Best Guide To The 12 Steps of NA (Narcotics Anonymous)

Discover the 12 steps of NA and learn all about how Narcotics or alcoholics anonymous works.

You must have heard about groups like narcotics anonymous and the 12 Steps of NA, right? But what is it really, and how it works is only understood by a few people. Most people suffering from drug addictions are aware of the concept of the various steps of Narcotics Anonymous.

However, the more people know about it, the better it is. So, this post is a guide to the 12 steps of the NA program. This post will explain all the 12 steps of NA and how it works for the betterment of addicts.

1. Narcotics Anonymous And Alcoholics Anonymous

the 12 steps of NA
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Narcotics Anonymous is a similar program to Alcoholics Anonymous, or we can say that it is a sister branch of the latter. Alcoholics Anonymous is a community-based, global program designed to help those who suffer from alcohol abuse and need support to recover.

It is based on the belief that alcoholism is a problem that can be managed when tried, so they offer a space where addicts can get help before they have to reach out to a treatment center for disorders caused by alcohol.

Narcotics Anonymous was founded in 1953 as a non-profit organization to help individuals suffering from addiction to narcotics or drugs1.

This program was originally designed as a recovery pathway for all suffering individuals to stay clean from substance abuse. Over time, this program has extended its parameters and welcomes individuals suffering from an addiction such as prescription drugs, heroin2, cocaine, or even alcohol.

The main purpose or goal of narcotics anonymous is to help overcome alcohol abuse or any drug addiction through the simple process of addiction treatment and the 12-step recovery guidelines.

Their goal is also to spread the message to addicts that recovery is certainly possible if someone has the will to do so.

2. 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Program

The 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous | Guided Meditation

The 12-step program is a free -program that utilizes a 12-step system to provide the participants with a safe environment so that they are entirely ready to practice these principles of the program to get better.

The NA program is open to everyone of all ages, gender, races, sexual orientation, and religion. And the only requirement for joining this program is the dedication towards recovery.

They offer a totally friendly and safe environment, and no information goes out of the group. Individuals can attend the NA meeting, listen to others, and follow the 12 steps, and they are not forced to share anything unless they want to.

Now that you know enough about narcotics3, anonymous let us check the 12 steps that they use.

NA has designed a set of guidelines that must be followed in steps. There are 12 steps precisely, which don’t necessarily have to be followed in a specific order. It is a common misconception that the steps are needed to be followed in order. However, that is not entirely true.

The steps are designed to be equally effective in any order, which means that if you feel you are ready, you can pick any step at any point in time. However, if you follow all the 12 steps, it is only beneficial for you.

Because following the steps in the given order helps individuals stay on track and more focused. The 12 steps of narcotics anonymous are as follows:

1.1. Acceptance

“We are powerless over our addiction that our lives had become unmanageable”.

In this step, acceptance is the key to recovery. Individuals in this step have to come face to face with their addiction reality and come to terms with the fact that this addiction is causing them great difficulties as it is getting out of control.

People suffering from addiction usually have a hard time accepting that this is an illness and that the addiction has totally gone out of their control. This is why, in the very first step, participants are allowed the time to deal with reality and accept it.

2.2. Hope

“We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”.

This is one of the most important steps because it offers addicts hope that surrendering themselves to fate and a higher power will help them get back stability in their lives.

Whether you are a believer or an atheist, this step needs you to have full faith in the greater power. Higher power is simply anything greater than us. Some associate it with god, while for some, it isn’t about any religion.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

2.3. Faith

“We made a decision to turn out and give our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”.

Now that individuals start having hopes of getting better and believe that there is a power greater than us, it is important to have pure faith in that divine power.

It would help if you kept faith in a higher power in overcoming your addiction problems. In this step, you must completely surrender yourself to the god of your choice and ask him for his help.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

2.4. Courage

“We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”.

This step encourages the individuals to be courageous and honestly evaluate their past life, which they developed during addiction time. This step demands you to be totally honest about your life and past actions.

Evaluating past actions and mistakes could help recovery, so you must identify both your positive and negative traits.

2.5. Honesty

“We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”

After evaluating past mistakes and actions, the next step requires being honest and admitting your wrongdoings. Through this step, participants get a grasp on their morals, which failed during addiction.

When you truly accept your wrongdoings and realize where and when you went wrong, you move a step ahead toward recovery. In this step, you identify the reason for your addiction and eliminate it from your life.

