Getting Clean: How to Get the Most Out of Attending NA Meetings

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Attending NA Meetings

58% of people who attend NA meetings stay clean for more than 5 years afterward. In addition, 41% of those remain sober for more than 10 years.

Are you struggling with drug abuse or alcohol abuse? If you’re ready to start a new chapter in life and get on the path to getting clean, 12-step programs are a great place to start.

If you’re planning to go to a meeting, you might be curious to know what happens in NA meetings and how to get the most out of them. Keep reading to learn more.

How NA Meetings Work

Any person who wants to change his or her life and believes they are addicted to substances is welcome to join NA. The first time you attend the program, you might feel nervous and it may take some time for you to feel at ease. Soon you’ll start to feel a sense of belonging and even make friends.

There are many different types of AA meetings and NA meetings, so many things are done differently in different cities, countries, and even on different nights of the week. Despite this, NA meetings around the world share some common characteristics.

Most NA meetings in New York follow a similar format:


The meeting may be an open meeting or a closed meeting.

Everyone is welcome at open meetings, even those who do not intend to participate openly. Friends and family can attend open meetings to better understand the recovery process and to see first-hand how their loved one is doing.

Closed meetings are only open to members, making them even more private and supportive.

Upon arrival, many meetings offer cookies and coffee or other refreshments. Before the session officially begins, people usually chat casually. You are also welcome to sit quietly if you prefer.

Opening, Welcome, Introductions

The meeting leader calls everyone to their seats and reads a short prayer. Though an NA meeting may include prayers, it is a spiritual program, not a religious one.

There is no requirement for you to follow a certain religion and may members are agnostic or atheist. “Higher Power” or “God” can be interpreted in various ways depending on what it means for you.

After welcoming all participants, the leader explains the program and has a few participants read materials that summarize Narcotics Anonymous. A newcomer or visitor is often asked to introduce themselves by their first name. However, you are not required to give your name. It is common for newcomers to receive a warm welcome with a handshake or hug, as well as a welcome key tag.


There are usually two types of meetings: discussion meetings and speaker meetings. All members can share their opinions and thoughts in discussion meetings. One or more members typically speak for a longer period during a speaker meeting.

There will often be an opportunity for members to share their personal experiences or to discuss the meeting’s theme. There is no obligation for you to speak, but you may be asked to share if you wish to speak.

NA emphasizes the “therapeutic value of one addict helping another.” However, meetings aren’t intended as group therapy sessions. The goal is to provide a safe environment where people addicted to drugs and alcohol can connect and support each other in their recovery.

Closing and Post-Meeting

At the end of the meeting, the leader instructs everyone to stand, and someone may recite a short prayer. The leader will ask a volunteer to lead the next meeting.

Following the meeting, attendees often chat informally. As a courtesy to those who request it, some groups sign attendance sheets and court cards. It is a good idea to ask the group how they handle this before the meeting begins, if necessary.

NA recommends that new members attend a daily meeting for 90 days if they plan to continue with the program. In general, the more invested you are in the NA program, the more useful it will be for you. If you feel that you did not connect with the style or the people at your first meeting, you can always try another meeting.

Advice for Getting the Most Out of NA Meetings

It’s important to put away any preconceived notions about AA or NA members before attending your first meeting. Members of AA and NA come from a variety of backgrounds, and they have many reasons for being in recovery.

Depending on their stage of recovery, some members may appear haggard on their first day, while others will not display any signs of addiction.

Keep in mind that you will be able to remain completely anonymous. NA members take each other’s privacy very seriously. When you attend an NA meeting, you are in a safe space.

In any case, you won’t be required to talk to anyone or share your story in front of everyone. But when it comes time to share, your recovery may be more likely to succeed if you participate in meetings.

Find a Meeting Near You With 12 Step NY

The first step in your recovery is attending your first NA or AA meeting. You’re on the right track, as twelve-step meetings will provide many of the tools you’ll need for success.

If you’re searching for a program with twelve steps in New York, browse NA meetings near you with 12 Step NY.

Whether it’s about recovery, addiction treatment, or al-anon meetings, we’re here to help you. Please feel free to contact us at 888-831-1495 with any questions you might have. We are happy to provide information on how to integrate a 12-step program into a comprehensive addiction treatment plan.

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