Contents 1- Introduction _______________________________________________________________________ 1 2- Purpose of Fellowships_____________________________________________________________ 3 Objectives of anonymous Fellowships _____________________________________________________ 3 Effectiveness of Fellowships ____________________________________________________________ 6 What anonymous Fellowships do not do ___________________________________________________ 7
3- Types of Fellowships _______________________________________________________________ 8 4- Fellowship Meetings ______________________________________________________________ 10 Criteria‘s of Fellowship meetings ________________________________________________________ 10 Types of Fellowship Meetings __________________________________________________________ 13 Meeting styles ______________________________________________________________________ 13
5- Meeting Format ___________________________________________________________________ 15 6- Meeting Suggestions ______________________________________________________________ 17 7- Twelve Traditions _________________________________________________________________ 22 12 Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous ___________________________________________________ 22 Principles of 12 Traditions _____________________________________________________________ 30
8- Traditions Checklist _______________________________________________________________ 31 Tradition 1 - Principle of Unity __________________________________________________________ 31 Tradition 2 - Principle of Authority _______________________________________________________ 32 Tradition 3 - Principle of Eligibility _______________________________________________________ 32 Tradition 4 - Principle of Autonomy ______________________________________________________ 32 Tradition 6 - Principle of Outside enterprises _______________________________________________ 33 Tradition 7 - Principle of Giving it away ___________________________________________________ 33 Tradition 8 - Principle of Authority _______________________________________________________ 34 Tradition 9 - Principle of Authority _______________________________________________________ 34 Tradition 10 - Principle of Outside issues __________________________________________________ 34 Tradition 11 - Principle of Public relations _________________________________________________ 35 Tradition 12 Steps - Principle of Anonymity ________________________________________________ 35
9- Fellowship’ Structure ______________________________________________________________ 36 Structure of anonymous Fellowships _____________________________________________________ 36 How Fellowships are organized _________________________________________________________ 37 Iran‘s Narcotics Anonymous Fellowships __________________________________________________ 38
10- Fellowships Directory ____________________________________________________________ 39 Substance Fellowships ________________________________________________________________ 41 Behavior Fellowships _________________________________________________________________ 43 Family Fellowships ___________________________________________________________________ 45
11- Start a Meeting___________________________________________________________________ 46 Meeting Starter Kit ___________________________________________________________________ 47 Suggested procedure _________________________________________________________________ 48 Promotion warnings __________________________________________________________________ 51
Figures & Tables ____________________________________________________________________ 53
1- Introduction This section provides an overview of 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships. It describes how they are an indispensable source of support for addicts wishing to get clean and recover using 12 Steps programs. Though the information provided is primarily aimed at those new to Anonymous Fellowships, it can be helpful to addicts in recovery aiming to enhance their growth in recovery. To explain the various aspects of 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships, this section is divided into the following:
2- Purpose of fellowships This page provides information about 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships to familiarize you with their purpose, function, and approach towards recovery from the disease of addiction.
3- Types of fellowships There are three types of 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships offering support and a program of recovery to those affected by the disease of addiction. Here information is provided to help you understand what kind of addiction each type of Fellowship targets.
4- Fellowship meetings This page provides information about Fellowship meetings to help you gain a better understanding of what happens in them. You too can benefit from this proven resource, which is an integral part of our recovery process and which is widely available and free of cost.
5- Format of meetings This page provides a step-by-step account on what occurs at a typical 12 Steps anonymous Fellowship meeting. The format of meetings may vary from one group to another, but this overview will give you a general idea of what to expect at one.
6- Meeting suggestions If you have decided to attend a Fellowship meeting for the first time, this page provides you with some suggestions to help you best benefit from this courageous step that will help you to break free from addiction and support you towards recovery.
7- Twelve Traditions The Twelve Traditions are the guiding principles that keep anonymous Fellowships united in their primary purpose. Knowledge of these Traditions can help you understand why and how these Fellowships are organized.
