What are some common NA Myths floating around?
There are so many common NA myths that I’ve heard since I’ve been a grateful member of Narcotics Anonymous.
Before stepping into NA, I only knew what I had seen on TV. And while they got it right a lot of the time, they also got it wrong.
A lot wrong.
It’s unfortunate because I think a lot of people don’t know how to approach their first meeting.
So let me help you out by listing some common misconceptions and giving my experience of NA.
#1 : “NA is only for hard-core drug users.”
Not at all true.
Any amount of usage where you feel you are at a point where you need help validates you to be there. In fact, there are even groups out there like Al-Anon who are there for family members and loved ones of addicts specifically and are “closed” to addicts – it’s a safe place to share no matter which meeting you’re attending.
I’ve had some decent conversations with people who came to NA because of weed, and while my DOC was heroin (widely considered to be more “hard-core” than other drugs), he had every much of a right to be there as I did.
NA is for people who have a problem with drugs.
They care not of how much you used, who you used with, or what your active addiction was like, but instead focus on the details of your recovery.
#2 : “Everyone at NA just talks about drugs.”
Again, not true.
We’re not a bunch of sad people hanging around talking about “the good ol’ days”, though it’s one of the more common NA myths. Not on your nelly! In fact, it’s actually discouraged.
As you attend meetings, you find the general conversation is about life and those every day things we addicts fought against dealing with through active addiction. It’s about helping one another, showing support, and even making jokes with friends made in recovery. It’s all of this and more.
Sure, I won’t lie. There is sometimes some light-hearted “euphoric recall” that happens on occasion, but it’s generally discouraged.
It just simply doesn’t matter what you used.
The fact is, we all used something, we all got to the same point of realizing we are powerless against our addiction, and we all came to the same point in our lives which brought us to NA.
It’s where we go from here that matters.
#3 : “You have to speak in The Circle.”
Not so. This NA myth is one that really puts off a lot of newcomers. The newcomer is the most important person at our meetings, this is true, but honestly you can attend meetings for months and never share your story.
Sharing your story, however, is encouraged, but don’t be scared. This is how one addict best helps another addict.
Knowing that someone else has been through what we’ve been through, and more importantly, how they got through it is how we learn and grow as recovering addicts. The same goes for daily struggles.
What is shared in meetings is confidential.
There are a few rules like no drugs or treatment centers to be named, and we don’t cross-talk (ie speak directly to another member in the circle) instead calling on and sharing only our own experiences in recovery.
For what it’s worth, I did speak at my first meeting. In fact, I cried. I was so alone by then and so broken, and I needed help. That night I came away with phone numbers of people who cared about me in a way I never felt before. I felt accepted and I never once felt judged, even to this day.
#4 : “NA is a religious group.”
Wrong again, amiego.
When I came to NA I also thought one had to become religious in order to fulfill one, if not all, of the 12 Steps but this is not the case.
NA encourages spiritual connections with a Higher Power. A God of your own understanding. A power greater than yourself.
Some choose to find strength in the rooms and the people within them. Others look to a new God. Some find religion they had once before lost. Some choose to find strength in Mother Earth herself.
Whatever your choice, the spiritual side of the program should not be ignored. Whether you believe in religion as a whole or don’t, our connection to spirituality goes back thousands of years. We need that connection.
#5 : “You can sleep with your sponsor.”
Okay, this one is technically not a common NA myth, you got me. But it still comes up!
So yea, while I suppose you could, it is heavily discouraged. NA encourages you to find a sponsor of the same gender identity as you so sexual tension does not interfere with recovery.
It’s natural, and we can’t help who we are attracted to, so let’s not set ourselves up to fail before we’ve even begun. Keep Sponsor-Sponsee relationships strictly professional, or even as a close friendship, but just don’t cross the social boundaries that are there for a reason.
If you’re at all like me, you might find it difficult to find a sponsor of the same sex.
I looked for months and didn’t find the right one. It was very daunting to me to approach females and ask for sponsorship, but I pushed through and did it!
You can read about how I found a Sponsor if you haven’t already.
Give it a chance. It works if you work it.
I think that about covers the major misconceptions. NA is a place where one can feel accepted and I truly wish more people could experience the greatness that is the result of the 12 Step Program. It really does work if you work it “so keep coming back it, works if you work it, so work it you’re worth it!”
If you need to find a meeting in this time of COVID, check this list of online Zoom meetings – it’s never been easier!