Will Narcotics Anonymous Meetings Cure My Addiction?

The path to addiction starts as of the very first drug dose. From there, the effects of drugs gradually change how the brain works. This process unfolds over time with certain key signs along the way. As nice as a “cure” for addiction would be, reversing addiction’s effects also entails a process.

Narcotics Anonymous meetings have a long-standing history of helping addicts take back their lives from the effects of addiction. As an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous meetings incorporate many of the same principles within the context of drug, rather than alcohol addictions.

In spite of the ongoing success had by Narcotics Anonymous meetings, NA doesn’t cure addiction. The real “cure” for addiction lies in following the principles and practices prescribed by the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) program. With regular meeting attendance and participation, those in recovery can develop the types of behaviors and attitudes that make a drug-free lifestyle possible.

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Narcotics Anonymous Meetings

Narcotics anonymous meetings

NA and other support groups can be a huge help on the road to addiction recovery.

As a nonprofit organization, Narcotics Anonymous meetings got their start in Los Angeles, California in the early 1950s. Today, Narcotics Anonymous exists as one of the oldest and largest international organizations of its kind.

NA defines addiction as a disease-based condition that leaves a person vulnerable to its effects for years into the recovery process. According to the Narcotics Anonymous website, NA offers recovering addicts a process-based approach to overcoming the effects of addiction in their daily lives.

NA attributes much of its success to the therapeutic benefits inherent in the support group model where group members each play an active role in each other’s success recovery. Combined with the 12 Step program approach, Narcotics Anonymous meetings offer the support and direction needed to overcome the challenges and obstacles that recovery brings.


Studies done to analyze the effectiveness of Narcotics Anonymous meetings have yielded ample results in terms of the types of outcomes associated with regular meeting attendance. According to Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, a definite cause-effect relationship exists between regular meeting attendance and sustained abstinence from drug use.

While group members gain considerable insight into the effects of addiction on their daily recovery efforts, benefits gained from meeting attendance ultimately affect a person’s overall perspective on day-to-day living. Patterns of meeting attendance and meeting nonattendance likewise coincide with periods of relapse and returns to drug treatment programs.

Study results reveal that attending three or more meetings per week produces the best recovery outcomes in terms of maintaining ongoing abstinence.

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The 12 Step Program Approach

The 12 Step program approach rests on three guiding principles:

  • Recovery is a process that progresses one day at a time
  • Spiritual development enables the self-growth needed to live a drug-free existence
  • A willingness to learn and grow is essential to continued abstinence

Like AA, Narcotics Anonymous meetings attack the denial aspect of addiction head-on through the first step of the program. From there, the remaining steps address the underlying character flaws that drive a person to seek out drugs as an escape. Over time, group members come to value the wealth of support and insight each person brings to the group process.

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As an Adjunct to Drug Treatment

Drug treatment programs incorporate Narcotics Anonymous meetings as a core part of the treatment process. Whether going through detox, residential or outpatient treatment, Narcotics Anonymous meetings or some version of the 12 Step approach is used to help addicts work through the psychological aspects of addiction.

While the body’s physical dependency on drugs exerts considerable influence over a person’s ability to stop using, addiction has more to do with the psychological dependency that forms along the way. As an adjunct to drug treatment, topics discussed in Narcotics Anonymous meetings deal with the psychological hold of addiction over a person’s daily life.

In effect, drug treatment programs use the 12 Step approach, psychotherapy and drug counseling to address the core issues that drive the addiction cycle.

Maintaining Long-Term Abstinence

Maintaining ongoing abstinence from drug use is the ultimate challenge in recovery. As addiction breeds its own mindset, behaviors and overall lifestyle, those in recovery must make a concerted effort to replace the addiction lifestyle with one that supports continued abstinence. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Narcotics Anonymous meetings enable recovering addicts to remain engaged in the recovery process by addressing the problems addicts face on a day-to-day basis.

Meeting accessibility also goes a long way towards helping to keep a person engaged. Within most metropolitan and city regions, the NA network is affiliated with any number of treatment facilities, religious organizations and community outreach centers.

This wide reach makes Narcotics Anonymous meetings easily accessible at most anytime of the day. Likewise, being able to find a meeting at a moment’s notice can go a long way towards helping you maintain abstinence on a long-term basis.

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Working the Steps

While regular attendance and participation at Narcotics Anonymous meetings is important, the true benefits of NA meetings come with working the steps of the program on a day-in, day-out basis. By applying these principles within your daily life, old addiction-based thoughts and behaviors lose their hold over your daily routines.

In essence working the steps entails:

  • Honesty, above all else, in one’s dealings with self and others
  • Drawing strength from a Higher Power when the urge to use seems overwhelming
  • Doing a self-inventory to identify areas where addiction can root
  • Giving back by helping others

By incorporating these principles and practices within your everyday dealings, you are essentially creating a drug-free lifestyle. In effect, the cure for addiction lies in working the steps of the program.

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When all is said and done, a person must choose to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings on a regular basis in order to reap the benefits of the program. Much like the choice to use drugs can happen in an instant, the choice to find a Narcotics Anonymous meeting instead can happen just as quickly.

Ultimately, curing addiction requires a conscious effort to do the things that make drug-free living a reality. Considering the powerful hold addiction can have on a person’s outlook, remaining engaged in the recovery process through NA best prepares recovering addicts for the road ahead.

the Take-Away

At this point in time there is no cure for addiction. However, we know that with consistent treatment and attention it can be overcome.