8- Traditions checklist Those of us who have been in recovery for a while and are active members of our Fellowship may be interested in learning how the 12 Traditions can be applied at the group level. Answering the questions below – individually or as a group – will raise your awareness of how you can work each Tradition for the greater good of your meeting and the Fellowship as a whole.
9- Fellowship’s structure This page describes in a general way how 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships are structured and organized. In addition information about Iran‘s Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship is provided to enhance your knowledge about its incredible growth.
10- Fellowships directory This section provides a brief description of some of the main 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships. The information serves to help you gain an understanding of the primary purpose of each one so as to find out which one relates to your type of addiction and can best support you towards recovery. The section is divided according to the 3 main types of anonymous Fellowships, which are:
1. Substance Fellowships Are Fellowships for people whose primary addiction is with a mind-altering substance or substances, such as drugs and alcohol.
2. Behaviour Fellowships Are Fellowships for people whose primary addiction is with compulsive and destructive behaviours such as sex, gambling and or co-dependency.
3. Family Fellowships Are Fellowships for friends or family members whose lives have become effected as a result of a loved one‘s addiction – be it to substance or behaviour.
11- Start a meeting This page contains information and suggestions on how to start a 12 Steps anonymous Fellowship meeting in your area. The information may be especially useful for Farsi speaking and or Iranian addicts in recovery living abroad who would like to have a Fellowship meeting in their native language.
2- Purpose of Fellowships This page provides information about 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships to familiarize you with their objectives and effective approach towards recovery from addiction.
Objectives of anonymous Fellowships Effectiveness of anonymous Fellowships What anonymous Fellowships do not do
12 Steps Anonymous Fellowships are non-profit organizations consisting of peer groups in which addicts provide emotional, practical and spiritual support for one another. They do this by sharing their experience, strength and hope in recovering from addiction using the 12 Steps. These Fellowships, originally intended for people suffering from alcoholism, now reach out to people suffering from a myriad of substance and behavioural addictions. Each anonymous Fellowship provides support in recovery -- through the use of the 12 Steps -from a particular substance, compulsive behaviour, or family problem. Fellowships can be likened to a lifeboat after a shipwreck: addicts are joined together to save their lives by rowing to safety through recovery based on the 12 Steps.
Objectives of anonymous Fellowships Participating in 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships provides us with a range of tools and a support system that will help change our way of thinking and behaving – and pave the way towards recovery from our type of addiction. Below is a list of objectives that 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships aim to achieve. Figure 1 : Objectives anonymous fellowships
1. Hope & solution The fundamental aim of all 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships is to show us that recovery from addiction is possible. We see that other addicts have found a solution and are recovering using the 12 Steps, which gives us hope and the courage to do so ourselves. We see that the people who recovered didn't do anything special, that they simply worked the Steps, a day at a time. We take inspiration from them, from the fact that they have managed to turn their lives around and are now healthy and productive.
2. Identification & support Seldom have we been able to find the right support and care from normal people. Most of them cannot comprehend the disease of addiction and often shun, criticize or shame us. We are seen as weak willed. Others simply cannot understand that we are suffering from a disease and judge us based on our behavior. Whereas people naturally offer compassion and understanding to sufferers of a disease like cancer, the tragedy with the disease of addiction is that it is usually misunderstood. The tendency is for people to be angry with us for having it. So where do we go for care and support? Where do we go where we can identify with others? Where do we go to find a solution to our problem without being judged? This is the heart of all anonymous Fellowships -- to provide us with this support. This is where we can break free from our common disease and discovers how to recover and how to grow in our recovery with each other‘s help. This is where we will become part of a community support network that recognizes addiction for the disease that it is. We no longer need to hide in shame or guilt.
