How to Find Effective Online NA Meetings

Online NA meetings have replaced most traditional meetings during the pandemic. Learn more about them here. 

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What are NA Meetings?

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a non-profit organization that strives to help people overcome their addictions to narcotics by providing a safe, secure, and anonymous place to meet with others who understand what they are going through.1 Online NA meetings are a virtual form of this gathering where people can discuss overcoming their addiction in a virtual chatroom.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings were created with the same concept as AA meetings and follow a very similar “12 steps” program to help people in recovery maintain their sobriety. 

History of AA and NA

NA was founded in the footsteps of the success of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1955, twenty years after AA was founded, the first NA meetings were held. Although they are similar in their core tenets of individual responsibility and a belief in a higher power, there are a few key differences between Narcotics Anonymous meetings and AA meetings.

One of the biggest differences is that NA welcomes anyone struggling with addiction into their meetings. It does not matter what substance a person used, including alcohol. The only requirement for NA is that someone feels that they have lost control of themselves and that their addiction has overtaken their life.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings are typically longer than AA meetings, running ninety minutes as opposed to sixty. These meetings not only focus on recovery and treatment but also the science and reasoning behind addiction. They can be beneficial for those who are struggling to understand why they are addicted. 

12-Step Program

The 12-Step Program of NA is very similar to the AA program. Both programs emphasize making amends for the hurt that a person has caused themselves and others while under the influence of their addiction. This program includes steps such as admitting that one is powerless over addiction, accepting a greater power to restore control over one’s life, making a list of people that have been harmed due to a member’s addiction, and more.2

These steps are meant to be worked through over months, and it is accepted that these changes will not occur overnight. Research has shown that those who attend meetings and work through the program are 50% less likely to relapse than those who do not.3  

Online NA Meetings

Over the past decade, online NA meetings have become more prevalent due to the now widespread availability of the internet even in rural areas. During the pandemic, these online NA meetings have become even more common simply out of necessity.

How do Online NA Meetings Operate?

NA online meetings operate in almost the same way in-person meetings would. There are different types of meetings such as:

  • Open meetings where anyone is allowed
  • Closed meetings to only those who have been invited
  • Speaker meetings involving a keynote speaker
  • Specific meetings such as men only, female only, LGBTQ+ only, etc. Specific meetings such as men only, female only, LGBTQ+ only, etc.
  • Study meetings which involve studying the 12-Steps or the Big Book

These meetings typically begin with an opening statement from the designated group leader and then move into welcoming anyone new and allowing those who want to share their stories to do so.

Just as in a traditional meeting, no one is required to speak up, introduce, or draw attention to themselves if they do not want to. It is perfectly acceptable to simply sit and listen, but it may be more beneficial to actively participate if possible. 

How Effective are Online NA Meetings?

The answer to this question depends on the individual. Online NA meetings can be just as effective as traditional ones if a person is committed to their recovery.5 That said, NA online meetings still have flaws, and it can be difficult for those who are just starting their recovery to feel the emotional connection and support that they would in person. 

Examining the Pros and Cons

The Benefits of Online NA Meetings

When a person is new to NA, it is generally recommended that they attend a meeting every day for the first ninety days of their recovery if possible. There are several benefits to online NA meetings including:

  • More accessible to members who do not have transportation
  • Accessible to members who live in rural areas and do not have access to in-person meetings
  • Allows for more flexibility in schedules and makes it easier for busy people to attend meetings
  • Meetings happen 24/7 online
  • May benefit those with social anxiety who don’t like attending functions
  • May offer more security and anonymity than traditional meetings 

The Negatives of Online NA Meetings

Although online NA meetings offer many benefits, there are a few negatives that should be considered as well. Online NA meetings may not be the right choice for everyone. Some of the negatives include:

  • Members may not feel that they are being held as accountable
  • Some members may not feel as though the process is serious online
  • The lack of emotional and physical connection may be detrimental to some
  • Can be difficult to gauge emotions and there may be misunderstandings without body language
  • There is a lack of stability as people tend to come and go from online groups
  • Some members may not feel encouraged to attend regularly 

How to Find NA Meetings Near You

Most major metropolitan areas have several locations where NA meetings are typically held. Many community centers, churches, or other public spaces offer their buildings as meeting areas. A good place to start is by asking your doctor or therapist if they know of any in the area that they can recommend.

