Narcotics Anonymous, as we know it today, was started by a group of addicts seeking recovery. They made a decision to follow the example of those who had gone before them. It began in July 1953 in Southern California. It has since grown into a worldwide fellowship with many thousands of meetings.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
If an addict has never heard of us, he/she cannot seek us out. If those who work with addicts are unaware of our existence, they cannot refer them to us. Most cities have NA phone lines listed in their directories. The Gold Coast Area of Narcotics Anonymous Helpline number is (888) 524-1777. The people answering them will be happy to give you the location of the NA meeting nearest you, or send a meeting list upon request. If no phone line is listed in your area, feel free to contact our World Service Office at P.O. Box 999, Van Nuys, Ca. 91409, or call them at (818) 773-9999 ext. 771.
By using a vocabulary that is common with our recovery, we do not set any addict or drug apart from others. We use the term addict when describing ourselves, regardless of drugs used. We use the terms "clean,""clean time," and "recovery" to refer to the recovery process, rather than terms that apply to specific drugs. This way we carry one consistent, clear message that applies to us all.
The term dual addiction has no application for us. We believe there is one disease, regardless of drugs used. All addicts are welcome in NA We make no distinction among them.
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.
Non-addicts are very important to NA, but not as members. Many professionals who work with addicts attend our open meetings to find out for themselves how NA works. Family and friends of addicts often attend our social functions and open meetings. Membership, however, is restricted to addicts. We need to preserve the atmosphere of trust and identification so necessary to our recovery. The highest priority at our meetings is the maintenance of an atmosphere where a suffering addict may find hope and recovery.
No. When our Fellowship was named in the 1950's the understanding of the words narcotic and addict was different than today. The influence of the drug culture in the 1960's and the 1970's 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.
Since NA meetings are self governing, 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. Many are open to the public and others are for addicts only. There are few common threads running through them all. The primary purpose of every NA meeting is to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. There are no counselors or professional people present. NA meetings are run by addicts for addicts. We have found that the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel. Regardless of format, NA meetings usually start with readings from our literature and move into the portion mentioned above. There is time for announcements and perhaps more reading at the end. They usually close with a prayer.
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.
No. Narcotics Anonymous is not affiliated with any religious group 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 developed their own concept of a higher power. What is important to us is that our recovery is based on these principles and they work.
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 No part of NA has authority over any part of the Fellowship.
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 call the local phone line 1-888-524-1777 or write the World Service Office P.O. Box 9999 Van Nuys, CA. 91409, Attn: H&I Coordinator.
Nothing. There are no initiation fees or dues. NA is not professional. We are all addicts here for our own recovery. We take a collection at every meeting from members who wish to contribute. This money pays the groups expenses: rent, coffee 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.
They are primary distribution centers for our literature. At times Regional Service Offices serve as meeting places for our service committees. Our NA phone lines are often located there. These service centers may employ management, clerical and shipping personnel as special workers to get the work done. Some offices are funded wholly by the sale of NA literature. Others are funded by member and group contributions. The World Service Office, located in Van Nuys, California is the Fellowship's World Service Center.
No. NA is not a professional organization and we are not affiliated with any professional agencies or facilities. We employ no counselors or treatment staff. Many treatment centers introduce their patients to NA before they release them. We are grateful for their cooperation, but cannot allow this to influence us in any way. We remain, simply, a Fellowship of recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other to stay clean. Our program is a set of principles written so simply we can follow them in our daily lives.
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. No individual inside or outside the Fellowship represents Narcotics Anonymous.
Call the phone line in your community, or contact our World Service Office (818) 773-9999 ext. 131. In Central Broward County 1-888-524-1777.