3. Nonjudgmental In 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships we won't be judged. Here we are among people who share the same problems. Nothing we say can shock our fellow addicts; they have heard it all before. We discover we share many of the same insecurities and fears and feelings of shame. We also learn that our behaviour as addicts follows similar destructive patterns. Others have done it all before -- if not worse. We are compassionate with each other, knowing that we all suffer from a disease that has affected our mind, body, and soul. This key feature of a Fellowship enables us to share honestly about our feelings – maybe for the first time in our lives. We no longer bottle up our bad feelings, and then use drugs to kill the pain. Instead we find relief sharing with – and listening to -- others.
4. Confront denial By attending an anonymous Fellowship meeting and hearing other addicts tell their stories, we can decide if we are suffering from the disease of addiction. This gives us the courage to slowly break through our denial and accept our disease for what it is. We will see that addiction can affect anybody – that it is not particular to us alone. Sitting beside us in the meetings of an anonymous Fellowships will be rich people and poor people, those who have jobs and those who don‘t, those with families and those without. No matter a person‘s race, creed, or religion, addiction is a disease that can affect anyone. We can take solace and accept we are one of them. It is also at meetings that we discover there is a solution to our disease of addiction and that recovery is possible. Knowing this will give us the impetus to come out of denial and take action to recover using the 12 Steps.
5. Diminish loneliness Addiction is a disease of isolation. It sets us apart and makes us feel that our suffering is ours alone. 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships give us the chance to be in a group setting, amongst likeminded people who are willing to support us in our aim to recover from the disease of addiction. It is in a Fellowship meeting that we realize we are not alone or any different from others suffering from the same disease of addiction as us. Here as a result, we are finally able to move out of isolation and towards recovery with the support of our Fellowship.
6. Prevent relapse A Fellowship provides an abundance of resources and tools that guard us against a relapse. After years of addiction, it can be hard learning to live life clean and sober. But here we find answers to the many questions we have about how to live life clean. We ask questions about how to handle problems that come up in daily life in recover. Other recovering addicts reassure us that they have successfully dealt with the same situations. Some days we'll have an overwhelming urge to use, and it's good to know that other people have gone through the same thing and have overcome it. When our addiction wants to take us out again, Fellowships provide us with the strength and support to soldier on. Or if weâ€˜re having a bad day, we can go to a meeting. Once there we know we are safe for at least those couple of hours. We can share and talk with another who understands our self-destructive urge, or we help another in a worse place than us. The result is we almost certainly feel better to continue in our recovery. Another way Fellowships can serve as a tool for relapse prevention is by reminding us not to fall victim to this disease again. After a period of time in recovery, we feel stronger than we have felt in years. What can happen at this point, though, is that the voice of your addiction will tell you that you can control your use this time. You might believe that this time will be different, that this time you'll know what to do. At 12 Steps Fellowships, though, you will hear from others who have relapsed and come back. They will all tell you the same thing, that their disease fooled them yet again. The truth is, of course, that if you could control your use, you would have done it by now.
7. Build a new life Ultimately, a 12 Steps anonymous Fellowship is made up of people who want to change their lives. They are looking to free themselves from addiction and build a life based on spiritual principles. One of the fears many of us have on entering recovery is that life will be smaller and less interesting without drugs. anonymous Fellowships give you a chance to meet people whose lives are just as interesting and in many cases bigger and more fun now that they've stopped using. This collective sharing process acts as a powerful counterforce to our destructive behaviours. We are much less likely to fall prey to the impulsiveness and desperation that leads back to drugs. But it is in our Fellowships that we rediscover what life is truly about. We find new friends, learn how to socialize, how to have fun, how to live happy again. We recapture what we lost through our addiction â€“ or maybe we finally learn to do what we never in our lives knew. We learn for the first time to relate to others in deep and meaningful ways. A common history of suffering breaks down the walls between those in Fellowships, enabling them to be honest about themselves with each other. We become interested in others in ways new to us. We think less of what the world and its people can do for us and more about what we can offer. We are connected with the rest of humanity as never before. The result is we start to feel good about ourselves in ways never before possible.
