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Stupid question about NA

Hey guys, quick question:

I've enrolled in my local NA for added support; I just moved to Carlsbad, CA to get away from the contacts I used to have. I've never done the whole NA thing before, and, while I agree that having as many struts for support as possible is critical, I'm not sure I can agree with some of the underlying philosophies of the program. I guess I'll have to attend a few and see for myself.

Anyway, here's my question: What is a "Candlelight" format meeting?

There are a number of formats listed for each NA chapter, and Candlelight appears to be common throughout, but a Google search and a NA search won't actually define what it is. I can't imagine it's a meeting actually conducted BY candlelight. Anyone have any experience?

Likewise, can anyone suggest which formats are most effective (I'm thinking "participation/discussion" is my best bet), and/or any good chapters in the Carlsbad/Encinitas/Vista area in California (that's North San Diego County).
9 Responses
271792 tn?1334979657
Jordan,

You are really over-thinking this. It's pretty simple really. NA is a fellowship of people who share a common goal: to learn how to get and STAY clean from drugs.

I have been in the fellowship since 1987 and I have no urge to hang around airports and hand out incense. (Trying to make you relax and smile). It is not a cult.

You will find meetings that you like and ones that you don't. You may not like the format or the group in general. Whatever the reason, keep going to find the ones that you DO like and stick with those. Get phone numbers from other members and find a sponsor. Those two things are most important right now.

You seem to be shying away from the idea that it may mimic a "religious" group? Good news, it does not. Yes, you will hear the word "God" and "Higher Power". That God is a God of YOUR understanding. All that the steps are asking is that you believe that a "Power" greater than yourself can restore you to sanity. If you choose to call the chair next to you your Higher Power, that is fine. And yes, addicts are helpless themselves to change their addiction (your words). With the help of others who have gone before us, we can stay clean. I know for me I cannot do it alone. My best thinking continually took me to places I did not want to be with people I did not want to be with. It took me to jails and rehabs. My thinking robbed me of everything I had and loved. It was not until I surrendered and admitted that I needed help that I began my recovery.

Discussion meetings are good. Speaker meetings are also good and step meetings are great once you get a little further along.

Please do not be discouraged thinking it is a "secret-society". The fellowship has been around some fifty some odd years (I forget exactly off the top of my head-1952 or 1953) so I think they would have been caught by now if it were not genuine then Jimmy K, the founder, would be jailed.

Again, do not over-think it. Take from it all you can get. Listen and learn. Also, please understand again, do not be discouraged, but there are some meetings that do not permit members to speak while on maintenance drugs such as Suboxone or Methadone. You are welcome to stay at the meetings but are asked not to speak. Years ago that was a strict rule but as of late you do not see it as often.

For tonight, try the Discussion meetings. Relax and know that you are among people who are just like you. Make the most of it.

Let us know how it goes. BTW, this is a great step for you---Congrats!!!!

Avatar universal
Yup!  It is!   Candlelight only,exactly what you're thinking...

If you google NA meetings in your town/county,you'll get a list of locations and descriptions.

This is a good move,Jordan. Recovery care is going to do the trick!

How are you feeling?

V.  xo
617347 tn?1331293081
do as sarah always says here, take what you need and leave the rest...
Avatar universal
Wait, Seriously?

It's a normal meeting, but they use candles instead of normal lights? Honestly?

I figured it was a metaphor or a euphemism of some sort. It's ACTUALLY done by candlelight? Why? What's the point?

One of my prime concerns about NA is the professed belief that addicts are helpless themselves to change their addiction, and only through outside or higher intervention can sobriety truly be achieved. That seems to religious for my taste. Add to it a candlelit ceremony, and seems to be approaching cultish. Am I reading this wrong?

