularly and are open to anyone who is seeking help for their drug addiction, regardless of their background or beliefs. The organisation is non-professional and operates on a voluntary basis, it’s commonly referred to in the UK as a Mutual Aid organisation (UKNA).


How Do the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous Work?

The 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous provide a structured framework for people to work through their addiction, find healing, and achieve a spiritual awakening. These steps are based on the principles of mutual aid, self-examination, and personal growth. Very Well Mind explains that the 12 step philosophy was first introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as AA) as a way of life and path to recovery from alcoholism, and has since been adopted by many other types of addiction recovery groups, including NA. Here’s an overview of each of the steps and how they work (Very Well Mind).

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable. It can be very difficult to recognise your own addiction. This first step is critical as you must admit your own addiction and recognise that you need treatment.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. This is the idea of relying on a higher power to find strength and support in the recovery process. Some may struggle with this step if they’re not religious, however, it can be used as an opportunity to let go of things beyond your control and focus on what you can control.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. This step involves surrendering control to a higher power and seeking guidance and assistance in recovery. This can help reduce the compulsion to consume drugs.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. This step encourages introspection and self-examination to identify character defects, behaviours, and actions that contributed to addiction. You can be honest with yourself about the harm you’ve done to many aspects of your life, taking responsibility for your actions.
  5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. This step requires you to recognise the harm you’ve caused by confessing it out loud to others. Admitting your guilt and your faults to another person can be very daunting, but it helps to foster honesty and self-awareness.
  6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. This step involves a willingness to let go of negative traits and behaviours and work towards positive change with a willingness to change your behaviour.
  7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. This is a prayerful step, seeking assistance in letting go of character defects and negative patterns. It can be very empowering to recognise your strengths and your weaknesses.
  8. We made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. You make a list of all those who have been harmed by your substance abuse and make plans to apologise. This is an important step in helping you to rejoin your community.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others. Now you must reach out to those whom you’ve hurt and apologise unless it would cause more damage to revisit these situations.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. This step emphasises consistent self-reflection, accountability, and admitting to any faults as you move forward.
  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. This is all about cultivating a spiritual practice, seeking guidance, and aligning one’s actions with higher principles or those of your NA community.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs. The final step of the 12-step programme emphasises the importance of carrying this message of recovery to others and living a life guided by spiritual principles.


What to Expect During an NA Meeting

UKNA explains that there are approximately 1000 NA meetings each week throughout England, Scotland & Wales. Narcotics Anonymous meetings can be found in various formats, including in-person meetings, virtual meetings, and online forums. Particularly over the last couple of years, there has been a big increase in the number of online meetings. These meetings offer a supportive community where individuals can connect with others who understand their challenges and work together to overcome addiction. Narcotics Anonymous doesn’t cost anything. You don’t need to apply or join a waiting list. You simply show up and begin your recovery journey.


Get Help for Drug Addiction Today

If you’re suffering from a drug addiction, it’s crucial that you seek professional support as soon as possible. Narcotics Anonymous is an excellent resource for people who have perhaps already completed detox and rehabilitation programmes. Our team at Addiction Advocates can help you take your first steps to recovery – get in touch today to find out more.


  • [1] is a community of recovering individuals -
  • [2] The 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous -