OPEN AND CLOSED MEETINGS
Our purpose in addressing open and closed NA meetings is to help NA members understand precisely what NA meetings can offer to both addicts and non-addicts. There are different types of NA meetings which serve different purposes. Communication from the fellowship has revealed the need to understand what role the different types play in carrying our message.
Our message of recovery in meetings can be clouded or diluted when people such as parents, spouses, therapists, members of other fellowships, or others who are not NA members share or speak at NA meetings.
It is our belief that, by gaining clarity about open and closed NA meetings, our members can be prepared to carry the message of recovery from drug addiction to addicts, as well as sharing our message to others who are interested.
The following are guidelines regarding open and closed meetings:
- A Narcotics Anonymous meeting, whether it is open or closed, is a refuge for addicts. It is intended to be a safe and beneficial place where an addict can hear about and participate in recovery from the disease of drug addiction. As much as we might like to, we cannot be all things to all people.
- A closed meeting in Narcotics Anonymous is for those individuals who identify themselves as addicts or for those who are uncertain and think they might have a drug problem. A closed Narcotics Anonymous meeting provides a freedom that is necessary for more personal and intimate sharing by Narcotics Anonymous members. It does so by providing an atmosphere in which addicts can feel more certain that those attending will be able to identify with them, and share their own experience, strength, and hope
An open meeting is an NA meeting that may be attended by anyone (e.g., judges, probation officers, professionals, family members) interested in how we have found recovery from the disease of addiction. Verbal participation, however, is limited to NA members only. An open meeting in Narcotics Anonymous allows people from outside of the fellowship to observe what Narcotics Anonymous is and how it functions. This can be very helpful to those individuals who are striving to reach a decision regarding their personal status as an addict. An open meeting in Narcotics Anonymous is one method our groups use to achieve their primary purpose of carrying the message to the addict who still suffers. Some groups also have open meetings as a way of allowing non-addict friends and relatives of NA members to celebrate recovery anniversaries with them.