Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) for Family and Friends
Q: What is Narcotics Anonymous?
N.A. is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from addiction.
Q: How does NA work ?
The core of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program is the Twelve Steps, which include admitting there is a problem, seeking help, engaging in a thorough self-examination, confidential self-disclosure, making amends for harm done, and helping drug addicts who want to recover.
Q: I Think I Might have a Problem, what do I need to do to get Help ?
We suggest that you attend one of the many meetings available , as soon as possible and let someone there know that you are new and seeking help.
Q: What happens at an N.A. Meeting ?
Members 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 NA.
There are no dues or fees for N.A. membership. An N.A. group will usually have a collection during the meeting to cover expenses, such as rent, coffee, etc., and to this all members are free to contribute as much or as little as they wish.
Q: Can anyone attend N.A. meetings ?
There are two types of N.A. meetings, open meetings and closed meetings. Anyone may attend an open N.A. meeting regardless of whether they have a problem or not. This includes family members, professionals, students, etc.
Only those who think they may have a problem with drugs or may consider themselves addicts may attend closed meetings. This is to insure the anonymity of members who wish to have their identity remain private.
Remember, You are an N.A. member if and when you say so. The only requirement for N.A. membership is a desire to stop using.
Q: Does N.A. Operate Detox or Treatment Centers ?
No. Although it may be the experience of some of our members to have attended one or both of these types of facilities, N.A. remains simply a fellowship of men and women helping one another recover from the disease of addiction.
Only you can decide whether or not to attend a facility. N.A. neither deters or recommends that one attend Facilities of these types.
Q: What Literature is available ?
NA offers a variety of literature in the form of Informational Pamphlets, Booklets and Group Readings. Visit the Literature Downloads section.
Q: What Is Addiction?
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.
View What is Addiction on NA World Services site.
Q: 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. We found that if we think we might have a problem, we most likely do.
Q: How can this help me with my Drug Problem?
We in NA know what it is like to be Addicted to Drug’s, and to be unable to keep promises made to others and ourselves, that we will stop using Drug’s. We are not professional therapists. Our qualification for helping others to recover from Drug Addiction is that we have stopped using Drug’s ourselves.
Q: Where are NA Meetings held?
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.
Q: What happens at NA Meetings?
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. There are no counselors or professional people present at closed meetings; unless they are addicts and there for their own recovery. 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 and Twelve Traditions of NA.
Q: If I go to a Meeting, does that commit me to anything?
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 a open mind and understand how NA could help. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself. You do not have to speak, read or sign anything. We usually introduce ourselves before we speak, but even that’s not mandatory. We use only first names in meetings.
Q: What if I am late to a Meeting?
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 in recovery find great benefit by showing up early before the meeting and stay after the meeting, to strengthen and further their connections to other NA members.
Q: What Happens If I Meet People I Know?
But for obvious reason, 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.
Q: What does it cost?
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 self-supporting through our own contributions. NA accepts no grants, gifts or contributions from any outside sources. NA is fully self-supporting.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: How do I become a Member?
You are an NA Member if and when you say so. Membership, however, is restricted to addicts or people who have a desire to stop using drugs.
Q: 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.
Q: What about Dual Addiction?
The term dual addiction has no application for us. We believe there is one disease, regardless of drugs used and we do not differentiate between drugs. All addicts are welcome in NA.
Q: 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 Relapsed.
Q: 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. A “closed” meeting is only for those who are there because of their own addiction problem.
Q: Is NA a Religious Organization?
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; 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. What is important to us is that our recovery is based on these principles and they work.
Q: Why is it, that 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.
Q: Why do people continue to go to meetings after they are cured?
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 normal 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.
Q: What is a sponsor?
A sponsor is another member of N.A. who has experience in working the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Someone who is willing to build a supportive, one-on-one relationship with a newcomer in order to help that person understand and work the Twelve Steps. Someone in who we can confide and share things we may not feel comfortable sharing in a meeting.
Q: 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 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.
Q: I think one of my family members has a problem with drugs and needs treatment can you recommend a facility and what can I do?
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. We, as a fellowship, do not have any affiliation with any in-patient or out-patient care programs.
Q: Are there 12 step programs for Family Members?
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.
Q: Can Family Members attend NA meetings?
Yes, we have open meetings where anyone can attend. Also please note that closed door meetings are only for NA members.
Q: What is an Area Service Committee?
An Area Service Committee (ASC) is a service body that meets the needs of the groups in an area. It is comprised of Group Service Representatives (GSRs), an executive committee (chair, vice-chair, secretary, treasurer and their alternates), and sub-committee chairs. The sub-committees offer specialized services that in one way or another help the groups.
Q: Why have an ASC?
We have found that an area service body not only prevents duplication of services, but also centralizes the common services that all groups might need. For example, literature, meeting lists and a phone line are all common services that each group benefits directly from.
Q: Is there any formal Organization to NA?
NA is made up of thousands of self governing groups. These groups are held together by common principles: The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of NA We have learned that for our Fellowship, leadership by example of selfless service works, and that direction and manipulation fail. We choose not to have presidents, masters or directors. Instead we have secretaries, treasurers and representatives. These titles imply service rather than control. There is a network of service committees whose function is to unify and strengthen the NA groups. These committees exist to help groups carry the NA message. Some committees provide services to help increase the number of addicts who know about NA so they may attend meetings. Others provide services to groups such as literature development, phone line operation, guidance in applying our principles, etc. These services are provided by recovering addicts, all members of the NA Fellowship. There is no governing body in NA nor a part of NA has authority over any part of the Fellowship.
Q: What about meetings held in Hospitals and Institutions?
NA Service committees sponsor presentations of NA recovery in jails, treatment centers and recovery houses. If a facility wishes to have one of these meetings held regularly, they may contact the Local NA ASC or Hospitals and Institution Sub Committee and make their request or write the World Service Office P.O. Box 9999 Van Nuys, CA. 91409, Attn: H & I Coordinator.