1 A Guide to Local Services IN NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS ® ersion ersion 2002 V 2002 V 2002 V ersion ersion ersion 2002 V 2002 V
2 ® Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous 1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of as we understood Him. God 4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. 8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious as we understood Him, praying only for contact with God knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Twelve Steps reprinted for adaptation by permission of AA World Services, Inc.
3 A Guide to Local Services IN NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS ® Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Chatsworth, California
4 A Guide to Local Services in Narcotics Anonymous Copyright © 1989, 1997 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All rights reserved. Published in the USA. ce World Service Of fi PO Box 9999 Van Nuys, CA 91409 USA T 818.773.9999 F 818.700.0700 Website: www.na.org World Service Of fi ce–CANADA Mississauga, Ontario fi World Service Of ce–EUROPE Brussels, Belgium T +32/2/646 6012 World Service Of fi ce–IRAN Tehran, Iran www.na-iran.org Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions adapted and reprinted by permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. This is NA Conference-approved literature. Narcotics Anonymous ® The name “Narcotics Anonymous,” the stylized initials “NA” alone or within a double circle , , and the Original NA Group Logo the four-sided diamond enclosed in a circle are registered trademarks and service marks of Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Incorporated. The NA Way is a registered trademark of Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Incorporated, for its periodical publication. Twelve Concepts for NA Service is also published separately as a booklet available from World Service Of fi ce. This material is non-adaptable NA Fellowship-approved literature. Twelve Concepts for NA Service copyright © 1989, 1990, 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All rights reserved. were modeled on AA’s Twelve Concepts for World The Twelve Concepts for NA Service Service, published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., and have evolved speci fi c to the needs of Narcotics Anonymous. The chapter in this guide entitled “The NA Group” is also published separately as The Group Booklet, copyright © 1990, 1997, by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. This material is non-adaptable NA Fellowship-approved literature. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-1-55776-246-7 WSO Catalog Item No. EN-2111 10/10
5 GENERAL TABLE OF CONTENTS Diagram of the NA Service Structure ... v ... vii Summary of the NA Service Structure Detail Table of Contents ... ix Introduction ... xi ... 1 Twelve Concepts Developing NA Communities ... 21 ... 25 The NA Group The Area Service Committee ... 45 Dividing Area Service Committees ... 70 The Metropolitan Services Committee ... 78 The Regional Service Committee ... 87 ... 102 Local Service Centers Sample Rules of Order ... 104 NA Intellectual Property Bulletin #1 ... 112 Glossary ... 115 Index 8 ... 11 Bulletins, handbooks, and other materials available from the World Service Office ... 120 Twelve Concepts and Twelve Traditions summary pullout sheet ... 121 iii
7 The Narcotics Anonymous Service Structure The following is a brief description of the se rvice units of Narcotics Anonymous. A more l level including groups, areas, metropolitan complete description of service on the loca can be found in this , services, regions, etc. Guide to Local Services in Narcotics Additional information about NA World Services may be found in A Guide Anonymous. to World Services in Narcotics Anonymous . The NA Group ons of recovering addicts. They are the NA groups are local, informal associati oups are formed for the primary purpose of foundation of the NA service structure. Gr r activities should reflect that purpose. carrying the NA message of recovery, and all thei Conducting Narcotics Anonymous meetings is the primary activi ty of an NA group. The way seems fit to its members, provided group may conduct its own affairs in whatever istent with NA’s Twelve Traditions, and do not adversely the group's actions are cons affect other groups or the ent ire NA Fellowship. In the conduc t of the affairs of NA as a whole, the groups delegate to the rest of t he service structure the responsibility for the fulfillment of NA services. Group service representatives (GSRs) are elected to participate on behalf of the groups in the area committee and the regional assembly. The Area Service Committee (ASC) The area committee is the primary means by which the services of a local NA community are administered. The area co mmittee is composed of group service representatives, administrative officers (chai rperson, vice chairperson, secretary, the area's regional committee members. treasurer), subcommittee chairpersons, and The area committee elects its own officers, subcommittee chairpersons, and RCMs. The Metropolitan Service Committee (MSC) A metropolitan service committee may exist to administer a single set of coordinated NA subcommittees in a city that has more t han one ASC, eliminating duplication of services and providing greater effectiveness in carrying the NA message. The Regional Service Committee (RSC) Regional service committees exist to pool the experience and resources of the areas and groups it serves. The RSC is composed of regional committee members (RCMs) elected by the region’s member-areas; t hese RCMs usually elect regional committee officers from among themselves. RSCs organize regional assemblies at which GSRs and RCMs discuss a wide range of service ma tters, including those likely to come before the World Service Conference, and may elect a regional delegate and alternate delegate to the WSC. Zonal Forums Zonal forums are service-oriented sharing and/or business sessions that provide the means by which NA communities can co mmunicate, cooperate, and grow with one another. Although not a part of NA’s formal dec ision-making system, world services and zonal forums interact in many ways. vii
8 NA World Services (NAWS) World services are those services whic h deal with the needs of NA as a whole, and , and to society. The bas ic purposes of our which NA offers to its members, its groups world services are communication, coordinat ion, information, and guidance. We provide these services so that our groups and me mbers can more successfully carry the of recovery can be made more available message of recovery, and so that our program to addicts everywhere. World Service Conference (WSC) es, the conference is not an entity; it is an event—the Unlike all other NA service bodi coming together. Every two year s, regional delegates, the mem bers of the World Board, rvice Office meet to discuss questions of and the executive director of the World Se cs Anonymous as a whol e. The purpose of the significance to the Fellowship of Narcoti WSC is to be supportive of the fellowship as a whole, and to define and take action according to the group conscience of Narcotics Anonymous. The World Board (WB) The purpose of the World Board of Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. is to contribute to the continuation and growth of Narcotics Anonymous. The World Board manages all activities of world services in cluding oversight of the operations of the fellowship’s primary service center, the World Service Office. The World Service Office (WSO) in service center, is to carry out the The purpose of the World Service Office, our ma directives of the World Service Conference in matters that relate to communications and information for the Fellowship of NA, it s services, groups, and members. The World Service Office achieves this purpose by maintaining correspondence with NA groups and service committees, by printing and dis tributing WSC-approved literature, and by maintaining the archives and files of Narcotics Anonymous. The Human Resource Panel (HRP) and the World Pool tion/selection process that allows the The Human Resource Panel facilitates an elec World Services Conference to choose tru sted servants based upon the principles of ability and experience, and help to allow members to be nominated from around the world without having to be present at the c onference to receive due consideration. The HRP administers the world pool, which is t he source for candidates that the HRP can select from to recommend for WSC elections for the World Board, for the WSC Co- Facilitators, and for the Hum an Resource Panel. The World Board can also draw members from the pool to serve on board committees or project workgroups. viii
9 DETAIL TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ... xi The Area Service Committee ... 45 Introduction ... 45 Twelve Concepts fo r NA Serv ice ... 1 The area committee and other NA services ... 46 First Conc ept ... 2 ... 46 Area committee participants ... ... 3 Second Concept Group service representatives (GSRs) ... 47 ... 4 Third Concept Administrative officers ... 47 ept ... 6 Fourth Conc Chairperson ... 48 ept ... 7 Fifth Conc Vice chairperson ... 48 ept ... 9 Sixth Conc Secretary ... 48 Seventh Concept ... 10 Treasurer ... 49 ... 11 Eighth Concept Regional committee members (RCMs) ... 50 Ninth Conc ept ... 13 Elections and rotation ... 50 ... 15 Tenth Concept Subcommittees ... 51 Eleventh Conc ept ... 16 Diagram: Area committee, subcommittees ... 52 ept ... 18 Twelfth Conc Translations ... 52 Developing NA Co mmunities ... 21 ... 53 Hospitals and institutions ... ... 21 group ... The first Public information ... 53 ... 21 Initial NA service development Phoneline ... 54 unity gr ows ... 23 The national comm Literature supply ... 54 The NA Gr oup ... 25 Newsletter ... 54 ... 25 Introduction ... 55 Activities ... 25 What is an NA group? Diagram: Trademarks ... 55 What is a "hom ... 27 e group"? Outreach ... 55 mber? Who can be a me ... 27 Meeting lists ... 56 What are "open" and "closed" meetings? ... 28 Ad hoc committees ... 57 NA meeti Where can we hold ngs? ... 28 Area committee policy and guidelines ... 57 What kind of meeting format can we use? ... 29 Area inventory ... 58 Participation meetings ... 29 Participation ... 60 meetings ... 30 Topic discussion Area budgeting ... 61 Study meetings ... 30 ... 62 Diagram: Fund flow ngs ... 30 Speaker meeti Other funding considerations ... ... 62 Newcomer meet ings ... 30 The monthly meeting ... 63 meetings ... 30 Question-and-answer The sharing session ... 64 format ... 30 Developing your Group problems ... 64 What kinds of literature should we use? ... 31 Area committee issues ... 64 ness meeti What is a group busi ng? ... 31 Area committees in rural communities ... 65 get done? ... 32 How does the work Diagram: Rural area configuration ... 66 How do we choose gr oup officers ? ... 33 ... 67 Learning days, workshops ... What officers does ... 33 need? a group ... 67 Creating new area committees ... Secretary ... 33 Sample ASC agenda ... 69 Treasurer ... 34 ttees ... 70 Dividing Area Service Commi Group service representat ive (GSR) ... 35 ... 71 How to divide GSR... 36 Alternate Area boundaries ... 71 nuity ... 36 Rotation and conti Functional analysis ... ... 72 ... 36 ies ... Group responsibilit To metro... ... 73 NA servic Group support for other es ... 37 ...Or not to metro? ... 73 ... 38 Diagram: Fund flow ... 74 Diagram: Area shared services unity ... 38 Serving our comm Function, not form ... 75 ... 39 How can our group solve its problems? Multiple areas ... 75 format ... 40 Sample meeting Why not a metro region? ... ... 76 New group checklis t ... 43 ... 44 New group registration form ix
10 The Metropolitan Services Committee ... 78 Local Service Centers ... 102 Why consolidate? ... 78 Sample Rules of Order ... 104 Consolidation process ... 79 Decorum statement ... 104 and resources ... 79 Inventory of services Debate, limits ... 104 Analysis of se rvice needs ... 80 Motions ... 104 The metro plan ... 81 Main motions ... 105 r ASCs ... 82 New focus fo Parliamentary motions ... ... 105 Fellowship revi ew ... 82 1. Amend ... 105 ... 82 Process reminders ... 106 2. Previous question o environm ASCs in the metr ent ... 83 3. Table ... 106 ASC responsibilities ... 83 4. Remove from the table ... 107 Communications ... 83 5. Refer ... 107 ... 83 ASC participants 6. Reconsider or rescind ... ... 107 ... 84 ASC funding needs 7. Withdraw a motion ... 108 Diagram: Fund flow ... 85 8. Substitute motion ... 108 Metro committee organization ... 85 9. Adjourn ... 108 Area divisions in cities served by an MSC ... 85 Other procedures ... ... 108 ... 86 Diagram: Configuring local services with MSC Order of the day ... 108 Point of information ... 109 ttee ice Commi The Regional Serv ... 87 Point of order ... 109 Introduction ... 87 Point of appeal ... 109 Regional committee s ... 87 participant Parliamentary inquiry ... 109 Regional committee members (RCMs) ... 87 ... 110 Point of personal privilege . Regional delegat e ... 88 Voting procedures ... 110 egate ... 88 Alternate del Motion table ... 111 ... 89 Additional me mbers gnments ... 89 Resource assi NA Intellectual Property Bulletin #1 ... 112 Diagram: RSC with no subcommittees ... 90 Glossary ... 115 Regional committee meetings ... 90 Service foru ms ... 92 Index ... 118 mbly ... 93 Regional asse Bulletins, handbooks, service materials ... 120 Regional delegate elections ... 93 Twelve Concepts & Twelve Traditions ... 95 Regional finances summary pullout sheet ... 121 Diagram: Fund flow ... 95 Regional activities ... 96 Variations on the basic regional model ... 97 Regional subco mmittees ... 97 Diagram: RSC with subcommittees ... 97 ubcommitt Sharing-format s ees ... 98 ubcommitt ees ... 98 Direct service s Diagram: Area shared services ... 99 Additional regional assemb lies ... 100 Interregional c ooperation ... 100 ... 101 Diagram: Regional shared services x
11 INTRODUCTION There is only one requirement for NA me mbership, “a desire to stop using,” e benefits is the privilege of service. but there are many benefits. One of thes spent years of our lives locked up in We who have the disease of addiction ourselves. We were cut off from t he warmth and fellowship of other human xclusively around “getting and using and beings; our lives revolved almost e finding ways and means to get more.” The love that connects one person to another to the next, the selfless servic e that feeds and houses and clothes and warms and nurtures humankind—of that love , of that selfless service we had no part. That’s why it’s such a privilege in our recovery to be able to serve others, for we come to know ourselves only in looking beyond ourselves and we keep what we have only by giving it away. By empat hizing with other members, by learning to appreciate their needs, by placing them ahead of our own—by these things we learn to love others, and in so doing we learn to love ourselves. The service we do in our recovery is many things. We take a more active role in our everyday lives, serving others as better friends, better family members, better workers, and better citizens. When we find an NA meeting where we feel at home and NA friends with whom we i dentify, we’ve found a home group, a base for our own recovery and a place where we can serve other addicts by sharing our recovery with them. The time, the experience, the empathy we offer others in our home group we extend even further to those we serve in NA ng others demonstrate the spiritual sponsorship. All these ways of servi our efforts “to carry this message to awakening of our Twelfth Step, evidenced in addicts and to practice these principl es in all our affairs.” This guidebook s can be of service in Narcotics describes additional ways recovering addict A Guide to Local Services in NA will serve as a Anonymous. Our hope is that portal to new paths of service for many, many NA members. A Guide to Local Services in Narcotics Anonymous is intended to serve as a resource to those in every country w ho have committed themselves to providing the services necessary to carry our me ssage to the still-suffering addict. Portions of it may prove to be inappropriate fo r your use either because of geography, national or provincial law, cultural diffe rences, or the developm ental state of your NA community. If this is the case, your NA community should feel free to adapt this guide to meet your own needs, provi ded that those adaptations are consistent with NA’s Twelve Steps, Twel ve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts for Service. For further information concer ning local adaptation of material from A contact NA’s World Service Guide to Local Services in Narcotics Anonymous, Office. xi
12 NOTE The first chapter of this guide, “Twelve Concepts for NA Service,” was approved in its entirety by NA’s World Service Conference in 1992. It is also published separately as a booklet that can be purchased from our World Service Office. The booklet has a special study section for individuals and groups.
13 TWELVE CONCEPTS FOR NA SERVICE The Twelve Traditions of NA have gui ded our groups well in the conduct of the foundation for NA services. They have their individual affairs, and they are steered us away from many pitfalls that could have meant our collapse. Our for example, they do not govern; we stay out of serve, various service units public debate; we neither endorse nor oppose any of the many causes that our members may feel strongly about; our appr oach to addiction is a nonprofessional one; we are fully self-supporting. The tradi tions have provided our fellowship with elopment, and they continue to be essential guidance throughout its dev indispensable. The Twelve Concepts for NA Servic e described here are intended to be e at every level. The practically applied to our service structur spiritual ideals of our steps and traditions provide the basis for these concepts, which are tailored hip’s service structure. The concepts to the specific needs of our fellows hieve our traditions’ ideals, and our encourage our groups to more readily ac service structure to function effectively and responsibly. These concepts have been crafted fro m our experience. They are not intended to be taken as the “law” for NA serv ice, but simply as guiding principles. We find that our services are stabiliz ed when we conscientiously apply these abilized our lives and our traditions have concepts, much as our steps have st ve Concepts guide our services and stabilized and unified our groups. The Twel help ensure that the message of Narcotics Anonymous is available to all addicts who have a desire to stop using and begin practicing our way of life. 1. To fulfill our fellowship’s primar y purpose, the NA groups have joined together to create a structure which develops, coordinates, and maintains services on behalf of NA as a whole. 2. The final responsibility and authority for NA services rests with the NA groups. 3. The NA groups delegate to the service structure the authority necessary to fulfill the responsibilities assigned to it. 4. Effective leadership is highly valued in Narcotics Anonymous. Leadership qualities should be carefully considered when selecting trusted servants. 5. For each responsibility assigned to the service structure, a single point of decision and accountability should be clearly defined. 6. Group conscience is the spiritual means by which we invite a loving God to influence our decisions. 7. All members of a service body bear s ubstantial responsibility for that body’s decisions and should be allowed to fully participate in its decision-making processes. 8. Our service structure depends on t he integrity and effectiveness of our communications. 1
14 2 A Guide to Local Services in NA e have the responsibility to carefully 9. All elements of our service structur consider all viewpoints in their decision-making processes. 10. Any member of a service body can pet ition that body for the redress of a personal grievance, without fear of reprisal. her our primary purpose, and must be 11. NA funds are to be used to furt managed responsibly. 12. In keeping with the spiritual nature of Narcotics Anonymous, our structure should always be one of service, never of government. FIRST CONCEPT To fulfill our fellowship’s primary purpose, the NA groups have joined together to create a structure wh ich develops, coordinates, and maintains services on behalf of NA as a whole. carry the message “that an addict, any Our fellowship’s primary purpose is to addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desir e to use, and find a new way to live.” One of the primary means by which that message is carried, addict to addict, is in our meetings. These recovery meetings , conducted thousands of times each day by NA groups around the world, are the mo st important service offered by our fellowship. However, while recovery meetings are NA’s most important service, they are not the only means we have of fulfilling our fellowship's prim ary purpose. Other ct to our meetings, carry our message NA services attract the still-suffering addi to addicts in institutions, make reco very literature available, and provide experience with one other. No one of these opportunities for groups to share their hing the value of group recovery meetings services, by itself, comes close to matc in carrying our message; each, however, plays its own indispensable part in the overall program devised by the NA Fello wship to fulfill its primary purpose. we cannot accomplish separately. This is true in our We can do together what personal recovery and is equally true in our services. In new NA communities, groups often perform basic services in addi tion to their meetings. But fulfillment of the full range of NA services—phoneli nes, H&I panels, public information work, outreach, and the rest—usually requi res more people and more money than a single group can muster on its own. The degree of organization necessary to carry out such responsibilities would divert most groups from carrying the NA message in their meetings. And the lack of coordination am ong groups delivering various services on their own could resu lt in duplication, confusion, and wasted resources. For these reasons, most gr oups do not take such responsibilities on themselves. How, then, can NA’s groups ensure the fulfillment of these services? They do so by combining their resources, join ing together to create a structure which develops, coordinates, and maintains those services for them, leaving the groups free to carry out their own primary responsibility.
15 Twelve Concepts 3 SECOND CONCEPT The final responsibility and authority for NA services rests with the NA groups. The NA service structure has been created by the groups to serve the common needs of the groups. Our fellowship’s service boards and committees exist to h one another, provide tools which help help groups share their experience wit bers to group recovery meetings, and groups function better, attract new mem carry the NA message further than any single group could carry it alone. Because the groups have created the servic e structure, they have final authority over all its affairs. By the same token, the groups also have the final responsibility for the support of all its activities. The two go hand in hand. flip sides of the same coin; the Ideally, responsibility and authority are exercise of one is also an exercise of the other. When our groups provide the resources—conscience and ideas, people, money—needed to fulfill NA services, they also provide direction to the servic e structure. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how this principle works. The most important resource contribut ed to the service structure by an NA group is almost exclusively spiritual: it s ideas and its conscience. Without the voice of the groups, the service structure may not know what kinds of services are needed, or whether the services it provides are ones the groups want. The needed to guide the service structure in groups provide the ideas and direction fulfilling its responsibilities. By voicing their needs and concerns, the groups also rvice structure they have created. exercise their authority for the se The people who give their time to service work are a vital resource; without them, our service boards and committees would not exist, much less be able to serve. The group’s responsibility to the se rvice structure is to elect a group he best interests of the group and the service representative who will serve t ing its GSR, then providing that person entire NA Fellowship. By carefully select with regular support and guidance, the gr oup exercises its ability to impact NA services, both directly and indirectly. In choosing a qualified GSR, then sending him or her out to serve on the group’s behal f, the group fulfills a large part of both its responsibility and authority for NA services. Money is required to fulfill NA servic es. Without it, our phonelines would be closed down, our meeting lists would not be printed, t here would be no NA literature to distribute, our H&I panels would go without pamphl ets, and our public information workers would be unable to provide printed materials about our fellowship to the community. In the Ele venth Concept, more will be said of the use of money in fulfilling our prim ary purpose. The message of the Second Concept in regard to money, however, is simple: Since the groups have created the service structure to perform certain ta sks, the groups are also responsible to provide the necessary funds.
16 4 A Guide to Local Services in NA cond Concept says to the NA group. This So far, we’ve looked at what the Se concept also speaks to the service s tructure. The groups have, directly or service boards and committees. The NA indirectly, created every one of our groups have, directly or indirectly, prov ided the resources used by those service boards and committees. The groups have est ablished the service structure as a medium through which, together, they c an better fulfill our fellowship’s primary rvice structure must ll its elements, the se purpose. Therefore, in all the affairs of a carefully consider the needs and desires of the groups. The Second Concept can to the NA service structure, “Be be seen as the groups’ way of saying and financial resources we have provided responsible with the spiritual, personal, you. Seek our advice; do not ignore our direction.” The NA groups bear the final authority in all our fellowship’s service affairs and should be routinely consulted in all matters directly affecting them. For example, proposals to change NA’s Twel ve Steps, Twelve Traditions, name, ctly by the groups. Conversely, if nature, or purpose should be approved dire cture, NA groups are responsible to something goes wrong in the service stru take constructive steps to help correct the problem. Our experience shows that radical action, taken in haste, serves nei ther the groups nor our services well. Since change rarely occurs overnight, patience and acceptance may be called for. Nonetheless, the exercise of final aut hority for NA services, a vital part of the system of service established by our fellowship, is both the right and the responsibility of the groups. THIRD CONCEPT ructure the authority necessary to The NA groups delegate to the service st fulfill the responsibilities assigned to it. The NA groups maintain final responsibility and authority for the service structure they must involve themselves directly in making they have created. Yet if and committees, the groups will have little decisions for all of our service boards time or energy left to carry the recove ry message in their meetings. For this reason, the groups entrust the service structure with the authority to make necessary decisions in carrying out the tasks assigned to it. The delegation of authority can do much to free up both our groups and our services. Service decisions not dire ctly affecting the groups can be made expeditiously; our phonelines, H&I panels, public information efforts, and literature development projects can move forward at full speed to serve NA’s primary purpose. And our gr oups, not required to ratify every decision made on their behalf at every level of service, ar e freed to devote their full attention to carrying the NA message in their meetings. We often use motions and guidelines to help us apply the Third Concept. We clearly describe each task we want a ccomplished, and the kind of authority we are delegating to those who will fulfill the task. However, even the most ount for every eventuality. Our trusted exhaustive set of guidelines cannot acc
17 Twelve Concepts 5 them the freedom to exercise their servants will serve us best when we grant best judgment in fulfilling the responsibilit ies we’ve assigned them. Our services e they serve; yet they must also be must remain directly accountable to thos given a reasonable degree of discretion in fulfilling their duties. A group, service ctive conscience in arriving at its own board, or committee should consult its colle understanding of the best way to apply this concept. Sometimes we fear that delegation will mean a loss of control over our o, and Three have been designed to help services. Together, Concepts One, Tw ice structure without tying our trusted us maintain responsibility for our serv our groups to focus on their own servants’ hands. The Third Concept encourages ice structure is given the authority it responsibilities while assuring that the serv es. Our Twelve Concepts do not ask our needs to fulfill other necessary NA servic groups to abdicate their authority, allowing the service structure to do whatever it lished the service structure to act on pleases. The groups, after all, have estab when the groups need to exercise final their behalf, at their direction. And authority in service matters, they ar e encouraged to do so. However, in day-to- day matters, the groups have given our service boards and committees the practical authority necessary to do the jobs assigned them. ness unless we do so responsibly. To Delegating authority can be a risky busi make Concept Three work, other concept s must also be applied consistently. attention to the selection of trustworthy Most importantly, we must give careful delegate authority either to those who trusted servants. We cannot responsibly are fundamentally incapable of administeri ng that authority or to those who are not willing to account fully for their acti ons. However, if we select our leaders carefully, choosing those who can be tru sted to responsibly exercise delegated authority in fulfilling the tasks we’ve given them, we can feel much more comfortable with the concept of delegation. When we give our trusted servants a job, we must adequately describe to them the job we want done, and we must provide them with the support they need to complete their job. Then, once we've given them instructions and hority necessary to make decisions support, we must delegate to them the aut related to the task they've been assi gned. When our groups delegate sufficient authority to our service structure, our groups need not be overcome with the demands of making every service decision at every level of service, and our fellowship’s primary purpose can be served to the fullest. With the Third Concept squarely in place, our gr oups are free to conduct recovery meetings and carry the NA message directly to the addict who still suffers, confident that the service structure they have created has the authority it needs to make the decisions involved in fulfilling its responsibilities.
18 6 A Guide to Local Services in NA FOURTH CONCEPT Effective leadership is highly val ued in Narcotics Anonymous. Leadership qualities should be carefully considered when selecting trusted servants. The trust necessary to confidently del egate service authorit y is founded on the careful selection of trusted servants. In the following paragraphs, we highlight a number of the qualities to be considered when choosing our trusted servants. No leader will exemplify all these qualities; they are the ideal s of effective leadership to which every trusted servant aspires. The more we consider these qualities when selecting NA leaders, the better our services will be. Personal background and professional or educational qualifications, though helpful, do not necessarily make for effective leadership. When selecting trusted servants, after all, it is the whole pers on we trust, not just their skills. And one of the first things we look for when sele cting trusted servants is humility. Being asked to lead, to serve, to accept re sponsibility, is a humbling experience for a recovering addict. Through continuing to work the Twelve Steps, our trusted servants have come to know not only their assets but also their defects and their limitations. Knowing that, they have agreed to serve our fellowship to the best of their ability, with God’s help. Good NA leaders do not think they have to do everything themselves; they ask for hel p, advice, and direction on a regular ivers; they are basis. Our fellowship’s leaders ought not be dictators or order-g our servants. Able leadership in the spir it of service does not drive by arrogant by example, inviting respect. And mandate, demanding conformity; it leads nothing invites us to respect our trusted servants more than clear evidence of their humility. Capable NA leadership exhibits the fu ll range of personal characteristics We depend on those who serve us to associated with a spiritual awakening. report on their activities completely and truthfully. Our leaders must have the integrity needed to hear others well, ye t still be able to stand fast on sound principle; to compromise, and to disagree without being disagreeable; to demonstrate the courage of their convic tions, and to surrender. We seek trusted servants who are willing to expend their time and energy in the diligent service of others, studying available resource ma terials, consulting those with greater experience in their field of responsibilit y, and carefully fulfilling the tasks we’ve given them as completely as possible. Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, indispensable in recovery, are also essential to leadership. Any NA member can be a leader, and ev ery NA member has the right to serve the fellowship. Effective NA leadersh ip knows not only how to serve, but when it will serve best to step aside and a llow others to take over. An entrenched bureaucracy inhibits our fellowship’s grow th, while a regular influx of new leadership, balanced by continuity, inspir es NA growth. The effective leader also knows that, in order to maintain the di stinction in service between principles and observe the practice of rotation. personalities, it is important to
19 Twelve Concepts 7 specific skills in order to act as In some positions, trusted servants need cate well can help our trusted servants effective leaders. The ability to communi ttee work and in reporting to those share information and ideas, both in commi p trusted servants keep small service they serve. Organizational skills hel tforward even the fulfillment of complex responsibilities simple, and make straigh tasks. Leaders capable of discerning where today’s actions will take us, and of offering us the guidance we need to prepar e for the demands of tomorrow, serve Narcotics Anonymous well. Certain educational, business, personal, and service experiences may suit a recovering addict more to one type of service commitment than another. We do ourselv es, our fellowship, and our trusted servants a disservice when we ask our members to perform tasks they are incapable of fulfilling. When we carefully consider the leadership qualities of those we ask to serve, we can confidently give them the room they need to exercise those qualities on our behalf. We can allow effective leader s freedom to serve, especially when they demonstrate their accountability to us, reporting regularly on their work and asking, when necessary, for additional dire ction. True, our l eaders are but trusted servants, not governors; yet we also ex pect our trusted servants to lead us. If we select them carefully, we can confidently allow them to do so. in NA, and the Fourth Concept speaks of Effective leadership is highly valued the qualities we should consider when se lecting leaders for ourselves. However, of many service responsibilities requires we should remember that the fulfillment Other responsibilities, while requiring nothing more than the willingness to serve. certain specific skills, depend for their fu lfillment far more heavily on the trusted servant’s spiritual maturity and personal integrity. Willingness, spiritual depth, and trustworthiness are strong demonstrations of the kind of leadership valued most highly in Narcotics Anonymous. We should also remember that NA’s l eaders are not only those we vote into office. Opportunities for selfless service arise wherever we turn in Narcotics Anonymous. NA members exercise personal leadership by helping clean up after a meeting, taking extra care to welcom e newcomers to our fellowship, and in countless other ways. As recovering addict s, any of us can fulfill a leadership role, providing a sound example, by servi ng our fellowship. Thi s modest spirit of service to others forms the foundati on of our Fourth Concept, and of NA leadership itself. FIFTH CONCEPT For each responsibility assigned to the servi ce structure, a single point of decision and accountability should be clearly defined. The key to applying the Fifth Concept is in defining the task that needs to be done, and the easiest way to apply it is right from the start. When we first create a service task, we should consider what kind of authority we must delegate in what kind of accountability we should order for that task to be accomplished and
20 8 A Guide to Local Services in NA we are giving that task. Then, one particular trusted require of those to whom servant, service board, or committee shoul d be designated as the single point of ent. This simple principle applies to decision and accountability for that assignm all the services provided in Narcoti cs Anonymous, from the group to our world services. task should be done and clearly say which When we decide a certain service ee has the authority to accomplish the trusted servant, service board, or committ task, we avoid unnecessary confusion. We don’t have two committees trying to squabbling over authority. Project reports do the same job, duplicating efforts or come straight from the single point of decision for the project, offering the best information available. An assigned service responsibility can be fulfilled swiftly and directly, because there is no question of whose responsibility it is. And if problems in a project arise, we know exactly where to go in order to correct them. We do well when we clearly specify to whom authority is being given for each service responsibility. r each service responsibility is also a The single point of decision we define fo single point of accountability. As we’v e already seen in the Fourth Concept, and as we shall see further in Concept Eight, accountability is a cen tral feature of the trusted servants responsibility for a NA way of service. When we give our particular service task, we hold them accountable for the authority we’ve accessible, consistently providing us delegated them. We expect them to remain ting with us about their responsibilities. with reports of their progress and consul Accountability does not mean that we del egate authority only to take it right back. It simply means that we want to be informed of decisions our trusted servants are considering as they go about the tasks we’ve assigned them. We want to have the opportunity to impact thos e decisions, especially if they directly affect us. And we want to be kept up-to-date on each responsibility we’ve assigned to the service structure so tha t, if something goes wrong, we can take part in making it right. The Fifth Concept helps us res ponsibly delegate our authority for NA services. In exercising the Fifth Concep , straightforward t, we make a simple contract with our trusted servants. Right from the start, they know what we are asking of them, what decisions they ar e expected to make themselves, and to what degree we will hold them accountable for the service work they do on our behalf. Exercise of Concept Five is not a ta sk to be taken lightly. It calls for us to carefully consider the service work we want done; to clearly designate who should do that work; to delegate the authority to do it; and to maintain accountability for those duties. It takes effort to conscientiously apply Concept Five, but the results are worth the effort.
