The message of Narcotics Anonymous is simple: An addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use and find a new way to live. 

However, no one said it’s easy, and it’s certainly not easy while there’s a pandemic going on.

“It’s difficult to get clean under any circumstances, but right now it’s hard on many levels,” said Tracy D.

Tracy D., who is more than six years “clean,” and Brett V., a bit more than four years clean, are members of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and they use their initials to identify themselves for a reason.

“Essentially everybody’s the same, we don’t want to differentiate ourselves to much from others,” Tracy D. said. “We keep that spirit of anonymity.”

“We’re no different from any other member,” Brett V. said. “We’re no different than the addict that is still using.”

Brett V. explained that NA is about fellowship between addicts. They aren’t experts, he said, but experiences are shared and usually someone who is battling addiction can relate to some of those stories.

Those stories can be particularly painful during the holidays, Brett V. noted.

“It’s an emotional time of year. For me, holidays were always a rough time, before I got clean I never had any money, couldn’t buy presents – I was out getting high.” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 19,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States during the first three months of 2020, 3,000 more than the same time period in 2019.

Brett V. said initially he went to NA meetings for a sense of belonging, and now he goes to talk about the program and how his life has changed.

“I can go there if I’m in trouble, if I need help,” he said. “Or if I am feeling good, I can go there and feel better.”

• • •

Narcotics Anonymous is hosting both virtual and in-person meetings around Niagara County during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To find a virtual meeting, go to na.org.

Here is the current in-person meeting schedule.

MONDAYS: 6:30 p.m., Primary Purpose, 265 Falconer St., North Tonawanda; 7 p.m., Recovery Here & Now, 140 Genesee St., Lockport.

TUESDAYS: 7 p.m., Desperately Seeking Solutions, 50 Locust St., Lockport.

WEDNESDAYS: 1 p.m., A New Way To Live, The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport; 7 p.m., Complete Defeat, 7720 Goodrich Road, Clarence; 7 p.m., Against All Odds, 32 W. High St., Lockport.

THURSDAYS: 10 a.m., Plain & Simple, 50 Locust St., Lockport; 7 p.m., Show Up To Grow Up, 555 Davison Road, Lockport; 7 p.m., Recovery How & Why, 265 Falconer St., North Tonawanda.

FRIDAYS: 7 p.m., Keen To Be Clean, 50 Locust St., Lockport; 7 p.m., I Surrender, 265 Falconer St., North Tonawanda.

SATURDAYS: 11 a.m., No Matter What, 50 Locust St., Lockport; 7:30 p.m., Serene Saturdays, 50 Locust St., Lockport.

SUNDAYS: 7:30 p.m., Serene Saturday The Day After, 50 Locust St., Lockport.

The Niagara Orleans Area NA Helpline number is (716) 478-6992.

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