Frequently Asked Questions
This page briefly explains in general what to expect from Narcotics Anonymous. It describes what NA is, what NA does, and does not do. Here we have tried to answer the questions we ourselves had, when we first came to NA.
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 and lead a healthy life.
You are the only person who can answer this question. There is nothing shameful about being an addict. 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. We’ve found that if we think we might have a problem, we most likely do.
There are many different kinds of 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 perhaps other variations. Many are open to the public and others are for addicts only. NA meetings are run by addicts for addicts. Regardless of format, NA 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 of NA.
The important thing is to be there, late or not. While it is preferable to be on time for a meeting, no one should feel uneasy about coming to a meeting before it ends. Enter the room with as little disturbance as possible, and find a place to sit or stand. Many people in recovery find great benefit by showing up early before the meeting and stay late after the meeting, to strengthen and further their connections to other NA members.
Nothing. There are no initiation fees or dues. We take a collection at every meeting from members (only) who wish to contribute. NA members can donate as much or as little as they want or nothing at all. This money pays the groups expenses: rent, tea, and literature. The balance is sent to other levels of service to help carry the NA message to the addict who still suffers. In this way we remain free of outside control and are self-supporting through our own contributions. NA accepts no grants, gifts or contributions from any outside sources. NA is fully self-supporting.
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. We do not turn people away from meetings because they are not yet clean or because they relapsed. We welcome anyone with a desire to stop using.
No. NA is not associated or affiliated with, nor endorses any religious organizations and espouses no religious beliefs. Our program is a set of principles; the Twelve Steps, which are spiritual in nature. While these principles mention God, each member is free to develop their own concept of a higher power. What is important to us is that our recovery is based on these principles and that they work.
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.
Sponsorship is a personal and private relationship that can mean different things to different people. A NA sponsor is a member of Narcotics Anonymous, living our program of recovery, who is willing to build a special, supportive, one-on-one relationship with us. Most members think of a sponsor, first and foremost, as someone who can help us work the Twelve Steps of NA. A sponsor is not necessarily a friend, but may be someone in whom we confide. We can share things with our sponsor that we might not be comfortable sharing in a meeting.
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 program and recovery you want, ask for that person’s phone number and tell them you are looking for a sponsor. Generally, we suggest women get women sponsors and men get men sponsors but there are no set rules. It’s an honor to be asked to sponsor someone but there are times 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 will come at the right time for you.
The basic concept and practice of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program is the Twelve Steps as well as addicts helping addicts recover from the disease of addiction.
We suggest that you attend one of our meetings as soon as possible and let someone there know that you are new and are seeking help.
Various places. There is no certain kind of facility in which NA meetings are held. Regardless of where our meetings are located, they are in no way affiliated with any facility.
No. NA does not keep membership files, or attendance records. No one will bother you if you don’t wish to continue. But we wish that you keep an open mind and understand how NA can help. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself. We usually introduce ourselves before we speak, but even that’s not mandatory. We use only first names in meetings.
But for obvious reasons, they will be there for the same reason you are. At NA you retain anonymity. That is one of the reasons we call ourselves Narcotics Anonymous.
No. When our Fellowship was named in the 1950’s 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 used 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.
An “open” meeting is one which non-addicts may attend to see how NA functions. A “closed” meeting is only for those who are there because of their own addiction problem.
No. NA is not a professional organization and we are not affiliated with any professional agencies or facilities. We employ no counselors or treatment staff. Many treatment centers introduce their patients to NA 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.
We in NA believe there is no such thing as a cure for addiction. Our disease can be arrested but we can never return to social using and our ability to stay away from drugs depends on maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual health. We can achieve this by going to meetings regularly and putting into practice what we learn there. In addition, we find it helps us to stay clean if we help other addicts.
It is our experience that there is not much we can do other than suggest that person go to an NA Meeting. It is up to that person whether or not they wish to admit they have a problem and are willing to seek help. The addict who wants help needs to reach out and get help. As a fellowship, do not have any affiliation with any in-patient or out-patient care programs.
Yes, there are a number 12 step programs for family members and loved ones of addicts. We do not have any affiliation with these programs.