Again, I want to make it clear that my FIRST meeting is tonight (I'm trying to decide between the 7:00pm "Discussion/Participation" and the 8:00pm "Candlelight Discussion/Participation". I'm not trying to judge, and I'll attend either way before coming to any conclusions, but that seems a bit... I dunno... secret society-ish...?
452063 tn?1324074916
When I first went to NA a year and a half ago, I stopped going because I was hearing all of the things I did not agree with and it blocked out the true purpose of being there. To get support and learn from other recovering addicts. You do have take what you can and leave the rest. Most of us, as addicts,  want to take negative inventory of what we hear. Now that I've gone back I do just that. I leave behind what won't help and find that most of what's there helps. Many members are strongly Christian. I study Eastern religions and philosophy. It encourages spirituality, not any specific religion. It's just that most find their "higher power" from Christianity. You don't have to conform to anything. Just have a willingness to be clean. Try to keep going and pick different meetings. They are all a bit different. I have learned through relapsing for the past 5 years that I AM powerless over my addiction without alot of help. Good luck. Keep trying:o) Corey
Avatar universal
Corey,

Thanks for the input! Don't get me wrong... I'm trying hard not to have any preconceptions going into the meeting; I've never been, so my vast wealth of knowledge is comprised of, "I read somewhere..."

I'm a Buddhist myself, but I have no problems with Christianity or any other religion for that matter. I'm just apprehensive that it will wind up being very preachy or theistically-slanted. I'm attending for, as you say, mutual support.

I've been to two scheduled meetings (or at least, so sayeth their website), only to find that in both cases the venue I'd arrived at was no longer hosting NA meetings. This will be my third attempt, and here's hoping there'll be a meeting at the other end of the commute. Regardless though, my intentions are to take what I can away others' input and experiences.

I'm surprised, however, how little functionality their web presence provides. I've found myself with more questions about the program than answers (i.e. the whole "Candlelight" thing, or finding actual, extant meetings); I've gotten more answers from wikipedia and miscellaneous forums than the official na.org website itself.

I've finally concluded that there's no help for it other than to just start attending and see what I can see.
Avatar universal
Jordan~
I'm dead serious.  Even though I'm funny at times and like to joke A LOT,I'll wait until you're feeling better...

It's not cultish although it sounds that way,I guess LOL.   It's actually sweet,calming;
folks tend to be quiet and it's peaceful for many.  But,if it were my first meeting, I know
I would prefer "lights on".

You are reading it wrong,in a way. It's not like going to a religious service. There is talk of a higher power but it's whatever power YOU want that to be. Also,powerlessness...
you'll need to decide that. Some people need to feel they have power over their addiction;others offer it up.  Just go ahead and go to the 7pm meeting. You don't have to say anything;maybe just say hello and give your first name. All meetings are unique.

Post back when you get home,okay?
V.  xo
Avatar universal
IB,

Thank you. That was the most salient, cohesive, thorough response I've gotten on any topic on any board to date. That pretty much answers my questions, while simultaneously putting me whole-heartedly at ease.

I'm not trying to over-think it, it's more a position of curiosity of the unknown coupled with a pressing desire to keep myself mentally occupied while in the dregs of WD.

Finally, the advice pertaining to suboxone treatment is both relevant and good to know. Is that information I should avoid (or make a point of) volunteering? I'm not on anything right now (just DT-ing most heinously), but this is a temporary state, as I'm intending on starting the Sub treatment as soon as it's safe for me to do so. Is there a resentment, or a hostility towards treatments like it? Should I look for specific meetings that encourage/discourage/are apathetic towards treatment regiments similar?

Anyway, thanks a bunch. I was in the middle of my previous post when you posted your response, and it handled much of my concerns/thoughts. Thanks again!
271792 tn?1334979657
Glad you are relaxing and glad to see you are going.

I cannot tell you which meetings to avoid or participate in, once you go and understand the philosophy you will know why.

Since it's Suboxone was approved in this country in 2003 it has not been as popular as it has been (statistically) in 2008 and 2009. Groups began adapting the policy of asking those members on the Sub program not to speak out of necessity to maintain the integrity of the fellowship (their words, not mine).  I went through the experience myself while I was on Suboxone but I was familiar with the meetings so I simply listened until I finished the program. I still got a lot out of the meetings whether I spoke or not.

I am off to eat dinner. Let us know how you make out this evening. Congrats on making the decision to go!!!!
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