Life is challenging enough, to begin with, and I think one of the hardest things is struggling with personal problems like addiction and depression alone. That is why I always encourage and recommend addicts and people prone to addiction to start attending N.A. meetings as soon as they feel their consumption going overboard.
N.A., which stands for Narcotics Anonymous, is a global organization founded in 1953, of recovering drug addicts with 67,000 locally-organized meetings in 139 countries. The goal is to form a community where addicts can support each other on the road to recovery.
So, do N.A. meetings work? Narcotics Anonymous Meetings is a twelve-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and shares many of the same practices and ideas. There is no need to worry about the payments because these meetings are absolutely free of cost, financed by voluntary donations.
It is normal to be nervous about attending your first few n.a meetings. Just remember that all the members are going through similar experiences and feelings. The NA meeting format may vary as per location because they’re directed by the local members, but there are a few common things you can anticipate.
The meeting is normally started off with a moment of silence, followed by N.A. readings and announcements. Then newcomers and visitors are welcomed to introduce themselves if they would like to. After that, the leader invites members to speak on any subject related to recovery. Members speak and share their experiences and recovery stories to ignite hope in recovering addicts. Side conversations and other distracting activities are discouraged.
Meetings stereotypically follow one of the two formats: speakers or open discussion. In the first type, every member is given a chance to speak, turn by turn, sharing their personal story. The second type is like a round table, where members are welcome to talk and discuss issues, in no particular order.
The best part about Narcotics Anonymous meeting is anonymity, where members understand and agree to not spread the discussions and identities of members publicly. This allows members to openly discuss their fears and worries, no matter how embarrassing they may seem.
How long do N.A. meetings last? Most meetings fall under a duration of 1 to 1 ½ hours according to the N.A. meeting format. Upon arrival, it can be expected to see recovering addicts welcoming each other and mingling. New members are usually warmly welcomed. If you’re an addict or think you might have a drug problem, we recommend attending daily meetings for at least ninety days.
What topics do they discuss? The purpose of N.A. is to share the trials and triumphs associated with addiction and recovery, and therefore there is no focused discussion on any one type of drug. Many NA discussion topics are discussed, and N.A. literature (Basic Text, Narcotics Anonymous readings, information pamphlets (I.P.s)) is a great place to start to understand the program better.
Some of the sub-topics of the Narcotics Anonymous meeting format may include:
- Letting go
- What is a higher power?
- How to believe
- Making decisions
- Fear and fearlessness
- Group inventory
- Rigorous honesty
A point to note is that talk about God and the inclusion of prayers at some meetings should not alarm you if you are not religious. N.A. is not affiliated with any religion, government, or any other organization. Actually, within the Twelve Steps of N.A., members are asked to admit they are powerless and that their recovery depends on a “Higher Power.” This can mean a variety of things and some people choose God (in whatever form or belief) as theirs and others do not. N.A. states that “ours is a spiritual, not a religious program.”
If you are suffering from an addiction, try to find an N.A. meeting group and become a part of it. Or learn how to start an N.A. meeting to get started towards the road to recovery.