21 Twelve Concepts 9 SIXTH CONCEPT Group conscience is the spiritual means by wh ich we invite a loving God to influence our decisions. lty. It is our innate sense of right and Conscience is an essentially spiritual facu of us may consult in our personal wrong, an internal compass that each reflections about the best course to take. Our Basic Text refers to conscience as one of those “higher mental and emotional functions” which was “sharply affected we seek to revive it and learn how to by our use of drugs.” By applying our steps, exercise it. As we steadily apply spiritual principles in our lives, our decisions and ed by self-interest and more motivated actions increasingly become less motivat by what our conscience tells us is good and right. When addicts whose consciences have been awakened in the individual come together to consider service-related questions, course of working the steps e committee meeting, they are prepared to either in their NA group or in a servic group conscience. The exercise of group take part in the development of a conscience is the act by which our mem bers bring the spiritual awakening of our Twelve Steps directly to bear in resolvi ng issues affecting NA. As such, it is a subject which must command our most intent consideration. The development of a group conscienc e is an indispensable part of the decision-making process in Narcotics Anonymous; however, group conscience is not itself a decision-making mechanis m. To clarify the difference between the e living spiritually oriented lives usually two, let’s look at our personal lives. Peopl pray and meditate before making major decisi ons. First, we look to our source of spiritual strength and wisdom; then, we look forward and chart our course. If we automatically claim that God has guided us every time we make a decision, od to influence us prior to making that whether or not we’ve actually invited G The same applies to group conscience and decision, we fool only ourselves. collective decision-making. Developing a collective conscience prov ides us with the spiritual guidance we need for making service decisions. We pray or meditate together, we share with one another, we consider our traditions, and we seek direction from a Higher Power. Our groups, service boards, and committees often use the vote as a rough tool for translating that spiritual guidance into clear, decisive terms. Sometimes, however, no vote is needed; following thoughtful, attentive discussion, it is perfectly apparent what our collective conscience would have us do in a given service situation. Just as we seek the strongest possible spiritual unity in Narcotics Anonymous, so in our decision-making we seek unanimity, not merely a majority vote. The more care we take in our considerations, the more likely we are to arrive at unanimi ty, and no vote will be needed to help us translate our group conscience into a collective decision. When making specific service decisi ons, voting or consensus may be the ver, group conscience can be seen in all measure of our group conscience. Howe
22 10 A Guide to Local Services in NA in our decision-making process. The group our fellowship’s affairs, not merely of this. When members of an NA group inventory process is a good example gather together to examine their group’s effectiveness in fulfilling its primary science concerning their individual role purpose, they each consult their own con consider the concerns of the group as a whole in the in the life of the group. They same light. Such a group inventory se ssion might produce no specific service decisions whatsoever. It will, how ever, produce among group members a heightened spiritual sensitivity both to t he needs of the still-su ffering addict and to the needs of fellow group members. ence being developed without producing a Another example of group consci service-related decision, one each of us can identify with, c an be found every day of the week in our recovery meetings . Many are the times when we go to an NA meeting with a personal problem, seek ing comfort, support, and guidance in the experience of other recovering addicts. Our members, each with their individual personalities, backgrounds, and needs, s peak to one another—and to us—of the spiritual awakening they’ve found in applyi ng the Twelve Steps in their lives. From the diversity of the group a co mmon message arises, a message we can covery. In this message we find “the apply to our own lives, the message of re therapeutic value of one addict helping anot her.” We also find in this message rvice issue but to our own spiritual the group conscience, applied not to a se growth. Group conscience is the means by wh ich we collectively invite the ongoing guidance of a Higher Power in making dec isions. We apply the Sixth Concept very with vigor, seeking that ongoing when we pursue our own personal reco for us to apply the principles of the spiritual awakening which makes it possible program in all our affairs, including our service affairs. We apply the Sixth Concept when we listen not just to the words our fellow members speak but also to the spirit behind their words. We appl y the Sixth Concept when we seek to do God’s will, not our own, and to serve ot hers, not ourselves, in our service decisions. We apply the Sixth Concept in our groups, service boards, and committees when we invite a loving God to influence us before making service- related decisions. SEVENTH CONCEPT All members of a service body bear substantial responsibility for that body’s decisions and should be allowed to fully participate in its decision- making processes. The Seventh Concept is one way of putting the principle of group conscience to work in the service environment. This c oncept suggests that each service body should encourage all its members to partici pate in its decision-making process. By bringing their different perspectives together, we give our service bodies the opportunity to develop a fully inform ed, balanced group conscience leading to sound, sensitive service decisions.
23 Twelve Concepts 11 represent a cross-section of NA Our service boards and committees cipant’s contribution to the decision- perspective and experience. Each parti making process is important. Determining pa rticipation at the group level is fairly ou may fully participate in the group’s simple: if you’re a group member, y participation in the decision-making decision-making process. Determining processes of most service boards and commi ttees is a little more involved, yet the same basic principles still apply. Fr eely expressed individual conscience is the essential element in group conscience at any level. NA service is a team effort. Our service representatives are responsible to the NA Fellowship as a whole rather than any special constituency; so are all the other trusted servants on the team. The full participation of each member of the team is of great value as we seek to express the collective conscience of the whole. There is no firm rule about how to apply the concept of participation to every situation. In an atmosphere of love, mutual respect, and frank, open discussion, each service body decides these things for itself. In significant matters affecting the groups, a service body will want to a sk for guidance directly from the groups. ever, the service body will exercise its In the vast majority of cases, how delegated authority in fulfilli ng the responsibilities the groups have assigned to it, disposing of the matters in the normal course of their service meetings. NA’s principle of spiritual anonymity is the foundation for the Seventh Concept. This principle points our fellowshi p toward a leveling of the individual’s relative importance as a participant in NA service. The Seventh Concept, with its of each voice on the team, puts the emphasis on equalizing the relative weight actice. Though we may not all participate in spiritual principle of anonymity into pr every decision made in our fellowship, we all have the right to participate fully and equally in the decision-making processe s in the service bodies in which we are members. EIGHTH CONCEPT Our service structure depends on t he integrity and effectiveness of our communications. Our fellowship’s service structure is founded on the unity of our groups; to maintain that union, we must have r egular communications throughout Narcotics Anonymous. Together, our groups have created a service structure to meet their common needs and to help them fulfill t heir common purpose. The effectiveness of the service structure depends on the continued unity of the NA groups, and on their continued support and direction. Thes e things can only be maintained in an atmosphere of honest, open, and strai ghtforward communication among all parties concerned. Regular communication plays a large part in the fulfillment of our groups’ final responsibility and authority for NA serv ices. Through their GSRs, the groups regularly report their strengths, needs, ideas, and conscience to the service
24 12 A Guide to Local Services in NA reports give our service boards and structure. Taken together, these group committees clear guidance in their efforts to serve NA as a whole. When the te information from all elements of the groups are regularly given full and accura service structure, they become familiar with the structure’s normal patterns of activity. The groups are then able to re cognize when something goes wrong with one of our service boards and committees and are in a better position to know knowing what kinds of resources are how to help correct the problem. And, needed to fulfill service tasks, our groups ar e also more likely to provide the service structure with adequate support. is an important prerequisite for Clear, frequent two-way communication delegation. When our groups ask the service structure to fulfill certain e to the structur responsibilities on their behalf, we delegat e the authority needed to make decisions related to those responsibilities. We need to be able to trust our trusted servants before we can conf idently delegate them that degree of large part on continuing communication. authority. That kind of trust depends in So long as our service boards and committees regularly issue complete, candid reports of their activities, we can be confident that we have delegated our authority wisely. Open and frank communication is a critic al ingredient of effective leadership. conscience of those they serve, To better know the ideas, wishes, needs, and trusted servants must listen carefully to their fellowship. To give the NA groups rt our services, NA leaders regularly the information they need to guide and suppo do not want our trusted servants to distribute full, unequivocal reports. We constantly inundate us with every fact and figure possible, though we do expect them to provide us with complete information on all their activities and discussions if we ask for it. In comm unicating with those they serve, trusted servants demonstrate an open attitude, one that is inclusive, inviting, and clearly influenceable. Such openness and forthright ness may be uncomfortable but is essential in maintaining the integrity of our services. Finally, full and frequent communication is essential in the development of group conscience, the spiritual means by wh ich we invite the influence of a loving God in making our collective decis ions. To develop group conscience, communications must be honest and direct. Wi thout the full picture, seen from all sides, our groups, service boards, and committees cannot develop an informed group conscience. When we gather together to consider service issues, we openly share ideas and information with one another, frankly speaking our minds and hearts on the matter at hand. We list en closely to one another, considering carefully the information and insights we ’ve heard; we consult our individual consciences on the matter; then, we ma ke a decision. A conscience fed on ignorance is an ineffective conscience, incapable of providing reliable guidance. An effective conscience can develop only in an atmosphere of regular, open communication among all parties concerned.
25 Twelve Concepts 13 The purpose of our services is to help our fellowship fulfill its primary purpose: to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. Honest, open, straightforward integrity and the effectiveness of the NA communication is essential to both the service structure. Unity, group re sponsibility and authority, delegation, leadership, accountability, group con science, participation—all depend on good communication among the various elements of the NA Fellowship. With regular two-way communication, our groups and our services are well positioned to uphold the ideals and fulfill the responsibilitie s described in our Twelve Concepts. NINTH CONCEPT e have the responsibility to carefully All elements of our service structur consider all viewpoints in their decision-making processes. It’s easy to discuss things with those w ho agree with us. But in recovery we’ve learned that our own best thinking may not necessarily offer us the best possible guidance. We have been taught that, befor e making significant decisions, we should check our judgment against the i deas of others. Our experience has shown us that the ideas of those who disagree with us are often the ones we need most to hear. The Ninth Concept puts this aspect of our recovery experience to work in the service environment. When making a decision, our groups, service boards, and committees shoul d actively seek out all available viewpoints. An effective group conscience is a fu lly informed group conscience. The Ninth e that our group conscience is as well Concept is one tool we use to help ensur discussion, it is tempting to ignore informed as it can possibly be. In any dissenting members, especially if the vast majority of members think alike. Yet it formation or a unique perspective on things is often the lone voice, offering new in that saves us from hasty or misinform ed decisions. In Narcotics Anonymous, we are encouraged to respect that lone voice, to protect it, even to seek it out, for without it our service decisions would undoubtedly suffer. Concept Nine also encourages us, indivi dually, to frankly speak our minds in discussions of service issues, even when most other members think differently. No, this concept is not telling us to become perpetual naysayers, objecting to say, however, that we are responsible anything agreed to by the majority. It does to share our thoughts and our conscience with our fellow members, carefully explaining our position and listening with equal care to the positions of others. When we show the courage necessary to speak our mind while also showing respect for one another, we can be confident that we act in the best interests of the NA Fellowship. By insi sting on thorough discussion of important issues, the worst we can do is take a little of eac h other’s time; at best, we protect the fellowship from the consequences of a hasty or misinformed decision. When a service body is in the proc ess of making a decision, the Ninth Concept can be exercised in a variety of ways. If you are a member of that service body, all you need to do is raise your hand and speak. If the point you
26 14 A Guide to Local Services in NA put it in writing so wish to make is complex, you may wish to that other members of the board or committee can study it more carefully. If you are not a member of the service body in question but, as an NA service matter, there are a variety of member, still have something to say about a ion. By sharing your views at your avenues you can take to express your posit group’s business meeting, you ensure that your ideas will be included in the mix of group conscience that gui des your GSR when she or he participates in service discussions. Many service boards or committees set aside a portion of their agenda for open forums when you can speak your own mind on issues before the body. Fellowship newsletters and journals, from the local to the world level, often offer space where NA members c an share their viewpoints on service matters at hand. Whether or not you are a member of a serv ice body, there are a variety of ways in which you can personally exercise the Ninth Concept. Our decision-making process is not perfect. Many groups, service boards, and committees acknowledge this, and the va lue of the minority’s position, with every decision they make. Whenever a motion is approved by something less than unanimous consent, these service bodi es often ask those who voted against the measure to state their reasons for doing so, either out loud or in writing. If the date, such minority opinions may prove decision needs to be revised at a later invaluable in helping chart a new service course. Concept Nine encourages us to continue to consult group conscience, even after a decision has already been made. If discussions are raised about a question already decided, the body is bound to hear those discussions. It may be that, based on such discussion, a service body will alter its earlier decision. However, if a past decision is questi oned, discussion is well heard, and the eryone to accept that decision and to decision still stands, the time comes for ev its implementation. Half-hearted support of or cooperate wholeheartedly in outright resistance to such a decision runs contrary to our principles of surrender and acceptance. Once a decision has been made, reconsidered, and confirmed, we need to respect it and go on about the business of serving our fellowship. The expression of the individual consci ence to the group is the foundation of group conscience. Without it, we block t he guidance of a loving God, our ultimate authority. When a position supported by many of us is challenged by a few of us, our service boards and committees should always treat such input with great respect and careful consideration. The information and insights offered by the few may save us from dangerous mistak es; they may even lead us to new, previously undreamt-of horizons of service where we might fulfill our fellowship’s primary purpose more effectively than eve r. For the sake of our fellowship, and for the sake of our members yet to come, our groups, service boards, and committees must always carefully consider all viewpoints in their decision-making processes.
27 Twelve Concepts 15 TENTH CONCEPT Any member of a service body can petiti on that body for the redress of a personal grievance, without fear of reprisal. antee of respect for the individual The Tenth Concept is our fellowship’s guar self-evident, but our belief in the trusted servant. This concept may seem ant to say it loudly and clearly. Narcotics principle involved is so strong that we w Anonymous is a spiritual society, with high ideals for how we treat each other. Our members, however, are only hum an, and we sometimes mistreat one another. The Tenth Concept is our spiritual so ciety's promise that if one of us is wronged in the service environment, the aggr ieved trusted servant may ask that the wrong be made right. A variety of circumstances may requi re application of the Tenth Concept. In one case we know of, a member was nom inated for office on his area service committee. The member left the room, allowing the committee to discuss his qualifications. During that discussi on, certain ASC members groundlessly slandered the candidate’s personal reputati on; as a result, the member was defeated. This man found out about the discussion of his personal life and its effect on the election a few days later. Feeling hurt and angry, he decided to talk with his sponsor, inventory his own pa rt in the matter, and pray for guidance. ed to petition the ASC After taking these steps, he felt confident that he was entitl for redress. He wrote a letter stat ing that he believed he had been wronged by llowing month, his letter was read and the ASC, asking for a new ballot. The fo discussed during the committee’s shari ng session. After having a chance to examine their consciences, the ASC mem bers admitted that what they’d done had been wrong and agreed to conduct the discredited election over again. ee of the right to appeal for redress of a The Tenth Concept’s guarant protect those who exercise their Ninth personal grievance is designed, in part, to Concept responsibility to speak their mind in service discussions. Together, the Ninth and Tenth Concepts support an atmos phere in which our members feel free to express themselves frankly on matters at hand. This open atmosphere is essential in developing an effective group conscience. If, after having demonstrated the courage of their convicti ons, individuals become the subject of reprisals initiated by those who have disagreed with them, the Tenth Concept allows them to petition the appropriate service body for redress of their grievance. Thus, the respect of our se rvice structure for the rights of the individual NA member is guaranteed. In a fellowship such as ours, whose success is based upon mutual support and cooper ation, that kind of respect for the individual is indispensable. One such case involved a subco mmittee member who exercised the responsibilities described in Concept Ni ne, speaking against a project proposed by the subcommittee chairperson. In the following months, the subcommittee chairperson stopped sending committee minut es and bulletins to the member, the times and locations of future even neglecting to inform the member of
28 16 A Guide to Local Services in NA acted the subcommittee chairperson, subcommittee meetings. The member cont asking that the problem be correct ed. The chairperson refused. The subcommittee member decided to appeal to the area service committee for ance against the chairperson. redress of a personal griev The Tenth Concept is our fellowship’s guarantee of respect for the individual trusted servant. If you think you’ve been wronged in the course of your participation in an NA service body and wish to apply Concept Ten, talk to your sponsor about it, inventory your own involvement in the matter, pray, and meditate. If, upon reflection, you still believe you have been personally aggrieved ite a letter explaining the situation to and that you should petition for redress, wr em in the body’s sharing session. The your service body, or share your probl tter and, if it agrees that you have service body then needs to address the ma ully, the Tenth Concept will need to been wronged, how to make amends. Hopef be applied only rarely in NA service. Shoul d the need arise, howev er, it is here, ready to put our spiritual fellowship’s ideals into action. ELEVENTH CONCEPT NA funds are to be used to further our primary purpose, and must be managed responsibly. NA members around the world contribute m oney to help our fellowship fulfill its primary purpose. It is incumbent upon every element of our service structure to use those funds to carry the NA recovery message as far as possible. To do that, our service bodies must manage those f unds responsibly, accounting fully and accurately for its use to those who have provided it. Narcotics Anonymous funds should a lways be used to further our primary purpose. Money is used to pay the ex penses involved in running NA recovery meetings, to inform the public about NA, and to reach addicts who can’t get to translate, and distribute our message in meetings. It is used to develop, produce, s together in a service community written form, and to bring our member committed to the vision of spreading our message around the world to those in need. All of this is done in support of NA’s spiritual aim: to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. Service funds aren’t easy to come by . To fulfill our primary purpose, we need all of the financial resour ces at our fellowship’s disposal. Our groups, service boards, and committees must make prudent use of the money we give them, refusing to spend money frivolously or self-indulgently. With NA’s primary purpose in mind, our services will avoid wasting money; using the funds they’ve been given to carry our message as effectively as possible. One way we apply Concept Eleven is by establishing clear spending priorities and measuring each proposed expenditure against that priority list. Many groups, service boards, and committees have more it ems on their priority lists than their budgets will allow. In such cases, only the highest priorities can be funded.
29 Twelve Concepts 17 Money is only one of the resources we must responsibly prioritize. While the Eleventh Concept applies directly to the management of funds, it also has ent of all our service resources. Most projects implications for the managem depend as much on ideas, information, conscience, and members’ time and willingness as they do on money. If we have the funds needed to carry out a project but lack the time or the ideas, we’d best wait until we’ve gathered all the needed resources before proceeding. If we don’t, we will have wasted NA service funds. In responsibly planning and priori tizing our service efforts, we must consider the total resource picture, not just our finances. In setting priorities, we may be tempt ed to look only at our own needs, tightly holding on to funds, spending money only on our own projects, and neglecting our role in providing needed funds to all leve ls of service. That kind of thinking is contrary to the Eleventh Concept. High on our list of priorities should be a commitment to further the goals of NA as a whole. For NA to deliver the services necessary to keep growing and fulfilling our primary purpose around the world, the flow of funds must not bottleneck at any point in our structure. While groups are responsible to fund our services, they are also responsible to carefully manage their service contri butions. When contributing money, groups should ask themselves what that money would do once it leaves their hands. Will es to the groups? Will it help carry our it aid in the delivery of useful servic message to the addict who still suffers? Will the service board or committee use de for themselves how much they will it wisely? Our groups are free to deci contribute to the different levels of our service structure. We encourage them to do so, and to do so responsibly. rmark contributions for any particular This is not to suggest that groups ea subcommittees. The groups have created the se rvice structure not only to deliver dinate those services. In delegating to services on their behalf, but also to coor ry to fulfill its responsibilities, the the service structure the authority necessa groups have also delegated the authority to coordinate the allocation of service resources at each level of service. That way, the needs and goals of all fields of service can be effectively balanced against the total resources of the coordinating service body. Clear, frank communication from our serv ice structure is the best way to help our groups contribute their funds in a re sponsible way. When the groups receive full, regular reports on the activities of their service boards and committees, they begin to see the total service picture. The groups should also receive information on how much those activities cost. That kind of communication helps assure our groups that their contributions are being handled responsibly. Direct group contributions to our se rvice structure encourage responsible management of service funds and help our services maintain their focus on NA’s primary purpose. It is our experience t hat, when we make a commitment to fund the work of each level of the serv ice structure exclusively through group intain a strong link between our groups and contributions, we find it easier to ma
30 18 A Guide to Local Services in NA to be more aware of the work being our other service units. Our groups tend done on their behalf and of their respons ibility to provide their boards and ources. When all levels of our service committees with the necessary financial res structure receive direct financial suppo rt from the groups, the bonds of mutual responsibility are strengthened between them. Additionally, by freeing our service boards and committees from the need to engage in fundraising activities, we make it possible for those service units to devote their full energies to the fulfillment of NA’s primary purpose. Accountability is an essential aspect of responsible NA financial management. When the members of Narcotics A nonymous provide groups, committees, service structure is responsible to offices, and conventions with funds, our Regular financial reports, open books, account for how those funds are used. and periodic audits of NA accounts, as described in the various guides developed for NA treasurers, help our members be su re their contributions are being used well, and help our services remain financia lly accountable to those they serve. Treasurers’ reports help us see how we ll our actual service spending matches up with the priorities we’ve established. C onsistent financial records help us make realistic spending plans for future servic e activities. Regular financial reporting service funds; and if funds are stolen, and auditing also help deter the theft of NA regular audits ensure that such thefts cannot go long unnoticed. unds, they expect their money to be When NA members contribute service f used carefully, and to be used for the so le purpose of furt hering our primary purpose. By accepting those contri butions, our groups, service boards, and committees make a commitment to use those funds to carry the NA message, and to manage them responsibly. TWELFTH CONCEPT In keeping with the spiritual nature of Narcotics Anonymous, our structure should always be one of service, never of government. Selfless service is an essentially spir itual endeavor. Our Twelfth Step says, in part, that “having had a spiritual awakening ,” we individually “tried to carry this message to addicts.” Our collective service efforts arise from that same spiritual foundation. Having experienced the results of this program in our own lives, we join together to carry the recovery me ssage farther than we could individually. NA service is not about forcing our will or our ideas on others; rather, it is about humbly serving them, without expectation of reward. This principle underlies all we do in our groups, service boards, and committees. The Twelfth Concept remi nds us that we ourselves have experienced recovery only because others put this selfless principle into action before us, taking the time and the care to carry the NA message to us when we service, we express our gratitude for were still suffering from active addiction. In
31 Twelve Concepts 19 carrying ours to others. Nothing could the recovery others have shared with us by be further from the drive to rule or direct than this spirit of selfless service. ound that, alone, we could not “stop Our groups were created because we f using drugs, lose the desire to use, and fi nd a new way to live.” In the same way, our groups have joined together to create a service structure, a cooperative effort designed to help them carry the message further than they could carry it been created as a way for some groups separately. The service structure has not to force others to do their bidding. Ra ther, it has been developed to combine the tter fulfill necessary services which usually cannot be strength of our groups to be groups: developing and distributing materials fulfilled well, if at all, by individual iding information about NA to the general that share our message in print, prov cts who cannot attend meetings, and public, transmitting our message to addi es. NA service is the cooperative supporting new groups and new NA communiti effort of trusted servants receiving guidanc e from the groups, not a rule enforced by a governing body. create the service structure is an The process of joining together to ility. Separately, they c an do far, far less to fulfill expression of our groups’ hum our fellowship’s primary purpose than they can do together. In the same way, the various elements of our service structure eac h play their own particular role in the plan. All the elements depend on all the broader Narcotics Anonymous service others for their effectiveness; when any one element attempts to act as an r service, it strains the ties that agency of government, rather than a vehicle fo bind us all together, threatening our fellows hip’s overall effectiveness in fulfilling its primary purpose. Humility is an ess ential attribute of nongoverning service in Narcotics Anonymous. In order to serve well, each element of our service structure must make an As groups, as trusted servants, as earnest effort at effective communication. share fully with others, and listen service boards and committees, we must carefully and respectfully to their word s to us. Others may use language to divide the strength of their opponents, so that t hey may rule them; in NA service, we share with one another so that we may comb ine our strength, t he better to fulfill our fellowship’s primary purpose. To main tain our accountability to those we serve, we are bound to inform them in a complete, accurate, and concise fashion of our activities. The nongoverning nature of our service structure dictates that we seek others’ advice in our own decisi ons, their consent in decisions affecting them, and their cooperation in decisions affecting us all. Open, honest, and straightforward communication nurtures the spirit of service in our fellowship, and poisons the impulse to govern. The kind of authority t hat our groups have delegated to our boards and committees is the authority to serve, not to govern. Each element of our service structure, from the group to the world, has its own role to play; all, however, serve together as a team, striving towa rd a common goal, “that no addict seeking to find a new way of life.” It is our recovery need die without having the chance
32 20 A Guide to Local Services in NA sometimes hard-won experience that qualit y service, just like quality recovery, of mutual respect, mutual support, can only be accomplished in an atmosphere and mutual trust. Together, we recover, and together, we serve—this is the spiritual core of our program, the foundat ion of our fellowship. A structure based on that foundation could only be one of service, never of government.
33 DEVELOPING NA COMMUNITIES very young and very small; there is In many countries, the NA community is no area or regional committee, no phoneli ne, no H&I program, no office. This otics Anonymous communities in those chapter is aimed specifically at Narc s is this: How does a developing NA countries. The basic question it addresse community begin establishing the services, which help carry our message to any addict seeking recovery? In this chapter, we refer to “countri es,” “nations,” and “national communities.” We do this because, so far, most NA communities outside North America have organized their services along national lines. However, an NA community should territory within a lar ger federal union if feel free to organize services for a single doing so would be more practical and better serve our primary purpose. Likewise, if NA groups whose members speak the same language or have other cultural ties wish to unite in a si ngle area or region covering a number of neighboring countries, we encourage them to do so. THE FIRST GROUP A new recovery community begins when a single group opens the door on the groups, even those in established NA nation’s first NA meeting. Most new communities, grow slowly, and that c an be frustrating. Contact with others who’ve been through the same experience can help reduce the frustration. NA World Services can put the members of a new group in touch with addicts in other NA communities who will be happy to share their experience. Correspondence, visits, and cooperation with groups in neighboring countries, he same language, can be very helpful. especially those whose people speak t sources that may prove useful to a new World services can also provide other re group, such as recovery and service literatur e in translation. A call or letter to our World Service Office can help ease the growing pains that all new groups go through. Sooner or later, the pioneer members of a new group in a new country attract other addicts to their meet ing, help those newcomers find recovery, and find their group growing. New meeti ngs are started as more new members gain the necessary stability to begin lending a hand. And before you know it, NA meetings are available seven days a week to any addict seeking recovery. INITIAL NA SERVICE DEVELOPMENT—FUNCTION, NOT FORM As more NA members stay clean longer, the local leadership base expands and it becomes possible for the original group to sprout a number of groups. At this point, new questions present t hemselves. How can the NA community s groups and members? And how can the provide more and better services to it 21
34 22 A Guide to Local Services in NA cts? Five types of work present recovery message be carried to more addi themselves: Literature. The availability of NA books and pamphlets in the local language of the fellowship and to informing others has proven very important to the growth about Narcotics Anonymous. If literature is already available in translation from NA’s World Service Office, all that needs to be done is ensure a steady supply. However, if NA literature has not yet been tr anslated into the local language, or if only a few pieces are yet available, translation work will be of primary importance. Contact the World Servic e Office for help in beginning translation work in your country. Public Information. NA’s contacts in governmen t, education, medicine, the clergy, community organizations, the public media, and other twelve-step fellowships can carry the message that NA exists; sometimes to places we couldn’t possibly go ourselves. Making such contacts and making them aware of what Narcotics Anonymous is, what we can do, and where our groups meet are very important factors in NA’s growth. Phonelines or Central Contact Points. An NA telephone number or post office box can make it easier for addicts seeking recovery to find us and for our nonaddict friends to get more information on the NA program. Panels can be formed to carry our message of Hospitals and Institutions. recovery directly to addicts housed in medical, psychiatric, or correctional facilities. With the creation of new groups, some vehicle will have to Internal Support. be established for keeping them in t ouch with one another. By doing so, the groups can share their experience wit h one another, make decisions together and combine their strength in reaching regarding questions that affect them all, out to the community around them. These are the essential functions of an area service committee. In another chapter of this guide, we describe the full range of services offered by area committees. While all these services have their place and their time, it is not important that all of them be established all at once. Nor is it necessary to develop a full-blown area committee right fro m the start. It’s the function, not the form that’s important. An NA community may only be capabl e of supporting a small committee, which focuses on a single task—for instanc e, working with NA World Services in developing translations of NA literature. If that is all the community can support, aside from its groups, then it shouldn’t take on anything else, at least not right away. With time, the NA community will grow, and it will become possible to accomplish more tasks. But, especially at the start, remember: Keep your priorities in order. It’s not necessary for a new NA service effort to invent all its own tools from scratch. Other NA communities in other countries have gone through the same process. To tap their experience, simply contact NA’s World Service Office.
