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Drug Addicts Anonymous Meetings: What Should I Expect?

What Are Drug Addicts Anonymous or Substance Abuse Anonymous Meetings?

Substance Abuse Anonymous or Drug Addicts Anonymous (DAA) may enrich and extend the positive effects of professional treatment. They are also known as self-help groups that provide help for drug addiction or any other form of substance abuse. Most are affiliated with Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Cocaine Anonymous (CA).1 

AA was the first of these groups and it was founded back in 1935. From it, the NA was founded in 1953. Both use a 12-step model specifically developed for people struggling with substance use disorders (SUD).2,3 

As of early 2018, NA alone has had more than 70,000 substance abuse anonymous meetings in 144 countries per week.4

What Are the 12 Steps of Drug Addicts Anonymous?

Groups based on the 12-step programs are mutual aid organizations that help individuals struggling with SUD. All of these organizations implement a specific process that follows these principles:5

The 12-step tradition was formally established in 1946 in Akron, Ohio. The practice is to stay anonymous or use only the individual’s first name while sharing messages that could help other struggling individuals.6 

Support groups based on this approach such as Drug Addicts Anonymous offer some important benefits:7 

  • DAA meetings offer individuals an opportunity for involvement with a group of people who are trying to maintain sobriety.
  • They offer a sense of belonging.
  • They offer mutual support to people recovering from drug addiction (or any other form of SUD).
  • They help former users make friends with common interests.
  • They destigmatize SUD.
  • They help former users gain a sense of responsibility.
  • They help individuals accept that they have a problem.
  • Substance abuse meetings are held several times a day, almost every day of the week, so you can always count on them.
  • They offer free help for users.

However, there are a few downsides to Substance Abuse Anonymous meetings. These include the following:7 

  • These programs don’t provide any medical advice unlike specialized addiction rehab facilities.
  • They require social involvement. Some people who struggle with SUD may feel anxious in group settings and would prefer one-on-one meetings.
  • They require some form of religious belief.
  • They insist that all struggling individuals use the word ‘addict’. Not everyone is comfortable with that.
  • They make individuals believe that they are powerless in front of SUD and that only a higher power can save them.
  • They take a lot of time.

What Happens at Drug Addicts Anonymous or Substance Abuse Anonymous Meetings?

Drug Anonymous meetings for drug addiction can complement the effects of professional rehabilitation treatment. They provide additional forms of help for drug addiction or any other type of SUD. Most rehab facilities encourage their patients to participate in DAA meetings during and after treatment.1

DAA meetings offer struggling individuals readily available community-based resources for free. This is a way to provide help to drug users with no insurance or money, as well as to individuals who might benefit from being in a community of supportive people who have had their own issues with SUD.7

What Are the Benefits of Drug Addicts Anonymous or Substance Abuse Anonymous Group?

DAA meetings and groups can provide many benefits to participants.7 Substance Abuse Anonymous groups show some level of clinical effectiveness. For instance, 42.3% of participants who participated in a survey that explored the benefits of DAA stated that they found DAA meetings helpful.7

The same study showed that people who are regular attendants of DAA meetings for three years or more were 4.1 to 8.6 times more likely to sustain abstinence compared to people who don’t participate in such programs.8

Overall, a great number of individuals reported feeling the benefits of being a part of a group of sober people. While a combination of medical treatment and Alcoholics or Addicts Anonymous meetings seems to provide the best outcome, a 12-steps program can help its members  remain abstinent from illicit substances.8

What Can I Expect at a Drug Addicts Anonymous or Substance Abuse Anonymous Meeting?

Substance Abuse Anonymous meetings tend to vary a bit, as they are directed by the local members. However, the basics behind them stay the same, as most people inside the room have gone through the same struggles.9 

During the meeting, the participants share their stories in an open discussion. Often, there is a topic that serves as the foundation behind this discussion.9

‘Newcomers’ will usually be asked to introduce themselves, using only their first name to stay anonymous. After that, many participants with similar stories will come to support the new participants and help them open up and reflect on the underlying reasons behind their addiction.9

What to Prepare Before Going for Drug Addicts Anonymous Meetings?

A person who wants to participate in DAA meetings doesn’t have to prepare anything physical to be able to attend. The meetings are free but every participant can leave a donation.9

However, you have to be in the right mindset and willing to participate. All individuals should be willing to stop using and be prepared to help themselves. Also, they are free to ask any questions related to drugs and alcohol, but bringing these substances is strictly forbidden during meetings.9   

Where Can I Attend Drug Addicts Anonymous or Substance Abuse Anonymous Meetings Near Me

There are many Drug Anonymous meetings nationwide held every day, many times a day. Some organizations, such as AA, NA, and Al-Anon, have downloadable applications that will let you know where you can find a Drug Anonymous meeting near you.4

Other than downloading apps, you might try the old-fashion way and look up a phone number in the local telephone book, white pages, or online. Next to AA, CA, and NA, you might also try to find these organizations:7

  • Celebrate Recovery.
  • Chemical Dependent Anonymous.
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous.
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous.
  • Marijuana Anonymous.
  • Moderation Management.
  • Pills Anonymous.
  • Women for Sobriety.

Some of these groups might even arrange an online group meeting via video call. However, most meetings are held in locations such as treatment centers, churches, or other similar facilities that tend to be affordable, convenient, and available.9 

What Is the Duration of Drug Addicts Anonymous Program?

There isn’t a set duration of DAA or any other 12-step program. While all participants are encouraged to come as many times as possible, any individual can decide to stop participating in the program whenever they feel like it. Similarly, they are free to return at any time, as long as they are actively working on their recovery.9

It’s important to note that the longer you attend the DAA meetings, the greater are your chances of successfully abstaining from substance use. Most sponsors encourage newcomers to attend 90 meetings in 90 days.8,9

When it comes to the duration of the meeting, most last for an hour, but there aren’t rules against them lasting longer or shorter.8  

How to Find a Drug Addict Anonymous Meeting Near Me?

Most 12-step organizations have their meetings listed on their websites. DAA, for example, has a list of upcoming meetings on its website that you can attend without scheduling. On it, you’ll certainly find helpful Drug Addicts Anonymous meetings near you

You might also learn when you can attend a meeting by calling a Drug Anonymous helpline on or even join by clicking the link that is available on the DAA’s website. DAA also enables users to start a meeting on their own. This can be done by following the instructions outlined by the group.

All of these meetings come free of charge. Unfortunately, they are just one aspect of addiction treatment and you may want to consider joining a specialized program. There are many payment options for individuals looking for help with their SUD should you decide to seek professional help.

Most insurance carriers will cover either a portion or the entire cost of your specialized rehab. If you aren’t certain whether you are covered, American Addiction Center (AAC) can help by verifying your insurance. You might also call their helpline and speak to a person who can check your benefits during the conversation.

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