From there, check the official NA website and utilize their location tool to find a NA meeting near you. If you live in a more rural area, then an NA online meeting may be easier to attend. The times and dates of these can also be found on the www.na.org website.

In many cases, if you have received inpatient or outpatient treatment for an addiction, the staff at the clinic will also be able to provide you with information about any nearby NA meetings. Many organizations work with Narcotics Anonymous to help those who are struggling with an addiction to find help, such as families against narcotics, which can help direct you to an NA meeting.

Resources

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Gina Bowman

Executive Assistant

Gina Bowman is the Executive Assistant at Brooks Healing Center. She was born in Florida but resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband, Tyler Bowman, and two daughters Charlotte and Isabella.

Gina is a friendly, loyal, and dedicated individual. She has a heart for helping others and understands the effects of addiction and the toll it can take on families. She is the one that helps make things happen behind the scenes and brings fun ideas to Brooks Healing Center as well as keeping things organized. 

Colleen Bradford, MBA, BA-MHR

Executive Director, Human Resources Director

Colleen Believes servitude towards others provides a solid foundation for personal and professional growth. She is a calm problem solver who juggles multiple situations simultaneously and works confidently and efficiently in even the most challenging, fast-paced environments. She is highly regarded for her consistent ability to apply sound judgment, emotional intelligence, and etiquette to sensitive, confidential, and unpredictable situations. She is an organized, professional, resourceful, and seasoned healthcare professional with diverse skills for boosting organizational productivity and quality of care initiatives.

Colleen has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration with a minor in health care administration from Trevecca Nazarene University. She has been married for 32 years to Doyle Bradford, and they have two sons, Thomas and Allen Bradford, along with two grandchildren, Ben and Faith Bradford. She is excited to have this unique opportunity to serve her community. She is a phenomenal cookie baker and mother figure to those at the Brooks Healing Center. We are honored to have her be a part of our vision. 

Frank Throneberry

Co-Founder and COO

Frank is a lifelong 7th generation native of Middle Tennessee. Frank cares for his local community and keeping Tennessee healthy, knowing that people all over the USA seek out his home state’s friendly and outdoor atmosphere. He is a hardworking and energetic person that is no stranger to going out of his way to help others.

Frank started his recovery from alcohol and substance abuse over seven years ago. He is continually working on a recovery program and became passionate about sharing his story, helping others, and supporting others to find freedom from their addiction. He also formerly owned and managed ‘recovery community’ homes where he walked with and encouraged many individuals in their journey. Frank’s servant attitude is what helps him listen, understand, and put others’ needs first.

Outside of his career, Frank cherishes his time with his wife, Maribeth, and his three children: Jackson, Piper, and Charlie. They enjoy the great outdoors on their family farm in Shelbyville, TN, and boating and fishing with family on Tim’s Ford Lake. He is a dedicated husband and father. 

James “Tyler” Bowman

Founder and CEO

Tyler is the heart of the Brooks Healing Center. His vision is to guide others to find their own recovery and to thrive in life. Tyler was fortunate to have lived through his addiction and now finds fulfillment in serving others. Tyler has worked in the substance abuse field for over five years and felt convicted to build a place where individuals are loved until they can learn to love themselves.  

Tyler has the love and support of his family as he continues to provide care to those who have lost themselves along the way. Tyler is the father of two daughters, Charlotte, his oldest, and Isabella, his youngest. Tyler’s wife, Gina, supports the Brooks Healing Center’s vision, and she shares his passion for helping others as well.  

Tyler has a story to tell and is willing to share his experiences, good or bad, with anyone. Brooks Healing Center is the way he gives back for all he took when he was using. For the past seven years, Tyler has gone beyond to share his recovery and is thriving in life.