Home » Narcotics Anonymous » Is Narcotics Anonymous Effective? Does It Work?
Is Narcotics Anonymous Effective

Is Narcotics Anonymous Effective? Does It Work?

For addicts still struggling in active addiction, searching for the answer to their problems today is never easy. Even after hearing about Narcotics Anonymous, they may still be reluctant to attend meetings, whether it is because they do not have the desire to stop using or they just don’t believe they are effective. The 12 step program of Narcotics Anonymous has proven effective for many of its members. The only requirement for those who want to attend meetings is the desire to stop using.

Recovery Rates in NA

Although recovery rates cannot always be measured, the NA program conducted a survey back in 2013 to try and demonstrate the effectiveness of the Narcotics Anonymous program. The success rates were shown in itself after more than 16,000 members participated in the online survey, which was posted for several months to allow all individuals to try and respond.

The responses not only indicated that the program worked, but it also showed the diversity and variety of members in the program. The survey showed that members were attending because they had a desire to stop using – with over 45% of newcomers attending because of influence from another member and only 11% attending because they were court mandated.

Over 30% of the respondents were sober for one to five years, 17% were sober for six to ten years and 19% had over 20 years of sobriety under their belts. Another important part of the survey explained that over 90% of the members reported improvement in their personal relationship and family areas. The answers were in the numbers.

Relapse Rates in NA


Although relapse is a part of recovery, it doesn’t have to be. Not everybody who enters the program of recovery relapses, but if an individual does relapse, it is not deemed a failure; it simply means that attending more meetings may be in order and working a better program to focus more on why a relapse occurred in the first place.

Relapse rates can’t always be measured, but surveys do state that individuals who obtain at least one year of sobriety are 50% less likely to relapse. Individuals who obtain at least five years or more of sobriety are 15% less likely to relapse. Working the program and attending meetings provides the knowledge and tools to maintain sobriety.

For addicts in recovery, it is important to consider that when a relapse occurs, do not forget that nobody is ever alone in the program. Relapses happen and with the right tools, they have the potential of being prevented. When an addict relapses, the important thing to do is to continue working the program with a sponsor and attending meetings.

Related: Alcoholics Anonymous Success Rates

Tips on Staying Sober

Maintaining sobriety may not seem easy at first, but there are many things addicts in recovery can do to maintain their sobriety.


First and foremost, attending meetings and working the program is a proven method to staying clean and sober. An addict never missed an opportunity to obtain or use drugs; an addict in recovery has no excuse for missing a meeting. Even in the middle of a pandemic, there are even ways to attend meetings online.

Stay in Middle of the Herd

Changing playgrounds and playmates is one of the most important ways to ensure sobriety. It is easy to fall back into old habits after getting sober, so the only way to continue staying sober is by surrounding yourself with individuals who are also sober and staying away from areas that may trigger a relapse. Spending time with friends from the fellowship or sober friends outside of meetings is a great way to continue staying sober as well. There are many sober activities to do outside of the meeting rooms.

Staying Busy / Hobbies

Another thing addicts often forget is the activities and hobbies they gave up to use drugs. Projects and old hobbies that were once so important to the addict may seem like distant memories, but after obtaining sobriety, taking these tasks back on can feel refreshing and a great reminder of who you once were before the disease of addiction took over the mind. Whether it’s painting, drawing, writing or playing an instrument, relearning an old hobby or taking on a new one can help provide some entertainment during the relaxing times that were once filled with chaos and destruction.

What to Remember

The most important thing to remember about the fellowship of NA is that the program works when the work is done in the program. Attending meetings, gaining a sponsor, building a support system in the fellowship and working the program is the best way to ensure sobriety can be maintained. Remember that all of the addicts who are in recovery are never alone. While everyone has a story and each story may sound a little bit different, in the end, they all have the same thing in common. Everyone in the program is seeking out the same change: the desire to abstain from drugs and alcohol. Without recovery, the only ending addicts have to look forward to are jails, institutions or death – but people in the program do recover.

Even after a relapse, which can happen to anyone who isn’t working their program, the priority of an addict is to keep coming back to meetings. The more meetings attended and the harder the program is worked, the more likely addicts in recovery are able to secure their recovery – but a relapse can happen to anyone. Sobriety is a gift that must be worked for to continue being received. When it is taken for granted or put on the back burner, a relapse can happen and if it does, just keep coming back.

Scroll to Top