What is NA?

Narcotics Anonymous is a 12 Step fellowship similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.
This is a simple, spiritual, not religious, program for recovering addicts to support each other to stay clean.
There are meetings all over Australia (and in over 120 other countries).
See the “How does it work?” question below for more …

Who can go to a meeting?

The only requirement is that members have the desire to stop using.
Let’s be really clear here. That sentence does not say “must be clean already”, just “the desire to stop using”.
People on drug replacement programs like methadone and so on are welcome at NA meetings.

How does it work?

Addicts go to meetings, share about their recovery, work through the 12 Steps and support each other during the inevitable difficult times when using may seem like an option.

When and where is the nearest meeting?

Try using the meeting search on the home page.

May I bring a friend for moral support?

Yes, most meetings are open to anyone including friends.
Please note however that some are marked as “closed” which means they are for members/addicts only.
This should be clearly marked on the printed list and on the meeting information page shown by the locator.

What is the difference between AA and NA?

AA helped start NA in 1953 by giving NA’s founding members permission to adapt their traditions and steps. The primary difference between the two programs is that AA’s focus is alcohol and alcoholism, whereas NA’s focus is recovery from addiction. In NA we believe that use of drugs, including alcohol, is but a symptom of the disease of addiction.

How can I find NA meetings in other areas or in various countries around the world?

All the options for finding are on our meetings page. Options include an Australian meeting search as well as apps for iPhone and Android. Links are available on our page and on the NA World Services website.  We do our best to ensure accuracy however since our members provide the data for meeting times and locations, we cannot guarantee the information is completely accurate (some meetings may have changed locations, for example). Contacting local area and regional helplines or websites (also listed at www.na.org) will often provide more accurate meeting information.

Are most of your members heroin addicts?

When NA first started, it is possible that the majority of our members used heroin. Today, as indicated in our Membership Survey, our members use a variety of drugs, including alcohol. Interestingly, 89% of those surveyed list alcohol as one of the drugs used on a regular basis. This survey also provides information about employment status, occupation, gender, and age. Our basic tenet about addiction is that it is a disease and not related to a specific substance. For more information see the World Survey on membership or the Australian Membership survey

What support does NA have for adolescents?

Adolescents are welcome at all NA meetings. If there are meetings in a local NA community specifically designated for young people, the meeting schedule will identify those meetings as such. Although any NA member is welcome at any NA meeting, specially designated youth meetings can help younger addicts find their peers. Check out this pamphlet. By young addicts, for young addicts Or For the parents and guardians of young people in NA

Is someone who is still using drugs welcome to attend NA meetings?

Yes, they are more than welcome to attend meetings. Many of our members actually came to meetings while still using drugs and are now drug-free and recovering today. At some meetings, if a member is still using, he or she will be asked to refrain from speaking during a meeting. Instead, these addicts are encouraged to speak with members during break or before or after the meeting.

What resources do you have for single parents?

Are children welcome at meetings? Most groups welcome children who are behaved and under the supervision of a parent. Sometimes a group will offer babysitting services for its members. Contact the local NA helpline for additional information or look for meetings in the local NA meeting directory that indicate childcare or that the group is children-friendly.

What if I am taking medication, does this mean I am not clean?

NA is a program of complete abstinence, and members refer to time (days, weeks, months, years) without using drugs as “clean-time.” Since Narcotics Anonymous is an abstinence-based recovery program, persons who are taking drug replacement medication are not considered drug-free. These persons are encouraged and welcome to attend NA meetings.  At some meetings those on drug replacement therapy are asked to listen rather than speak at meetings, and it is suggested they talk to members on a break, or before or after a meeting. Meetings that follow this format do so to preserve the atmosphere of recovery. Other meetings encourage those on drug replacement programs to share their experience.

For members who have a need to take prescribed medication for medical or mental health issues, we suggest reading the booklet In Times of Illness. This piece provides helpful, experience-based information regarding medication and illness, and outlines the idea that the decision to take medication is left to the member, physician, and sponsor. This pamphlet was written to help members who have achieved total abstinence from drugs and are faced with a need to take medication.

What happens at an NA meeting?

An NA meeting is where two or more addicts gather for the purpose of recovery from the disease of addiction. Members offer each other peer support by sharing experiences about how they manage life situations without returning to using drugs. Some meetings have speakers who share their experience with getting and staying clean, while others have structured formats that focus on NA literature (our Basic Text, informational pamphlets, or our Just for Today daily meditation book). All meetings focus on recovery and supporting each other in recovery.

What should I expect when I go to my first NA meeting?

Do I have to talk? Typically a leader or chairperson will conduct the meeting. There is usually time for participation in which members share about their experience, strength, and hope with staying clean. You do not have to speak during the meeting if you don’t want to. We encourage you to get there a little early so that you can speak with some of the members and pick up some literature before the meeting starts.

Is NA connected with any religious organisations?

No. The NA program is based on a set of spiritual principles that are not associated with a particular religion. Although our steps call for finding and believing in a “power greater than oneself,” this is a personal decision for each and every member to make. Members choose their own “power greater than themselves.” Members’ beliefs range from nature to organised religion, from no belief that a power exists, to belief in the power of inanimate objects such as rocks. Members are free to choose a belief that works for them personally, and there is no opposition to anyone’s choice within the fellowship. We perceive this to be a strength of our program — the unconditional freedom members have with choosing their own personal belief — and in NA meetings one can hear members state that this was an attractive and safe aspect of the fellowship. NA doesn’t oppose or endorse any religion. Experience of our members has shown that the spiritual principles work for all members, from the devoutly religious to the atheist and agnostic.

Who is an addict?

Most of us do not have to think twice about this question. We know! Our whole life and thinking was centred in drugs in one form or another—the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. We lived to use and used to live. Very simply, an addict is a man or woman whose life is controlled by drugs. We are people in the grip of a continuing and progressive illness whose ends are always the same: jails, institutions, and death.

Is NA for me?

This is a question every potential member must answer for themselves. It may help to read some of our informational pamphlets, starting with Am I an addict? and Welcome to NA. If you’re an addict, NA can help. “Narcotics Anonymous offers recovery to addicts around the world. We focus on the disease of addiction rather than any particular drug. Our message is broad enough to attract addicts from any social class or nationality. When new members come to meetings, our sole interest is in their desire for freedom from active addiction and how we can be of help.” (It Works: How and Why, “Third Tradition”).

How much does NA cost?

There are no fees or dues to be a member of NA. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using.

Are you Counsellors?

We are not professional counselors; we are recovering addicts who share our experience to help each other stay clean.

Does NA consider alcohol to be a drug?

“Thinking of alcohol as different from other drugs has caused a great many addicts to relapse. Before we came to NA, many of us viewed alcohol separately, but we cannot afford to be confused about this. Alcohol is a drug. We are people with the disease of addiction who must abstain from all drugs in order to recover” – Basic Text, Chapter How it Works.

How does a sponsor work?

As explained in our book and informational pamphlet, Sponsorship this is a relationship between two members of NA—a more experienced member helping a newer member learn how to live life without the use of drugs and how to incorporate the principles of the Twelve Steps.

Does NA sign court cards?

Some NA meetings sign court cards. This is a choice made by the members of that particular home group, or the area as a whole. It is best to check with the meeting chairperson to find this information out.