Information for the Newcomer
It can be difficult coming to your first meeting because you don't understand how things work. It is our hope that many of your questions will be answered on this page.
Nar-Anon is a Spiritual Program
This means that we accept the idea that we are dependent upon a Higher Power for help in solving our problems and achieving peace of mind. A member's individual religious beliefs are a personal matter, and we make it a point to avoid discussions regarding any specific faiths.
Each meeting will have a literature table where you will find information about Nar-Anon. We suggest you first read the literature in your newcomer packet and then visit the literature table. Remember that our literature is to help and guide you as you recover and continue to work the program. It is not intended to fix all your problems; it is to help you in your journey.
Types of Meetings
In Santa Barbara at the I Can Be Free meeting, we have a different type of meeting each week of the month. In this way, our members can experience a full-range of meeting experiences.
- First Week of the Month
Step Study Meeting
The Steps are suggested as a program of recovery. The Steps guide us through a spiritual awakening that will transform our lives and the lives of those around us. We study the Step that corresponds to the number of the month. For example, in August we study Step 8.
- Second Week of the Month
Sharing the Slogans / Tools of the Program Meeting
There are many “tools” we use in the Nar-Anon program to protect our serenity, even in times of great turmoil around us. In this meeting members are free to share on which tools they use to keep a bright outlook on the day.
- Third Week of the Month
Book Study Meeting
In a "book study" meeting, the leader chooses a reading from Nar-Anon Conference Approved Literature. We all take turns reading a bit, and then the leader shares on that topic. When the leader is done, he or she opens the meeting for all members to share on the topic or, as always, you can share what you need to, keeping the focus on yourself if you can.
- Fourth Week of the Month
Open Share Meeting
In an “open share” meeting the leader picks a topic, or not, shares and then opens the meeting for others to share what is in their minds and in their hearts.
- Fifth Week of the Month
When there is a fifth week in a month we have a speaker meeting. In a speaker meeting, we have a member of Nar-Anon or sometimes Narcotics Anonymous share their story with the group. Often there is time to ask questions of the speaker. There is no individual sharing time during the speaker meeting. However, as always you can talk with any of us after the meeting.
At Nar-Anon meetings, only one person speaks at a time. Anyone may express an opinion during their sharing. We do not engage in dialogue, debate or cross-talk during the meeting. We do not comment, correct, or judge others as we share. What is true for one may not be true for another. Those who would rather just listen are free to do so. Remember, we are not here to talk about the addict's problems but to keep the focus on ourselves and our own recovery. If you have questions, you are encouraged to stay after the meeting to speak with others, or you may want to use your phone list during the week.
Nar-Anon Spoken Here
You may notice that Nar-Anon members have a language all their own. This is one of the reasons we ask members to keep coming back. At first the new words and phrases you are hearing may appear foreign to you. This may be a little overwhelming to the newcomer. You will learn about the steps, traditions, and slogans and find helpful information in our Nar-Anon literature. Sometimes you may wonder why the same readings need to be repeated at each meeting. As you continue to attend meetings, you will find that those readings and slogans will become a part of your everyday recovery.
Contributions are Voluntary
Our Seventh Tradition in Nar-Anon states: Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. As all contributions are voluntary, a member may give what he or she can afford when the basket is passed. Group funds are used to purchase literature, pay rent for the meeting place, website hosting, and make periodic donations to the Central California region, and World Service Office (WSO). A group may also decide to purchase refreshments and serving supplies.
Members can be of service to their group before the meeting by helping to set up chairs, put out literature and make refreshments, and cleaning up when the meeting is over. After you have attended meetings for a while, you may want to lead a meeting, or serve as group secretary, treasurer or group service representative (GSR). We have found that doing service work has been helpful in our recovery.
© Copyright 2014 Nar-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. Used with permission from Nar-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 23110 Crenshaw Blvd. Suite A, Torrance, CA 90505, USA.