Resources for Professionals
Recovery in NA focuses on the problem of addiction, not on any particular drug.
Narcotics Anonymous sprang from the Alcoholics Anonymous Program of the late 1940s, with meetings first emerging in the Los Angeles area of California, USA, in the early Fifties. The NA program started as a small US movement that has grown into one of the world’s oldest and largest organizations of its type.
NA in South Africa began in the 1980s, and saw significant growth in the mid-90s. At present, there are over 200 weekly meetings in most parts of the country. A full list of meetings and locations is available here.
If you have considered recommending NA to someone who has a drug problem, you may have a few questions about our organization. This page is designed to answer those questions. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us; our contact details are listed at the bottom of the page.
Who are the members of Narcotics Anonymous?
Anyone who wants to stop using drugs may become a member of NA. Membership is not limited to addicts using any particular drug. Those who feel they may have a problem with drugs, legal or illegal, including alcohol, are welcome in NA. Membership and meetings are free of charge, and there are no contracts to sign and no pledges to be made. Voluntary contributions are made in meetings to cover the costs of venue hire and of carrying the message to the addict who still suffers through the service structure in NA. Recovery in Narcotics Anonymous focuses on the problem of addiction, not on any particular drug, status, or condition.
The founding principle of anonymity allows addicts to attend meetings without fear of legal or social repercussions. This is an important consideration for an addict thinking about going to a meeting for the first time. Anonymity also supports an atmosphere of equality in meetings; it helps ensure that no individual’s personality or circumstances will be considered more important than the message of recovery shared in NA. We do not discriminate against any sex, race, sexual identity, or religion. We do not mandate any particular belief system.
NA’s primary approach to recovery is its belief in the therapeutic value of one addict helping another. Members take part in meetings by talking about their experiences and recovery from drug addiction. NA meetings are informally structured, held in space rented by the group; they are led by members who take turns in opening and closing the meetings.
Narcotics Anonymous members also volunteer their time for other services, such as public information and regular institution meetings. All of these are funded entirely from contributions by addict members. All funds are raised within the fellowship and financial contributions from non-members are not accepted.
Most NA meetings are held regularly at the same time and place each week, usually in a public facility. There are two basic types of meetings – those which are open to the general public and those which are only for addicts or people who think they may have a problem with drugs. Meetings vary widely in format, such as open participation, guest speakers (also addicts), questions and answers, topic and step discussions. However, the function of any meeting is always the same – to provide a suitable and reliable environment for personal recovery.
There are a number of downloadable resources available providing more in depth details of the program; Most of these are accessible through the NA international website at www.na.org.
The best way to get local information on NA groups and services in your area is through our local Public Relations committees: