Frequently Asked Questions
It is our experience that there is not much we can do other than suggest that your loved one go to an NA Meeting. It is up to that person whether or not s/he wishes to admit s/he has a problem and is willing to seek help. The addict who wants help needs to reach out and get help.
We, as a fellowship, do not have any affiliation with any chemical dependency treatment programs, so we cannot recommend one. We have additional information on our Family Resources page.
Narcotics Anonymous does not affiliate with outside organizations, such as a treatment center. NA does not offer advice or endorse outside organizations. NA relies on the “therapeutic value of one addict helping another.”
You can find a list of treatment programs on our Family Resources page.
We don’t provide referrals because we don’t want to a endorse other organizations. Our traditions are very clear about this. We suggest that you call 211, the United Way, for referrals to outside agencies.
NA is not a drug-specific program but has universal appeal to all who share the disease of addiction. We are not concerned with types or amounts of drugs used; we focus on the ways addiction and recovery affect our lives.
No. As young members, most of us didn’t come to Narcotics Anonymous looking for a new way of life. We were just tired of the lives we had. We spent a lot of our time feeling angry, lonely, hurt, or scared. Getting high was the only thing that seemed to help, but drugs quickly began to make life even harder. We were tired of the pain and confusion, but we didn’t want to consider the idea that drugs were making our problems worse. Regardless of whether or not we thought we were addicts, the idea of giving up drugs was hard to imagine. If we did consider stopping, the idea usually didn’t last long.
If this sounds familiar, you might be like us. This pamphlet is our chance to share what we’ve learned: We weren’t too young to be addicts, and we’re not too young to get clean. We stopped using and are discovering a new way of life. You may not see young members in the meetings you go to, but if you stay clean and keep coming
NA meetings are free. NA meetings are self supporting by those who choose to contribute. There are no dues or fees for NA membership.
Yes. Staying clean on the outside means taking action. When you get out, go to a meeting the first day of your release. It is important to establish the habit of regular attendance. The confusion and excitement of “just getting out” has lulled some of us into thinking of taking a vacation from our responsibilities before settling down to the business of day-to-day living. This kind of rationalization has led many of us back to using. Addiction is a disease which takes no time off in its progression. If it is not arrested, it only becomes worse. What we do for our recovery today does not ensure our recovery tomorrow. It is a mistake to assume that the good intention of getting around to NA after a while will be sufficient. We must back up our intentions with action, the earlier the better.
Read more . . . Staying Clean on the Outside
An “open” meeting is a meeting that welcomes anyone to attend, including interested non-addicts. A “closed” meeting is a meeting for addict or those who may have a drug problem. You can find out if a meeting is open or closed by its designation on a meeting list.
The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using. You are a member when you say you are.
If you think you’re an addict, you are welcome in all our meetings. However, NA’s diverse population is served by a variety of Common Needs meetings as well. Locating meetings, including Common Needs, is as simple as using the Advanced Search feature on the Minnesota meeting list.
Most NA meeting do not provide child care, however, there are some NA meetings that do provide child care. Check the meeting list codes to see if child care is provided. A listing of NA meetings that provide child care are listed here (click here). (Select the “More Options” link, and search for meeting Formats = “CP”, childcare provided)
For a list of meetings that children are welcome, click here for the common needs meeting list.
NA relies on the “therapeutic value of one addict helping another.” A sponsor is an experienced member who offers guidance and support through the Twelve Steps.
To get a sponsor, all we need to do is ask. While this is simple, it may not be easy. Many of us are afraid to ask someone to be our sponsor. In active addiction, we may have learned not to trust anyone, and the idea of asking someone to listen to us and help us may feel alien and frightening. Nonetheless, most of our members describe sponsorship as a crucial part of their recovery. Sometimes we finally gather our courage, only to have someone say no. If that happens, we need to be persistent, have faith, and try not to take his or her decision personally. The reasons people may decline probably have nothing to do with us: they may have busy lives or many sponsees, or they may be going through difficult times. We need to reaffirm our faith and ask someone else.
The best place to look for a sponsor is at an NA meeting. Other places to seek a sponsor are NA events, such as service meetings and conventions. In seeking a sponsor, most members look for someone they feel they can learn to trust, someone who seems compassionate and who is active in the program. Most members, particularly those who are new to NA, consider it important to find a sponsor with more clean time than they have.
Most members consider it important to get a sponsor as soon as possible, while others explain that it is just as crucial to take a little time to look around and make an informed decision. Going to a lot of meetings helps us to determine who we are comfortable with and who we can learn to trust. While we are looking for a sponsor, if someone offers, we do not have to say yes. One thing to remember is that, if we get a sponsor to help us in our early recovery, we are free to change sponsors later if that person isn’t meeting our needs.
You have a few options if you wish to contact an NA member:
- You can attend an NA meeting near you. To find a meeting schedule, click here.
- At that meeting, raise your hand and ask for help, or approach an NA member before or after the meeting.
- Get phone numbers and literature. Make contact with other addicts in recovery.
- You also can call the Minnesota Helpline for Narcotics Anonymous: (877) 767-7676
If none of those options are sufficient, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
No, that’s not true. NA has no opinion about your personal life decisions.
“We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away. We have learned from our group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean.”
– Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text 6th edition, page 9
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.
Our program of recovery begins with abstinence from all drugs, including alcohol. 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 at our meetings. The fellowship as a whole has no opinion on outside issues, and this includes medication.
Also, members often have questions about prescribed medications. We encourage you to read NA Groups and Medication, which will explain NA’s approach to recovery, and to talk to NA members who have faced similar situations about what worked for them. We are not professionals and cannot offer expert opinions in medical matters; we can only share our personal experiences.
This pamphlet seeks to address some of the questions parents or caregivers may have when a young person comes to Narcotics Anonymous. The information here is not meant as advice about how to parent your child, but rather relates some common experiences of young people who have been successful in staying clean and finding recovery in NA.
Young members all over the world have found recovery from drug addiction in Narcotics Anonymous, and we hope this information will be helpful for any loved one interested in learning more about the experiences a young member faces in recovery.
Read more . . . For the Parents and Guardians of Young People in NA
Members share their successes and challenges in overcoming active addiction and living drug-free, productive lives through the application of principles contained within the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of NA. These principles are the core of the Narcotics Anonymous recovery program.
Narcotics Anonymous itself is a non-religious program of recovery; each member is encouraged to cultivate an individual understanding-religious or not-of the spiritual principles and apply these principles to everyday life.
- We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using. You are a member when you say you are.
NA meetings are located in most areas within Minnesota.
Request an updated meeting list emailed to you every month.
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.
You and your partner can attend meetings together, if you want to. At many meetings, the first half is set up as a large group and then the meeting breaks up into small group discussions. Many couples attend the large group together and then go to separate small groups. However, there is no hard and fast rule. Whatever works for you is great.
We recommend that people who are not addicts, but want to attend as a supporter of a loved one, go together to an open meeting. An open meeting is designated by an “O” format key on local meeting lists. If you are not sure if the meeting you are attended is open or closed (closed means for addicts only), feel free to arrive early and talk to members.