Can You Speak During an NA/AA Meeting if You’re High?

Many people who start going to Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are still actively using. Some people may wait until the meeting is over to drink or do drugs, but others might turn up to their meeting completely intoxicated. In this case, you won’t be kicked out or be banned from participating. Instead, you will most likely be encouraged to sit quietly, listen to the stories and speak with a member after the meeting.

Can You Be Drunk at an AA Meeting?

Alcoholics Anonymous members are all from different backgrounds and at different points in their recovery. Some have never been to a meeting before while others may have been attending for over 10 years. There are no requirements for attendance; even family and friends of alcoholics may attend to learn more about the nature of the disease, hear from real people’s experiences and get advice on how to help their loved one. If you show up drunk at a meeting, you will still be welcomed with open arms, but you won’t be able to receive the same level of support and hope as you would if you were sober.

Even if it’s just for the meeting, it’s best for you to have a clear mind. Being at AA is a time to be present, real and upfront about your addiction in a way that you may never get to be around other people. It is a waste to squander that opportunity by attending intoxicated. As many people also rely on AA as a sober support system, it can be triggering for people who are newly recovered to see someone intoxicated. While there are other members there who will be there to help them, you should also consider the effect your actions may have on someone else.

Being High at a Narcotics Anonymous Meeting

Just like AA, NA meetings still allow members to remain if they show up under the influence. However, their participation will likely be restricted as they’re more likely to ramble incoherently or drift off into unrelated conversation.

At an NA meeting, individuals are always encouraged to be open and share about what they’re currently going through in recovery. It is a place for others to learn, heal and grow. Narcotics Anonymous encourages people who are presently using to attend a meeting every day for at least 90 days to get to know the members and benefit the most from the program. The only time you would be escorted out of a meeting or asked to leave is if you caused a major disturbance or acted violently against any of the members while high.

Keep Coming Back

You’ll commonly be told to “keep coming back” in AA and NA meetings. This sentiment is more than just about participation – it is a message that embodies the heart of recovery as a whole. As long as you keep trying, there is hope. Even if you relapse, there is hope. You can always return to the meetings, gain new support and find better resources to help you on your journey. NA and AA are excellent tools for relapse prevention and sobriety maintenance, but they are often not enough to treat serious addictions. Instead, most people with a drug problem require a full medical detox service followed by a round of inpatient or outpatient treatment. Then, they can regularly attend NA or AA meetings to meet sober friends and continue their recovery in a supportive and non-judgemental environment.

Signs You Should Seek Help

If you have been attending meetings but still struggle with drug use, there are some signs that you could benefit from a higher level of care offered by a licensed rehab. These signs have been adopted from the Narcotics Anonymous handout, “Are You an Addict?”: – You frequently use alone. – You feel anxious and/or depressed when you aren’t using. – You have lied, stolen or done other things you disapprove of to acquire drugs. – You’ve tried to stop or control your use but been unable to. – Your efforts to quit are often hindered by extreme cravings. – You’ve put buying alcohol or drugs ahead of other financial responsibilities.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer free materials on their website to help you screen yourself for a substance use disorder. You could also talk to some of the members in person about your problem. They can help you decide if rehab is the right next step for you in recovery and even suggest some facilities other members have benefitted from.

Learn More About Your Recovery Sobriety is a choice you make every day. Right now, you can choose to reach out and learn about recovery resources and rehabs in your area. Our experts are on-call 24-hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and connect you with treatment programs near you. Contact us at 833-820-2922.