Wondering if Narcotics Anonymous is right for you? Many of us asked ourselves this very question at the beginning. We had concerns about belonging to NA, for a variety of reasons. Here are some answers.
I have a problem with weed ...
Your problem is smoking pot, cannabis, hashish, weed? Welcome to NA!
We don’t distinguish between the drugs you have taken, so there are no “right”, “wrong” or “bad enough” drugs. Many of us have experienced hitting rock bottom just as easily with “soft” drugs. You don’t have to have lost everything to be right at home in NA – you decide when you’ve had enough.
I am substituted with methadone or Subutex ...
No matter – you are welcome! The most important and only requirement for participation in NA is that you have the desire to stop using. Even if it’s just the smallest spark. You don’t have to be clean when you come, and that goes for methadone, Subutex, or any other stuff you get from your doctor.
Read the story of an addict who got clean in the methadone program here.
Were you as hardcore as me?
Good question – some of us sure as hell were! We have people from all walks of life and social classes here. Not everyone ends up on the street, and not everyone’s drug problem is obvious. Some have experienced homelessness, crime and violence. Some of us have dealt, stolen, prostituted themselves. Some have known prison from the inside, received various prison or probationary sentences, or undergone diversion and rehab instead of criminal punishment. Still others have “just” popped pills or woken up somewhere strange wondering how the hell they got there.
None of this is essential for participation in NA. You are welcome to join no matter where you are from.
Read the story of an addict who got clean in jail here.
It wasn’t so bad for me, but then again ...
In NA, there is no “bad enough” – you alone decide when you’ve had enough.
For some, rock bottom is reached when they’ve lost their driver’s license or their marriage is broken, for others it’s when they end up in jail or on the street. Our members come from all walks of life and social situations.
Maybe it’s “just” the indispensable after-work beer, partying hard every weekend, the irresistible need for drugs to solve problems, or the feeling that you can no longer function without pills. Often it’s simply an inner feeling of hopelessness, despair, resignation, being driven, or meaninglessness.
If your feeling tells you that it might have something to do with your drug use, take the test here!
I’m too young / my parents say I have a problem
An addict tells us: “When I was 16, I wrote in my diary that I thought I should drink less. It took another 17 years of doing all the drugs and everything I said I would never do. Yes, everyone around me was on my case saying I had a problem, but I didn’t want to hear it. Yet I kind of knew it at the time.”
No matter how old or how young you are, if you feel somewhere inside you that there’s something wrong with what you’re doing: you have a choice.
You can read another personal story here.
I‘ve been trying for so long, I can’t do it anymore ...
No matter how old or young, many of us have reached the point of total desperation. We tried everything – therapies, addiction clinics, outpatient measures, sticking it out ourselves, controlling our use, moving to new cities, new jobs and new partnerships … sooner or later we slipped again. Relapses, detoxes, despair, depression, over and over again … to the point we ask ourselves the question: is it still worth making such an effort?
If you are still asking yourself this … great! Because we can tell you: it’s worth it. You are never too old for a new start. Some members come to NA when they are over 50 or 60, and we have members of all ages.
Is NA only for junkies?
Not at all! In NA there are addicts who have had problems with all kinds of drugs.
This includes not only heroin, coke, crack, speed or other “junkie drugs”. In NA, junkies sit next to stoners, speed freaks next to pill addicts, alcoholics next to substituted addicts. We all share a desire to get clean and stay clean. We don’t ask which or how many drugs you have taken, and everyone decides for themselves when enough is enough.
I’m homeless – what now?
The bad news first – if you have a housing problem, we can’t help you.
What we can can help you with is your drug problem, which in turn will help you get back on your feet and able to seek the help you need in other areas of your life.
There are people at NA who have had similar experiences: lost their job, lost their partner or family, perhaps their health is in ruins and they’ve ended up on the street, on a park bench or in a homeless shelter. And many have made it into a new life with the help of the meetings.
I always relapse
Welcome – the great thing about NA is that you can keep coming back whether you’re clean or not, whether you’re relapsing or not. All we ask is – keep coming back and try to come clean.
It has taken many of us multiple tries to get and stay clean. For us, a relapse is no shame and no reason to give up. Rather, it is a chance to try again – always just for today. Many of us find that we can do in one day what seems impossible to imagine over a long period of time.
I have a mental illness
In addition to addiction, many of us have other diagnoses such as borderline personality disorder, depression, psychosis or schizophrenic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and much more. Of course we can’t treat these conditions at NA. We encourage you to seek additional help for that.
We can help you with your drug addiction and that in turn will help you to cope better with the rest of your life. Similarly affected members can share their experiences with you, letting you know how they’ve dealt with double diagnoses and how they manage to live clean.
If you have to take prescribed medication for a mental illness, please follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Read a member’s story here.
I have to take medication for health reasons
Many of us struggle with a variety of physical illnesses, either as a result of addiction or because of reasons other than our drug use. For many, this means taking medication for the rest of their lives. We cannot give you any medical recommendations about this. If you are prescribed medication for a physical or mental illness, please follow your doctor’s recommendations.
We can help you with your drug addiction and that in turn will help you to cope better with the rest of your life. Similarly affected members can share their experiences with you, letting you know how they’ve dealt with serious illnesses and manage to live clean.
I don’t want to stop taking every drug!
To be clear, NA is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs, including alcohol as well as legal and “soft” drugs.
In the beginning, however, many of us had absolutely no desire to give up all drugs – including the glass of wine with dinner, the occasional party with friends, the small joint to fall asleep, etc. But we have also found that with these small and supposedly harmless little slip-ups we keep the back door open for the kind of hard relapse that we inevitably realise, after the fact, that we really didn’t want.
You don’t have to be clean to come to NA. We simply suggest that you try to come back clean. Maybe at some point you’ll feel like trying it “without it”.
By the way, NA hosts really great drug-free parties – look for “Conventions” in our Newsticker announcements …
I’ve tried NA before, it didn’t work
We know all about that! Many of us needed multiple attempts to get clean, and we tried many things, none of which seemed to work. Resignation sets in. But giving up is the one thing that for sure will not work.
You don’t have to be clean to come to NA. Just keep coming back and try to come clean. You can just try it for one day. You can also try different meetings to see if you feel more connected or “right” in one of them. Meetings are all very similar, but they are all a little bit different. Give yourself a chance and try again. We offer you a warm welcome!