Sobriety Navigator: Narcotics Anonymous meetings – What to expect?
First, let me start off by stating that there are no surveillance cameras monitoring the meetings! Narcotics Anonymous is not connected with any law enforcement group!
Narcotics Anonymous is not affiliated with any other organization, whether it’s political, religious or any form of self-interest group.
There are no forms to fill out, no fees to pay, and no personal questions to answer. N. A. is an anonymous program and, if and when a person chooses to speak at a meeting or share in a group, a person generally uses first name only.
N. A. meetings are an environment of equality, understanding and compassion. No one will judge you when you walk thru the doors. You will be welcomed. Members of N.A. understand very well that the newcomer is the life blood of the meetings. It is through service to others and the newcomer that we are able to sustain abstinence from drugs and learn how to live a life of freedom and joy from the obsession that has plagued and eroded the quality of our lives.
Narcotics Anonymous is a self-help program and the only requirement is the desire for complete abstinence from all drugs, legal or illicit. It does not approve of replacement drugs such as “medical marijuana” or alcohol. N. A. is all about being drug free.
A designated chairperson will lead the meeting and will read Narcotics Anonymous literature, as will various other volunteers in the group. At some point in the meeting a basket will be passed for volunteer donations. Narcotics Anonymous is self-supporting through these volunteer contributions. If you do not or cannot donate to the meeting, no one will question or judge you.
There are a variety of meeting types. Tag meetings are just what they sound like. After the volunteer speaker finishes and defines the topic, he or she will tag someone to share their thoughts and experiences. If someone is tagged and chooses not to speak, they just say, “I pass.”
There are speaker’s meetings where one or two people will stand up and share their stories for about 30 minutes each. These are usually held on the weekends, and there is often a dance or social function afterward.
There are gender stag meetings for women only or men only. These are great for discussing gender sensitive topics and experiences.
There are Narcotics Anonymous big book study meetings where members have the opportunity to read, learn and understand the program in more detail, along with its traditions, principles and promises.
There are volunteer participation meetings where a person who has either volunteered or been asked to share his experience will speak for approximately 15 minutes. When finished, he will choose a topic for discussion. Everyone will break up into smaller groups so that each person will have the opportunity to share.
There is but one authority in Narcotics Anonymous, and that is a loving higher power. What or Who that higher power is, is up to you. Anonymity is the foundation of all 12 step programs. Principles before personalities.
By Cynthia Peterson