Frequently Asked Questions
This information is both for people who may have a problem and for those in contact with people who have, or are suspected of having, a problem.
Most of the information is available in more detail in literature published by NA World Services.
This page tells what to expect from Narcotics Anonymous. It describes what NA is, what NA does, and what NA does not do.
NA 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.
The core of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program is the 12 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.
This is a question only you can answer. All of us have preconceived ideas about what an addict is. There is nothing shameful about being an addict once you begin to take positive action. If you can identify with our problems, you may be able to identify with our solution.
- I think I might have a problem, what do I need to do to get help?
If you need immediate help, you can call our 24 hr. helpline at 1 (800) 897-6242 and speak with a recovering addict. We also suggest that you attend one of our meetings as soon as possible and let someone there know that you are new and seeking help.
- I think one of my family members has a problem with drugs, 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 person with the problem can call our 24 hr. helpline 1 (800) 897-6242 and speak to a recovering addict who may be able to offer more assistance.
Members share their successes and challenges in overcoming active addiction and living drug-free productive lives through application of the principles contained within the 12 steps and 12 traditions of NA.
- Does it cost anything to attend?
There are no dues or fees for NA membership. An NA group will usually have a collection during the meeting to cover expenses, such as rent, coffee, etc., and all members are free to contribute to this as much or as little as they wish.
- Can anyone attend NA meetings?
There are two types of NA meetings, open meetings and closed meetings. Anyone may attend an open NA 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 ensure the anonymity of members who wish to have their identity remain private.
- Is NA for "narcotics" addicts?
No. 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 (including alcohol).
- How do I join?
You are an NA member if and when you say so. The only requirement for NA membership is a desire to stop using.
- Is NA a religious organization?
No. NA is not associated with nor endorses any religious organizations.
- If I go to a meeting, does that commit me to anything?
No. NA does not keep membership files, or attendance records. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself. No one will bother you if you don’t want to come back, but we hope you will!
- Does NA 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, NA remains simply a fellowship of men and women helping one another recover from the disease of addiction.
- Should I go to a detox or treatment center?
We cannot answer that question. Only you can decide whether or not to attend a facility. NA neither deters nor recommends that one attend facilities of these types.
- 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.
- 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.
- How many meetings do I have to go to?
Attend as many NA meetings as you can and collect a list of member's phone numbers to use regularly, especially when the urge for drugs is strong. The number of meetings you attend is up to you, however we suggest that newcomers attend at least a meeting a day for the first 90 days.
- 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. 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 achieve this by going to meetings regularly, getting a sponsor, working the 12 steps, and practicing what we learn. We also find it helps us to stay clean when we help other addicts by getting involved in service work (chairing meetings, washing dishes, etc).
A sponsor is another member of NA who has experience in working the 12 steps and 12 traditions. Someone who is willing to build a supportive, one-on-one relationship with you in order to help you understand and work the 12 steps. Someone in who you can confide and share things you may not feel comfortable sharing in a meeting.
All you have to do is ask. We suggest you go to meetings with an open mind and listen to others and what they are sharing. When you hear someone's story that you can relate to, ask for that person's phone number and tell them you are looking for a sponsor. We generally suggest women get women sponsors and men get men sponsors.
Suggestions for Newcomers:
- Avoid the people you used drugs with
- Avoid the places where you used drugs
- Go to a meeting a day for 90 days
- Go to meetings early and stay late
- Get phone numbers from members
- Find someone you trust to talk to
- Get and read an NA Basic Text
- Don't use, no matter what
- Keep coming back, IT WORKS