What Can I expect at an NA Meeting?

NA meeting If you’re planning to go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting for the first time, it might be nice to know what to expect. The information here is meant to give you an understanding of what happens in our meetings. Our Basic Text, Narcotics Anonymous, provides the best description of who we are and what we do, “NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.”

NA literature is also a great source of information about our program. Our Basic Text (Narcotics Anonymous) or our recovery pamphlets are a good place to start. Most meetings offer pamphlets for free, while books are generally sold at the group’s cost. Most of our literature is also available to read or buy at www.na.org.

General information that applies to most NA meetings

  • We are not concerned with types or amounts of drugs used; we focus on the ways addiction and recovery affect our lives.
  • NA meetings are not classes or group therapy sessions. We do not teach lessons or provide counseling. We simply share our personal experiences with addiction and recovery.
  • Meetings are often held in churches, treatment centers, or other facilities, because these places tend to be affordable, available, or convenient. NA is not a part of or connected to any other group, organization, or institution.
  • To respect the anonymity of all of our members, we ask that people who attend our meetings not talk about who our members are or what they share in meetings.
  • NA has no membership fees or dues. Our members make voluntary contributions at meetings to support the group and other efforts to carry our message. Nonmembers are asked not to contribute so NA can remain fully self-supporting.
  • Our program of recovery begins with abstinence from all drugs. Sometimes people come to NA meetings while still using drugs, detoxing from drugs, or on drug replacement therapy. Regardless of what you may be taking when you first come to NA, you are welcome. 

What are meetings like?

  • Meetings are usually either discussion or speaker meetings. Discussion meetings allow members to take turns sharing. Speaker meetings allow one or more members to share for an extended period of time.
  • Visitors and newcomers are usually asked to introduce themselves by their first name. Newcomers are usually welcomed with a handshake or hug and a welcome key tag.
  • In most places, it is customary for members to gather in a circle to end the meeting with a short prayer or NA reading. Though you may hear prayers in meetings, ours is a spiritual, not religious program.
  • Groups often mark or sign attendance sheets or court cards as a courtesy to people who request it, but some groups and members choose not to do so. If needed, it is best to ask how the group handles this before the meeting begins.
  • Most groups provide schedules or directories of other local NA meetings.
  • Some meetings have a short break for members to talk, get refreshments, use the restroom, or smoke. At meetings with no break, we usually wait until after the meeting.
  • We don’t allow drugs or drug paraphernalia in any NA meetings.
  • Hugs are a common NA greeting. If you’re not comfortable hugging, don’t hesitate to say so. Most members will understand.
  • Our meetings vary widely in size and style. Some are small and intimate; others are large and loud. Feel free to find the meeting where you feel comfortable 

About sharing

  • NA relies on the therapeutic value of one addict helping another. Nonmembers are generally asked not to share in meetings.
  • Members are usually asked to share only once per meeting, mindful of the meeting’s time limitations. Many meetings ask members to limit sharing to five minutes or less.
  • Members are also encouraged to avoid cross talk, which means we share our own experiences instead of responding to other members. Individuals can have conversations before or after meetings.