Nar-Anon is a group that is open to friends and family members of people who are living with a behavioral addiction problem or drug abuse. Nar-Anon was started in California in 1968 and now has groups active in the United States, Canada, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico.

Nar-Anon Overview

This group provides help and support to people who have felt desperation because of someone else's addiction issues. Everyone at the meetings will appreciate what new members are going through, because they have had similar experiences themselves.


This approach to helping friends and loved ones of addicts is based on the 12 steps used by Narcotics Anonymous. Like the NA program, members are expected to respect the privacy of other members and keep what is discussed at meetings confidential. Nar-Anon doesn't require members to pay any fees or dues to join the group. Each Nar-Anon group must be self-supporting through voluntary donations.

Traditions, Steps, and Process

This is not a religious approach to providing support to fellow members, but a spiritual one. With the help of a Higher Power, the members acknowledge that they don't have any power over someone else's addiction. They ask for the grace they need to release the addict in their lives and to stop trying to change them.

Effectiveness: Does Nar-Anon Work?

Nar-Anon's members respect each other's anonymity, which makes it difficult to find information about how effective this program is. The public information available indicates that this approach does help members to find peace in their relationships with addicted friends or family members.

Controversy and Criticism

Nar-Anon strives to keep itself separate from any kind of public controversy. The group doesn't officially support any cause or programs.

Getting a Sponsor

Nar-Anon members can choose a sponsor to help them as they go through the 12 steps of the program. The role of the sponsor is to give support and to share his or her experiences, not to tell the newer member of the program what to do. Each Nar-Anon member is responsible for their own journey to changing their relationship with the addict in their lives.

Find a Nar-Anon Meeting Near You

To find a meeting in your area, visit the Nar-Anon web site. A list of worldwide meetings is provided. The web site also provides descriptions of literature published by the group that is available at meetings.