35 23 Developing NA Communities THE NATIONAL COMMUNITY GROWS ees develop in other towns and other As NA communities and service committ districts, the question arises: how does NA combine its experience and strength, maintain its unity, and carry its message further? This question is addressed in fully developed NA communities by area and regional committees. Still- developing communities will be long in formi ng a fully operational regional service committee; in some countries, for a va riety of reasons, the NA community may choose not to organize a regional servic e committee, choosing instead to remain an area committee. The same principles that applied to developing local services—function, not form, and the im portance of prioritizing—apply to developing services affecting a number of locales and the NA community nationwide. What functions need to be accounted for? Assemblies. Group service representatives from a number of locales can gather from time to time to coordinate outreach activities and discuss issues affecting NA on a territorial or national level. If a service body has been created to coordinate services affecting Na rcotics Anonymous nationwide, such assemblies can give that national commi ttee the guidance it needs to fulfill its responsibilities. If no such national entit y has yet been organized, the GSRs can and equitably divide responsibility for discuss national development issues addressing those issues among themselves. Some NA services affect the fellowship Central Service Coordination. of existing NA literature is one such nationwide. The production of translations rests of the entire nat ional community to responsibility. It is also in the best inte responsibly handle requests for information or other services from national civic, organizations. Some means need to be professional, religious, and government rvices. These means may be as simple created for coordinating these national se as the GSR assemblies described abov e. If enough leadership can be spared from group and local service responsibilit ies, a national area or regional committee might be formed. The national committee can either handle these services themselves or make arrangements for local groups to fulfill them. Relations with NA Worldwide. It’s not necessary to funnel all communications between NA’s world servic es and the national fellowship through one person or one small group of people—in fact, just the opposite. The benefits derived from regular communications with NA World Services and from contact with NA communities in other countries need to be shared with as many people as possible. In order to facilitate that, it may be helpful to establish a forum in which information gathered from those cont acts can be shared. That forum may be as simple as a GSR assembly or as sophisticated as a full-fledged national region serving a number of local ar ea committees—whatever the national community needs and is capable of supporting.
36 24 A Guide to Local Services in NA The regional-type services described elsewhere in the Guide — or the most be administered by a regional service important of them, anyway—don’t have to committee. A national NA community doesn’ t need to wait until it can support a fully organized region before it can start addressing the needs of groups nationwide. Remember, it’s the function that’s important, not the form, so keep your priorities in order. It works—but not overnight.
37 THE NA GROUP INTRODUCTION Narcotics Anonymous groups are sel f-governing (the Twelve Traditions use the word autonomous). The group may conduct its own affairs in whatever way group’s actions do not adversely affect seems fit to its members, provided the entire NA Fellowship. So what we offer here is not a “rule other groups or the book” but the shared experience of how many of our groups have met with success in conducting meetings and tendi ng to business. Newer members may find this chapter helps them understand who does what to keep the group going and how to help. For more experienced me mbers, it may lend some perspective to their group involvement. But no matter how much information we pack into this chapter, you’re still going to find that t he best source of guidance for your group is in your group itself. There are many ways of doing things in Narcotics Anonymous. And just as all of us have our own individual personalit ies, so will your group develop its own identity, its own way of doing things, and its own special knack for carrying the NA message. That’s the way it should be. In NA we encourage unity, not uniformity. say everything that could be said about This chapter does not even attempt to operating an NA group. What you’ll find her e are some brief answers to a few very basic questions: What is an NA group? How does the work get done? What kinds of meetings can a group have? When problems arise, how are they solved? We hope this chapter proves usef ul as your group seeks to fulfill its primary purpose: to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. WHAT IS AN NA GROUP? When two or more addicts come together to help each other stay clean, they 1 may form a Narcotics Anonymous group. Here are six points based on our traditions which describe an NA group: 1. All members of a group are drug addicts, and all drug addicts are eligible for membership. 2. As a group, they are self-supporting. 3. As a group, their single goal is to help drug addicts recover through application of the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous. 4. As a group, they have no aff iliation outside Narcotics Anonymous. 5. As a group, they express no opinion on outside issues. 6. As a group, their public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. 1 coholics Anonymous World The six points describing a group have been adapted from “The AA Group,” published by Al Services, Inc. Reprinted by permission. 25
38 26 A Guide to Local Services in NA rentiate an NA group from other kinds of In stating the six points that diffe drug addiction than almost anywhere else groups, we place greater emphasis on in our service literature. This is bec ause Narcotics Anonymous groups cannot be the initial identific ation drug addicts need all things to all people and still provide arifying our groups’ sole membership to find their way to recovery. By cl requirement and primary purpos e in this way, once and for all, we free ourselves to focus on freedom from the disease of addiction in the bulk of our service literature, certain that our gr oups are providing adequate grounds for identification to those seeking recovery. NA groups are formed by addicts who wish to support one another in recovery, in carrying the message directly to ot her addicts, and in participating in the activities and services of NA as a whol e. One of the prim ary means an NA group uses to fulfill these ends is to conduct NA meetings where addicts can share their recovery experience, thus supporting one another and at the same time carrying the message to others. Some groups host a single weekly meeting; others host a number of meetings each week. The qualit y of an NA meeting is directly dependent on the strength and solidarity of the NA group, which sponsors it. NA groups—not NA meetings—are the foundation of the NA service structure. Together, the NA groups are responsible for making service decisions that directly affect them and what they do in their meetings as well as those that dentity of Narcotics Anonymous. For instance, new NA fundamentally affect the i literature is approved by regional delegates at the World Service Conference only the groups they represent. Likewise, after they have received direction from Twelve Traditions, name, nature, or “proposals to change NA’s Twelve Steps, purpose should be approved directly by the groups” before they can become effective, in accordance with our Second Concept. Groups maintain contact with the re st of Narcotics Anonymous through e on the groups’ behalf in the NA service representatives selected to participat Service Office, including the quarterly NA Way structure. Mailings from the World Magazine, keep NA groups informed on iss ues affecting the fellowship worldwide. If your group is not receiving The NA Way Magazine, ask your secretary to contact the World Service Office. carry the message of recovery to The primary purpose of an NA group is to the addict who still suffers. The group prov ides each member with the opportunity to share and to hear the experience of other addicts who are learning to live a better way of life without the use of dr ugs. The group is the primary vehicle by which our message is carried. It provi des a setting in which a newcomer can identify with recovering addicts and find an atmosphere of recovery. Sometimes specialized NA groups form to provide additional identification for addicts with particular needs in common. For example, many men’s, women’s, gay, and lesbian groups exist today. But the focus of any NA meeting—even if it’s conducted by a specialized group—is on recovery from addiction, and any addict is welcome to attend.
39 27 The NA Group h addicts share with one another their NA meetings are events at whic ion of the Twelve Steps. While many— experience in recovery and in the applicat are in fact hosted by an NA group, other NA meetings if not most—NA meetings occur all the time: informally among friends, at large area or regional speaker meetings, at conventions, in schools, institutions, and so forth. The NA group is an entity; the NA meeting is an event; and NA meetings may be held without the sponsorship of an NA group. WHAT IS A “HOME GROUP”? ome customary for members of the In some NA communities, it has bec fellowship to make a personal commitm ent to support one particular group—their “home group.” Though this custom is not universal, many believe its practice can benefit the individual member as well as the group. For the individual member, it can provide a stable recovery base, a pl ace to call “home,” a place to know and be known by other recovering addicts. For the group, it ensures the support of a core of regular, committed members. A s trong home group can also foster a spirit makes the group more attractive to and of camaraderie among its members that more supportive of newcomers. The home group provides many opportunities for us to involve ourselves in ace for us to start giving back what the NA Fellowship, making it a great pl en us. In committing to our home group, Narcotics Anonymous has so freely giv we make a personal commitment to NA unity. That commitment not only enhances our own recovery, it helps ensure recovery is available for others. Our home group also gives us a place in whic h to participate in NA’s decision-making processes. While the home group concept is the accepted norm in some NA communities, it’s unknown in others. Ther e are many, many ways of talking and thinking about the bond established among addicts in their groups. Do what seems most suitable in your own NA community. WHO CAN BE A MEMBER? If an addict wants to be a member of Narcotics Anonymous, all that addict needs is a desire to stop using. Our Thi rd Tradition ensures that. Whether an individual NA member chooses to be a me mber of a particular group as well is entirely up to that individual. Access to the meetings of some NA groups is restricted by factors beyond the con trol of these groups—national border- crossing laws, for instance, or prison se curity regulations. However, these groups themselves do not bar any NA member from joining them.
40 28 A Guide to Local Services in NA WHAT ARE “OPEN” AND “CLOSED” MEETINGS? “Closed” NA meetings are only for addicts or those who think they might have a drug problem. Closed meetings provide an atmosphere in which addicts can feel more certain that those attending will be able to identify with them. Newcomers may feel more comfortable at a closed meeting for the same reason. At the beginning of a closed meeting, the leader or c hairperson often reads a statement explaining why the meeting is closed and offering to direct nonaddicts who may be attending to an open meeting. —open to anyone who wants to attend. “Open” NA meetings are just that Some groups have open meetings once a month to allow nonaddict friends and recovery anniversaries with them. Groups relatives of NA members to celebrate their format in such a way that that have open meetings may structure are limited only to short birthday or opportunities for participation by nonaddicts llows the meeting to retain its focus anniversary presentations. Such a format a on recovery shared one addict to anothe r. It should be made clear during the meeting that NA groups do not accept monetary contributions from nonaddicts. Some groups use carefully planned open meetings, particularly open speaker meetings, as an opportunity to let mem bers of the community-at-large see for themselves what Narcotics Anonymous is all about and ask questions. At such public meetings, a statement regarding our tradition of anonymity is often read, asking visitors not to use full-face phot ographs, last names, or personal details when they describe the m eeting to others. For more information on public A Guide to Public Information, meetings, see available through your group service representative or by writing the World Service Office. WHERE CAN WE HOLD NA MEETINGS? NA meetings can be held almost anyw here. Groups usually want to find an easily accessible public place where they can hold their meetings on a weekly religious and civic organizations often basis. Facilities run by public agencies and have rooms for rent at m oderate rates that will meet a group’s needs. Others in your NA community may already be awar e of appropriate space available for your meeting; speak with them. Most meeting facilities will be ve ry cooperative and generous. Even though such facilities may want to donate meet ing space to us, our Seventh Tradition encourages our groups to be self-supporti ng by paying all our own expenses, including our rent. Some facilities may prefer their rent to be pai d in literature or other services. Before securing a location, it may be we ll to consider whether or not the room will be accessible to addicts with physical limitations. Does the building have ramps, elevators with wide doors, and bat hroom facilities able to accommodate someone in a wheelchair? Is adequate parking and unloading space available? There are other similar considerations your group may wish to make itself aware
41 The NA Group 29 out and serving addicts with additional of. For more information on reaching needs, write to the World Service Office. It’s generally recommended that group m eetings not be held in members’ homes. Most groups find it desirable to hold their meetings in public facilities for a variety of reasons. Stable meetings hel d in public places tend to enhance NA’s credibility in the community. Because of varying work and vacation schedules, it times for meetings held in individuals’ is often difficult to maintain consistent homes. Holding a meeting in an indivi dual’s home may affect the willingness of groups may hold their first few some members to attend. Although some meetings in a member’s home, it’s generally recommended that they relocate their meetings to public facilities as soon as possible. Holding regular NA group meetings in some types of facilities—addiction treatment centers, clubhouses, or polit ical party headquarters, for instance—can compromise the independent identity of the gr oup. Before deciding to locate your meeting in such a facility, your group may wish to consider a few questions: Is the facility open to any addict wishing to attend the meeting? Does the facility administration place any restrictions on your use of the room that could challenge our NA group, not the any of our traditions? Is it clear to all concerned that y facility, is sponsoring the meeting? Do you have a clear r ental agreement with ent you’re being charged moderate enough the facility management, and is the r the rest of the NA service structure? to allow your group to contribute funds to Are so many of your community’s NA meet ings already located in this particular facility that, if it were to fold, your NA community as a whole would be crippled? These are some of the questions a gr oup should carefully consider before deciding where to hold an NA meeting. WHAT KIND OF MEETING FORMAT CAN WE USE? Groups use a variety of formats to enhance the atmosphere of recovery in their meetings. Most meetings last an hour or an hour and a half. Some groups have a single format for their meetings. Other groups have a schedule of rotating formats: one week a step study, the next w eek a speaker meeting, and so forth. Still others divide their large meetings into several sessions after the meeting has opened, each with its own format. Here are a few basic descriptions of some of the meeting formats that, with variati ons, seem to be among the most common. For reference, we’ve also included a samp le meeting format at the end of this chapter. Participation Meetings The leader opens the meeting up for members to share on any subject related to recovery.
42 30 A Guide to Local Services in NA Topic Discussion Meetings The leader selects a particular recovery -related topic for discussion or asks someone else to provide a topic. Study Meetings study meetings. Some read a portion of There are a number of different types of et each week and discuss it—for example, a an NA-approved book or pamphl Basic Text study. Others have discussions focusing on the Twelve Steps or the Twelve Traditions. Speaker Meetings Some meetings ask a single speaker to share his or her recovery story or experience in a particular aspect of re covery in Narcotics Anonymous. Others ask two or three speakers to talk for s horter periods of time. Still others use a combination format with a speaker sharing first and a topic discussion afterward. Newcomer Meetings These meetings are often conducted by two or three of the group’s more experienced members. These members s hare their experience with addiction and with recovery in Narcotics Anonymous . If time allows, the meeting is then opened for questions from the newer members. Newcomer meetings are sometimes held a half-hour befor e or after the onduct them as smaller sections of a group’s regular meeting. Other groups c large meeting. Still others hold a newcomer meeting one day of the week, their hatever the format, newcomer meetings provide a regular meeting another. W to NA an introduction to the basics of means for your group to give addicts new recovery. Question-and-Answer Meetings k of questions related to recovery and At Q&A meetings, people are asked to thin e questions down, and place them in “the ask-it basket.” the fellowship, write thos The leader of the meeting pulls a slip of paper from the basket, reads the question, and asks for someone to share thei r experience related to it. After one or two members have shared, the l eader selects another question from the basket, and so forth, until the meeting is over. DEVELOPING YOUR FORMAT These are basic descriptions of just a few of the many different types of formats used in NA meetings; the variations on even these few format types can be endless. Feel free to innovate. Vary t he format in whatever way seems to best suit the “personality” of your group and the needs of addicts in your community. Often, a meeting will grow far larger than the group origina lly anticipated. A meeting format that worked well for a sma ll meeting may not work as well for a ngs experiences that kind of growth, larger one. When one of your group’s meeti
43 31 The NA Group you may want to consider making some adjustments in your format, perhaps even replacing it altogether. Some groups experiencing such growth break their larger meetings down into a number of small meetings held simultaneously in different rooms. Doing this gives each member a better chance to participate in he attends. Many groups use a different type of format whatever meeting he or s in each of these smaller meetings. WHAT KINDS OF LITERATURE SHOULD WE USE? Narcotics Anonymous World Services pr oduces a number of different kinds of publications. However, only NA-approved liter ature is appropriate for reading in Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Selections from NA-approved books and pamphlets are usually read at the beginning of an NA meeting, and some meetings use them as t he core of their format. NA- approved literature represents the widest range of recovery in Narcotics Anonymous. Groups often make other kinds of NA publications available on the literature tables at their meetings: vari ous NA service bulletins and handbooks, The NA Way Magazine, and local NA newsletters. Howe ver, literature of any sort produced by other twelve-step fellowships or other organiza tions outside NA is inappropriate for display on our literature tables or reading at our meetings. To do directly contradicting either implies an endorsement of an outside enterprise, NA’s Sixth Tradition. WHAT IS A GROUP BUSINESS MEETING? ng is fairly self-explanatory: to The purpose of the group business meeti conduct the business of the group in such a way that the group remains effective in carrying the recovery message. Some groups hold business meetings on a call them when something specific comes up that regular basis; others only needs the group’s attention. Some of the questions a typical group business meeting addresses are: Is the group effective in carrying the NA message? Are newcomers and visitors being made welcome? Do solutions for problems at recent meetings need to be sought? Is the meeting format providing sufficient direction? Is attendance steady or growing? Are there good relations between the group and the facility in which the meeting is held? Between the group and the community? Are the group’s funds being used wisely? Is there enough money being donated at m eetings to meet the group’s needs and also provide for contributions to the rest of the service structure? Are literature and refreshment supplies holding up?
44 32 A Guide to Local Services in NA Is there a service vacancy in the group? Has the area, the region, or world services asked the group for advice, support, or direction? d before or after a regular recovery Group business meetings are usually hel meeting so that the recovery meeting remains focused on its primary purpose. Group members are encouraged to attend, raise questions, and participate in discussions related to the group’s work . The group selects someone to lead the business meeting. Group officers give r eports on their areas of responsibility, and subjects of importance to the group are raised for discussion. service structure, is guided by both The group, as the foundation of the NA the Twelve Traditions and the Twel ve Concepts for NA Service. A good understanding of both will help a group business meeting stay on course. NA’s step and tradition book, It Works: How and Why, provides a wealth of information about the Twelve Traditions. Interested members can read essays on the Twelve Concepts in another chapter of this guide. HOW DOES THE WORK GET DONE? Setting up chairs, buying literature, arranging for speakers, cleaning up after refreshments—most of the things an NA the meeting, paying the bills, preparing group does to host its meetings are pre tty simple. But if one person had to do quickly become overwhelming. That’s why a them all, those simple things would he language of the Second Tradition, trusted group elects officers (or, in t servants): to help divide the work among the group’s members. Electing officers is one way the group practices NA’s tradition of self-support: “Every NA group ought to be fully self-s upporting...” Sometimes it seems that groups run all by themselves , but the fact is that someone has to do the work needed to support the group. By dividing t he work, the group ensures that the group as a whole is self-supporting and that the group’s burdens don’t settle unevenly on the shoulders of just one or two individuals. oup with an opportunity to strengthen its Electing officers provides the gr members’ recovery. When group member s agree to serve as secretary or treasurer or tea- or coffee-maker, that acceptance of responsibility often helps advance their personal growth. It also gives them a chance to help enhance the group’s ability to carry the recovery message. You don’t have to be a group officer to be of service to the group. Every week, there’s work to be done: helping se t up the meeting, greeting newcomers, cleaning up, bringing refreshments, and ot her things of that sort. Asking new members to help with these kinds of jobs can make them feel a part of the group more quickly.
45 33 The NA Group HOW DO WE CHOOSE GROUP OFFICERS? ce, the group holds a business meeting When a vacancy occurs in a group offi to consider how to fill it. Groups should a rrange their elections in such a way that they don’t have all their trusted servants leaving office at the same time. There are a couple of things to think about when looking for a group officer. One is maturity in recovery. When thos e new in recovery are elected to a position, they may find themselves deprived of time and energy they need for their early recovery. Group members with a year or two clean are probably already well established in their personal recovery. They are also more likely than with NA’s traditions and service concepts as well as new members to be familiar group procedures. A second thing to consider is consist ent participation in your group. Do the nominees attend your group’s recovery m eetings regularly? Do they take an active part in your group’s business meet ings? Have they lived up to previous service commitments they’ve made? Further questions may occur to you as you read the earlier essay in this guide on NA’s Fourth Concept for Service, which squarely addresses the importance of NA l eadership and the qualities to consider in selecting trusted servants. Finally, we encourage you to remember that you’re selecting group officers, first, to benefit the common welfare of your group. While service commitments hat should not be the often benefit those who accept them, t primary reason for selecting one individual or another to serv e as an officer of your group. As the First Tradition says, in part, “...our common welfare should come first.” WHAT OFFICERS DOES A GROUP NEED? In different areas the work is divi ded differently, and the particular jobs are sometimes called by different names. What’s important is not who does the job or what the job is called, but that the job gets done. What follows are general descriptions of some of the most co mmon sorts of jobs NA groups have. For each of these positions, your group should establish realistic terms of service and clean-time requirements. Secretary The secretary (sometimes ca lled the chairperson) arr anges the affairs of the group, often by asking other group members to help out. One of the first jobs for a new secretary is registering the group’s current mailing address and meeting information with the area service committee secretary and the World Service Office. When a new group secret ary or GSR takes office or there is a change in the group’s mailing address or the time or location of a group meeting, both the area committee and World Service Office should be informed. Other things a group secretary is responsible for may include:
46 34 A Guide to Local Services in NA the meeting is scheduled to begin, Opening the meeting room well before setting up chairs and tables (if necessary), and cleaning and locking the room after the meeting is over. Arranging a table with NA books and pam phlets, local meeting lists, NA The NA Way Magazine, and NA newsletters. activity fliers, service bulletins, Making tea or coffee. Buying refreshments and other supplies. Selecting meeting leaders and speakers. Keeping a list of group members’ recove ry anniversaries, if the group wishes. Organizing group business meetings. And doing whatever else needs to be done. Many groups break all these jobs down separately: someone to open and close the room, another person responsible fo r refreshments, a third to take care of the literature t able, and so forth. Groups that host more than one meeting will often have a different person responsible for all these jobs at each of their meetings. Treasurer than one meeting, elect one group All groups, even those that host more treasurer. When the group consolidates responsibility for all its funds under a single treasurer, the group makes it easier to account for the contributions it receives and expenses it pays than if it gives a number of individuals responsibility for its money. Groups that host two or more weekly meetings to be passed to the group treasurer should make arrangements for contributions shortly after each meeting. Because of the added responsibility of handling money associated with service as a group treasurer, it’s important that groups look carefully at those they elect as treasurers. If the group elects someone who is not capable of handling the responsibilities of the job, then the group is at least partly responsible if money is stolen, supplies aren’t purchased, or funds aren’t properly accounted for. It’s recommended that groups elect treasurers who are financially secure and are good at managing their per sonal finances. Because of the need to keep consistent records, it’s al so strongly recommended that groups elect treasurers to serve for a full year. What do group treasurers do? They c ount the money t hat members have contributed at each meeting, always a sking another member to confirm their count. They take special care not to confuse the group’s money with their own personal funds. They pay expenses, keep good, simple records, and regularly provide financial reports to their groups . The group treasurer’s job requires close easurer in managing those details, a attention to details. To help the tr
47 The NA Group 35 is available from your ar ea committee or from the World Treasurer’s Handbook Service Office. Group Service Representative (GSR) Each group elects one group service repr esentative; even those groups hosting more than one recovery meeting elec t just one GSR. These GSRs form the foundation of our service stru cture. GSRs provide constant, active influence over the discussions being carried on within the service structure. They do this by ttee meetings, attending forums and participating in area service commi assemblies at both the area and regional levels, and sometimes joining in the work of an ASC subcommittee. If we are vigilant in choosing stable, qualified inder of the structur leaders at this level of service, the rema e will almost certainly be sound. From this strong foundation, a an be built that will service structure c the same way that the groups nourish nourish, inform, and support the groups in and support the structure. Group service representatives bear gr eat responsibility. While GSRs are they are not mere group messengers. elected by and accountable to the group, They are selected by their groups to serve as active members of the area service committee. As such, they are responsible to act in the best interests of NA as a whole, not solely as advocates of their own groups’ priorities. As participants in the area committee, GSRs need to be as well informed as ffairs of the committee. They study the reports of the they can be concerning the a committee’s officers and subcommittee chairpersons. They read the various handbooks published by the World Service Offi ce on each area of service. After carefully considering their own consci ence and what they know about how their group members feel, they take active, crit ical parts in the discussions, which form the group conscience of the entire committee. Group service representatives link their groups with the rest of the NA service rmation conveyed in their reports to and structure, particularly through the info meetings, the GSR report provides a from the area committee. At group business summary of area committee activities, often sparking discussions among group members that provide the GSR with a feel for how t he area can better serve the group’s needs. In group recovery meeti ngs, GSRs make available fliers announcing area and regional activities. At area committee meetings, GSR r eports provide perspectives on group ttee’s work. If a group is having problems, its GSR can growth vital to the commi his or her reports . And if the group share those problems with the committee in the area chairperson will open a slot on hasn’t found solutions to those problems, 2 agenda so that the GSR can gather the the committee’s “sharing session” experience others have had in similar sit uations. If any helpful solutions arise from the sharing session, the GSR c an report those back to the group. 2 see the section entitled "The Sharing Session." In the chapter on the area service committee,
48 36 A Guide to Local Services in NA Alternate GSR Groups also elect a second representat ive called an alternate GSR. Alternate GSRs attend all the area service committ ee meetings (as nonvoting participants) with their GSRs so that they can see fo r themselves how the committee works. If a GSR cannot attend an area committee m eeting, that group’ s alternate GSR participates in the GSR’s place. Alternate GSRs, along with other me mbers, may also serve on area subcommittees. Subcommittee experience gives alternate GSRs added perspective on how area services are act ually delivered. That perspective helps make them more effective area committee participants if their groups later elect them to serve as GSRs. ROTATION AND CONTINUITY is the practice many groups hav e of electing new people to service Rotation ing the same person serve in the same positions at set intervals rather than hav very definite benefits for the groups who position year after year. Rotation offers practice it. By providing diversity in leadership, it helps a group stay fresh and no one individual exercises so much energetic. It provides assurance that tension of his or her personality. The influence that the group becomes a mere ex practice of rotation also reinforces the NA emphasis on serv ice rather than the servant, consistent with our belief in the value of spiritual anonymity—what’s important is the job being done, not the particular person doing it. serve more than one term in any given Some groups allow their members to age of its trusted servants’ experience. position so that the group can take advant r terms, rotation allows them to step Once group officers have completed thei s elsewhere in the NA service structure, aside for a time or accept responsibilitie giving other members the chance to serve the group. y of the group is balanced by the The impact of rotation on the stabilit continuing presence of its long-term gr oup members. Those who have served in the past as group officers and continue to main tain an active role in the life of the group can provide much-needed continuity and maturity of perspective to a growing group’s discussions. They can se rve as the group’s memory, ensuring that the group never has to “reinvent the wheel.” They can also lend a hand to new officers and temporarily pitch in to relieve overloaded trusted servants. WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES DOES AN NA GROUP HAVE? The first and most important respons ibility of any NA group—its “primary purpose,” according to the Fifth Tradition— is “to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.” And the single most impo rtant thing a group can do to fulfill that primary purpose is to conduct meetings t hat provide a welcoming atmosphere in which NA recovery can be effectivel y shared between addicts. Groups conduct in very different ways, but all of them seek the same the details of their meetings
49 The NA Group 37 ilable to any addict in the community end: to make recovery from addiction ava who seeks it. service structure, groups have another As the foundation of the worldwide NA responsibility: to help their member s develop an understanding of the Twelve NA Service. By doing so, groups take Traditions and the Twelve Concepts for part in the continuing evolution of the Fe llowship of Narcotics Anonymous as well anding of how the highest ideals of our as providing for themselves an underst fellowship can be applied in their activities. HOW CAN OUR GROUP SUPPORT OTHER NA SERVICES? The Second Concept for NA Service sa ys that the NA groups bear the final responsibility and authority fo r all the services of the extended NA Fellowship. to participate in the work of the Each group should send stable, active GSRs service structure on the group’s behalf. And each group should consider how best to provide the funds the NA service structure needs to do its work. a small amount of money aside to use After paying the bills, most groups set in case an emergency arises. But, oddl y enough, groups usually find that too trouble than too little money. For this much money in the till causes far more reason, we encourage your group never to hold large sums of money in reserve. e representative a ttends the regional At least once a year, the group servic possible, to take the necessary steps to assembly. Each group is encouraged, if at all cover the expenses associated with its G SR’s attendance at the regional assembly. Some groups will choose to set aside money each month toward this expense. After paying expenses and setting asi de a small emergency reserve, most groups contribute their surplus funds dire mmittee, the regional ctly to the area co committee, and Narcotics Anonymous World Services. For more discussion of the principles underlying group contributions to the rest of the service structure, see the essay on our fellowship’s Elevent h Concept for NA Service elsewhere in this guide. For assistance in managing the det ails of direct contributions, see the Treasurer’s Handbook, available from your area co mmittee or by writing our World Service Office.
50 38 A Guide to Local Services in NA GROUP AREA FUND FLOW 1) Groups donate directly to each level except metro METRO 2) Areas serve as funnels for all group contributions for metro services; MSCs return excess funds to areas REGION 3) Areas may donate excess funds to region or world 4) Region may donate W O R L D excess funds to world S E R V C I E S HOW CAN OUR GROUP BETTER SERVE OUR COMMUNITY? By its very existence, the group is al ready providing a substantial service to the community. It’s providing the s upport addicts in the community need to t how can a group become more effective reenter the mainstream of society. Bu yet found NA? There are two general ways in reaching out to addicts who’ve not in which a group can better serve it s community: through the area service committee and through activities coordinated by the group itself. 3 Area service committees Most NA groups are se rved by an area committee. on behalf of all the groups they serve. coordinate efforts to carry the NA message Community public information services, telephone contact lines, and panel presentations to addicts in treatment c enters and jails are three ways in which most area committees carry the message ei ther directly to the addict who still suffers or to those who may refer an addict to an NA meeting. Your group service representative can tell you more about how you and your group can more our area service committee. For further effectively join in the work of y information, see the next chapter in this guide. 3 e Office. They'll be happy contact the World Servic nearest area service committee, If you don't know how to contact the to put you in touch.
