What is Narcotics Anonymous ?
Narcotics Anonymous is a community of people who support each other to achieve and maintain a drug free life. The only requirement for participation in NA is a desire to stop using drugs. NA is not allied with any religion, institution or other organisation. NA exists solely so that its members can support each other to stay drug free and to help others achieve and maintain a drug free recovery and lifestyle. NA is free.
In NA we are not concerned about what drugs people may have used, what they have done in the past or what their personal status might be, we are only interested in what they want to do to about their problem and how we can help. Sometimes people come to our meetings thinking they are different and won't fit in, but on attending meetings and hearing others talk about their experiences they often realise how similar these are to their own.
NA is currently referred to in the UK as a Mutual Aid organisation, NA helps addicts to stop taking drugs, get well and change the quality of their lives. We mutually help each other. NA has been around in the UK since 1980, it's growing all the time, There are approximately 76,000 weekly meetings in 143 countries.
There are over1200 weekly meetings throughout England, Scotland and Wales. These take place in the community often in community centres or church halls that are easily accessible and affordable to rent. Covid 19 has brought about a huge growth in the number of online meetings that take place both in the UK and around the world. Having over 1200 meetings a week in the UK alone represents many thousands of once desperate addicts living a drug free and productive life with the support of their fellow recovering addicts.
NA offers support for life – it is a community of people who have overcome their drug problem, and who are freely available to help those who also have the desire to live life drug free. It costs nothing to be a NA member, you are a member of NA when you say you are, there are no waiting lists for NA if anyone wants to attend a meeting they just need to show up. There are no musts in NA, we don't keep records of who goes to our meetings, our members cross all spectrums of society and range in age from teenagers to OAP's, everyone is equal and equally welcome.
What is an NA Meeting ?
Meetings are where addicts can find support from others who have been where they are. People just need to come along, no appointment necessary and they will see others getting & staying clean. This can inspire addicts to believe they can do it too. Addicts can come as often as they like, (it's free), in the early days we suggest people try and go, if practical, to a meeting a day - but there are no musts. That's how it works, we help each other to do something we cannot do alone.
No one has to say anything at a meeting if they don’t want to. It’s a good idea to try and arrive a bit ahead of the start time for the meeting. Meetings tend to start on time and it’s much easier to come in and find a seat when there are not too many people already there.
When someone new arrives the 'secretary' might chat to them before the meeting and ask if they have been before. It's OK for people to simply say they have come to their first meeting to find out about NA – or they can can say they are simply visiting , either way they will be welcome.
Local meeting are run by members who were also newcomers once, so those who are new will get a warm welcome. It doesn't even matter if you're late the most important think is to come & listen, we always suggest it's a good idea try and focus on the similarities rather than the differences.
Drug Free to Attend?
No. Addicts don't have to be off of drugs to attend. Attending NA meetings was how many of our members got clean. Regular attendance and seeing others do it enforces the desire to get and stay drug free.
What about Prescription drugs?
it's not a specific drug which defines addicts, it's whether they have an addictive personality. If people want to stop, but cannot on their own, NA may be the support they need. It's important to say here that we recommend people speak to their GP or prescriber before stopping prescription drugs.
Is NA religious?
Short answer no. NA is not a religious organisation, nor does it discriminate against anyone holding religious, spiritual or secular views, people are free to believe, or not believe, anything they want. Though some of our meetings are held in church halls it is simply because they are available, amenable and affordable. We have no affiliation with any of these establishments we simply rent rooms as do many other community organisations.
Though the word God is mentioned in our literature, it is often considered a nick-name for anything that people choose as a power greater than themselves. Having a power greater than you is important in the process of recovery. A lot of members choose the power of the group and the support network they build by coming regularly.
What does it cost ?
It costs nothing to attend Narcotics Anonymous and we don’t seek or take funding from any outside body. NA is not a commercial enterprise. At the end of each meeting those attending are free to contribute voluntarily towards the cost of holding the meeting. The money is used to cover the cost of tea, coffee, NA literature and the rental of the room. No one is ever required or forced to contribute financially. Our ethos is if you have it and can contribute great, if you don’t, that’s OK, don’t worry about it. Our aim is simply to break even and cover our expenses, Nobody gets paid for facilitating an NA meeting.