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

2.6. Patience

“We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”.

This is a big step for the participants, as in this step, you must invite God to cleanse your life and allow yourself to give in to the process completely.

In this same step, you are ready to take help from God or the divine power to help you make all the necessary changes you need to have an addiction-free life.

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Photo by Abbas Tehrani on Unsplash

2.7. Humility

“We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

The sixth and seventh steps are almost the same. In this step, you must have the humility to accept what is better for you and what needs to be done. By this step, your belief grows stronger, and the power of that belief allows you to ask God to give you all the strength you need to overcome this addiction.

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2.8. Willingness

“We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”.

It is very much possible that you unintentionally or intentionally hurt someone or your loved ones during the addiction period. So in this step, you have to think of your actions and make a list of all the people you have somehow hurt.

And as you make the list of all the people who have done wrong, you must willingly accept that and find a way to make things right.

2.9. Brotherly-love

“We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others”.

Once you are done with the list of people you might have hurt, it is now time for some action. You need to apologize for your wrongdoings and actions.

However, making amends with people will not always be easy. Some might forgive you, while some might not forgive you immediately. This is why your apology should come straight from your heart; that is you must approach them with sheer honesty.

2.10. Integrity

“We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it”.

By now, you have already assessed your poor behaviors, wrongdoings, and factors that influenced your addiction, but it is important that you still continue to do so.

This step promotes vigilance against triggers because t is quite common that addicts might go back to that phase during the recovery period. In a manner to avoid this, you must continue to evaluate your actions and admit when you go wrong.

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

2.11. Self-Discipline

“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.”

This step helps you develop spiritual maintenance, as in this step, you dedicate yourself to meditation and prayers. This step allows you to stay focused and disciplined and connect to your God for guidance and help.

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Photo by Dave Lowe on Unsplash

2.12. Service

“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”.

By the time you reach this step, you gain enough confidence and skills to fight your addiction and live a drug-free life. Now it is time for you to offer the world services from your addiction-free regime.

The spiritual awakening you gain by the end of all these steps allows you to share the recovery techniques with others suffering from addiction issues.

When individuals share their journey of recovery, it develops hope for other addicts. And helping other people through their hard times is an important aspect of this whole 12-step program.

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

3. Conclusion

Well, these are the 12 steps of the NA program that are designed to help with any addiction or substance use issues. One important thing to make a note of is that the spiritual aspects of the program don’t necessarily have to be associated with God.

Those who do not relate to God can utilize the process efficiently if they are willing to consider a God-like figure in their life. They can consider anyone for this purpose, anyone for whom they have the utmost respect and love.

Narcotics Anonymous never forces anyone to devote themselves to any specific religion or God. They provide you with an environment where you can be open and comfortable.

These steps that you just came across are reinforced by having various meetings and discussions. The sessions are structured very effectively so that no one feels like they are forced into something. Narcotics Anonymous can only help those who want to become better.


1.  How is Narcotics Anonymous different from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

A: While both Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) follow similar 12-step programs, NA focuses specifically on drug addiction, while AA primarily addresses alcohol addiction. The primary distinction lies in the substances of addiction being targeted.

2.  Is Narcotics Anonymous a religious organization?

A: No, Narcotics Anonymous is not a religious organization. It is a spiritual program that encourages individuals to develop their own understanding of a higher power or spiritual connection. NA welcomes members of all faiths or no faith at all.

3. How can I join Narcotics Anonymous?

A: To join Narcotics Anonymous, you can simply attend an NA meeting. NA meetings are open to anyone with a desire to stop using drugs. You don’t need to make any formal commitments or pay any fees to become a member. Just show up and participate.

Read more

  1. Kirkland, J. L., and T. Tchkonia. “Senolytic drugs: from discovery to translation.” Journal of internal medicine 288.5 (2020): 518-536. ↩︎
  2. Irvine, Michael A., et al. “Estimating naloxone need in the USA across fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioid epidemics: a modelling study.” The Lancet Public Health 7.3 (2022): e210-e218. ↩︎
  3. Sitompul, Muhammad Nasir, and Ariman Sitompul. “Execution Of Death Penalty In Narcotics Crime In The Perspective Of National Law In Indonesia.” International Asia Of Law and Money Laundering (IAML) 1.2 (2022): 107-112. ↩︎

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