51 The NA Group 39 communities themselves, coordinating Some NA groups reach out to their through their ASCs or through their activities with thos e of other groups either ea Committees in Rural Communities” local cooperative councils (see the “Ar section toward the end of the next chapter). This is particularly the case in small communities and in areas where Narcoti cs Anonymous is very new. An NA group in a rural town obviously does not hav e as many people or as much money available as an area service committee in a large city, but opportunities exist nonetheless for carrying the recovery me ssage effectively to others who may be seeking the solution we’ve found. If your group needs help in reaching out to the community, write to the World Service Office. HOW CAN OUR GROUP SOLVE ITS PROBLEMS? NA groups encounter a wide variety of problems: meetings are disrupted; of clients when the group is ill-prepared treatment centers bus in large numbers the clarity of our message becomes an to receive them; the format goes stale; issue; the coffee tastes like industrial -strength cleanser; the readings at the beginning of the meeting go on, and on, and on. These are just a few of the problems the average NA group must deal with from time to time. This guide doesn’t “lay down the law” on how to deal with these problems. It does point out some effective tools group members can use in solving their own problems. The best source of solutions for the gr oup’s problems, in most cases, is the ening as a result of these steps,” our group itself. “Having had a spiritual awak Twelfth Step says, “we tried... to practice t hese principles in all our affairs.” When ed from that spiritual awakening to our we collectively apply the insight receiv group conscience . Common sense, open minds, group’s problems, we call that calm discussion, accurate information, mutual respect, and healthy personal recovery enable a group to deal effectivel y with almost anything that comes its way. ces the group may choose to use in There are a number of printed resour gathering the information it needs to reach sound decisions. The Basic Text and our step and tradition book, It Works: How and Why, both provide a great deal of information about how NA’s Twelve Traditions can be applied to given situations. The chapter in this guide on the Twelve Concepts for NA Service gives in-depth explanations of the essential ideals underly ing service activities in Narcotics Anonymous. The NA Way Magazine often has articles addressing problems the group might face. And bulletins availabl e from the World Service Office deal in detail with a variety of subjects relating to the group’s work. Another source of information the group might tap is the experience of other groups in its area or region. If the group has a problem and can’t come up with its own solution, it might want to ask its group service representative to share that problem at the next area service committ ee meeting. Area committees set aside a portion of every meeting for exactly t hat purpose. And while the area committee it does provide a forum in which groups can share can’t tell a group what to do,
52 40 A Guide to Local Services in NA Workshops conducted by the regional with one another what’s worked for them. service committee provide the same kind of opportunity on a larger scale. For mmittee can help with group problems, see details on how the area or regional co the chapters on those committees later in this guide. SAMPLE MEETING FORMAT This sample meeting format is just that—a sample. It’s designed so that, if your group chooses, you can use it exactly as it is. However, you're encouraged to change it and rearrange it according to the needs of your group. Leader: Welcome members to the meeting and introduce yourself. Hello, my name is ________, and I am an addict. Welcome to this meeting of the __________ Group of Narcotics Anonymous. I’d like to open this meeting with a moment of (15 to 20 seconds) silence for the addict who still suffers, followed by the Serenity Prayer. We like to extend a special welc ome to newcomers. If anyone here is attending their first NA meeting, would y ou care to introduce yourself? We ask this not to embarrass you, but to get to know you better. Is anyone here in their first thirty days of recovery? Introductions. Introductions. Do we have any out-of-town visitors? Is there anyone attending this meeting for the first time? Introductions. If this is a closed meeting: This is an This is If this is an open meeting: “open” Narcotics Anonymous meeting. a “closed” Narcotics Anonymous NA meetings are meeting. Closed We’d like to welcome any nonaddict only for addicts or those who think visitors and thank you for your interest they might have a drug problem. If in Narcotics Anonymous. We ask that there are any nonaddicts visiting, you respect the primary purpose of this meeting, which is to provide a we’d like to thank you for your place where addicts can share their interest in Narcotics Anonymous. recovery with one another. Our local NA meeting list on the literature table will direct you to an mmunity that is NA meeting in our co open to nonaddicts. Leader: For the protection of our gr oup as well as the meeting facility, we ask that you have no drugs or paraphernalia on your per son at the meeting. If you have any now, please leave, dispose of them, and return as quickly as possible.
53 41 The NA Group Leader: Recognize those with various periods of clean time—thirty, sixty, ninety days, six months, nine months, one year, eighteen m onths, and multiple years. Keytags, chips, or medallions may be given out. Leader: Select people before the m eeting to read one or more of the following short pieces. These readings can be found in our White Booklet, the Basic Text, IP No. 1, or the group reading cards. a) Who Is an Addict? b) What Is the NA Program? c) Why Are We Here? d) How it Works e) The Twelve Traditions f) Just for Today g) We Do Recover Leader: Announce the type of meeting (partici pation, topic discussion, step study, speaker, etc.). Ask for topic or step and open the meeting for discussion, or introduce the speaker. Leader: About ten minutes before the meet That’s all ing is scheduled to close, announce: the time we have. I’d like to thank you for attending. Leader: Begin passing the basket around, announcing: The basket being passed around Tradition, which says, “Every NA group is one way of practicing our Seventh ng outside contributions.” The money we ought to be fully self-supporting, declini collect pays for rent, literature, and refre shments. Through contributions from this group to various NA service committees, it also helps carry the NA message of recovery in our area and around the world. I’d like once again to t hank our nonaddict guests If this is an “open” meeting: for the interest they’ve shown in Narc otics Anonymous. Because of NA’s tradition of self-support, this group asks that y ou not contribute any money when the basket passes your way. Leader: Do we have any NA-related announcements? (The GSR will make announcements of upcoming group activi ties and NA events in the area.)
54 42 A Guide to Local Services in NA Leader: After the basket has come back around: Again, thanks for coming tonight. Would all those who care to, join in a circle to close? Various groups close in different tations from NA literature, etc. ways: with prayers, brief reci When closing their meetings, some groups ask those attending to respect the anonymity of others they’ve seen and heard there. Keep coming back. It works!
55 A New NA Group Checklist derived from the collective experience of NA So, you’re starting a new group? This checklist, groups, contains matters to address when starting a new group. Most of what you need to know The Group Booklet. The Group about Narcotics Anonymous groups an d NA meetings can be found in Booklet Guide to is simply the chapter entitled “The NA Group” taken from our service manual A We suggest that you . , and published separately as a booklet Local Services in Narcotics Anonymous erature together so that you are all thoroughly and your fellow group members read through that lit familiar with the issues other NA groups have faced in trying to carry the NA message of recovery. ___ What group trusted servants are needed? What Get in touch with the nearest service committee. ___ does the group expect those people to do? The An area service committee meeting is the ideal chapter on “The NA Group” gives descriptions of place for announcing your intention to start a various group officer positions. Make sure all new group. There, you can gather experience their group members agree on what they want from representatives of other groups in the area, officers to do. and learn of the services available to your group when you need them. ___ “The What kind of meeting format will you use? NA Group” chapter describes a number of format Obtain a meeting place. ___ “The NA Group” variations commonly used in our fellowship. Guide to Local Services in NA A already chapter of Which format—or combinat ion of formats—does discusses many of the things to be considered your group want to use? about obtaining meeting space. Here are some _____________________________________________ details to know when opening a new meeting: Will this be a “closed” NA meeting? Or an ___ ____________________________ * Where? For explanation of these two “open” meeting? * When? Day, time, and duration of the meeting. __ different types of meetings, see the chapter on _____________________________________________ . ” ____________________________ “The NA Group What is the facility charging for * How much? What kinds of NA literature does your group ___ ________________________________________ rent? want to stock? Is that realistic, keeping in mind the number of _____________________________________________ people you can expect to attend the meeting? ____ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ What kinds of refreshments should be ___ purchased? When is the re nt due? _________________________ _____________________________________________ * What does the facility require? No smoking? ___ Have you registered your group with the World Absolutely no litter? Sweep, mop after the Service Office and with the secretary of your lock doors? ___________ meeting? Close windows, You will find NAWS area service committee? *Would you rather have your group’s mail sent group registration form enclosed or on our to a group trusted servant or your Area Service www.na.org website . By filing it out directly Committee? Or, would you like your group’s u'll ensure that your online or mailing it in, yo mail sent to the facility address? Will they set up group ’s meeting information is available via a box where you can pick up newsletters and the NAWS website, www.na.org . announcements mailed to your group? _________ For more information, please contact: _____________________________________________ ___ Name your group. A few things you may want to Fellowship Services consider are: Is the name recovery oriented? Does World Service Office the name create the impression that the group is PO Box 9999 y in which it holds its affiliated with the facilit Van Nuys, CA 91409 USA meetings? Tel: (818) 773-9999 Fax: (818) 700-0700 _____________________________________________ Website: www.na.org
56 PDATE EW ROUP R N /U G F ORM EGISTRATION This form can be completed online at www.na.org/?ID=upd ateforms-newregfm Visit www.na.org/?ID=subscribe or call 818.773.9999 x771 for informat ion about free communications from NAWS Please complete all information (Please print clearly) Today's Date (if known) Group Code Group Name This group was formed (month/year) This group holds meeting(s) per week Area Service Committee Name Regional Service Committee Name Group’s Meeting Information Wed Tues Sat Fri Thur Meeting Days Sun Mon Meeting Time Language(s) Format Wheelchair Accessible Room Name Open/Closed* *Open NA meetings welcome addicts and interested obse rvers; closed NA meetings welcome addicts only. Meeting Location OLD (if applicable) NEW Place / Building Name ddress A City Borough / Sub-City State/Province Zip/Postal & Country If this meeting is held in a correctional or treatment facility, are there special criteria for entry? Group Contact Mailing Address This is typically a stable group member who can forward an y communication from NA World Services to the NA group. This may or may not be a current group trusted servant, and is not usually the group’s meeting location address. Group Contact Name (first and last) Address City State/Province Postal/Zip Country Phone ( ) Email Address Please return this form to: NA World Services, PO Box 9999, Van Nuys, CA 91409, USA or FAX to 818.700.0700
57 THE AREA SERVICE COMMITTEE litan services committee, this chapter Note: If your area is a member of a metropo will not apply directly to y our ASC. Please see the chapter on MSCs first for a description of area committees like yours. INTRODUCTION maybe that’s the best way to describe “Workhorse” of the service structure— the area service committee. Most of the hands-on work of delivering NA services to the groups and the community occurs at the area level. NA groups support meetings where addict s can share their recovery with one another. Only minimal organization is nec essary to hold those meetings. But there are lots more that can be done to fu rther the aims of Narcotics Anonymous: NA panel presentations at addiction treatment centers and correctional facilities can reach addicts particularly in need of what we have to offer. Public information presentations to schools and community groups, mailings to addiction treatment professionals, meeting notices in newspapers, and public service announcements on local radio and television stations can help direct people to NA. Directories showing where and when NA groups in the area hold their recovery meetings can help addicts and others find nearby meetings being conducted at times convenient to them. A phoneline service can help addicts seeking recovery find a meeting in their area. It can also provide information about NA to interested community members. A ready supply of NA books and pamphlets can make it easier for groups to stock their literature tables. Social activities can help addicts feel more comfortable in their local NA 1 community and increase unity and camaraderie among area members. All of these services require a certain degree of organization, the complexity of which could easily divert NA groups from the week-in, week-out task of conducting Narcotics Anonymous meetings for their members. Most of these services also require more money and manpower than any single group could possibly muster. How do groups stay fo cused on their primary purpose and still see that these other services are developed and maintained? In the words of NA’s Ninth Tradition, they “create se rvice boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.” And t he service committee closest to home, the 1 Various handbooks describing these and other local services are ava ilable from the World Service Office. For further bulletins and handbooks available information, see the section titled "Subcommittees" later in this chapter and the list of from the WSO at the end of this guide. 45
58 46 A Guide to Local Services in NA direct service to the groups and the committee best situated to provide the most community, is the area service committee. A newly formed area committee will not be able to provide the same level of service as a longer-established committ ee. That’s only natural. A new area service committee should not expect to at full speed. The hit the ground running development of the full range of area serv ices described in this chapter often takes a few years. Be patient and keep plugging; it’s worth the effort. Just as individual members of NA rely upon one another for support, so do area committees. New committees in parti cular can draw upon the experience of their neighbors in charting a course for local services, whether those neighbors country. New ASCs can also draw are in the next county or the next encouragement from their neighbors’ assur ance that, given time, effort, and the application of principles, “it works.” None of us has to do it alone, not in personal recovery and not in service, not anymore. THE AREA COMMITTEE AND OTHER NA SERVICES Area service committees are ultimately responsible to the groups they serve. Narcotics Anonymous groups send group service representatives (GSRs) to serve on the area committee. While st ill maintaining final responsibility and vest enough delegated authority in their authority for area services, they in GSRs—and through them, in the area commi ttee—for the necessary work to get done. NA groups also send money to the area committee, money needed to coordinate panels, maintain phonelines, and conduct public information activities. Through their contributions of money and manpower, the groups exercise both their responsibility and their authority for NA services. How does the area service committee re late in turn to NA’s regional and world services? In much the same way as the group relates to the area committee: through carefully selected representatives w ho are delegated the authority necessary for effective service. AREA COMMITTEE PARTICIPANTS There are three groups of participant s in most area service committees: GSRs and their alternates, adminis trative officers, and subcommittee chairpersons. The Seventh Concept for NA Service says that, “All members of a service body bear substantial responsibilit y for that body’s decisions and should be allowed to fully participate in its decision-making processes.” Group service representatives provide a “grass roots” perspective to the area decision-making process, helping ensure that the commi ttee’s feet are planted firmly on the ground. Administrative officers and subcommittee chairpersons also bear substantial responsibility for the fulfillm ent of area services. Their ongoing growth is an invaluable resource to the area and experience in carrying out their duties
59 47 The Area Service Committee onscience. We ought never allow a base as it develops and expresses its group c ilizing it to the fullest. Each area is of valuable experience to be created without ut responsible to create its own decision -making plan. In doing so, area committees should carefully consider the Seventh Concept. GROUP SERVICE REPRESENTATIVES (GSRs) r groups to the rest of Narcotics Group service representatives link thei Anonymous. Most groups also elect an al ternate GSR who can fill in for the group representative when needed. GSRs serve a dual role. As our fellowship’s Second Concept for Service indicates, GSRs take part on their groups’ behalf in the area committee and the regional asse mbly, conveying a sense of their groups’ wishes to the service structure and bringing back information on what’s happening in the larger world of NA. Yet our Twelve Concepts also suggest that GSRs are delegated the authority to serve in their own right as ASC and regional assembly participants, exercising their own conscience and best judgment in the best interests of NA as a whole. For mo re information on the GSR’s job, see both the Twelve Concepts for NA Serv ice and the NA Group chapters appearing earlier in this guide. Basic equipment for group service repres entatives usually includes copies of , area guidelines (if the area A Guide to Local Services in Narcotics Anonymous has them), and the log of area policy acti ons (available from the area secretary). Qualifications and terms of service for GSRs are determined by the groups, which elect them. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS Many area service committees have six adm inistrative officers: a chairperson, a vice chairperson, a treasurer, a secretary, and two regional committee members (RCMs). Areas belonging to a metropolitan services committee also have one or more metropolitan committ ee members (MCMs). (See the chapter later in this guide for information on me tro committees and the role of MCMs.) These individuals are responsible for adm inistering the general affairs of the entire area committee. Because of that, it’s important that great care be taken in their selection. A substantial amount of clean time and personal maturity should be the first consideration, along with experience in the steps, traditions, and concepts of service. Our trusted serv ants should demonstrate the stability and personal sense of direction that serve as an example to others. They should be capable of serving without attempting to govern. The specific amount of clean time required for each office will vary fro m area to area according to how long the local NA community has been in existence. Significant area service background often makes more effective administrative officers. Experience both as a group service representative and an Recent leadership experience as a area subcommittee member is helpful.
60 48 A Guide to Local Services in NA uable. For more discussion of the role subcommittee chairperson will prove inval essay on Concept Four in the chapter on of leadership in NA services, see the the Twelve Concepts for NA Service appearing earlier in this guide. Chairperson The area committee chairperson is responsible for conducting committee meetings, preparing the agenda, and various administrative duties. The chair’s primary tools are the short-form rules of order, which appear at the end of this guide, a firm hand, a calm spirit, and a clear mind. The chairperson can find additional help in books about business m eetings, decision-making processes, and volunteer organizations that are often readily available at local bookstores and libraries. Vice chairperson The primary responsibility of the area committee vice chairperson is the coordination of the area subcommittees. The area vice chair keeps in regular touch with the chairpersons of each s ubcommittee to stay informed of their projects and problems, attending subco mmittee meetings whenever possible. If disputes arise within a subcommittee or between subcommittees, the ASC vice chair helps find solutions to them. The vice chairperson works closely with subcommittee chairs when they prepare their annual reports and budget proposals. ible to assist the chairperson in The vice chairperson is also respons conducting area committee meetings and to conduct ASC meetings him or herself in the chairperson’s absence. Secretary ttees’ paperwork, a formidable job. Their Area secretaries handle all their commi first responsibility is to take clear, accu rate minutes of area committee meetings committee participants within a reasonable and distribute those minutes to all period of time after each meeting. In the process of keeping the minutes of each meeting, secretaries should regularly update a log of area policy acti ons. The log lists motions the committee has passed regarding the activities of administrative officers and subcommittees. These motions should be listed chronologica lly under a heading for the officer or subcommittee they affect. Secretaries s hould have copies of the most recent printing of the log of policy actions available for new GSRs and should periodically distribute updated versions to all area committee participants. Because most secretaries mail minut es to area committee members, they need to keep an updated list of participants’ addresses. With their committees’ permission, they should mail copies of t hese lists once or twice a year to the World Service Office. These lists will make it possible for the WSO to provide groups, subcommittees, and administrative officers with current information pertinent to their areas of service.
61 The Area Service Committee 49 Treasurer The area treasurer’s job is critical to the committee’s work. Because of the added responsibility of handling money associat ed with service as treasurer, it’s especially important that area committees select their treasurers with care. If the committee selects someone who is not capable of handling the job, then the area expenses are not committee is at least partly responsible if money is stolen, operly accounted for. It's recommended that areas elect paid, or funds aren’t pr people to this position who are financ ially secure, good at managing their personal finances, inspire the trust of the committee, and have substantial clean ng, bookkeeping, or as a successful group time. Experience in business, accounti treasurer is also very helpful. from the groups, administers the area’s The treasurer receives contributions he committee’s meeting hall, reimburses checking account, pays the rent for t officers and subcommittee chairs for their budgeted expenses, keeps careful records of all transactions, and reports on the financial condition of the area the administrator of the area’s unified committee at each of its meetings. As 2 for general fund, the treasurer is also responsible to prepare an annual budget the area committee. The Treasurer’s Handbook, available from the World Service job and most of the Office, contains a more detailed description of the treasurer’s forms treasurers need for keeping their records. Cash transactions can create a num ber of problems for ASC treasurers. make an area treasurer particularly Having large quantities of currency can undocumented sums of cash may also vulnerable to robbery. Handling large leave the treasurer open to unwarranted accusations of theft, or may even provide an unnecessary temptation. That ’s why we encourage groups to make checks or money orders payable to the their ASC contributions in the form of e. When treasurers receive cash area service committee whenever possibl contributions for their areas, they s hould always make out receipts to the contributors immediately, keeping copies for themselves with their official records. Wide experience also strongly suggests that, to help prevent theft, area committees should only use two-signature che cks to pay their bills. In order for a check to be valid, it should be si gned by the treasurer and another ASC administrative officer. These cautions are offered to protect the treasurer from controversy as well as to protect area funds. Discussions of ot her considerations relating to both the treasurer’s responsibilities and area finances appear later in this chapter. Readers can find more on general NA f unding issues, including security and accountability, in the essay on Concept Eleven appearing in the chapter on the Twelve Concepts for NA Service earlier in this guide. 2 See the section later in this chapter, "Area Budgeting."
62 50 A Guide to Local Services in NA Regional committee members (RCMs) Regional committee members are just t hat: They serve as the core of the regional service committee, a body which coordinates service forums throughout the region, is responsible for the regi onal convention, and conducts the regional assembly. The regional committee also serves year around as a contact point between NA world and local services. De tailed information on the services provided by regional committees can be found later in this guide. RCMs keep their areas in touch with t he larger world of NA by providing areas, functions being sponsored by the information on activities in neighboring regional committee, reports relevant to subcommittee affairs, and important issues being discussed at various levels of service. Both the region and its areas depend on RCMs to be well-versed in NA service practices and principles. RCMs should be closely acquainted with the the fundamentals of service in our Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts, service manuals and bulletins puts the fellowship. Familiarity with all published resources of the whole fellowship at the RCM’s fingertips. RCMs should carefully study the r eports from their own areas’ groups, officers, and subcommittee chairs so that they can pass their areas’ experience on to others at the regi onal meeting. RCMs will be more effective contacts between their areas and the regional commi ttee if they take time to talk personally with other participants in thei r area committees. That way, they can oncerns the regional committee should get a better idea of what needs and c address. o-year terms. Most areas have two Regional committee members serve tw RCMs serving at any one time, one elec ted in odd-numbered years and the other in even years. This helps regional committees maintain a balance between experienced members and those just learni ng the ropes. It also ensures that a regional committee serving only three or four areas will have enough members to be able to do its work. ELECTIONS AND ROTATION Some area committees hold elections fo r all their officers and subcommittee chairpersons at the same time each yea r; others stagger their elections, selecting members for different trusted-servant roles at different times of the year, so that their committees always have a mi x of new and experienced leaders. Administrative officers and subcommitt ee chairpersons generally serve no more than two terms consecutively in the sa me position and, with the exception of RCMs, usually serve one-year terms. This a llows for the rotation of a variety of individuals through an area’s trusted-servant positions, providing a diversity of viewpoints and talents and a freshness of per spective that would be lacking were these positions to be held year after year by the same individuals. The rotation of trusted servants at the area level also hel ps the committee better reflect the full eventing the area range of insight available among commi ttee members, pr
63 The Area Service Committee 51 committee from becoming the mere extension of an individual’s personality. Rotation emphasizes that our efforts to help carry the message through service involvement is just one way of practi cing our Twelfth Step, no more or less special or praiseworthy than any other. The practice of rotation is founded on this fellowship’s belief that service is more important than the servant, an extension of our tradition of spiritual anonymity. Area committees can foster continuity in their services by a number of means. ious paragraph, some area committees stagger their As mentioned in the prev these committees always have a certain elections of trusted servants, ensuring eaders. Many area committees also encourage those proportion of experienced l officers and subcommittee chairs to who have completed terms as administrative remain active in the ASC either in anot her leadership position, as individual members of one of the area’s subcommi ttees, or informally. By balancing the practice of rotation with the kind of ex perience available from past officers, an area committee can partake of the best of both worlds. SUBCOMMITTEES In some ways, the relationship between an ASC and its subcommittees is very similar to the relationship between NA groups and their ASC; in others, it is area committee to help them fulfill their quite different. Just as groups create an ASC creates subcommittees to do the actual work primary purpose, so the es—H&I, PI, phonelines, activities, and the involved in delivering its direct servic rest. If area subcommittees are to serve must delegate them effectively, the ASC sufficient authority to exercise their best judgment in fulfilling their duties. However, because an area committee must account to the groups for the actions of its subcommittees, ASCs generally mainta in a somewhat tighter rein on their subcommittees than groups do on their area committees. delegation is a delicate one. If an The balance between accountability and area committee exerts too much control over its subcommittees, those subcommittees will not be able to serv e well. If the ASC delegates too much authority to its subcommittees, on the other hand, the area committee will not be able to account fully for itself to the groups it serves. An ASC should pay careful attention to the Twelve Concepts, especially Concept Five, when creating subcommittees, giving them sufficient liberty to serve freely while still maintaining their accountability.
64 52 A Guide to Local Services in NA The ASC is responsible not only to dev elop and maintain subcommittees in oordinate the work of each of those each field of service but also to c others. For these reasons, all area subcommittees with the work of the committee participants need to become as informed as they can possibly be about subcommittee activities. Area commi ttees devote significant portions of mmittee chairpersons and discussions of their meetings to reports from subco ailable from the World Service Office subcommittee activities. Handbooks are av for most of the subcommittees listed below . Specific directions for subcommittees in your area can be found in your log of policy actions and (if applicable) your area guidelines. Most newly formed area service committees will probably not be able to ttee services as a longer-established support the same wide range of subcommi committee. Rather than attempt to set up all their subcommittees at once, it’s recommended that new area committees ta ke their time. Make sure the responsibilities of new subcommittees ar e well coordinated with those of existing ones. Bring subcommittees on line one at a time and give a great deal of attention to developing each subcommittee before bringing on another. Translations Translation subcommittees perform one of the most basic services possible for an NA community: They ensure that the wr itten NA message is available in the language spoken by local members. Transla tion subcommittees also assist in
65 The Area Service Committee 53 and periodicals so that the members translating service-related correspondence of their NA communities can take a fulle r part in the life of the worldwide NA a translation subcommittee but does not Fellowship. If your NA community needs yet have one, Narcotics Anonymous Wo rld Services will be happy to help you start one. For assistance, contact the World Service Office. Hospitals and Institutions Hospitals and institutions subcommi ttees conduct panels that carry the NA other way of hearing our message. message to addicts who often have no Treatment panels are conducted for patients at addiction treatment centers, Correctional panels mental health facilities, and therapeutic communities. are held for inmates at jails, prisons, and forensic hospitals. The Hospitals and available from your local H&I Institutions Handbook, subcommittee or by writing the World Service Office, explains more about how to conduct panels, interact subcommittee work. The amount of with facility administrators, and organize work your local H&I subcommittee does will depend on a variety of factors: the number of treatment and correctional fac ilities in your area, the number of NA members in your area who are interest ed in H&I service, and the amount of collective experience in H&I work in your NA community. mes overlap those of the local public H&I subcommittee responsibilities someti information subcommittee. For this reason, we encourage H&I and PI h one another. In some areas, H&I and PI subcommittees to closely cooperate wit members to each other’s meetings to subcommittees regularly send one or two maintain communications, thereby minimi zing the potential for conflict in these two key fields of service. Public Information The general mission of your area public information subcommittee is to inform availability of recovery in Narcotics addicts and others in the community of the Anonymous. Services provided by PI s ubcommittees vary widely from area to area. The simplest kind of PI project is the production and dis tribution of fliers throughout the community announcing that NA is available and that more information can be had either by calling the local NA information phoneline or by attending an NA meeting. As PI subco mmittees become better developed, they often conduct public meetings for communi ty members, distribute public service announcements to local radio and television stations, and respond to public media inquiries. Some PI subcommittees develop separate working groups called CPC panels (short for cooperation with the professional community) to focus especially on the NA community’s relations with local treatment professionals. A Guide to Public Information, available from your local PI subcommittee or by writing the World Service Office, prov ides detailed information on conducting a wide range of projects designed to incr ease community awareness of Narcotics Anonymous.
66 54 A Guide to Local Services in NA rve primarily to encourage people to call Many public information projects se the local phoneline for more informati on on NA. Because of the close link benefit these two subcommittees to between PI and phoneline work, it will often cultivate close relationships with one another. Some phoneline and PI subcommittees make it a standard policy to send members to one another’s meetings to better facilitate communica tion between the two. In some areas, a single subcommittee administers both the phoneline and NA’s public relations program. Phoneline The phoneline subcommittee maintains a telephone information service for Narcotics Anonymous that helps addict s and others in the community find us easily and quickly. Phoneline volunteers often serve as the first point of contact between the community-at-large and the NA Fello wship. For this reason, it’s vital that careful attention be paid to the work of this subcommittee. NA communities organize their work in Phoneline subcommittees in different different ways to meet local needs. In some areas, PI and phoneline services are In smaller communities, the phoneline operated jointly by a single subcommittee. ding service connecting callers with NA may be as simple as a call-forwar members’ home telephones. In the lar ger metropolitan areas, computerized systems may route incoming calls to t he appropriate people and information. For more details on NA phonelines, consult available A Guide to Phoneline Service, from your local phoneline subcommittee or by writing the World Service Office. Literature supply maintains a stock of NA books and The literature supply subcommittee pamphlets that can be purchased by local groups at the monthly ASC meeting. In some areas, this subcommittee may cons ist of only one or two people. In other half a dozen members who process group areas, it may involve as many as terials from the local NA office or the orders, monitor stock levels, and reorder ma World Service Office. To maintain accountability for all area funds, most areas ask their treasurer to serve as cashier for literature sales. The subcommittee then has to reorder stock. To help organize goes to the treasurer for a check when it the job of processing gr oup orders, tracking inventor y, and reordering depleted items, contact the World Service Office for available resources. Newsletter Some areas form subcommittees, which publish local newsletters listing area and regional events. Some newsletters also run articles on local service activities and members’ recovery experiences. Keep in mind that NA newsletters are often read as if they speak for Narcotics A nonymous as a whole, no matter how many disclaimers the newsletter subcommittee prints. That’s why we encourage the area committee to take special heed of the Fifth Concept when creating this subcommittee, ensuring the newsletter has a responsible editorial policy. A
67 The Area Service Committee 55 available from the World Service Office, provides Handbook for NA Newsletters, more information on the work of the newsletter subcommittee. Activities peaker meetings—these events are put on Dances, picnics, campouts, special s ties like these can provide a greater by area activities subcommittees. Activi sense of community for the local NA Fellowship and produce additional area income. It should always be kept in mind, however, that these functions are designed to enhance NA’s primary purpose, not to replace group contributions in funding area services. A couple of remarks must be made regarding legalities relevant to NA activities. Most activiti es subcommittees distribute fliers announcing their next area. If your subcommittee’s flier displays one of the event to NA groups in the NA logos shown below, a small circled letter “R” (it looks like this: ®) should appear to the right of the logo. This mark shows that the logo is a registered dwide and helps protect the logo from trademark of Narcotics Anonymous worl re information, see the bulletin, Internal misuse outside the fellowship. For mo Use of NA Intellectual Property , at the end of this guide (page 112). Narcotics Anonymous ® ® ® Some activities subcommittees have conducted raffles of one sort or another either as separate fundraising efforts or as parts of another activity. It should be es and in some other countries such raffles are noted that in many US stat considered gambling and, as such, are illegal. Activities subcommittees should cash raffles or lotte ries, appeal more to also consider whether raffles, especially the spirit of self-interest than the spirit of voluntary support imp licit in our Seventh Tradition. Outreach Outreach subcommittees serve as t he outstretched hand of an established NA community to isolated groups and addicts, particularly in large rural areas. By phone, by mail, and by car they make su re that no group and no addict has to go through it alone if at all possible. The subcommittee helps keep geographically isolated groups and addicts in touch with the mainstream of the NA Fellowship.
