This is Jordan’s experience of how he felt going to an Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting. He is our marketing officer who went to his first meeting and we hope you enjoy the read.

Yesterday, I found myself going to something I had never imagined or ever wanted to go to. I attended an NA meeting as a visitor and I was absolutely thrilled and overjoyed that I went. It was an experience that matched some of my previous conceptions and completely surprised me in other aspects.

I arrived as a guest and I was introduced as a guest. I thought that as I don’t share some of the experiences with people there. I was welcomed with open arms, so many of the people there totally different from many stereotypes that are spoke about in society. Warm, kind and sharing people is whom I was met by, not low-lifes or anything degrading I’ve heard about from the media. I was offered a drink, biscuits and hugs. It was delightful to know that a meeting such as this revolved around being accepting of others.

The main conception that many people have is the sharing aspects of these meetings. This is what I would describe as an emotional rollercoaster. From laughing to being close to tears, I didn’t imagine feeling that way I felt. The strength and the courage that many individuals was inspiring to me. When someone is sharing, the room goes silent, looking and listening. I felt that I was on the edge of my seat listening intently to every word people were saying. The courage in the room feels as if it is contagious as even from a visitor’s point of view, I felt like I could share experiences with people I had never met before.

I learnt about myself from the meeting, from people that I thought that I may not be able to relate to. Vulnerability, I feel is very important for everyone; not just addicts. A very important idea that I have understood from NA is vulnerability is not a weakness, it is a strength. If you can be vulnerable, then you can improve and become stronger. It is great to know that it is ok for everyone to cry, it doesn’t show a lack of manliness, lack of strength or a lack of anything for that matter. If you cry, people won’t ridicule or judge you but it gives an indication for people to know that you need help. Everyone in NA helps each other as no one is perfect and each have a expertise in something.
The sense of belonging is felt from the minute I walked through the door. With addiction, there’s a chance that people won’t see the same person for a large period of time so everyone is genuinely happy that people have come for the first time, the 10th time or the 50th time, they just like to see them. Many people struggle from having a sense of belonging as I feel that many people are fickle and forget about those who they may even see as friends. Friends are often taken for granted so, given the ability to relate, belong and even make true friends is just wonderful.

Overall, the experience of going to an NA meeting was moving listening to the sharing and such a worthwhile experience for myself. After just attending one meeting, I feel that if I need help in my own life, I will ask for help from people in general, they won’t get annoyed or find it tedious but will be willing to as people don’t like to see people struggle. A struggle can often go unnoticed so I feel that sharing should be encouraged as bottling up is never a good idea; it can lead to much worse that opening up.

In all honesty, there should be meeting such as this that aren’t just for addicts, but everyone who wants to express vulnerability and for those who don’t feel like the belong. Many of these feelings happen in isolation and it is believed that they are the only person feeling the way they do, when it certainly isn’t the case, everyone should feel as if the belong just as you do in NA.