If you have a busy schedule and have a hard time getting places, Narcotics Anonymous online meetings could be a great option for your continued recovery.
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Twelve-step fellowships, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are the most widely accessible recovery resources in the U.S.1 Narcotics Anonymous is a support group for individuals recovering from an addiction to drugs.
NA has one mission: to provide a context where people experiencing addiction can help one another stop using drugs and find a new way to live.2 The only requirement for NA membership is a “desire to stop using drugs.”3 NA has taken their meetings online to provide greater access to those in recovery. Now, you can attend a virtual NA meeting from the comfort of your home.4,5
In this article:
The NA Program
Originating in Los Angeles, NA grew quickly and is now a worldwide organization with meetings across North America, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia, and the Middle East. More than 70,000 NA meetings occur weekly in 144 countries, and NA literature is available in 55 languages.3 NA is not restricted to any political or geographic boundaries, nor is it limited to any one faith, dogma, or philosophy.2
The main tenets of NA are based upon three basic features:2
The peer support, guidance, and encouragement of Narcotics Anonymous have helped thousands of people recover from drug addiction. The NA program is a set of spiritual principles espoused in the 12 Steps, used to recover from addiction.
The 12 Steps of NA
The 12 Steps are the cornerstone of the NA program. Recovery is centered around working the steps with a sponsor.1 There are even NA meetings categorized by step you can attend. The 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous are as follows:2
1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. We made a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we have promptly admitted it.
11. 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.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening due to these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs.
The 12 Traditions of NA
The 12 Traditions are the guidelines that keep the NA fellowship alive.2 They are a set of standards to be followed by the group so that internal dealings are smooth and effective and NA’s mission can be carried out.
The 12 Traditions are spiritual tools used to interact with other people harmoniously. NA members vote on certain topics in meetings. Often a group conscience is necessary to help keep everyone on the same page as well as protect the NA fellowship so that outside forces cannot interfere. The 12 Traditions of NA are to the group what the 12 Steps are to the individual.
The NA 12 Traditions are as follows:2
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity.
2. For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority: a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or NA as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.
6. An NA group ought never to endorse, finance, or lend the NA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. NA, as such, ought never to be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never to be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radios, and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Online NA Recovery Meetings
You can now attend NA meetings without leaving your house, increasing accessibility to even more recovering individuals worldwide. Similar to in-person meetings, online recovery group interaction could help with:5
- Motivation by way of new ideas
- Access to an active recovery network
- Peer-driven learning
You can find virtual NA meetings on different platforms that provide both online and phone meetings hosted from different countries around the world.4,5
People who may benefit from online NA meetings include:5
- Those who do not have transportation
- Those who live in remote rural areas
- Those who travel frequently
- Those who are stay-at-home parents
- Those who have COVID-related restrictions
NA has a directory and an app that can help you easily locate a meeting anywhere in the U.S. or around the world, right at your fingertips.6 The NA Meeting Search app version 2.0 is now available to download on your smartphone or tablet. On the search results page, you can find links to maps of local meetings as a service for anyone trying to find their way to NA meetings. You can also start your own NA meeting (online or in-person).6
All you need to attend NA meetings online is a device, such as a tablet, computer, or phone that will allow you to download Zoom, Skype, or other video-based platforms. If you are trying to attend a virtual NA meeting and require technical assistance, you can call NA’s hotline for further help. Those in recovery understand the necessity of making regular NA meetings, and many people are ready to help you.
Online NA Platforms
You can find open and closed meetings online. Open meetings are open to everyone. Closed meetings are reserved only for those who identify as “addicts” in recovery.4 Common ways you can attend online NA meetings include:4
- Online Meeting: This means the meeting is held via an internet connection.
- Phone Line Meeting: This means the meeting is held via a phone line.
- Outreach: This means that the meeting is part of a Narcotics Anonymous Local Area or Regional Outreach or Fellowship Development Committee service efforts.
- Hybrid: This means that the meeting is hosted by a physical meeting that allows for members to attend online.
Concept of a Higher Power in NA
Religiousness has specific denominational attributes because it involves an organized system of worship and doctrine shared within a group. Spirituality is generally thought of as more open, inclusive, and universal than religiousness and is a subjective experience; individuals create their own spiritual constructs. Additionally, many spiritual activities are independent of religion.1
NA members have varying concepts of a Higher Power. The text, Narcotics Anonymous, states, “We can call it the group, the program, or we can call it God.”2 Even atheists have found a place in the NA fellowship. The point is that members should remain open-minded, regardless of religious beliefs and limitations.
NA’s concept of a Higher Power, of something “loving, caring, and greater than ourselves” provides a positive outlook and instills faith in something bigger than self-reliance.2 Before NA, for many people experiencing addiction, self-sufficiency and the ability to stop using drugs had failed. A belief in a Higher Power enables people to practice spiritual principles and is the basis for getting and staying clean. The individual chooses a personal concept of a Higher Power; religion may or may not influence that decision.
Online NA meetings are making recovery much more accessible. The current times call for more NA resources and online support. If you want more information on how to locate NA meetings online, call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) . We are here for you 24/7.
- Laudet, A., Morgan, K., White, W. (2006). The role of social supports, spirituality, religiousness, life meaning, and affiliations with 12-step fellowships in quality of life satisfaction among individuals in recovery from alcohol and drug problems. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 24(1-2): 33-73.
- Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2008). Narcotics Anonymous.
- NA World Services, Inc. (2018). Information about NA.
- Virtual NA. (2021). NA meetings online and by phone.
- Bergman, B. G., Kelly, J. F., Fava, M., & Eden Evins, A. (2021). Online recovery support meetings can help mitigate the public health consequences of COVID-19 for individuals with substance use disorder. Addictive Behaviors, 113, 106661.
- Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2021). Welcome.
- Verified.org. (2021). Verified.org. What’s Real. What’s Not.