68 56 A Guide to Local Services in NA the only subcommittee concerned with The outreach subcommittee is not by factors other reaching out to isolated addicts. Sometime s addicts are isolated factors, for instance. PI, H&I, and than geography: social, economic, and cultural phoneline subcommittees can help an area committee focus additional attention unities who, for one reason or another, on the needs of addicts in our own comm have not found NA accessible. Area servic e committees and their subcommittees to ensure that recovery is available to any addict need to do whatever they can ual identity, creed, re ligion, or lack of who seeks it, “regardless of age, race, sex religion.” Area subcommittees engaging in community outreach activities may find help by contacting the World Service Office. Meeting lists Though production of meeting lists does not usually require the creation of a mmittees do have one or two people who separate subcommittee, most area co es on a regular basis. In some areas, are responsible for printing meeting schedul this job is handled by one of the committee’s administrative officers; in others, by lists show days, times, locations, and one of the regular subcommittees. Meeting other pertinent information for local NA meetings. Meeting schedules often show: whether the meeting is “open” or “closed,” meeting format (Basic Text study, discussion, etc.), location use restrictions (no smoking, etc.), additional needs services (wheelchair accessibility, availability of sign- language interpreter, etc.), and if the meeting is conducted by a s pecialized group (for instance, a men’s, women’s, gay, or lesbian group). committees have asked themselves At one time or another, most area d be included on the list. The six points whether a particular meeting shoul describing an NA group appearing at the beginning of the “NA Group” chapter in this guide have given most area commi ttees the criteria they’ve needed in making such decisions. Meeting lists are often used in c onjunction with an area’s public relations program. For this reason, we enc ourage individuals and subcommittees responsible for preparing their area dire ctories to do an especially thorough job. Some of the points to be given extra att ention are the accuracy of all listings, the attractiveness and usability of the director y’s format, and profanity in the names of meetings being listed. Area committees are encouraged to send a copy of their meeting schedule to the World Service Office each time the list is updated. In addition, areas can update their meeting information online at www.na.org. For more information, O. Accurate, current lists of meetings contact the Fellowship Services at the WS
69 57 The Area Service Committee help the WSO maintain an up-to-date directory for use in answering questions from around the world. Ad hoc committees Sometimes an area committee comes up with a question or special project that does not fit into any existing subcommi ttee’s job description. Perhaps a new piece of NA literature is being developed by world services, for instance, and the area has been asked to gather input on the piece from NA members. Perhaps local members have come up with an idea fo r a new piece of NA literature that they want to develop a bit before they turn it over to world services. Maybe area groups have begun having difficulty finding new places in which to hold recovery meetings and want the ASC to give extended attention to the matter. Or perhaps the committee feels it’s time to develop gui delines for itself. In such cases, the ASC may wish to create an ad hoc committee to address the issue. Ad hoc committees are set up for s pecific purposes and have limited lives. When they have finished their jobs, t hey are disbanded. In creating an ad hoc committee, the ASC should clearly specif y what the committee’s purpose will be, what authority and resource s it will be given, and how long it should take to complete the job. Then the area chair may appoint either the entire ad hoc put the ad hoc committee together later. committee or just a chairperson who will Once the ad hoc committee’s work is completed, the committee is dissolved. AREA COMMITTEE POLICY AND GUIDELINES mind regarding area committee policy and One particular word comes to have found themselves so tangled in guidelines: caution. Some area committees discussions of service policy and area guidelines—sometimes for months or even years at a time—that they have been sorely hampered in providing the services they were created to deliver in the first place. Here are a few points to consider when entering into policy discussions, points that may keep the confusion to a minimum and the committee squarely on track. NA’s Twelve Concepts for Service can be of great value in untangling knotty policy questions; some consider the c oncepts tailor-made resources for such discussions. Time invested in studying the Twelve Concepts will repay itself many times over with the clarity they prov ide. In particular, the concepts speak to the subject of delegated authority. For inst ance, according to the concepts, when groups want the area committee to perform services on their behalf, they delegate to the committee sufficient authorit y for the work to get done. And when the area committee elects officers and s ubcommittee chairs, expecting them to perform particular tasks, the committee also delegates to them the authority to apply their best judgment to the fulfillment of those tasks. Our trusted servants do not govern, but they must be given the trust necessary to effectively serve. These kinds of simple, direct principles c an be effectively applied to any number of service-related policy questions.
70 58 A Guide to Local Services in NA help an area committee find its way out of “the policy Another tool that can maze” is, simply, a moment’s reflection on NA’s primary purpose. Unsophisticated as this may seem, it can be quite effective in solving some pretty complex problems. Area committees exis t primarily to help make NA groups message to the still-suffering addict. Area more effective in carrying the recovery committee services either: attract addicts to meetings, provide materials for use in meetings, conduct activities designed to strengthen meetings, or perform the administrative functions necessary to do these things. When caught in a conflict for which t here seems to be no resolution, an area committee can stop, call for a moment of silence, and ask itself, “What does this discussion have to do with carrying the message?” A regularly updated log of area poli cy actions can be of tremendous help. When confronted with a policy question, ar ea committees can consult it to see what decisions have already been made regarding it. The policy log makes it unnecessary for area committees to r ehash the same question over and over and over again. t to provide adequate guidance for the Hopefully, enough tools already exis work of most area committees: this chapter of A Guide to Local Services, the log of area policy actions, the short-form rules of order appearing toward the end of this guide, and the Twelve Concepts fo r NA Service. Some areas, though, will want to develop their own area guidelines, giving specific directions to their administrative officers and subcommittees . This will be the case particularly for area committees whose subcommittees hav e substantial responsibilities. It’s suggested that area committees give themselv es some time to see what kinds of needs for guidelines actually exist in t heir areas before beginning to draft their own. An area committee equipped with a year or two of entries in the log of policy actions will be in a better position to s ee what kind of guidelines ought to be developed than an area committee trying to write guidelines during the committee’s formation. You can get sample guidelines by writing to the World Service Office. Areas who wish to prepar e their own guidelines may wish to appoint an ad hoc committee to adapt those sample guidelines to local needs. It should be remembered that guidelines, ru les of order, logs of policy actions, and similar tools are designed to help k eep things simple. If an area committee finds these tools, instead, making thi ngs more complicated, time should be scheduled during the sharing session to talk about it. AREA INVENTORY Some area committees set aside one day each year for conducting an area he same reason as NA members do personal service inventory. Why? For much t
71 59 The Area Service Committee heir actions and attitudes, and rededicate inventories: to stop, consider t ventory considers three general topics: themselves to their ideals. The area in 1. How well has the area committee done this year at serving the groups, and how can it better serve them in the coming year? 2. How well has the area committee served the larger and how can community, the committee better serve the community-at-large? 3. How well has the area committee done at supporting NA’s regional and world services? How can the area provide better support for these services? A substantial amount of preparation is required on everyone’s part for an effective area inventory. GSRs, officers, and subcommittees must take a the last year and come to the inventory fearless, searching look at their work over session prepared to review their role s on the committee. GSRs should spend time with their groups considering w hat needs might be addressed by the area committee in the next year and come to the inventory session with ideas in hand. Officers and subcommittees should take the time to look at the make-up of the larger community in which they live, ask themselves how NA could be more effective in reaching out to that community, and be prepared to share their thoughts with the entire area committee. A nd perhaps most importantly, all area tra effort to prepare themselves committee participants should make an ex spiritually to make the most of the ar ea inventory meeting. Materials available ovide additional help, especially in from your World Service Office may pr developing an agenda for your inventory session. Having conducted an area inventory, many committees will come to the conclusion that certain aspects of t heir work need to be altered. It should be no one model for area service committees that will be remembered that there is ber of factors will affect the kinds of completely appropriate to all areas. A num services an area committee offers and t he ways in which it offers them: community size, number of meetings, av ailability of experienced NA members, geography, local laws and cust oms, and other such considerations. What works in a major metropolitan setting probably won’ t work at all in a rural community. What will work in any setting is an effort to maintain sensitivity to the needs of the groups and the community. Each area commi ttee will, to a great degree, have to find its own way of effectively providing services to those groups and the larger community of which those groups are a part. Versatility is called for. Area committees in small or mid-sized communities may see fit to combine the work of some subcommittees, while well-established metropolitan committees might find themse lves with a large number of highly specialized subcommittees, each with its own specific focus. Given reasonable consideration, an area committ ee should not be afraid to configure its services in whatever way it sees fit so that it may help carry the NA message in the most effective way possible.
72 60 A Guide to Local Services in NA PARTICIPATION Participation is a critical factor in delivering services at any level. Lagging subcommittee participation and poor att endance at area committee meetings are problems all area committees must address from time to time, particularly during the annual inventory session. Sometimes the solutions to these problems are simple and quick; more often, they r equire deliberate, extended attention. An area that has few GSRs attendi ng committee meetings or lacks support obably has one or more of the following for the work of its subcommittees pr problems: The area is new, The territory served by the ASC is sparsely populated, Committee meetings are run poorly, The committee, as it is run presently, is too large to allow for GSR participation, Groups and members in the area are not sufficiently informed concerning the role of the area committee and the kind of work being done by its subcommittees, The services provided by the ASC ar e not meeting the needs of area members or groups, or Members and groups are simply not interested in supporting area services. Of these, the first two are generally t he easiest to address. If a new area is lacking in members available for service, the passage of time alone may well provide a solution; the section later in this chapter, “Creating New Area Committees,” discusses this further. And if an area committee serves a sparsely populated territory, there are ways in which it can structure its services to match found later in this chapter under the its circumstances. More on this can be unities.” You can also write to the heading, “Area Committees in Rural Comm World Service Office and ask for any relevant materials they may have on hand . If one of the remaining problems is the case, an area committee can determine which one it is by sending cu rrent committee participants out to the groups, especially those groups who are not sending GSRs, and simply ask them what they think. When a meeting is poorly run or has too many participants, it is difficult for any but the most outspoken to get a wo rd in edgewise. Sometimes GSRs stop attending their area meeting because it s eems like a waste of time. If any of these problems has pushed your area commi ttee off track, there are a couple of options you can try to set your ASC back on course. If your ASC is trying to serve too many groups and committee meetings are so crowded they don’t allow most GSRs an opportunity to participate, it may be time to consider dividing the area. The next chapter of this guide talks about the ASC division process from start to finish.
73 The Area Service Committee 61 Remember, though, that “too many groups” is a relative term. A poorly run meeting, no matter how many people are taking part in it, always seems “too large.” An ASC serving many groups may need nothing more than a leadership tune-up to make its meetings run smoot hly, allowing full participation by all committee members. Review of the mate rials in this guide—especially this chapter, the earlier chapter on the Twelve Concepts, and the short-form rules of order appearing toward the end of this guide—can sharpen an ASC chairperson’s focus on the content and process appropriate to area committee meetings, helping the chair lead a more e ffective meeting. A variety of other books about running meetings, available fro m many libraries and bookstores, can also be consulted. If local NA members are unaware of t he kind of work being done by the area committee, area officers can be asked to organize a service workshop. Such workshops, creatively conducted, can pr esent groups and mem bers with options for service of which they’d previously been unaware and spark their interest in becoming a part of those services. If the area committee is not currently pr oviding services t hat meet the real needs of local members or groups, su ch a workshop could serve as a combination open forum and brainsto rming session. Drawing from the experience and insight of ev eryone who cares to be involved in the discussion, such a forum could pinpoint inadequacies in current services and develop directions for future services that better address the needs of the local NA community. Some NA groups will not be interested in taking part in area services, no matter how effective and inviting they might be. These groups may feel that their experienced members have more than enough to do with just supporting their groups are responsible to support NA recovery meetings. It’s true that NA services, but they are responsible first to conduct NA meetings. Our tradition of group autonomy gives them the right to dec ide for themselves whether or not they are able or willing to extend their support to the area committee. No matter what they decide, the area committee has a responsibility to serve all the groups in its service territory, regardless of w hether or not a particular group has chosen to participate in the work of the committee. AREA BUDGETING A budget helps an area committee be a better manager of the funds it receives. The basic process for developing an area committee budget is pretty simple; for your convenience, a budget worksheet has been included in the Treasurer’s Handbook, available from your World Service Office. On a quarterly or annual basis, administrative officers and subcommittee chairpersons present their plans for the next work period along with estimates of how much that work work plans and expenses with income will cost. By comparing the projected
74 62 A Guide to Local Services in NA he area committee will have a pretty good idea reports from the last work period, t of how feasible the budget proposal is and can vote to either adopt it or alter it. ly support area, regional, and world Narcotics Anonymous groups direct services from money left over afte r covering their own expenses. Area ide to cover budgeted expenses, are committees, after setting money as encouraged to do the same with their surp lus funds, sending it on to the other levels of the service structure. GROUP AREA FUND FLOW 1) Groups donate directly to each level except metro METRO 2) Areas serve as funnels for all group contributions for metro services; MSCs return excess funds to areas REGION 3) Areas may donate excess funds to region or world 4) Region may donate W O R L D excess funds to world S E R V I C E S OTHER FUNDING CONSIDERATIONS Area committees generally assign thei r treasurers the responsibility of managing all ASC funds. When officers or subcommittee chairpersons need money for a budgeted project, they ask the tr easurer to write t hem a check to be The same general procedure can be countersigned by another ASC officer. not develop quarterly or annual budgets, applied by area committees that do except that specific spending proposal s must be presented by officers and subcommittees to the full area committ ee before funds can be drawn from the turns receipts for their expenses in to treasury. The officer or subcommittee chair the treasurer along with what ever money may be left over from their advance. If the project produces income, that money is also returned to the treasurer for
75 63 The Area Service Committee ngle general fund helps ensure that the deposit back into the general fund. A si responsibility for the activities of its area committee is able to maintain final subcommittees. It also eliminates t he need for each subcommittee to duplicate the treasurer’s job. the question of fundraising versus group Most areas periodically struggle with contributions for support of their work. Ac tivities subcommittees usually plan to have their projects come out in the bl ack (as opposed to coming out in the red) so that unexpected expenses can be covered. As a result, most activities do in fact generate some excess funds. The time and energy that goes into putting on activities is contributed by NA members in the spirit of our Seventh Tradition, so depositing the extra money generated by thos e activities in the area committee’s general fund is not inappropriate. But the pr imary purpose of an ar ea activity is to promote unity within the NA community, not specifically to raise funds for the area committee. Some area service committees come to depend too greatly on extra income from activities. These area committees then sometimes tend to ignore the . An area committee that finds itself in such a expressed needs of the groups situation must ask itself whether it has become more a fundraising agency than a he delivery of Narcotics Anonymous group of trusted servants devoted to t asked and the committee has engaged in services. Once the question has been an honest evaluation of its activities, t he area committee can correct its course and return to its work. THE MONTHLY MEETING ing, open to any NA member, is the The monthly area service committee meet event at which the work of the subcommittees and t he well-being of the groups all come into focus. Before the meeting starts, one of the administrative officers gives an orientation to new group service representatives. Then officers, subcommittee chairpersons, and GSRs report on what’s happened since the committee met last. The sharing session gi ves all participants the opportunity to engage in wide-open discussion of group pr oblems and area committee issues raised by the reports. After the shari ng session the committee is ready to go straight to business, considering questi ons about the work of its officers and subcommittees. The sample agenda, which appears at the end of this chapter, can be used by most area committees as a tool for organizing the monthly meeting. And the short-form rules of or der appearing toward the end of this guide can help the business of the committee be processed in an orderly, respectful fashion.
76 64 A Guide to Local Services in NA THE SHARING SESSION The sharing session has two types of agenda: group problems and area committee issues. Agenda items for the s haring session usually come up during reports from group service representat ives, administrative officers, and subcommittee chairpersons. After eac h report is given, anyone on the area committee—including the person who gav e the report—can ask the committee chairperson to place a particular subject on the sharing session agenda. Group problems Groups are encouraged to seek their own so lutions to the challenges they face— and, most of the time, they find the m. But sometimes a group faces a problem perience. When that occurs, groups can that is beyond any of its members’ ex sharing session with a request for help. send their GSRs to the area committee That help usually comes in the form of the shared experience of other groups in dealing with the same kinds of questi ons. Since NA groups are entirely self- governing, only rarely can an area co mmittee motion deal with a group problem in any appropriate way. However, the shared experience of other committee members with similar problem s in their own groups may provide a GSR with just the information or insight his or her group has been lacking. Area committee issues The sharing session is also a time when the area committee can focus on issues rather than motions. Although the rules of common courtesy are in place, the rules of order are not. It’s an informal ti me in which ideas can be freely shared, effective in fulfilling its purpose. Many ideas that can help the committee be more th Concept to work, use the sharing area committees, putting our fellowship’s Six session to better understand their collect ive conscience on area business before making decisions. The Sixth Concept for Service talks about group conscience as “the spiritual means by which we invite a loving God to influence our decisions,” and carefully distinguishes the spiritual discipli ne of group conscience from the decision- making mechanism. Perhaps nowhere is that distinction more evident than in the sharing session. In the sharing sessi on, committee participants consult their individual consciences—and their Higher Power—on the broad issues at hand, share the insights resulting from that, and together develop a co llective direction for the committee. In the business po rtion of the meeting, those same participants try to express that group con science in the specific form of motions and votes. But committee motions cannot be an effective expression of the spiritual aims of our fellowship wit hout the free exchange necessary for the development of a group conscience having first occurred. The sharing session is designed specifically to facilitate that occurrence. Let’s say the public information subc ommittee’s report suggested in general reaching out to drug abuse treatment terms the need to be more energetic in
77 The Area Service Committee 65 haring session, a variety of issues professionals in the area. During the s pertaining to PI’s suggestion can be di scussed: What’s the difference between on of NA? To what extent, if any, does “energetic” PI work and outright promoti cooperation with the professional comm unity border on the endorsement of outside enterprises? And is this where the area wants to spend more money, or are there other projects more deserving of immediate attention? No motions, no calling of the question, no parliamentary inquiries—just a free exchange of ideas among NA trusted servants producing great er understanding of directions in which area services might head. The sharing session is the appropriate time for members to exercise NA’s remind us that our committees are Ninth and Tenth Concepts. These concepts voices with respect responsible to listen to all participants’ and that all members opinions on committee business can be have a right to be heard. Minority haring session. And problems potentially expressed freely and clearly in the s calling for the redress of a personal grievance on the part of a committee member can be aired in an open, supportive atmosphere. AREA COMMITTEES IN RURAL COMMUNITIES years of existenc e, only one or two NA In many rural towns, even after many groups may have formed. The distances bet ween such towns and the relatively few members available to serve may ma ke it impractical for a rural area r its groups. It’s more usual in rural committee to conduct any common services fo areas for the individual groups themselves to administer what direct services he group has its business meeting, there are in each community. When t very meeting but their collective members discuss not only the group’s reco efforts to facilitate Twelfth Step work in the community. The group may get a post in the community to contact NA. The group office box to make it easier for people with an answering machine offering might even open its own telephone line recorded information about the local NA meeting. One member might take responsibility for ordering the group’s NA literature directly from the World Service Office. The whole group may deci de to get together one Saturday and put NA fliers up around town. Regular gr oup contacts with local magistrates, social workers, physicians or health c linics, school counselors, and clergy can help NA’s friends guide newcomers to the group’s meeting. In some rural districts, groups join forces to form cooperative councils, called “co-ops” for short. Representatives of gr oups within 50 kilomete rs (31 miles) of one another in one corner of the area, for instance, mi ght gather each month to coordinate their H&I panels, community c ontact programs, social activities, and common phoneline. If GSR travel to ar ea committee meetings is burdensome— say, if the ASC meets more than 100 kilo meters (62 miles) away—they might even select one of their members to represent the co-op each month on a rotating basis.
78 66 A Guide to Local Services in NA area. The four northwestern groups The following diagram shows such an and coordinate a weekly H&I panel at have formed Co-op #1 to run a phoneline the nearby county work farm. Co-op #1’s f our GSRs take turns attending the area committee’s monthly meetings. The five county seat groups in the southeast have formed Co-op #2 to administer NA servic es in that small city. All five GSRs from Co-op #2 attend the ASC meetings, which they host. Rural area committee meetings oft en become mostly a sharing session. their groups’ progr Group service representatives discuss ess with one another and provide solutions to each other’s problems. Some rural areas conduct joint activities—dances, speaker meetings, and workshops—to promote unity and enhance their groups’ effectiveness. Many rural committees appoint individual members as area resource contacts for parti cular fields of service whose job it is to gather information on H&I, PI, or phoneli nes for other groups to use. Rural area committee operations are simple, but the strength gathered from the unity they provide is just as important as it is in a metropolitan setting.
79 The Area Service Committee 67 LEARNING DAYS, WORKSHOPS Learning days and workshops sponsor ed by area subcommittees are valuable tools for increasing area member s’ awareness of the work conducted by the area committee. For most fields of service—H&I, PI, phonelines, etc.— complete descriptions of how to conduct local learning days and workshops are provided in the respective servic e handbooks. Many area committees also conduct topical workshops on the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts for NA Service, sponsorship, and other subjects. If experience in a particular subject or field of service is low in your area, y ou can work with your regional committee to organize a workshop to help strengthen under standing of that br anch of service in your area. Group service workshops can help trust ed servants of local groups focus on tools available for fulfilling it. Some group service their primary purpose and the committee sharing their experience in workshops begin with members of the area different group service positions, us ing the chapter on the NA group from A as a reference. The workshop can then be opened for Guide to Local Services ng. Others break up into small groups discussion or questions from those attendi to review different topics relevant to group services—meeting formats, for example, relations with the community, or group business meetings. However it’s conducted, a group service workshop is one direct way for the members of an area committee to share their experi ence with the groups they serve. CREATING NEW AREA COMMITTEES oups are formed each year where no area As Narcotics Anonymous grows, gr service structure exists. The first priority of such groups is, of course, getting the stable meetings. In larger communities, a stable group on its feet and developing eetings. At some point, those groups group often sprouts new groups and new m begin to think about creating a common co mmittee for themselves—what we call an area service committee—to serve thei r mutual needs and make it easier for them to pool their efforts in reaching out to the community. Groups considering the formation of a new area committee can tap the experience of their regional service committee or, if no regional serv ice committee exists, the World Service Office. Some new area committees try to sta rt up all at once with a full complement of administrative officers and subcommi ttees, monthly dances, a convention, and a local service center. Area committees , which try to do this, may sorely disappoint themselves. Remember: first things first. Area committees are formed, first, to strengthen the groups that create them. Before an area committee can start serv ing the community, the groups, which make up that area must be on solid foot ing. An area committee just beginning its service journey may exist primarily as an environment in which groups can share their strengths and solutions with one another.
80 68 A Guide to Local Services in NA The new area committee might also cons ider focusing a considerable amount of its attention on the study of NA’s Tw elve Traditions and Twelve Concepts for NA Service. An area committee that take s care to establish a firm foundation before attempting to erect even a simple service structure will not be likely to regret the time taken in doing so. Once the new area committee has es tablished a pattern of facilitating nurturing an understanding among its communication among the groups and members of the principles behind NA serv ice, it will be ready to begin providing simple direct services to the groups and the community. Fellowship gatherings— eetings, dances, picnics, and the like— learning forums, cooperative speaker m an go a long way toward increasing unity require a minimum of organization yet c lists and posters distributed in the among the groups in the area. Meeting more meetings. Direct services don’t community can help direct more addicts to have to be grand, complicated, expensive enter prises to be effective in promoting unity and carrying the recovery mess age. New area committees will do well to start with simple projects. There are a few more things a new ar ea committee will want to keep in mind, both in its initial formation and in its firs t few years of operation. First is the need to share the workload, ens uring that no one person is burdened with most of the area committee’s work. Not all NA mem bers in the area will be interested in serving on the area committee; most, in fac t, will be satisfied to fulfill their primary area service committee to others. But commitment to their groups, leaving the ttee should see to it that committee those who are involved in the area commi work is divided evenly among them. A committee supported primarily by one member is too vulnerable to collapse s hould that lone individual begin to suffer ailable for some other reason. If from “trusted servant burnout” or become unav area committee, they should consider only a few members are involved in an keeping their workload light rather than overreaching their capacity. A second consideration for new area committees is the idea of making a commitment to meet regularly—once a mont h, if possible. Most new committees will be occupying themselves primarily with developing means of supporting member-groups and the study of NA tradi tions and concepts of service. Those agenda items require regular, concentrat ed attention as the area committee establishes its foundation. A commitment to meet regularly, right from the start, helps keep that need in the foreground. Finally, the new area committee will gr eatly benefit from continued contact with its regional service committee, with neighboring area committees, and in some cases with groups and service commi ttees in neighboring countries. Just as individual addicts don’t often make it on their own, area committees can greatly benefit from the shared experienc e, strength, and hope of those who’ve gone before them. None of us has to do it alone—not anymore.
81 The Area Service Committee 69 SAMPLE AREA COMMITTEE AGENDA The typical agenda for an area committee meeting often looks something like this. The committee fills it in each mont h with more specific topics under each heading. CALL TO ORDER reading of the Serenity Prayer reading of the Twelve Traditions and/or Twelve Concepts for NA Service roll call recognition of new groups additions or corrections are made) approval of last month’s minutes ( REPORTS administrative officers’ reports group reports special (ad hoc) committee reports standing subcommittee reports SHARING SESSION General discussion of group concerns and issues raised by reports. OLD BUSINESS Motions are in order regarding business le ft over from previous meetings. (Some areas also conduct their elections of tru sted servants during this portion of the agenda.) NEW BUSINESS Motions are in order regarding business that is new to this committee. ANNOUNCEMENTS ADJOURNMENT
82 DIVIDING AREA SERVICE COMMITTEES Locally, most area service committees serve dual functions, offering both group support and direct service administra tion. A small area committee, while providing a forum in which groups c an share their experience with one another, often has difficulty administering direct NA services. An especially large e plenty of money and manpower for committee, on the other hand, may hav rge to accommodate the kind of sharing direct service administration but be too la that its groups need to support one another. Areas grow and change. As time passes, some area committees find themselves with so many GSRs attending that it’s almost impossible to conduct orderly monthly meetings. Others start to ask whether an area committee that serves many towns might not be more e into a number of ffective if broken up committees separately serving those to wns. Still others experience internal conflicts and wonder whether it wouldn’t be easier just to separate the camps into their own area service committees. Regardless of where the question comes from, it’s important that the answer follo w only on careful consideration of the group conscience of the entire area. There’s much to examine and many questions to answer in dividing an area. Many areas begin considering a divisi on when they reach a certain size. But “small”? Areas range in size from five to how big is a “big” area, and how small is fifty or more groups. Yet size often has less to do with how well an area works than effective leadership, commitment to principles, and the consistent involvement of area groups. There is no magic number that should trigger an area division; the only appropriate trigger is function, not form. If your area is discussing the possibilit y of a division, we suggest you conduct an area inventory and review the criteria described in coming sections of this chapter to carefully examine your area’s services. If you discover problems in your ASC such as those described under the inventory heading in the previous chapter, see if you can solve them by so me means other than the division of your area. If, after all this, you still believe he NA community and the the interests of t community-at-large can best be served by dividing your area, you can proceed with confidence. Before getting into the mechanics of di vision, there’s one more thing we must emphasize: Your groups aren’t getting a divo rce! It’s the service apparatus you’re dividing, not the fellowship. Even as y ou plan to divide your area, we encourage you to also take steps to maintain the unity of the NA Fellowship in your community. By scheduling regular joint speaker meetings, social events, and served by the original ASC, you can workshops for all the groups formerly substantially ease the trauma of an area division. 70
83 71 Dividing Area Service Committees HOW TO DIVIDE ttee has responsibilities, assets, and Like any organization, an NA area commi liabilities. When a portion of the groups served by an ASC unilaterally decides to it may leave the parent committee pull out and form its own area committee, maining groups. That’s why, when an ASC is impaired in its ability to serve the re ready to divide, we encourage the entir e area to participate in the division process. Open your lines of communicati on, work out the issues, recognize the problems, resolve whatever disagreement s may arise, and then take an active part in implementing the program devel oped by your area—in other words, cooperate and surrender! The territory, assets, and liabilities of the original area committee should be carefully inventoried. Then, by mutual agreement, those responsibilities should be equitably divided among the new areas befor e the division is actually affected. Such a transition eliminates the potential fo r disruption of vital NA services to the groups and the community, assuring that we continue to fulfill our primary purpose. Area boundaries Clear area boundaries help each ASC underst and its responsibilities and assure that NA services are delivered consist ently. If a call for service comes from a wer that call. And particular location, there is no question whos e job it is to ans when ASC subcommittees develop work plans for service within their territory, they can be sure they have fulfilled all their responsibilities. service territory are based on already The simplest, most natural divisions of existing geographic, political, or other f unctional boundaries. A very large area, for example, might create an ASC for each county within its former domain. A city already divided into wards could develop area committees within each ward. And major thoroughfare could initiate new a heavily populated valley split by a river or area committees on either side of t he water or roadway. Brainstorm the possibilities, discuss them among yourse lves, and do what seems best for the members in your area. When creating new area boundaries, we should consider the resources contained in each territory. Ideally, each new area will have about the same number of groups. So that all the areas have access to the service experience they need, none of the new areas shoul d have a predominance of the trusted servants from the old area. Considerati on should also be given to the financial base from which each new area will have to build. In some areas, most ASC contributions come from groups in one or two districts. If at all possible—and it may not be possible—try to divide those districts equitably among the new areas. There is one very sensitive issue to examine when defining new area boundaries: segregation. In many pl aces, geographic and political boundaries serve to segregate racial, ethnic, cult ural, religious, and economic communities ee boundaries that are based on such from one another. Creating area committ
84 72 A Guide to Local Services in NA ing a minority within the NA community from divisions can have the effect of isolat ation. These divisions can engender or the resources of the majority popul aggravate antagonisms, threaten our comm on welfare, and fract ure the unity on eas deliberately created to include which our personal recovery depends. Ar can enhance NA unity and emphasize the members from diverse backgrounds appeal of our message to all addicts regardl ess of “age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion, or lack of religion.” On the other hand, ar ea boundaries drawn along cultural lines can give minority groups a forum in which thei r cultural values are honored and their common needs are squarely addressed without dilution or compromise. If your area is considering a division plan which has the effect of segregating minorities within the NA community, we encourage you to carefully examine all the pros and cons before proceeding, paying special attention to the express wishes of minority groups in your community. If you decide to proceed with such a division, we also encourage you to plan frequent join t activities for all the NA members and groups served by the original ASC. Jo int dances, speaker meetings, picnics, and similar activities remind us that, t hough our services may be dividing into a number of area committees, our fellowship remains one. Functional analysis Once boundaries have been defined for the new area committees, the next step area committee’s services. Has the ASC is a functional analysis of the old ng list been published? What kinds of maintained a phoneline? Has a meeti activities has the public information subcommittee coordinated, and where? How ttee run panels in, and how frequently? For many facilities has the H&I subcommi each and every function separately, each subcommittee, you could list out covering each of the following factors: Service: Describe the service (maintaining a phoneline, running a particular H&I panel, participating in a specific annual PI event, publishing a group directory, etc.) as completely as possible. Location: Where is this operation carried out? What territory does it cover? Frequency: How often does this function need to be performed? Time: How much time does it take to perform this duty? Cost: What expenses are involved in fulfilling this service? Personnel: How many people are required to complete this mission? What particular jobs are the various participants responsible for? After the old area’s responsibilities have been analyzed, the functions can be divided up among the projected new areas. Based on these analyses, subcommittees can be designated for each new ASC, work plans and budgets can be developed, and suitable guidelines can be created before the old area dissolves and the new areas assume its responsibilities.
