The following information is both for people who may have a problem and for those in contact with people who have, or might have a problem. Most of this information is available in more detail in literature published by NA World Services. This page explains in general what to expect from Narcotics Anonymous. It describes what NA is, what NA does and does not do. We have also tried to answer the questions we ourselves had, when we first came to NA.
What is Narcotics Anonymous?
NA is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other and work together to help each other stay away from drugs usage and lead a healthy life.
How does NA work?
The basic concept and practice of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program is the Twelve Steps and addicts helping addicts recover from the disease of addiction.
How do I know if I have a problem?
You are the only person who can answer this question. There is nothing shameful about being an addict. Addiction is a disease and addicts are sick people who need help. There is an informational pamphlet called Am I an Addict? that might be helpful if you are questioning whether or not you are an addict.
Where are NA Meetings held?
NA meetings are held in various places. There is no certain kind of facility in which NA meetings are held. Regardless of where our meetings are located, our meetings and fellowship are in no way affiliated with any facility or organization.
What happens at N.A. Meetings?
There are many different kinds of N.A. meetings. Some are topic discussion meetings, some are speaker meetings, some are literature discussion meetings and some are part of or combinations of these and other variations. Some are open to the public (to listen) and others are for addicts only. Unless they are addicts and there for their own recovery, there are no counselors or professions present at closed meetings. N.A. meetings are run by addicts for addicts. Regardless of format, N.A. meetings usually start with readings from our literature. Addicts share their successes and challenges in overcoming active addiction and living drug-free productive lives through application of the principles contained within the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of N.A.
What does it cost?
There is no cost for attending meetings or initiation fees or dues for membership in N.A. We take a collection at every meeting from members who wish to contribute. N.A. members can donate as much or as little as they want or nothing at all. This money pays the groups expenses: rent, tea, literature, etc. The balance is sent to other levels of N.A. service to help carry the N.A. message to addicts who still suffer. In this way we remain free of outside control and self-supporting through our own contributions. N.A. accepts no grants, gifts or contributions from any outside sources and is fully self-supporting.
Is NA only for Narcotics Addicts?
No. When our fellowship was named in the 1950s the understanding of the words Narcotic and Addict was different than today. The influence of the drug culture in the 1960s and the 1970s changed that understanding. A greater variety of drugs are in use today. Only a few are known commonly as Narcotics. Over the same period of time the program of Narcotics Anonymous has remained the same. We believe our problem is not the use of any specific drug or group of drugs. Our problem is the disease of addiction, and our program is one of abstinence from all drugs.
Who are the Members of Narcotics Anonymous?
Our members come from all walks of life. Anyone with the desire to stop using may join our fellowship. We seem to have many differences; the drugs we used, the circumstances of our lives and the degree to which our disease had progressed may have been different. We do share two important things in common: the disease of our addiction and the desire to stop using drugs. We concentrate on our similarities, not our differences.
What do you mean when you say 'Clean'?
"Clean" is a term that refers to being abstinent or free of any type of mind or mood altering chemicals including alcohol.
Does a person have to be clean to attend an NA Meeting?
Newcomers don't have to be clean when they get here but after the first meeting we suggest that they keep coming back and come back clean. We want the place where we recover to be a safe place. For that reason we ask that no drugs or paraphernalia be brought to any meeting. If you can't stop using for now, don't stop attending meetings or not attend them. We do not turn people away from meetings because they are not yet clean or because they have relapsed.
What is the difference between 'Open' and 'Closed' NA meetings?
An "open" meeting is one which non-addicts may attend to see how NA functions. Since only addicts can share in meetings, visitors are welcome to listen. A "closed" meeting is only for those who are there because of their own addiction problem.
Is NA a Religious Organization?
NA is not associated or affiliated with, nor endorses any religious organizations and espouses no religious beliefs. Our program is a set of principles; Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions which are spiritual in nature. While these principles mention God, each member is free to develop their own concept of a higher power.
Does NA operate Detox or Treatment Facilities?
NA does not operate detox or treatment facilities. NA is not a professional organization and we are not affiliated with any professional agencies, facilities, or organizations. We employ no counselors or treatment staff. Many treatment centers introduce their patients to N.A. before they release them. We are grateful for their cooperation, but cannot allow this to influence us in any way. We remain, simply, a fellowship of recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other to stay clean.
What is Anonymous?
The principle of anonymity protects the membership and reputation of the fellowship and provides a safe setting for each and every member to seek recovery on an equal basis. We do not disclose what you share to anyone.
Why do people continue to go to meetings after they are cured?
Our experience has shown that there is no such thing as a cure for addiction. Our disease can be arrested but we can never return to normal using and our ability to stay away from drugs depends on maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual health. We achieve this by working the 12 Steps of N.A., going to meetings regularly and putting into practice what we learn. In addition, we find it helps us to stay clean if we help other addicts.
How do I get a Sponsor?
We suggest you go to meetings with an open mind and listen to others and to what they are sharing. When you hear someone's story that you can relate to or find they have the sort of recovery you want, ask for that person's phone number and tell them you are looking for a sponsor. We suggest women get women sponsors and men get men sponsors. It's an honor to be asked to sponsor someone but there are times when we might have to say no for various reasons. If this happens, you can ask if they could recommend someone and/or keep asking around. The right sponsor is waiting for you.
Can Family Members attend N.A. meetings?
Yes, we have open meetings where anyone can attend. Please note though, only addicts can share any N.A. meeting and that closed door meetings are only for N.A. members. At meetings, non-addicts can speak with group trusted servants before and after the meeting about any questions.