Going to new areas and meeting new people instills considerable fear in people. We do not leave you here empty-handed because we are aware that the initial steps in a journey demand more work and pure willpower. The information in our guide below covers the first NA meeting, its preparation, and how it could transform an addict’s life.
Whether NA meetings are for Me?
No matter where they fall on the drug addiction continuum, all addicts are appreciated at NA meetings. But NA Open Meetings are public. NA calls its open meetings for everyone (an addict, a newcomer, a guest, etc.) with the noble intention of soliciting their perspectives and allowing them to talk freely. Anyone interested in quitting their drug habit, abstaining from drugs permanently, or collecting notes on drugs is encouraged and appreciated.
Pick a Time Slot from Meeting List that Suits You
NA meetings are scheduled for a variety of times and locations. If you wish to go to your first NA meeting, check out our Meeting List to pick a meeting that best suits your time and needs. Although it is usual to arrive on time everywhere, it is preferred if you arrive a few minutes early for the first NA meeting and subsequent sessions. It takes time to get familiar with a place, its environment, and the people around you but at least you can find a comfortable place to sit in. You can take your friend, relative, or anyone to accompany you in open meetings as well.
1. Meeting Initiation
Meeting Commence with a greeting session. We understand it is difficult to share a place with a group of strangers around you. That’s why a greeting session is a way to minimize your awkwardness and interact with the people around you. NA old members usually are familiar with their previous meeting partners. During a meeting session, the person in front of you can either offer a gentle shake hand or a hug. Being a stranger, you can accept a shaking hand without any obligation but hugging a stranger can be perplexing at this time. So, it is quite reasonable to say no to hugging at that time. Nobody will inquire about it or be mad at you. You are liberal to make your own choices.
The serenity prayer is frequently spoken after the greeting session by those present. Nobody anticipates that you will be able to or be willing to participate in this song or even know the words.
A series of “preambles” is then read aloud from texts that are either passed around or set on the tables. You are welcome to provide the texts to another person to read if you’d prefer not to.
An overview of the meeting agenda, some background information about NA, the group, and specifics for newer members are often given at the start of each meeting.
There may be a brief round of introductions at certain meetings, during which visitors or newcomers are invited to introduce themselves. You can use this space to introduce yourself as an addict, use your first name, or just state that you’re a visitor or newbie. Even if you do choose to identify yourself as an addict, you are in no way committing to anything. NA membership is entirely optional and is based on your preference whether you want to voluntarily participate in it or not.
2. Meeting interim
NA Sharing Session
Some NA meetings feature speakers, while others focus on introducing a subject or reading a text from NA literature during this session. Following this, members participate in the meeting by speaking. Usually, a chairperson or a moderator hosts a meeting.
All NA meetings are moderated in multiple ways, with participants raising their hands to indicate they want to share or speak during a round-table discussion, among other methods. The permitted speaking time is frequently limited so that a large number of members can participate.
Nobody is forced to speak and share during this session. However, there are some basic ethics that everyone has to act under. For instance,
- No comments on other member’s shares
- No advice to other
- Speaks about yourself and your experiences only
- Free to ask queries but only relevant ones
Clean Time Countdown
At last, there is a clean time countdown that emphasizes abstinence as NA is not a moderation program. In this session, we read out short texts and celebrate clean time birthdays if members wish so. This session is not conducted for demolishing someone’s personal space but to acknowledge and appreciate their efforts for staying clean from drugs for so long. Another way we can utilize this time is to give a welcome chip to all the newcomers.
Pass the Donation Box
NA is a non-profitable organization that arranges meetings in different places for addicts. All new and old members are asked for their donations at the end of the meeting. Nobody is compelled to donate. If an addict wants to donate, they can willingly do so. Otherwise, they can pass on the box to the next person.
Last but not the least, we remind all those present in the meeting that the NA group’s confidentiality must be maintained as our relationship in NA is built on confidentiality. You are not answerable for anything else linked to this meeting once you leave.
3. Meeting Closing
Short Prayers and Greetings
At last, all the attendees stand in the circle and say some short prayers. News and updates related to NA are announced at this time. Then, everybody is allowed to leave with formal greetings to each other.
4. Post-Meeting Time
If any guest or NA member has any queries, they can ask the chairperson after the meeting or with the old members as all of them are friendly and approachable.