85 73 Dividing Area Service Committees TO METRO... As we noted earlier, most area commi ttees perform double duty, serving as both direct service administrators and gr oup support facilitators. In dividing a 1 that has been served by a single larger city area committee, your NA community may want to consider maintaining t he administration of its active service subcommittees under a single body: the metropolitan services committee. This leaves the new area committees free to serve as forums in which their constituent groups can share with and support one another. Administering citywide NA services through a metro committee has a number of potential advantages, among them: Effective subcommittee teams are not split up. This allows NA to make the best use of its limited volunteer leadersh ip base without diminishing services delivered in any of the new areas. The expenses involved in administering separate H&I, PI, phoneline, and office services in each of the city’s areas are consolidated, eliminating duplicate costs for the same administrative functions. Because primary oversight of working subcommittees occurs in only one place, the metro committee, rather than in all the ASCs, the NA service community requires less time for supervising the subcommittee bureaucracy and has more time to focus directly on the needs and challenges of NA groups. The next chapter is devoted to the c onsideration of metropolitan services committee operations. ...OR NOT TO METRO? Some multi-area cities will not wish to form a metropolitan services rvices separately in each constituent committee, instead administering direct se metropolitan area committee into multiple ASC. In the process of splitting a large ASCs, how can the NA community decide whether or not it will form a metro committee in addition to the new areas ? The primary consideration must be function, not form. The existence of a chapter on metro committees in A Guide to Local Services in NA is not, of itself, sufficient reason for you to create a metro committee in your city. A metropolitan services committee should be created only if it will truly serve the needs of Narcotics Anonymous in your locale. 1 For the sake of convenience, we will be using the word "city" (singular) to refer to any major metropolitan area and its environs, even though most such metropo litan areas are actually composed of a number of adjacent cities and unincorporated districts and some times cross both county and state lines. Exampl es of such "cities" include New York, Mexico City, Tokyo, and London. Los Angeles, Chicago, São Paulo,
86 74 A Guide to Local Services in NA Metro committees are usually formed in larger metropolitan communities served by more than one ASC. If your lar ge area is dividing into a number of smaller areas that will serve separat e cities, you will probably have no need to form a metro committee. Each of the new area committees can administer direct services in their own communities wit hout creating conflicts or redundancies. various ASCs in your city is limited If the need for shared services among the to only one or two fields of service —say, H&I coordination with county jail administration or PI media coordination —you might establish shared services committees to focus on those fields only. However, if the need for shared services covers more than one or two fields, you will probably want to establish rough a subcommittee system. Otherwise, an MSC that coordinates services th with all the ASCs having to become directly involved in three or four separate shared services committees, there may well be too much bureaucracy, confusion, and controversy to make it worthwhile. The idea behind the decision to create or not create a metro services committee is to keep it simple, based on local needs. ices is not ongoing but limited to one- If the need to coordinate shared serv time events, such as joint workshops or social activities, the areas in your NA community don’t need to set up a permanent committee to organize these affairs.
87 Dividing Area Service Committees 75 angements to handle that one combined Simple, mutually acceptable arr workshop or social activity can be made each time one is planned without need is ongoing, however—such as for a creating yet another service body. If the monthly combined-areas speaker meeti ng—your community will probably want to establish a permanent shared services committee that coordinates the event. FUNCTION, NOT FORM Finally we remind you that, of cour se, your NA community can organize its services in any way that seems fi t. Examine the service needs among your areas, experiment, and find out what wor ks best for you. The area committees in variants of the MSC model, maintaining your city may want to try out some inistration of ASC subcommittees while certain service functions under the adm you might want to keep all direct the metro committee handles the rest. Or lishing a metropolitan services committee services in the area committees, estab solely as a forum in which area subc ommittees share about and coordinate their to coordinate NA services in your work with one another. However you decide you don’t see it described in an NA service community is perfectly alright, even if manual, so long as it truly serves the best interests of your NA community and does not conflict with either our Twelve Traditions or our Twelve Concepts for NA Service. MULTIPLE AREAS is dividing and you’ve decided not to If the area committee serving your city form a metropolitan services committee, t here are three additional subjects you ine boundaries for the new areas and should consider. First, when you def analyze and divide service responsibilities among them, keep a sharp lookout for places where future territorial conflicts ma y arise. In an ideal world, such conflicts would not occur. However, our world is fa r from ideal, and conflicts do raise their we can’t avoid such conflicts altogether, the best head from time to time. Since process of dividing your city’s ASC, we can do is be prepared for them. In the build into each new area’s policies a proc edure for resolving conflicts with other areas. You may not be able to sidestep su ch conflicts, but you can prepare to deal effectively with them. Second, examine your division plan for any potential weak s pots in any of the new areas you are creating. For exam ple, does Area 2 have very few people involved in H&I work right now, but a number of correctional and treatment facilities? Is no one in Area 4 involv ed in the current public information subcommittee? Will it be burdensome for all the new areas to maintain their own separate phonelines? Potential weaknesses like these may not convince you to form a metro committee at this time. Ho wever, they should alert you to the possibility that the new areas in your ci ty may require each other’s help in the an means by which your city’s areas can future. Try to build into your division pl
88 76 A Guide to Local Services in NA ices can continue to be delivered to cooperate with one another so that NA serv those who need them. Finally, even if your area committ ee is dividing without forming a metro committee at this time, we encourage you to leave the MSC option open for future consideration. Maintain contac ts between your new areas, if for nothing more than the regular exchange of info rmation and insight. Plan to hold regular joint workshops, speaker meetings, and social events to keep the lines of communication open. Because your new areas will be going through similar experiences at the same time, they ar e especially likely to encounter similar to share with one another. You may challenges and have valuable expertise e encountered unforeseen obstacles that even discover that your new ASCs hav e to effectively continue delivering NA require them to band together if they ar end that your city’s areas agree to services. For this reason, we recomm reconsider the idea of forming a metropo litan services committee each year over the next few years. WHY NOT A METRO REGION? vision of areas, there is one more question Before we close this look at the di that must be addressed: In dividing a ve ry large ASC serving a major city, why not form a metropolitan region rather than an MSC? First, there’s the nature of the NA region itself to consider. Our regional committees serve as forums for resour ce development for their member-areas, not primarily as direct service provider area committees often s. Just as growing find the responsibilities of service adminis tration forcing them to downplay their group support function, so the regional committee that is too occupied with administering its own direct services will have difficulty focusing on area resource development. The region that does only one thing stands a good chance of doing things at the same time, may find it it well. The metro region, trying to do many difficult to do any of them well. Second, there’s the wide variety of shared ASC service experiences exchanged at the regional level to cons ider. In the region serving a broad territory, rural areas, small-town areas , and city areas gather to share many different kinds of insight gathered from their widely varied circumstances. This variety is the greatest s trength of the most successful regional committees, offering new and different service perspec tives to every single member-area. Areas joining a metropolitan region w ould limit their access only to the experience of those areas having virtua lly identical backgrounds, challenges, and insights. Such limited experience may not be sufficient to stim ulate the innovation of new ideas for new services and new answers to new problems. Third, consider that regions serving both rural and metropolitan communities often depend on their larger areas for a major percentage of their operating pull the financial rug out from under the income. Creating a metro region could
89 77 Dividing Area Service Committees existing region’s feet, leaving it flat on its fiscal back and unable to serve. This could seriously affect the other areas, even NA as a whole. with a need to coordinate a variety We encourage multi-area NA communities of common services citywide to form me tropolitan services committees rather than metropolitan regions. That way, city wide services are handled responsibly and the wider region is left solvent and intact, free to focus on resource development for all its member-areas and abl e to offer a variety of experience, strength, and hope to ASCs throughout the region.
90 THE METROPOLITAN SERVICES COMMITTEE A metropolitan services committee administers a single set of NA subcommittees in a city that has mo re than one ASC. With direct services consolidated citywide by the MSC, the community’s area committees are left free to facilitate group support. using the word “city” (singular) to For the sake of convenience, we will be and its environs, even though most such refer to any major metropolitan area metropolitan areas are actually compos ed of a number of adjacent cities and unincorporated districts and sometime s cross both county and state lines. Examples of such “cities” include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, São Paulo, Mexico City, Tokyo, and London. In the previous chapter, we examined t he division of a city’s ASC into multiple areas and some of the criteria that could lead to creation of a metropolitan services committee. Here, before getting into how the metro system works, we want to look at some of the reasons wh y multiple areas in the same city might want to consolidate their services by creating a metro committee and the process whereby they can do that. WHY CONSOLIDATE? Why would multiple areas in a lar ge community want to form a metropolitan y reasons. First, the consolidation of services committee? There are three primar services citywide can help the NA communi ty facilitate subcommittee activity inistrative costs associated with, say, more efficiently. Rather than paying the adm ees, only one set of metro subcommittees five separate sets of area subcommitt must be funded. The overall time and energy spent supervising multiple sets of subcommittees can be cut substantially with only one set of subcommittees to guide. And it’s easier to find the people needed to make a single set of subcommittees work, even if those subcommi ttees serve larger territories, than it is to staff three or four times that number of subcommittees. Second, the consolidation of metro serv ices can make it easier for members, groups, and the community-at-large to ident ify and locate NA resources in the city. A single phoneline is easier to run and costs less than multiple phonelines in the same city, and provides a simpler wa y for people anywhere in town to contact Narcotics Anonymous. Contacts with jails , institutions, and other organizations that are run on a city wide basis can be coordinated on the same basis, significantly increasing the effectiveness of H&I communications. By providing a single source for public informati on about NA, anyone anywhere in the community can easily find out about our program. And a single NA meeting list for the entire city is usually more usef ul than half a dozen lists covering separate districts. 78
91 The Metropolitan Services Committee 79 services can help the regional service Third, consolidation of a city’s NA committee work better. In the absence of metro committees, some RSCs have dated meeting lists, phonelines, H&I and PI tried to fill the gap, providing consoli services, even literature sales outlets for cities with multiple areas. Though well intended, such direct services have br ought these regions’ energies to bear on only a fraction of their member-a reas. This has left other areas—and underdeveloped communities in particular— without the benefit of the service onal committees do best. When ASCs in the resource development work that regi same city consolidate and manage metro se rvices themselves, they leave the st effectively, and to do it for all the regional committee free to do what it does mo region’s areas. Finally, a reminder: If the areas in your city have no particular need to consolidate all their services, but only wish to combine resources in one or two fields, there is no reason why they should form a full-blown metropolitan services committee. Some of the ways to combi ne limited service forc es without creating an MSC are described in the secti ons entitled “...Or Not To Metro?” and ous chapter of this guide. If your NA “Function, Not Form” appearing in the previ community could be served more effectiv ely by a metro committee then, by all means, create one; if you feel something simpler would serve your purposes, then try that. You need no one’s permission to be creative, to experiment, to develop original methods for effectively administering local services as your NA community sees fit. CONSOLIDATION PROCESS Imagine that the ASCs in your city have decided that they want to consolidate services by creating a metro committee. How do they go about combining two, or five, or nine sets of subcommittees into a single, smooth-working service enterprise? The considerations that go into the consolidation process are very similar to those involved in dividing an ASC that serves one entire city, described in the previous chapter, only from the opposite end. 1. Inventory current services and resources in the affected areas. 2. Then, examine the need for services throughout the community. 3. Finally, put the resources and needs together in a metro services program. If all these things are taken care of prior to activation of the MSC, the transition to consolidated services will go as smoothly as possible. Inventory of services and resources The inventory of current NA services and resources is probably the easiest phase of consolidation, because it is very concrete. For all the ASCs interested in taking part in the metro committee, gather: ASC bylaws, policy logs, and/or guidelines.
92 80 A Guide to Local Services in NA Guidelines for all subcommittees. A list of all current projects and commitments. A list of past achievements. A personnel roster listing the ASC officers, subcommittee chairpersons, subcommittee members and responsibilities, and GSRs. Budgets for all area activities. Analysis of service needs The consolidation process offers your service community a unique opportunity. While examining and reorganizing your NA services, you can also take a comprehensive look at your city and tailo r your service efforts to carry our message with maximum impact. For this analysis, you may wish to hol d a conference of the administrative officers and subcommittee chairpersons fro m each of the areas joining the MSC. develop a sense of Examine your city and your NA community , as they are, and your city’s real service needs: WHAT TO STUDY WHY TO STUDY IT 1. Where do your city’s NA groups If there are any blank spaces in the 1. meet? meet—and where do they not city’s recovery map, the metro may want to consider developing outreach services to help new groups start up in those locales. 2. 2. To make PI and H&I efforts What are the districts in your city like—geography, population density, effective, we must understand our political inclination, economic communities and the people who stability, ethnicity, and religious live in them and act accordingly. An orientation? approach that works well in one neighborhood may fail dismally in another.
93 81 The Metropolitan Services Committee 3. What kinds of government, Many of our contacts with addicts 3. religious, media, and civic and the community-at-large come through our interactions with city institutions exist in your city? What institutions. To map effective PI and do they do? Where are these H&I strategies, we must thoroughly institutions headquar-tered? How understand the institut are they organized? What ional fabric of geographic territories do they our communities. serve? Institutions to consider include jails, courts, social and psychiatric services, houses of worship, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, cable television outlets, schools, service organizations, and medical and treatment facilities. Such an analysis can help you identify t he kinds of NA services your metro committee might wish to put in place to meet the needs of NA groups citywide, help new groups establish themselves, reac h out to the addict who still suffers in the community, and inform members of the community-at-large about our fellowship. The metro plan After current area resources have been in ventoried and the NA service needs of the time comes to put the two the entire community have been analyzed, es. What kinds of subcommittees should together in the new plan for metro servic be organized to meet the NA service needs in your city? And what kinds of joining in the MSC consolidation service resources exist among the areas process? For each metro subcommittee to be created, develop: Guidelines, drawing as much as possible from the guidelines that area members are already familiar with. Goals, specific performance targets, ranked in order of their priority. Work plans, step-by-step descriptions of how these performance targets will be met, including timetables. Budgets, linked to prioritized goals and work plans, showing how much money the NA community will need to invest in order to have its services fulfilled. Personnel rosters, combining the lists of members currently involved in the various subcommittees in each metro area. Don’t forget to develop basic guidelines for the metro committee itself. Also compile a budget for MSC administrative expenses that covers committee
94 82 A Guide to Local Services in NA meeting hall rental fees, costs for duplicating and mailing metro committee minutes, etc. New focus for ASCs Once a consolidated service program fo r the MSC itself has been developed, it may be helpful to square away a few in ternal matters for the area committees e the metro commences full service that will be proceeding on a new basis onc operations. What territory will each ASC se rve? How many groups meet in each area? What kind of budget will each ASC need for its own operations, and how much money will the MSC need from the areas? Fellowship review The last step before implementing your metro consolidation plan, of course, is fellowship review. Send the plan out to all the groups in the areas to be served by the new MSC—or, if possible, hold a wor kshop or series of workshop to gather input directly from members. On ce group comments have been received, considered, and factored into the plan, it should be put out one more time for approval by the area committees that pl an to join in creating the metropolitan approved, ASCs can begin focusing the services committee. Once the plan is majority of their energy on the fac ilitation of group support, while the MSC coordinates consolidated direct NA services throughout the community. Process reminders Before leaving this discussion of the cons olidation process, here are three things to keep in mind throughout your planning activities: 1. Only areas that wish to be served by the metro committee should take part in the consolidation of citywide services. fully apprised at each step of your 2. Keep the regional service committee consolidation process. Good communica tions will ensure the support of other areas in the region for the development of your metro committee and keep down the “jitters” in areas not directly involved in or affected by consolidation of services in your city. If you get stuck in the consolidation process, their informed suggestions may help you get unstuck. 3. You are encouraged to contact the World Service Office at any time for additional information on MSC formation, including the addresses of other areas and metro committees that have dealt with consolidation.
95 83 The Metropolitan Services Committee ASCs IN THE METRO ENVIRONMENT In the previous chapter, we talked about the division of areas. Here, we’ve examined the consolidation of area serv ices. But once a metropolitan services the area committees look like? How do committee has been established, what do the areas and the metro relate to one another? And what do the ASCs do after responsibility for direct services is consolidated under the MSC umbrella? ASC responsibilities ASC responsibilities in the metro environm ent are very simple. First, such an ASC provides a place and format that facilit ates the sharing of group experience, strength, and hope among GSRs. Second, ASC usually provides means for groups to purchase NA literature. Third , the ASC continues to communicate directly with its regional service commi ttee through its RCMs, helping to provide guidance to the RSC from the area’s groups . Fourth, the area committee directly links its groups to the metropolitan services committee in its community. And fifth, since groups support local services with direct contributions to their area committees, the ASC is responsible to f und the metro committee that administers the community’s consolidated local services. Communications As our Eighth Concept reminds us, “Our service structure depends on the unications.” This concept is especially integrity and effectiveness of our comm critical to the relationship between a metro committee and its member-areas. The all groups in the community, yet the MSC manages citywide services on behalf of esentatives or funds directly to the groups do not themselves send either repr metro committee; each metro group has delegated that responsibility to the ASC to which it belongs. Therefore, full info rmation about metro projects, including the money and personnel needed for each, must be communicated to the groups through the metro’s area committees. Likewise, information about group needs and concerns regarding citywide servic es must be communicated through the ASCs to the metro committee. Regular communication between the metro and area committees helps maintain the M SC’s accountability to the NA community, assuring that the consolidated servic been delegated to the e authority that’s metro committee is being carried out re sponsibly. Good communication also gives the groups the information they need to make informed decisions about how to disburse the funds with which they support the service structure. ASC participants An area committee served by an MSC needs only a minimum of structure to fulfill its functions. Because a metro ASC has no subcommittees of its own and scant administrative responsibilities, it can be composed primarily of group service representatives. An ASC will need to elect a chairperson, secretary, treasurer, and literature distribution person for itself.
96 84 A Guide to Local Services in NA The area committee also chooses two regional committee members (RCMs) to serve on its behalf. The RCMs’ duties ar e described in the earlier chapter on full-service area committees. RCMs need not be chosen from among current group service representatives. If any GSRs are elected to serve as RCMs, we recommend that they resign from their group positions. The weight of their responsibilities as regional committee me mbers will be plenty for them to bear without also continuing to serve as GSRs. Metro ASCs have one service position to fill that other area committees don’t: the metro committee member (MCM). The MC M serves a function on the area’s behalf at the metropolitan services committee similar to that fulfilled by the GSR at a full-service area committee, described in earlier chapters of this guide, with one key exception: Unlike GSRs, the MCM does not participate in regional assemblies. As the name suggests, metro committee members are full working members of the MSC, serv ing in their area’s interests as well as the best interests of the entire metropolit an NA community and providing for communications between the ASC and the MSC. The number of MCMs your area committee must choose depends on the total number of areas participating he areas involved, the more metro in your metro committee—the fewer t committee members each one will need to c ontribute for the MSC to operate on, MCMs need not be chosen from among the effectively. As with the RCM positi e GSRs chosen to serve as metro group service representatives, and thos committee members should resign their group positions to keep from becoming overburdened. ASC funding needs The direct financial needs of an area committee served by an MSC, in comparison to those of a full-service ASC, are relatively small. A hall large enough to comfortably hold the area’s GSRs must be rented. Literature must be stocked for purchase by the groups. Mi nutes of ASC meetings must be copied and mailed to group representatives. Aside from these, there are few other metro ASC expenses, if any. tro committee receives all the However, each ASC served by a me contributions intended by its groups to be used in administering local NA services. If a metropolitan services conso lidation plan is to be effective, the member-areas must not hold onto any more money than that which is absolutely necessary to pay their own minima l expenses. Metro areas should work especially closely with their MSCs to ensure that sufficient funds are being collected and passed along to the metro commi ttee to support direct services in the community. Any excess MSC funds should periodically be divided up and returned to the areas.
97 The Metropolitan Services Committee 85 GROUP AREA FUND FLOW 1) Groups donate directly to each level except metro METRO 2) Areas serve as funnels for all group contributions for metro services; MSCs return excess funds to areas REGION 3) Areas may donate excess funds to region or world 4) Region may donate W O R L D excess funds to world S E R V I C E S METRO COMMITTEE ORGANIZATION e organized very much like the full- Metropolitan services committees ar this guide, with the exception that service area committees described earlier in they receive their funding from their mem ber-areas rather than directly from the ude MCMs elected by member-areas, community’s groups. MSC participants incl rs and subcommittee chairs elected by plus metro committee administrative office the MSC itself. Metros perform the same se rvices described in the earlier chapter on area committees, with one exception: Metros do not elect regional committee the regional committee itself. However, members and do not take part directly in MSC subcommittee chairpersons do keep in touch with the RSC members given resource assignments in their respective fields of service. AREA DIVISIONS IN CITIES SERVED BY AN MSC Finally, a word about ASC divisions in metro communities. As noted in the previous chapter, area committees some times grow too large to function effectively, requiring division. This is not a major problem for an MSC member- area since its division does not affect di rect services, only the number of GSRs y concern in dividing a metro ASC is attending a given ASC meeting. The primar to enhance group support and for no other assuring that the split is designed purpose.
98 86 A Guide to Local Services in NA The previous chapter offers much guidance on the area division process. on choosing new area boundaries. Once Especially relevant are the paragraphs a plan is developed, a consensus of all the groups in the existing area must be taken prior to division. Given group consent, the new ASCs can begin meeting immediately.
99 THE REGIONAL SERVICE COMMITTEE INTRODUCTION Every element of the NA service stru cture—whether it is a group, service board, or committee—exists to serv e the needs of those who created it. Narcotics Anonymous groups, for instanc e, host meetings where members can share their recovery with one another and carry the NA message straight to the still suffering addict. Area service committees provide direct NA services that help groups work better and carry their me ssage farther than they could on their own. In this chapter we’ll take a look at regional service committees (RSCs). Regional committees generally do not perform direct services—that is, they don’t run phonelines, organize H&I panels, or ca rry out a public information program. Regions are formed simply to pool and dev elop local service resources that can be used both by groups and areas in better fulfilling their responsibilities. What kinds of resources are devel oped by the regional committee, and how does the committee develop them? Individual members of the committee are given resource assignments in each field of service, acting as informed contacts for area subcommittees. to highlight and service forums Regional committees regularly organize increase skills in various fields. Forum subjects range from running effective NA meetings to starting and coordinating area subcommittee work. The regional assembly, conducted at least once a year by the RSC, brings group representatives together with t he regional delegate to address issues affecting the fellowship worldwide. In this chapter, we spend the majority of our time examining the basic RSC model, a simple, inexpensive plan for pooli ng service resources for use by all groups and areas in the r egion. An appendix to the chapter describes some variations on the basic model that some regions use to address local needs. We encourage your RSC to experiment with t he model to discover ways of better serving the local NA community, always remembering to keep it simple. REGIONAL COMMITTEE PARTICIPANTS Regional committee members (RCM s) form the core of the RSC, complemented by the regional delegate and alternate delegate. Some regions also choose additional long- and short-term committee members for their special expertise to perform specific tasks. Regional committee members (RCMs) Regional committee members have a big j ob. At RSC meetings , they share with one another the information and experience of their respective areas. Between ovide their areas with information and regional committee meetings, they pr contacts from other areas. 87
100 88 A Guide to Local Services in NA Throughout the year, RCMs serve as c ontact points between world services and the NA groups in their areas. Their repo rts to the region give the regional delegate a better idea of where world service energies could best be ea keep group service representatives concentrated. RCM reports to the ar informed of world service activities. Regional committee members may play a variety of roles on the regional service committee. Each year, three RCMs may be selected to serve as regional ary, and treasurer. Others may be given committee chairperson, recording secret resource assignments, which will be addressed later in this chapter. Regardless RCMs continue to serve on the regional committee of their additional duties, of RCMs can be found in the area service primarily as RCMs. More on the role committee chapter of this guide. Regional delegate he primary contact between NA’s world The regional delegate (RD) serves as t services and the local NA community. On the one hand, the delegate provides the regional committee. On the other, the information on current world projects to delegate offers a local perspective to the work of world services. During the delegate’s two-year term, he or she attends the World Service Conference as a fully active participant, for while the del egate is elected by and accountable to the regional assembly or RSC, he or she is not a mere messenger. The delegate is selected by the region’s gr oup representatives and/or RCMs to act in the best interests of NA as a whole, not sole ly as an advocate of his or her NA community’s priorities. From time to time, world services asks regional delegates for their input. Delegates often respond to these requests on their own. In matters of wide concern, however, delegates may feel they need to hear broader discussion before they can reply. At such times, they might ask the regional committee to discuss the subject in its sharing session. With that foundation in the region’s group conscience, delegates can be confident that the response they offer to world services is a well-considered one. If the matter seems likely to seriously affect NA as a whole, delegates may even consider going directly to the region’s NA membership with the discussion, aski ng the regional committee to organize a service forum around the topic at hand. Alternate delegate The regional delegate works closely with the region’s alternate delegate. Like the regional delegate, the alternate is a fu ll participant in the regional service committee. The delegate often consults with the alternate, asking for different perspectives on world service affairs and seeking to involve the alternate in helping carry the workload. Alternate delegates are welcome to att end the biennial meeting of the World their delegates; however, they will be Service Conference in the company of
101 The Regional Service Committee 89 ennial meeting of the World Service recognized as full participants in the bi Conference only in the event of the primary delegate’s absence. committee meetings and the regional Alternate delegates attend regional assembly, offering support where they can and learning their way while they’re at it. At the end of their terms, alternate delegates will very likely be their regions’ most promising candidates for full delegate service. Additional members Besides RCMs, the regional delegate, and the alternat e delegate, many regions seat additional members from time to ti me. Regions that have conventions or offices usually invite the chairpersons of the boards or committees administering her additional RSC members are called onto those services to sit on the RSC. Ot pertise that is lacking among current the committee because they have special ex hosen to fulfill long-term resource RCMs. Some additional members are c assignments; others, to help with particular short-term projects. Additional RSC members may be drawn by the regional committee from anywhere at all. However, regions are cautioned against dr aining the leadership resources of working ASC subcommittees by appointing curr ently active chairpersons to fulfill RSC resource assignments. Long-term additi onal members are usually given full committee. Temporary members are rights of participation on the regional matters specifically affecting their generally given rights of participation only in projects. RESOURCE ASSIGNMENTS Some RCMs are elected to serve as regional committee officers; others are given resource assignments . These RCMs take on the responsibility of becoming the best-informed people they can be regar ding particular fields of service, including: Translation work, Public relations, Hospitals and institutions service, Phoneline coordination, and Outreach.
102 90 A Guide to Local Services in NA Regional resource persons make it their job to know the manuals and ts backwards and forwards. Though by no bulletins on their resource subjec ke the time to keep in regular touch with means “authorities” or “directors,” they ta the chairpersons of area or metro subcommi ttees in their resource fields and, if asked, help untangle local service probl ems. Resource persons can do this individually or by hosting frequent, in formal sharing sessions for local subcommittee chairpersons. If an area committee does not have an H&I, PI, or phoneline subcommittee, it can contact t he resource person in that field of service for help in forming one. Finally, regional resource persons serve as intermediaries in their fields of serv ice between area or metro subcommittees and state, provincial, or national government agencies. REGIONAL COMMITTEE MEETINGS At RSC meetings, the committee tries to get a sense of t he needs of its own groups and areas as well as those of t he fellowship worldwide. Following area committee and resource assignment r eports from the RCMs, the regional delegate briefs the committee on world service developments. Much of the remainder of the meeting is spent in a sharing session that lays the groundwork for discussions of service forum and regi onal assembly plans at the end of the meeting.
103 91 The Regional Service Committee ssion begins with discussion of the The regional committee’s sharing se challenges and innovations disclosed in the RCM reports. If a subcommittee of one of the areas has taken a new tack in approaching a particular job, the RCMs hat they can share that experience with may want to spend time discussing it so t areas has had a probl em it’s not been their own area committees. If one of the able to solve by itself, its RCM can ask other regional committee members to talk about the experience of their areas. Sometimes solutions can be found in one of the NA service handbooks. At other times, the question is principle. Then the sharing not of procedure but of session focuses specifically on the Twel ve Traditions and the Twelve Concepts for NA Service, trying to see how the simplic ity of those principles might clarify an otherwise confusing situation. The sharing session can also be a time for discussion of world service issues raised in the regional delegate’s report. This opportunity for the regional delegate to consult with the RCMs on questions relating to the work of world services is crucial to his or her effectiveness. This portion of the sharing session also helps ssembly, an event sponsored by the prepare RCMs for the annual regional a regional committee, which brings the region’s group service representatives world service. Maintaining fluency in together to review topics of importance in for RCMs, since new regional delegates world service issues is doubly important and alternate delegates are drawn from among them. Because of their relative informality, it’s especially important that regional committees maintain good relations among their members. Should the need committee members an opportunity to arise, the sharing session provides exercise NA’s Tenth Concept by petitioning “...for the redress of a personal grievance, without fear of reprisal.” The committee will take great care to hear such grievances well, responding swiftl y and fairly, if it hopes to continue operating smoothly. Once the committee’s sharing session is over, it’s on to business of planning service forums and the regional a ssembly. The business portion of an RSC meeting is usually conducted by cons ensus rather than voting. The process emphasizes development of the RSC’s group conscience, allowing decisions to arise naturally from a thorough considerat ion of the matters at hand. This suits both the nature of the RSC as the region’s service resource pool and the kind of business being conducted: preparing to hel p the region-at-large inform itself and develop a collective conscience.
104 92 A Guide to Local Services in NA SERVICE FORUMS In the sharing session, the regional co mmittee focuses much of its attention pective, the committee is in a good on group and area needs. With that pers position to consider its agenda of servic e forums—what kinds of forums are needed and where. Regional service forums not only react to existing needs or problems, they anticipate challenges likely to face the NA community in the future and help groups and areas prepare to meet them. For example: A pattern may have emerged in the sharing session showing the need to further develop a general understanding of public information work among NA members. An area forming a brand new hospitals and institutions subcommittee might have asked the regional committee to conduct a forum for prospective members of the subcommittee. Special support may be needed for an area committee in transition, either a large committee considering division or a brand new committee serving a new area. World services may be considering action likely to affect the groups directly, requiring discussion from the fellowship worldwide. Or perhaps it’s time for another group services forum. These are just a few examples of t he many, many subjects that can be addressed in regional service forums. Forum topics can range all the way from taxes and liability insurance for service committees to sponsorship and Twelfth eas and groups served by the region. Step work—anything useful to the ar Whatever the needs, the regional commi ttee takes a look at its calendar, considers its resources, and develops plans for upcoming forums. Regional service forums are usua lly organized by the entire regional ll ad hoc committee of RCMs and others committee, although sometimes a sma forum. When planning a forum, the will be formed to conduct one specific regional committee should consult with t he area service committee responsible for the territory in which the event is to be held. This is especially important in regions where area committees assu me the responsibility of making arrangements for forum facilities, leaving the regional committee free to focus its attention on developing an agenda for the fo rum. If the forum is being organized primarily to serve one particular area, the regional committee should involve some members of that area committee in developing plans for the forum. The regional committee can draw upon a number of resources when developing service forums. Committee mem bers may know of a similar forum that has been conducted in a neighboring region. A phone call to a member of that regional committee, and perhaps an invi tation to attend, can make additional experience available to the forum. Furt her support for regional forums may be ce. A wide range of bulletins and handbooks available from our World Service Offi
105 The Regional Service Committee 93 covering specific topics and fields of service is available. The WSO may also be able to provide descriptions of forums other regions have conducted on similar subjects. For information and materials, contact the World Service Office. REGIONAL ASSEMBLY of the World Service Conference, the Few months before the biennial meeting regional committee usually organizes an assembly of group service representatives. Regional assemblies bring representativ es of NA groups egate for the purpose of developing a together with RCMs and the regional del collective conscience concerning iss ues affecting Narcotics Anonymous een the groups and the conference helps worldwide. That direct contact betw of our fellowship. Without the kind keep our world services attuned to the needs ded by the regional assemblies, it would be much of primary foundation provi Conference to effectively address the more difficult for the World Service concerns of the NA groups. Regional a ssemblies are a key ingredient in the responsibility and authority for our maintenance of the NA groups’ final fellowship’s services, spoken of in our Second Concept. Most regional assemblies start wit h all participants—GSRs, RCMs, and the regional delegate—gathered together for an opening address. Then the assembly usually divides into sma ller groups of between seven and fifteen people each so that everyone can take a meaningful part in discussions. These discussion groups, led by RCMs, consider a variety of issues related to world red in pre-conference mailings from world service. Some of these are issues cove NA literature and ot her proposals that services, including the approval of new would affect NA as a whole; some are subjects the RSC has raised for dual GSRs in each group. When panel discussion; others come from indivi RCMs gather in a large group to hear discussions conclude, all the GSRs and reports from spokespersons selected by each panel. A sharing session, in which all participants are encouraged to speak their mind, follows the reports. These discussions give the delegate clear indi cations of the region’s collective conscience concerning world issues, i ndications that will guide the delegate when participating in the world conference. If the assembly wishes, it can formalize its conscience regarding world service affair s by passing resolutions on issues of particular concern. Regional delegate elections An additional expression of our Second Conc ept at the regional assembly occurs when group service representatives take part in electing the regional delegate and alternate. Since the delegate and the al ternate serve concurrent two-year terms, elections usually take place every other year except when a delegate or alternate resigns in mid-term. Some regions have delegates begin their terms immediately upon election; others begin new delegate terms shortly after the biennial WSC meeting.
106 94 A Guide to Local Services in NA Because alternate delegates have spent two years becoming familiar with the World Service Conference, they are usually affirmed to replace outgoing delegates; then the assembly only has to elect a new alternate delegate. If the alternate is not affirmed as regional del egate, however, the assembly elects a new delegate and a new alternate at the sa me time. Under such circumstances, a regional delegate who is already fairly special care should be taken to select familiar with current world service affairs. The delegate and alternate are usually chosen from current RCMs. Group service representatives and RCM s are all eligible to take part in the selection process. If both regional delegate and alte rnate delegate are to be selected at the same assembly, separate balloting rounds are used to select each of them. leaders in general applies especially What the Fourth Concept says about our ship is highly valued in Narcotics to the regional delegate: “Effective leader Anonymous. Leadership qualities should be carefully considered when selecting trusted servants.” The World Servic e Conference operates with the understanding that regional delegates are among the most experienced and offer. Delegates need to have a knowledgeable people each region has to thorough understanding of the Twelve Conc epts, the Twelve Traditions, and the nowledge of activities and issues in the service structure as well as detailed k egion. They are called upon for vigorous groups and areas, which make up their r service from all directions; they must be fit to answer the call. Just as area committees generally do not select the same individual to serve more than two consecutive terms as RCM, so do most regional assemblies observe the practice of trusted serv ant rotation when selecting regional delegates, and for many of the same reasons. By periodically replacing delegates, the region is assured of being provided with varying views of world service affairs. A conference that const antly sees new faces, hears new voices, and is encountered with new outlooks on world service work will be better able to meet the challenges of each new conference cycle. Once their terms are done, past regi onal delegates may be asked to serve either the region or world services in various capacities. Their experience lends stability to the services of both bodies. Each region is responsible to establish its own delegate clean-time requirements. However, assemblies should keep in mind that most world service positions have clean-time requirements as well. When the delegate candidate being consider ed completes his or her term, will he or she have enough time clean to be eligible for those positions?
107 95 The Regional Service Committee REGIONAL FINANCES Money is handled at the regional level in pretty much the same way it’s managed by area treasurers. The regional committee as a whole considers its projected expenses and authorizes expenditures to cover them. These costs often include: WSC participation expenses for the regional delegate and alternate, space rental for committee meetings, service forums, the regional assembly, activities, and mailings. Some regional committees offer assist ance in covering their members’ travel expenses related to attending RSC meetings . Most regions contribute to world services whatever money they have left after paying their own expenses. on of responsibility for all regional Two-signature checks and a consolidati reimbursement of ontributions and the funds help the regional treasurer manage c expenses in a responsible way. Additional suggestions for handling the regional Treasurer’s Handbook, available from the World treasury can be found in the Service Office. GROUP AREA FUND FLOW 1) Groups donate directly to each level except metro METRO 2) Areas serve as funnels for all group contributions for metro services; MSCs return excess funds to areas REGION 3) Areas may donate excess funds to region or world 4) Region may donate W O R L D excess funds to world S E R V I C E S
108 96 A Guide to Local Services in NA REGIONAL ACTIVITIES Besides forums and assemblies, some regions host a variety of additional fellowship activities including convent ions, campouts, speaker meetings, and dances. Some regions hold such events in conjunction with their RSC meetings. Regionwide activities can foster a broader sense of unity am ong members of all the groups and areas served by the regi onal committee. For more information, contact the World Service Office. Organizing regional activities can be very taxing, especially for smaller regional committees. The task of organizing a regional convention, in particular, is a major undertaking. Most regions conducting annual conventions create a Such a subcommittee is, of course, standing subcommittee to handle the job. hing it and gives a thorough report of its always accountable to the region establis activity at each regional committee meeting. Conventions and other regional acti vities should serve primarily as celebrations of recovery, not source s of RSC operating funds . Why? One reason is that, as the essay on our Elevent h Concept suggests, “... when we make a commitment to fund the work of each leve l of the service structure exclusively through group contributions, we find it eas ier to maintain a strong link between our groups and our other service units.” The region that begins depending heavily on income from regional activities for its operating funds may find itself mmunity than a region depending primarily less focused on the needs of its NA co on group contributions. be notoriously—sometimes disastrously— We have also found activities to unreliable sources of funds. An event that often produces substantial net income may take a huge unexpected loss one year. If this happens, the regional committee that depends on income from t hat event for its operating funds will have to cease operations for awhile, l eaving the entire regional NA community without resource development services. For these reasons we recommend that, once the region establishes an initial “seed fund” for its convention subcommittee, regional committee money and convention subcommittee money be held and accounted for separately. Regional conventions are then made self-supporting from their own income, charging only enough in registration fees to cover the costs of putting on the convention. Because the efforts that result in the generation of conv ention profits are contributed by NA members in the spirit tion, it is not of our Seventh Tradi inappropriate to deposit minimal exce ss proceeds in the RSC operating fund. Given the large amounts of money and the serious obligations involved in operating a regional convention, an RSC can find itself in deeper trouble than it can imagine in a very short period of time if it’s not careful. For this reason, we especially encourage you to refer often to the Convention Handbook, which contains more detailed information on regional conventions. The Convention is available from the World Service Office. Handbook
109 The Regional Service Committee 97 sometimes conducts workshops that Narcotics Anonymous World Services bring local convention volunteers together with members of t he world convention team to review the latest informa tion on NA convention planning. Additional consultation for new convention subcommitt ees or those experiencing difficulties is also available. For further informa tion, contact the World Service Office. VARIATIONS ON THE BASIC REGIONAL MODEL REGIONAL SUBCOMMITTEES The regional service committee is a resource pool, gathering service information and experience to guide and s trengthen the areas it serves. To do this, each regional committee organizes itse lf and performs its duties differently, according to the needs of its member-areas.
110 98 A Guide to Local Services in NA In some places, the RSC is primarily a sharing session. RCMs come together, discuss with one another the service experienc e of their ASCs, and return to their areas with information on how services are performed elsewhere. mmittees composed of chairpersons of In other places, regional-level subco corresponding area-level subcommittees gather to share experience and information in their particular fields of service. In still other regions, some RSC subc ommittees provide direct services de outreach to portions of the region not affecting all the region’s areas or provi served by any area committee. As has been noted in other c hapters, it’s the function, not the form, that’s important, on of the RSC is to and the primary functi pool the service resources of its areas. Subcommittees deliver their reports to the full committee following reports from the RCMs and the regi onal delegate. If a subcommittee needs to place a motion before the regional committee, t hat motion can be considered following the sharing session. Sharing-format subcommittees Some regions formalize the sharing se ssions often conducted by resource persons, creating sharing-format subco mmittees. These subcommittees, led by RCMs, are composed of the chairpersons of the area subcommittees for each field of service. For example, a shari ng-format regional H&I subcommittee is led by the RCM or RCMs who’ve been given the H&I resource assignment and is composed of all the area H&I subcommittee he region. Sharing- chairpersons in t format subcommittees meet on a regular basis, sometimes immediately before or after the full regional committee meeting and sometimes at a different time and location. Regional sharing-format subcommi ttees are not created to take over the s member-areas. Rather, they help service responsibilities of the region’ upon request, assist ASCs that are strengthen weak area subcommittees and, without subcommittees in particular fiel ds of service to form their own. Direct service subcommittees Regional committees organize themselves according to the needs and resources of their member-areas. It is generally recommended that, whenever possible, direct services be administered by ar ea or metro service committees. (See the earlier chapters for more information on ASCs and MSCs.) Area and metro committees are closest to where most di rect services will actually be delivered and thus are more likely to be able to adm inister those services efficiently and responsively. However, in some locales, some direct NA services can be administered only by the regional committee. Regional direct services may be administered by the regional committee itself, by RCMs given resource assignments, by regional ad hoc committees established to conduct spec ific projects, or by standing regional organize itself to conduct whatever subcommittees. Each regional committee will
111 The Regional Service Committee 99 direct service operations it may be required to administer as it sees fit, subject to the needs and direction of its member-areas. In young NA communities and mostly ru ral territories, the region’s member- areas may not be able to provide service to the entire state, province, or country. In these places, regional committees frequently provide a variety of outreach services. Correspondence is maintained with geographically isolated NA groups, world of Narcotics Anonymous and keeping them in touch with the larger providing them with the a ssistance usually offered by area service committees. When other NA groups are form ed in close proximity, t he region assists them in forming an area committee so that thos e groups can support themselves and provide their own direct services. In t he meantime, contacts with local treatment agencies and practitioners, ci vil authorities, and community organizations may be established by the regional committee, generating greater aw areness of the NA program. Responses may also be provided to public information queries.
112 100 A Guide to Local Services in NA common needs In some regions, member-areas share for certain direct services such as media relations or phoneline administration. If only a few of the region’s areas share a particula r common need, those areas should ee of their own to meet that need, cooperatively establish a special committ joining to form the shared services funded by and accountable to all the areas committee. (See the section titled “...Or No t to Metro?” in the earlier chapter on area divisions for more information on shared services committees.) However, if all the region’s areas share a particular need, it is appropriate for them to ask the regional committee to administer services, which meet that need. ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES Some regions conduct more than one W SC-oriented assembly per year. One, held a few months before the biennial c onference, advises the regional delegate of the conscience of the region’s group representatives regarding world services. A second assembly gives the regional delegate an opportunity to report to the GSRs what happened at the WSC meeti ng. Other regions conduct additional assemblies that focus not on world services but regionwide fellowship concerns. In a geographically far-flung state, province, or country, the regional committee may find it advantageous to define two or more assembly districts for ed parts of the state. Similarly, in a the convenience of GSRs in widely separat heavily populated territory, assembly districts may be defined so as to In each district, the regional delegate accommodate the large numbers of GSRs. meets in an assembly with the dis trict’s RCMs and GSRs to develop a conscience concerning world service a ffairs. In regions with more than one assembly district, the regional delegat e may be elected by the GSRs and/or RSC meeting held after all the district assemblies region’s RCMs at a special have been conducted. INTERREGIONAL COOPERATION Our fellowship’s Eighth Concept suggests that, “Our service structure depends on the integrity and effectiveness of our communications.” Groups work more effectively when they communi cate and cooperate with one another; the same applies to regional committees. Of course, each region benefits from the communication facilitated by the World Se rvice Conference and the world service forums that are held during the confer ence cycle. For more information on world service forums, contact the World Service Office. But just as multiregional states fo rm shared service committees to handle NA service interactions with state agencies, so do regions in adjacent provinces or countries sometimes organize joint effo rts to address needs unique to their parts of the world. Such collective efforts sometimes focus on a specific concern, such as PI work in a media market that straddles two or more neighboring regions. in application, organizing multiregional Other joint efforts might be more general
113 The Regional Service Committee 101 learning days or service-oriented sharing sessions. Such forums can provide the means by which NA communities comm unicate, cooperate, and grow with one another. However, our fellowship’s service experience cautions us against organizing cooperative forums unless the need for such forums is clear. Activities like the provide adequate opportunities for world service forums may already interregional communication. If this is t he case, it may well be a duplication of effort and expense to organize additional forums. Our experience has also shown that interregional conferences or assemblies may tend to become political in focus, transforming themselves unintentionally from sharing sessions into decision-making bodies. We encourage regions to cooperate and communicate with one another in meeting their common needs, but we caution them against duplicati ng efforts, wasting NA resources, and politicizing their cooperative ventures.
114 LOCAL SERVICE CENTERS l offices, area service offices, or Local service centers—also called centra for a variety of reasons. Some serve regional service offices—are established merely as storage locations for the area committee’s stockpile of NA books and literature orders by mail and sell materials over the pamphlets. Others fill local and regional service offices facilitate counter during business hours. Some area the operation of local NA phonelines. A fe w local service centers are large enough that they can make space avail able for service committee meetings and storage of committee records. Some ev en have special workers available to assist service committees with their projec ts. Regardless of what else they do, local service centers provide the NA community with a physical presence and a public identity, a specific point at which Narcoti cs Anonymous and the larger community can interact with one another. Local service centers become incorporat ed in order to meet requirements of local and national law regarding busine ss licenses, taxes, insurance, and employment. The body that m anages the local NA office corporation is called a board of directors, but it functions in almost exactly the same way as a subcommittee in relation to the committ ee that creates it. Though the office board is given a certain degree of independence in managing its affairs, the board is obligated to provide complete reports of its activities and finances on a regular basis and is subject to the direction of the committee that created it, whether that committee be an area, metro, or regional service committee. An NA community considering the possi bility of opening a local service center will encounter a number of challenges. Local service centers require substantial business expertise in order to operate e ffectively. Legal problems often arise, most often associated with incorporation procedures, taxes, and personal liability. Offices are expensive and usually do not generate enough net income from literature sales to support themselves. Are the groups in the territory to be served by the office aware of this, and are t hey willing to pay for the office operating expenses? Offices also require a great deal of attention from the NA community’s most knowledgeable and experienced trusted servants, who are usually called upon to serve on the office board. Despite the numerous challenges to be overcome, some NA communities have managed to effectively integrate the lo cal office into their overall service delivery program without serious di sruption. Those who have done so have moved cautiously and carefully thr ough the maze of questions about local community strength, personnel and financia l resources, business organization, inter-service relations, and legal restri ctions that must be answered before an ven consistent attention to the office can be opened. They have also gi maintenance of office affairs once the service center has opened its doors for business. 102
115 Local Service Centers 103 Because the needs of each community and each local service center vary so greatly, it’s not been possible to cr eate a uniform handbook providing clear direction on how to operate all local se rvice centers. The World Service Office, however, has substantial experience in adv ising local offices in many phases of ance to area or regional committees their work and will be happy to lend assist creation of a local service center. The World Service who may be considering the Office regularly conducts workshops on lo cal service center operations, bringing a number of area and regional offices board members and special workers from together with business committee member s and WSO staff for the purpose of sharing information and brainstorming probl em topics. For information, contact the World Service Office.
116 SAMPLE RULES OF ORDER On the following pages, you’ll find a simp le set of rules of order. They have been adapted from Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, which in turn are based on the Rules of the US House of Representatives. These sample rules differ in some details from Robert’s Rules; to cover such differences, your committee may wish to make a blanket decision to accept these rules as authoritative. In countries where Robert’s Rules of Order are not in common use and where some other body of parliament ary rules is more commonly used by deliberative assemblies, service commi ttees may want to consider adapting these rules so that they conform to those commonly in use in their own lands. DECORUM STATEMENT Meetings will be conducted according to these rules of order, adapted from Robert’s Rules of Order. This time-honored system for conducting business is the clearest way yet devised for getting a maximum amount of business done in a minimum of time, regardless of the degree of disagreement among the participants. These rules are meant to be used as tool s to help us make orderly collective decisions in a cooperative, respectful way in the spirit of our Twelve Concepts; please do not use them as weapons against one another. We encourage all participants to become familiar with these rules of order and conduct themselves accordingly. Once the meeting is under way, only one matter will be before the committee at any one time and no other discussion is in order. Please respect the chairperson’s right to be in control of the process of this meet ing so that you can have maximum benefit of its content. DEBATE, LIMITS Debate is the formal exchange of views on an idea. Unless otherwise specified, debate on both main motions and parliamentary motions is usually limited to two or three pr os and two or three cons (speakers for and against the motion). Speakers addressing a motion in debate usually have two or three minutes in which to speak their minds. MOTIONS There are two basic types of moti ons. It is important to understand the difference between them. The tw o kinds of motions are main motions and parliamentary motions. 104
117 Sample Rules of Order 105 MAIN MOTIONS A mmittee member wants the committee motion is a statement of an idea a co ed by the chairperson, the member says, to put into practice. After being recogniz “I move that such-and-such be done by (this committee, one of its subcommittees, or a particular indivi dual) under these terms.” The person making the motion then speaks briefly about why he or she feels the idea is important; this is called speaking to the intent of a motion. Because the exact wording of all motions must be recorded in the minutes, the maker of the mo tion should write it out whenever possible. This is especia lly important for long or complicated motions. second— Every motion requires a the backing of another person who either tice or simply wants to see further discussion of the wants the idea put into prac s a motion, the chairperson will ask idea take place. After one person make whether the motion has a second. The se conder simply raises a hand and, when recognized by the chair, says, “I sec ond that.” If nobody seconds a motion, the chair will say, “The motion dies for lack of a second.” This means that the idea will not be discussed any further because t here is not enough interest in it. The committee then moves on to other business. Once a motion has been made, t he chairperson may rule it out of order. A one of a number of motion may be ruled out of order for any reasons: the motion goes against the committee’s standing poli cy, clearly contradicts one of the NA Service, or is inappropriate at the Twelve Traditions or Twelve Concepts for particular point in the meet ing at which it is made. Robert’s Rules of Order can be motions, which are out of order at any consulted for more specific examples of given time. Any member of the committee who wis hes to challenge a ruling made by the appeal that ruling, as described below. If no appeal is made, or chairperson may if the decision of the chair is upheld, the committee moves on to other business. PARLIAMENTARY MOTIONS Parliamentary motions can be best understood as “sub-motions” made during debate on a main motion that affect that motion in some way. There are many more of these than space and practicalit y permit us to include here, but a few that seem to be the most practical are discussed below. 1. Motion to AMEND. SIMPLE majority required. Is DEBATABLE. This is perhaps the most commonly us ed parliamentary motion. During debate on a motion, if a member feels that t he motion would benefit from a change in its language, that member can say, “I move to amend the motion...” and suggest specific language changes in the moti on. Ordinarily, an amendment must be debated. When debate on the amendment moved and seconded before it can be
118 106 A Guide to Local Services in NA he amendment. Then, debate resumes on the is exhausted, the body votes on t if the amendment has carried). When merits of the main motion (as amended, debate is exhausted on the merits of the ma in motion itself, a vote is taken and the body moves on to the next item of business. he persons making and seconding the If an amendment is offered and t required, no debate is called for, and no original motion accept it, no second is vote need be taken on the amendment; debate proceeds as if the main motion had been formally amended. This is called making a friendly amendment. 2. Motion to call the PREVIOUS QUESTION. TWO-THIRDS majority required. Is NOT DEBATABLE. For our purposes, this may be the most important parliamentary motion. Use it often. This motion is made by a member saying, “I call for the question,” or “I move the previous question.” It is another way of sayi ng, “I move that debate stop right now and that we vote immediat ely.” This is one of many motions that can be used to prevent needless, lengt hy debate once an issue is clearly any speaker is finished. You need not understood. This motion is in order after be called on. The chair must recognize you when you make this motion, and a irds of the body feels that no more vote must be taken with no debate. If two-th debate is necessary, then it is time to vote and move on. One point worth making about this motion is that you must be careful not to squelch debate before an issue has been thoroughly aired. Be sure to vote “no” to this motion if you are still confused or are unsure of about the issue at hand how to vote. By allowing debate to cont inue, we avoid half-baked decisions about half-understood questions. On the other hand, the liberal use of this motion makes it unnecessary for the chair to be heavy-handed in stopping discussion, because the chair knows you will stop it soon enough. 3. Motion to TABLE. SIMPLE majority required. Is NOT DEBATABLE. One way of disposing of a motion that is not ready for a vote is to table it. This is done by saying, “I move we table this motion until such-and-such a date/meeting.” This motion is not debatable; if it is made and seconded, it is voted on immediately. If it fails, debate cont inues on the motion itself. If it passes, the committee moves on to its next item of business. The tabled motion will be included in the committee agenda on the date specified.
119 107 Sample Rules of Order 4. Motion to REMOVE FROM THE TABLE. SIMPLE majority required. Is NOT DEBATABLE. A motion that has been tabled can be taken up before the time originally set in the motion to table. This is done by saying, from the table the “I move to remove motion to such-and-such.” If this moti on passes, the motion that had been tabled becomes the main motion and debate on it begins again. If the motion to remove from the table fails, the body moves on to the next item of business. 5. Motion to REFER. SIMPLE majority required. Is DEBATABLE. Sometimes the committee does not have enough information to make an immediate decision on a main motion. Such motions can be removed from debate and sent to either a standing s ubcommittee or an ad hoc committee for further study. This can be done by a member saying, “I move to refer the motion to the such-and-such subcommittee.” If the motion to refer is seconded, the body may debate it before voting. If the motion to refer passes, the committee moves on to its next item of business. If t he motion to refer does not pass, the committee either continues debating the main motion or votes on it. The subcommittee to which a motion is referred will take it up at its next meeting. The subcommittee will report back me up with at the on what it has co next meeting of the full committee. 6. Motions to RECONSIDER or RESCIND. MAJORITY required varies. Is DEBATABLE. tion the committee has passed will prove Sometimes a member feels that a mo reconsider (reopen for debate and harmful. That member can move to either voting) or rescind (void the effect of) the original motion. There are a few conditions on motions to reconsider or rescind: The motion must have been passed in either the last or the current meeting. The member making the motion must have information on the issue that was not available in the original debate on the motion. The member must have been with the winning side in the original vote. These limits are placed to protect the committee from having to reconsider again and again the motions it passes while still allowing it to examine potentially harmful situations it has created inadvert ently. If any of thes e requirements are not met, the chairperson will declare the motion out of order.
120 108 A Guide to Local Services in NA The motion to reconsider requires a simple majority. majority, provided that committee The motion to rescind requires a simple members were informed prior to the meet ing that such a motion would be made. rescind requires a two-thirds majority. If prior notice is not given, the motion to 7. Request to WITHDRAW A MOTION. UNANIMOUS CONSENT required. Is NOT DEBATABLE. Once a motion is made and the debate begins , the maker of the motion may ask to withdraw it. The chair asks if there are any objections. If there is even one objection, the motion stays on the fl oor and debate resumes. If there are no objections, the motion is withdrawn and the body moves on. 8. Offering a SUBSTITUTE MOTION. SIMPLE majority required. Is DEBATABLE. A substitute motion is the same thing as an amendment to a main motion. The only difference is that it is offered to ent irely replace the original idea, instead of merely revising a portion of it. It is handled in the same way an amendment is handled. 9. Motion to ADJOURN. SIMPLE majority required. Is NOT DEBATABLE. at any time. This motion is always in Any voting member may move to adjourn order, is not debatable, and requires a simple majority to pass. Obviously ed out of order. After all business is frivolous motions to adjourn may be rul he meeting adjourned without a motion. finished, the chair may declare t OTHER PROCEDURES In addition to parliamentary motions, t here are other ways in which members may alter or clarify the proceedings. He re are a few of the most common. Order of the day ness is going too far astray from the If a committee member feels that busi original agenda, that member can help get things back on track. The member says, “I call for the order of the day.” This means, “I move that the chair bring us back on track and conduct the meeting acco rding to procedure, adhering to the agenda.” This does not require a second, is not debatable, and does not even require a vote—the chairperson is obligat ed to enforce the request unless two- thirds of the body tell the chair otherwise.
121 109 Sample Rules of Order Point of information If a committee member needs certain in formation before making a decision about a motion at hand, that member can say at any time to the chairperson, “Point of This means, “I have a question to ask,” not information.” “I have information to offer.” One does not need a second to raise a point of information; it is neither debatable nor to be voted upon. The person ra ising the point of information may ask the question of either the chair person or another member of the body. Point of order If it appears to a committee member that something is happening in violation of the rules of order, and if the chairper son has not yet done anything about it, the member can ask the chairperson for clar ification of the rules at any time. The member may simply say out loud, “Point of order.” The chairperson then says, “What is your point of order?” The me mber then states the question and asks the chairperson for clarification. If the c hair agrees that the rules are not being followed, the chair says “Your point is well taken” and restates the appropriate rule. If the chair does not agree, the chair says, “Overruled.” This decision, as all others, can be appealed. Point of appeal Any time the chair makes a decision, that decision may be appealed. Any voting member who wishes to appeal a dec ision may do so by saying, “I appeal the If the appeal is seconded, the decision of the chair.” chair then asks, “On what grounds do you appeal my decision?” The member states the reasons. The chairperson then speaks briefly to t he intent of the ruling being appealed. The ts of the appeal. A vote is taken, body may then debate the ruling and the meri he original decision of the chairperson. requiring a simple majority to overrule t Parliamentary inquiry If a committee member wants to do somethi ng but doesn’t know how it fits in with the rules of order, all that member has to do is ask. At any time, a member may simply say out loud, “ Point of parliamentary inquiry.” The chairperson must immediately recognize the member so that person may ask how to do such-and- such. The chair will answer the question, po ssibly by referring to a specific passage in this document in explanation. A point of parliamentary inquiry needs no second, is not debatable, and is not voted upon. Point of personal privilege If the smoke is getting too heavy for you, the air conditioner or heater is on too high, or if there is too much noise in the room, you can ask that something be done about it. If the matter is urgent, you may interrupt the proceedings by saying, “Point of personal privilege;” if the matter is not particularly urgent, you peaking has finished. Such a request are encouraged to wait until the person s
122 110 A Guide to Local Services in NA generally requires no second, and the chairperson must recognize you immediately. State the situation and a sk that it be corrected. If your request seems reasonable, the chair will accommodate you. VOTING PROCEDURES There are several ways that votes can be taken. The most commonly used With rare exceptions, votes will be taken by a method is the show of hands. all in favor, then all opposed, then all request from the chair to see the hands of abstaining on each issue. The chairpers on should ask for all three categories every time, just to be thorough, even when the majority is overwhelming. These are only brief notes on rules of or der for business meetings. For further information, see Robert’s Rules of Order—Newly Revised.
123 None None None None None Varies Simple Simple Simple Simple Simple Simple Simple Simple VOTE Two-thirds Two-thirds Unanimous No No No No No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes DEBATABLE No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes SECOND No No No No No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes If urgent INTERRUPT to offer information. not MOTION TABLE hoc committee before vote. t, while preserving its intent. motion previously tabled before the time set. An idea a committee member wants the committee to put into practice. To halt debate, send motion to subcommittee or ad To make a personal request of the chair or the committee. To request clarification of rules of order when it appears they are being broken. To resume consideration of a To stop debate and vote right now on whatever motion is at hand. To make the committee return to its agenda if it gets onto another track. To reopen for debate a motion previously passed. To void the effect of a motion previously passed. To be allowed to ask a question about a motion being discussed, To challenge a decision the chair has made about the rules of order. To put off further consideration of a motion until a later date and time. To ask the chair about how to do something according to rules of order. To alter a main motion by completely rewriting i To change part of the language in a main motion. To allow a motion's maker to take back that motion after debate has begun. To end the committee meeting. PURPOSE Rescind, repeal TYPE OF MOTION Privilege, personal Information, point of Order, point of Appeal ruling of chair Table Remove from the table Refer, commit Amend by substitution Previous question Withdraw a motion Order of the day Amend Parliamentary inquiry Adjourn Reconsider Main motion
124 Internal Use of NA Intellectual Property A statement of the NA Fellowship’s policy on the reprinting of copyrighted NA recovery literature and the use of registered NA trademarks and service marks by NA groups, service boards, and committees. NA Intellectual Property Bulletin #1 was approved by the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous as given voice by its groups through their regional service representatives at the World Service Conference on 27 April 1993, applicable as of 1 May 1993. It was amended at the World Service Conference in 1997 and 1998. This bulletin supersedes all previous bulletins and policies pertaining to the use of copyrighted . marks by NA groups, service boards, and committees literature and registered trademarks and service describes in detail how NA’s name, trademarks, The Fellowship Intellectual Property Trust (FIPT) and recovery literature are protected and administe mous World Services, red by Narcotics Anony and recovery literature in all forms, including Inc. (NAWS). It covers NA’s name, trademarks, translations, and all mediums, whether printed, el ectronic, or in any other media that may be developed in the future. Additional guidelines cont ained in this and the other intellectual property ties by the fellowship are presented as an adjunct bulletins for the use of NA’s intellectual proper onsiderations and partly on the nature of . The guidelines are based partly on legal c FIPT to the NA. By following these simple steps, the fellows hip will help ensure that NA’s name, trademarks, and recovery literature will always be av ailable to fulfill our primary purpose. All matters not specifically addressed by the Intellectual Property Bulletins will be considered questions or concerns under the conditions of the Fellowship Intellect ual Property Trust. Any about the bulletins should be directed to NA’s World Service Office. This bulletin reflects the policy affecting the use of NA intellectual property within the NA covery literature is a commitment to comply Fellowship. Use of the fellowship’s trademarks and re the guidelines is improper. Usage disputes are with these guidelines. Usage inconsistent with dealt with in Intellectual Property Bulletin #5. Use by NA groups NA logos and recovery literature by NA groups. These guidelines outline the appropriate uses of use to avoid improper use. A description of the The guidelines also lay out criteria a group can NA Fellowship--can be found in current NA service NA group--its nature, function, and role in the manuals. You are encouraged to review those secti ons describing groups prior to attempting use of the guidelines described below. Use by NA service boards and committees Service boards and committees created directly or indirectly by NA groups may use NA logos e guidelines so long as they register with NA and recovery literature in the ways described in thes World Services. Use by individual NA members or others Guidelines in this or other Intellectual Property Bulletins do not grant individual NA members or those outside NA permission to use NA trademar ks or intellectual property. Individual NA members or others who wish to use NA’s tradem arks or copyrighted recovery literature should write directly to NA World Services. 112
125 NA Intellectual Property Bulletin #1 113 (July 2010) G UIDELINES FOR T RADEMARKS NA U SE OF arks are the name “Narcotics Anonymous,” the Some of the NA Fellowship’s registered tradem and the “PR stamp,” all stylized NA initials, the diamond in a circle, t he original NA group logo, shown below: ® ® Narcotics Anonymous ® Guidelines for use ademarks should always reflect the seriousness of our primary Use of Narcotics Anonymous tr purpose and our spiritual foundation of anonymi ty. The Narcotics Anonymous name or rvice board, or committee in any way that trademarks should not be used by an NA group, se by or to another part of the fellowship, service would imply legal liability or financial responsibility structure, or outside enterprise. Narcotics Anonymous trademarks should not be us ed in any way that would serve to endorse, finance, promote, or affiliate the NA Fellowship with any outside enterprise. ed in conjunction with any law enforcement, Narcotics Anonymous trademarks should not be us political, medical, or religious slogans, themes, or other related materials. ed or displayed in such a manner as to Narcotics Anonymous trademarks should not be us other organizations, groups, or NA as a whole. possibly offend or disrespect the sensibilities of Narcotics Anonymous trademarks s hould not be used in any manner that could draw us into public controversy. Narcotics Anonymous trademarks should not be us ed on locally developed recovery literature. “NA Fellowship Approved” trademark used to indicate that a piece of The “NA Fellowship Approved” trademark is recovery literature has been approved by t he Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous as given voice by its groups through thei r regional delegates at the World Service Conference. The “NA Fellowship Appr oved” trademark may not be used on any other materials. Marking trademarks aced inside a small circle to the right of all NA Either the capital letter “R” or a “TM” should be pl trademarks every time any of them are used. By doing so, we are showing that these logos are legally owned or registered trademarks. This is one way in which we help preserve the fellowship’s legal right to ownership of its trademarks. Protecting artwork Whenever an NA group, service board, or committ ee has an artist create original artwork, drawings, designs, or screens using any NA tradem ark, the NA body should always be sure the artist signs a document releasing to the NA body his or her rights to the artwork, including the original rendering. By doing so, we ensure that neither the NA logos nor any artwork that has been created for the benefit of the fellowship can la ter be used to benefit a private individual or an outside business enterprise.
126 114 A Guide to Local Services in NA G UIDELINES FOR NA R ECOVERY L ITERATURE EPRODUCTION OF R ll NA Fellowship-approved recovery literature. As NA World Services acts as the publisher of a such, it has been entrusted with the responsibility to obtain copyright prot ection for these items on behalf of the fellowship. This ensures that the fellowship’s message as presented in our books and pamphlets is not tampered with. rgely dependent on the income generated from the Narcotics Anonymous World Services is la sale of NA recovery literature. This income is used to cover the costs of publishing as well as the ded to the World Service Conference and the NA expenses associated with other services provi Services’ income comes from NA groups that Fellowship at large. A large part of NA World purchase recovery literature to di stribute at their meetings. Many groups consider their purchase of NA Fellowship-approved recovery literature as one way in which they contribute to the unity and growth of NA as a whole. Use by NA groups As a general rule, no one has the authority to reproduce NA Fellowship-approved recovery literature without prior written permission from Narcotics Anonymous World Services. However, given the nature of our fellowship, our experience indicates that NA groups and only NA groups p-approved recovery literature in certain should have the authority to reproduce fellowshi instances. When preparing to reproduce NA Fellows hip-approved recovery literature, NA groups should discuss the Fourth Tradition and follow all of these general guidelines: 1. An NA group should only reproduce NA Fellows hip-approved recovery literature when it has a clear need to do so. 2. NA Fellowship-approved recovery literatur e reproduced by an NA group should be distributed only within that group. Such materials should always be given away free of charge; they should never be sold to generate income. 3. The text of NA Fellowship-approved boo ks and pamphlets reproduced by an NA group should not be altered or modified in any way. 4. The copyright for the item being reproduc ed should be shown prominently as follows: “Copyright © [year of first publication], Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.” Use by registered NA service boards and committees Registered NA service boards and committees that wish to quote or reprint portions of NA Fellowship-approved recovery literature should always include the proper notation or credit identifying the origin of the quote or reprinted por tion they wish to use. Generally speaking, the length of a reprint or quote should not exceed 25% of the original pi ece. In the case of NA books, reprints or quotes should not exceed 25% of a single chapter or section. In the case of an article from The NA Way Magazine, the entire piece may be used if the source is fully cited. Any use of NA’s name, trademarks, or recovery lit erature that is not specifically covered is reserved to NAWS, Inc. The use covered in t he Intellectual Property Bulletins does not create any other right or claim by the user to any of the fellowship’s marks under any theory of law, fact, or equity.
127 GLOSSARY Group service representative (GSR). Additional needs, addicts with. Additional Elected by an NA group to participate on needs arise from physical challenges the group’s behalf in the ASC and the such as blindness, hearing impairment, or regional assembly. mobility limitations imposed by use of wheelchairs. Reaching addicts with group service representative. GSR. See additional needs and making our H&I. See hospitals and institutions. meetings and other services more accessible to them is an obligation our The group an NA member Home group. fellowship takes very seriously at all calls “home.” Home group membership levels of its service structure. calls for regular attendance of its recovery meetings, financial and voluntary service Area service committee (ASC). A support, and participation in conscience- committee created to provide common building and decision-making processes. services for NA groups in a specific locale. Composed of GSRs, ASC officers, Hospitals and institutions (H&I). A field of and subcommittee chairpersons. Usually service usually covered by one ASC part of a region, to which it sends RCMs. subcommittee devoted to carrying the NA message primarily to correctional inmates Assembly district. A subdivision of a heavily and treatment facility patients. populated or geographically far-flung region within which a region holds one of Metro committee member (MCM). Elected its multiple assemblies. Most RSCs have by an ASC to participate on the area’s only one assembly for the entire region. behalf on the metropolitan services committee. NA recovery meetings Closed meetings. that are closed to nonaddicts. A Metropolitan services committee (MSC). committee formed to administer an array Common needs (special interests). A of subcommittees providing direct NA name tag referring to specialized groups services (PI, H&I, phonelines, etc.) in a formed to provide additional identification major metropolitan district on behalf of a for addicts with particular needs or number of ASCs. interests in common—for example, men’s or women’s groups and gay or lesbian The NA NA Way Magazine, The. groups. Fellowship’s quarterly journal, published in various languages. Conference-approved service material. Material approved by the World Service Recovery literature NA-approved literature. Conference that is intended primarily for officially sanctioned by the Fellowship of use within the context of an NA service Narcotics Anonymous as given voice by board or committee . its groups through their delegates to the World Service Conference. Also referred Usually in Cooperative council (co-op). to as “fellowship-approved literature.” rural settings, an arrangement whereby a number of groups in nearby towns agree Narcotics Anonymous World Services to cooperatively maintain certain services (NAWS). Refers to Narcotics Anonymous affecting them but not their entire ASC. World Services, Inc., the legal name for the World Board. (See World Board CPC panel. A specialized subunit of the PI description.) subcommittee in some areas, focusing on professional with the cooperation NA recovery meetings that Open meetings. community. allow attendance by nonaddicts. NA- See Fellowship-approved literature. approved literature. 115
128 116 A Guide to Local Services in NA H&I subcommittees throughout the An NA telephone contact service Phoneline. region. providing means by which an addict or a general community member can get RSC. regional service committee. See information about Narcotics Anonymous, Articles, position papers, Service bulletins. especially NA meeting schedules. Usually and food for thought on a variety of NA administered by an ASC subcommittee. service-related topics. A number of such public information. See PI. bulletins are available from our World Service Office. Policy log. A chronological listing of ASC policy decisions made concerning various A committee Shared services committee. responsibilities and fields of service. created by two or more area or regional Maintained by the ASC secretary. committees to fulfill one or two needs both territories have in common. In a state, Public information (PI). A field of service province, or nation with more than one usually covered by one ASC region, such a committee would interact subcommittee devoted to carrying the NA on those regions’ behalf with state, message to government and private provincial, or national government, agencies, the public media, community professional, religious, and civic leaders, those in the helping professions, organizations. Funded by and and the community-at-large so that accountable to those who created it. addicts seeking recovery will be referred to Narcotics Anonymous. A nonbusiness portion of Sharing session. the agenda of most NA service board or See RCM. regional committee member. committee meetings. Somewhat more Regional assembly. A gathering of GSRs informal than the rest of the meeting and RCMs, conducted by the RSC, to because of the suspension of the ordinary discuss issues affecting NA worldwide, rules of order. Facilitates wide-ranging, usually in preparation for the biennial open discussion on committee issues and WSC meeting. The regional delegate is group problems. Allows for development elected at the assembly. of group conscience necessary before Regional committee member (RCM). spiritually sound decisions can be made Elected by an ASC to participate on the in ordinary business session. area’s behalf on the regional service Special interests (common needs). A committee. name tag referring to specialized groups A World Service Regional delegate. formed to provide additional identification Conference participant elected by a for addicts with particular needs or region’s GSRs and/or RCMs. interests in common—for example, men’s or women’s groups and gay or lesbian Regional service committee (RSC). A body groups. that draws together the combined service experience of a number of adjoining An NA euphemism for Trusted servant. areas for those areas’ mutual support. “leader,” “official,” or “officer.” Derived Composed of RCMs, the regional from NA’s Second Tradition, in which NA delegate and alternate delegate, and leaders are characterized as “trusted others as needed. servants” as opposed to governors. Rather than create Resource assignment. Twelve Concepts for NA Service. One of RSC subcommittees to focus regional three bodies of basic NA principle, the attention and gather regional experience concepts apply specifically to the in the various fields of service, most development, coordination, and RSCs give their RCMs resource maintenance of NA services on behalf of assignments. For example, one or two the groups. RCMs will be designated as the people responsible to provide information to and facilitate communication between area
129 Glossary 117 A World Service Conference (WSC). One of three bodies of basic Twelve Steps. deliberative body composed of regional NA principle, the steps describe NA’s delegates and world-level trusted regimen leading to personal recovery and servants, the WSC provides an effective a spiritual awakening. voice and active conscience for the Twelve Traditions. One of three bodies of worldwide NA Fellowship. basic NA principle, the traditions provide The full World Service Conference Report. guidance for the behavior of NA groups, reports of the World Service Conference helping the groups maintain their and the World Board and its committees. independence while nurturing their unity. World Service Office (WSO). World Service The World Board is the World Board. Board headquarters (Los Angeles) and service board of the World Service branch facilities (Canada, Europe). Conference. It provides support to the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous in WSC. World Service Conference. See their efforts to provide the opportunity to WSO. See World Service Office. recover from addiction; and oversees the activities of NA World Services, including our primary service center, the World Service Office. The board also holds in trust for the NA Fellowship the rights for all their physical and intellectual properties (which includes literature, logos, trademarks and copyrights) in accordance with the will of the WSC.
130 INDEX Meetings Note: This index is meant to complement, not ASC, 63-64 of contents found at duplicate, the tables group business, 31 the front of this guide. For references not group recovery, 25 found in the index, see the detail table of RSC, 90 contents beginning on page ix. Membership, group, 27-28 Additional needs, addicts with, 28-29, 56 Metropolitan committee members, 83 Alternate GSR, 36 NA-approved literature, 31 Anonymity, public, 28 New ASCs, 67 Area boundaries, 71 Officers Boundaries, ASC, 71 ASC, 47-50 Budget, ASC, 61-62 group, 33-36 Chairperson, ASC, 48 RSC, 87 Closed meetings, 28 Open meetings, 28 Clubhouses, meetings in, 29 Participants ASC, 46 Common needs meetings, 26-27, 56 RSC, 87-89 Conventions Participation, ASC, 60-61 regional, 96 Policy, ASC, 57 Elections ASC, 50 Prudent reserve, group, 37-38 group, 33 see regional committee members RCM, Formats, recovery meetings, 29-30 Regional assembly, 93-94 Funding additional regional assemblies, 100 ASC, 62-63, 84-85 assembly districts, 100 MSC, 81, 83-84 Regional committee members, 50, 87 regional conventions, 96 Regional delegate, 88 RSC, 95 alternate, 88 Fundraising, 62 election, 93 Group service representative, 35-36, 47 election in multidistrict regions, 100 see group service representative GSR, Regional forums, 93 Guidelines, ASC, 57 Resource assignments, 89 Home group, 27 Rotation, 36, 50 Inventory, area, 58 Rural NA, 65-66 Learning days, workshops, 67 Secretary ASC, 48 Log, policy, 58 group, 33 see metropolitan committee members MCM, Six points, 25 Meeting locations, 28-29 Special interest meetings, 28, 56 accessibility, 28 in clubhouses, 28 Subcommittees in members’ homes, 28 ASC, 51-57 in political party buildings, 28 RSC, 97-99 in treatment centers, 29 rent, 28 118
131 Index 119 Surplus funds ASC, 62 group, 37 Treasurer ASC, 49 group, 34-35 Treatment centers, meetings in, 29 Vice chairperson, ASC, 48 Workshops, learning days, 67
132 BULLETINS, HANDBOOKS, AND OTHER NAWS MATERIALS Group Material Group Starter Kit The Group Booklet, two copies of 17 IPs, 6 se rvice pamphlets (SPs), the NA , including , the Group Treasurer's Workbook, a New Group Checklist, a New White Booklet, The NA Way Magazine Group Registration Form, and a NAWS literature order form. , Group Booklet, The is guide, published as a separate booklet. containing the NA group chapter from th NA Way Magazine, The NA Fellowship’s international journal (published quarterly in various languages). , intended for use as a resource for groups and service bodies covering some topic Service Pamphlets, eloped and approved by the World Board. For current related to service in NA. These pamphlets are dev listing of available titles, please contact NAWS. Treasurers’ Material Group Treasurer’s Workbook, Revised Treasurer’s Handbook, Revised Money Matters: Self-Support in NA, and , pamphlets on NA’s tradition of self-support Funding NA Services and fund flow. Area and Regional Material Guide to World Services in NA, A Guide to Phoneline Service, A Handbook for NA Newsletters Hospitals and Institutions Handbook Hospitals and Institutions and the NA Member , a pamphlet on personal involvement in NA outreach to addicts in prisons, treatment fac ilities, and medical care centers. Public Information and the NA Member , a pamphlet on personal involvement in NA’s public relations program, telling the community about Narcotics Anony mous so that community members can direct addicts to NA. Public Relations Handbook Twelve Concepts for NA Service , containing the chapter on the Twelve Concepts from this guide, published as a separate booklet. Also contains a study guide not included in this guide. Bulletins Fellowship Intellectual Property Trust a handbook describing the legal framework within which NA , s literature and trademarks. A series of bulletins about intellectual property regulates the use of it Note: from NA World Services. issues is also available Internal Use of NA Intellectual Property . A simple policy for NA groups, service boards, and committees describing how we may use NA’s registered logos and copyrighted recovery literature for NA purposes while maintaining the fellowship’s legal protections. World Service Bulletins NAWS. Call or write and ask for a current on a variety of topics are available from listing. Recovery Material Introductory Guide to NA, An , a pocket-sized book containing the Basi c Text’s chapter on the Twelve Steps in addition to ten pamphlets, specially designed for newcomers. It Works: How and Why , essays on NA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Just for Today, — Revised Daily Meditations for Recovering Addicts , containing 366 daily thoughts from other NA literature, a short essay on a re covery issue, and a closing affirmation. Narcotics Anonymous, the Basic Text of Recovery NA Step Working Guides, The , contains a helpful background section discussing the principles relevant to each of our Twelve Steps, as well as some practical questions for review. Sponsorship , members’ first-hand experienc es on sponsorship in NA. All the material listed above is available from NA World Services and can be downloaded from www.na.org: NAWS PO Box 9999 Van Nuys, CA 91409 USA Telephone (818) 773-9999 Fax (818) 700-0700 www.na.org Website
133 for NA Service Twelve Concepts To fulfill our fellowship’s primary purpose, All members of a service body bear substantial the NA groups have joined together to create responsibility for that body's decisions and should a structure which develops, coordinates, and be allowed to fully part icipate in its decision- maintains services on beha lf of NA as a whole. making processes. The primary responsibility of an NA group is to conduct All members of a service body bear substantial responsi- its recovery meetings, carrying the message directly to the bility for that body's decisions; therefore, all of them should addict who still suffers. Groups join their strength in the be allowed to fully participate in its decision-making proc- service structure, ensuring that other services—H&I, PI, esses. NA service is a team effort. The full participation of First Concept literature development, for ex ample—are fulfilled effectively each member of the team is of great value as we seek to ex- Seventh Concept and without distracting the groups from their own primary press the collective conscience of the whole. purpose. Our service structure depends The final responsibility and authority for on the integrity and effectiveness NA services rests with the NA groups. of our communications. onsibility for and authority The groups have final resp over the service structure they have created. By fulfilling ntial to the fulfillment of Regular communication is esse e their service structure with their responsibility to provid all these concepts, and to the integrity and effectiveness of the conscience and ideas, people, and money it needs, the our services themselves. Eighth Concept groups also exercise their authority. Conversely, the service structure must always look to the groups for support and All elements of our service structure have the re- Second Concept direction. sponsibility to carefully consider all viewpoints in their decision-making processes. The NA groups delegate to the service structure To check judgment, to guard against hasty or misin- the authority necessary to fulfill the formed decisions, and to invite the sharing of new ideas, our responsibilities assigned to it. services must consider all viewpoints when making plans. In day-to-day matters, the groups have given our service This is essential to the development of a fair, wise, balanced Ninth Concept boards and committees the practical authority necessary to group conscience. do the jobs assigned them. This is not a blank check issued ups still bear final authority. to the service structure; the gro Any member of a service body can petition that To make Concept Three work, we must carefully select Third Concept body for the redress of a personal grievance, trusted servants. without fear of reprisal. Effective leadership is highly valued in Narcotics The Tenth Concept encourages us to treat each other Anonymous. Leadership qualities should be care- with respect in the service en vironment, and provides us fully considered when selecting trusted servants. with a means of making amends when we wrong others. The essay describes ways in which an individual who feels he or to the welfare of our fellow- Leadership is very important she has been wronged can go about seeking redress of his or Tenth Concept ship. The essay on this concept describes an array of leader- her grievance. ship qualities to be considered when selecting trusted servants. Fourth Concept NA funds are to be used to further For each responsibility assigned to the service our primary purpose, and must be of decision and account- structure, a single point managed responsibly. ability should be clearly defined. The Eleventh Concept establishes the sole absolute prior- In defining a single point of decision for each service as- ity for the use of NA funds: to carry the message. The im- signment, we eliminate confusion about who has authority portance of that priority calls for total fiscal accountability. to do what. We also clarify accountability for our services: Direct contributions to each level of service help us focus on authority for a particular task will be whoever is given the enhance accountability. our primary purpose, and Fifth Concept Eleventh Concept fulfillment of that task. held accountable for the In keeping with the spiritual nature of Narcotics Group conscience is the spiritual means Anonymous, our structure should always be one of by which we invite a loving God to influence service, never of government. our decisions. Within the context of the Twelve Concepts, as a body, Group conscience is the means by which we bring the this concept serves much the same function as Tradition ve Steps to bear in making spiritual awakening of the Twel gs our consid- Twelve in the context of the tr aditions. It brin is fundamental to our fellow- service-related decisions. It ce back to the spiritual root eration of concepts for NA servi ship's decision-making process. It is not, however, merely a of selfless service. “A structure based on that foundation euphemism for “voting” and is not itself the NA decision- Sixth Concept Twelfth Concept could only be one of service, never of government.” making process. Excepts from the booklet, Twelve Concepts for NA Service
134 The Twelve Traditions of NA Our common welfare should come first; Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, personal recovery declining outside contributions. depends on NA unity. By encouraging our group to pay its own way, the Our First Tradition concerns unity and our common welfare. Seventh Tradition gives our group the freedom to share One of the most important things about our new way of life is be- not obligated to outside con- its recovery as it sees fit, ing a part of a group of addicts seeking recovery. Our survival is tributors. Further, it gives our group the freedom that directly related to the survival of the group and the Fellowship. To comes from inner strength, the strength that develops imperative that the group remain maintain unity within NA, it is First Tradition through applying spiritual principles. stable, or the entire Fellowship perishes and the individual dies. Seventh Tradition For our group purpose there is but one ultimate Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in nonprofessional, but our service centers our group conscience. Our leaders are but may employ special workers. trusted servants; they do not govern. In this tradition we say that we have no professionals. By this, we mean we have no staff psychiatrics, doctors, lawyers, Our direction in service comes from a God of our understand- or counselors. Our program works by one addict helping an- ing, whether we serve as individuals, as a group, or as a service other. If we employ professionals in NA groups, we would board or committee. Whenever we come together, we seek the hth Tradition g destroy our unity. We are simply addicts of equal status freely presence and guidance of this loving Higher Power. This direction Ei helping one another. then guides us through all our actions. [...] When we choose a Second Tradition city, we exercise mutual trust. member to serve us in some capa NA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly The only requirement for membership responsible to those they serve. is a desire to stop using. NA groups join together, combining their resources to create The Third Tradition encourages freedom from judgment. It will help them better fulfill service boards and committees that ward an attitude of helpfulness, leads us on the path of service to their primary purpose. Those boards and committees are not acceptance, and unconditional lo ve. [...] Addiction is a deadly d, rather, to fa ithfully execute called to govern NA; they are calle disease. We know that addicts who don’t find recovery can ex- Ninth Tradition the trust given them by the groups they serve. pect nothing better than jails, in stitutions, and death. Refusing admission to any addict, even one who comes merely out of curi- Third Tradition Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion osity may be a death sentence for that addict. on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. Each group should be autonomous except There are a great number of addiction-related issues that in matters affecting other groups or others might expect a worldwide society of recovering drug NA as a whole. addicts to take positions on. [...] Our answer, according to Each group does have complete freedom, except when their Tradition Ten, is that our groups and our fellowship take no actions affect other groups or NA as a whole. If we check to make position, pro or con, on any issues except the NA program sure that our actions are clearly within the bounds of our tradi- Tenth Tradition itself. [...] For our own survival, we have no opinion on out- tions; if we do not dictate to other groups, or force anything upon side issues. them; and if we consider the consequences of our action ahead of Fourth Tradition Our public relations policy is based on attraction time, then all will be well. rather than promotion; we need always Each group has but one primary purpose— maintain personal anonymity at the level to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. of press, radio, and films. What is our message? The message is that an addict, any ad- The existence of a public relations “policy” implies the dict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new importance of a public relations “program” in carrying out way to live. Our message is hope and the promise of freedom. our fellowship’s primary purpose. [...]As NA groups, service When all is said and done, our primary purpose can only be to boards, and committees, we deliberately and energetically carry the message to the addict wh o still suffers because that is all cultivate good public relations, not as an incidental result of Fifth Tradition we have to give. our normal activity but as a way to better carry our message An NA group ought never endorse, finance, to addicts. [...] Public anonymity helps keep the focus of Eleventh Tradition or lend the NA name to any related facility message, not the PI workers our public relations on the NA or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, involved. property, or prestige divert us from Anonymity is the spiritual foundation our primary purpose. of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place Within the limits established by Tradition Six, we have tre- principles before personalities. age of recovery and help other mendous freedom to carry the mess Anonymity is one of the basic elements of our recovery and addicts. We have clear boundaries set by our identity as Narcot- it pervades our Traditions and our Fellowship. It protects us ics Anonymous. When we take ca re to observe those boundaries, Sixth Tradition from our own defects of character and renders personalities our outside relationships enhance our ability to carry the message and their differences powerless. Anonymity in action makes it er than diverting us from our to the addict who still suffers rath impossible for personalities to come before principles. Twelfth Tradition primary purpose. It Works: How and Why Excepts from the Basic Text and
135 ® Twelve Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous 1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on NA unity. 2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. 3. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. 4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or NA as a whole. 5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. 6. An NA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the NA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose. 7. Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. 8. Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. 9. NA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. 10. Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. 11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. Twelve Traditions reprinted for adaptation by permission of AA World Services, Inc.
136 ® Twelve Concepts for NA Service 1. To fulfill our fellowship’s primary purpose, the NA groups have joined together to create a structure which develops, coordinates, and maintains services on behalf of NA as a whole. 2. The final responsibility and authority for NA services rests with the NA groups. 3. The NA groups delegate to the service structure the authority necessary to fulfill the responsibilities assigned to it. 4. Effective leadership is highly valued in Narcotics Anonymous. Leadership qualities should be carefully considered when selecting trusted servants. 5. For each responsibility assigned to the service structure, a single point of decision and accountability should be clearly defined. 6. Group conscience is the spiritual means by which we invite a loving God to influence our decisions. 7. All members of a service body bear substantial responsibility for that body’s decisions and should be allowed to fully participate in its decision-making processes. 8. Our service structure depends on the integrity and effectiveness of our communications. 9. All elements of our service structure have the responsibility to carefully consider all viewpoints in their decision-making processes. 10. Any member of a service body can petition that body for the redress of a personal grievance, without fear of reprisal. 11. NA funds are to be used to further our primary purpose, and must be managed responsibly. 12. In keeping with the spiritual nature of Narcotics Anonymous, our structure should always be one of service, never of government. Copyright © 1989, 1990, 1991 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All rights reserved. The Twelve Concepts for NA Service were modeled on AA’s Twelve Concepts for World Service, published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. and have evolved specific to the needs of Narcotics Anonymous.
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