8. Carry the Message The primary purpose of all 12 Step anonymous Fellowships is to carry the message of recovery to other suffering addicts. These are places where we are united in our common goal to recover using the 12 Steps. We are among likeminded people, providing one another with support to live our new life free from our disease of addiction, a day at a time. It is here that most probably we will find a sponsor, someone who will guide us through the 12 Steps. It is at the meetings that we hear from others about their experience working the Steps, the hurdles they faced, the questions they had.
Effectiveness of Fellowships Researchers have identified various processes at work in 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships that explain their effectiveness. Among these are: acceptance, changing member's perspectives of themselves, changing member's perspectives of the world, role modelling, learning new coping strategies, mutual affirmation, personal goal setting, instilling hope, positive reinforcement, reducing isolation, reducing stigma, sharing (or "opening up"), and showing empathy. In most cases, the Fellowships become a miniature society that functions like a buffer between us and the rest of the world. Above all, in Fellowships we meet our social needs in an environment of safety and simplicity. Participation in Fellowships has been shown to boost self-esteem, accelerate rehabilitation, and improve decision-making. The therapeutic effects of Fellowships are attributed to the increased social support, sense of community, education, and personal empowerment. There are five theories that explain why 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships are so effective in the recovery process. They are: Figure 2 : Effectiveness of anonymous fellowships
1. Social support We find a community of people who give us physical and emotional comfort, people who will love and care for us regardless of our disease. 2. Experiential knowledge We obtain information and perspectives from other members who are have suffered from the same disease, providing us with hope and confidence to recover ourselves. 3. Social learning theory We learn from the experience of other members how to live our new life in recovery. 4. Social comparison theory Seeing others suffering from the same condition as us brings us out of isolation. We realize we are not alone, and this realization helps us to come out of denial and accept our condition. Seeing other addicts recover gives us the incentive to change for the better either through upward comparison (looking up to someone as a role model) or downward comparison (seeing an example of how debilitating the disease of addiction can be). 5. Helper theory Through the process of helping one another or sponsorship, we gain interpersonal skills. Our self-esteem improves because we are helping another. We feel valued and productive, while the person being helped feels cared for and supported.
What anonymous Fellowships do not do 1. Fellowships do not label us as weak or bad. Instead, they encourage us to take responsibility for our life by accepting our addiction as a disease. 2. Fellowships do not shame us. Instead, they offer us hope and provide us with the courage and the incentive to recover. 3. Fellowships are not medical treatments or psychological interventions. There are no professionals or doctors to fix or cure us. Instead, they provide us with a solution and suggest we work the 12 Steps to recover from our addiction. 4. Fellowships are not arenas to pursue financial, economic, or social ends. We don't join a Fellowship for any other reason except for identification and to find support to recover from addiction. 5. Above all, joining a Fellowship does not on its own produce recovery from addiction. Although Fellowship meetings are an indispensable source of support and aid in the recovery process, we need to work the 12 Steps if we want to recover.
3- Types of Fellowships There are three types of 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships offering support and a program of recovery to those affected by the disease of addiction. Here information is provided to help you understand what kind of addiction each type of Fellowship targets.
There are three general categories of 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships: those that deal with substances, compulsive behaviours, and friends and family affected by someone else‘s addiction. All anonymous Fellowships broadly follow the same structural guidelines and recovery in them is based on the 12 Steps. Because anonymous Fellowships are based on the ability of their members to identify with each other‘s problem, Fellowships have been created to deal with the many varieties of substance and behavioural addictions. For instance, those of us who have abused drugs will find a Fellowship like Narcotics Anonymous most effective, because it is there that that we will see and hear people with experiences much like our own. Similarly, people who have compulsions around food or sex will find recovery in the Fellowships devoted to those problems. Unfortunately for some of us, the disease of addiction may manifest itself in many areas of our lives. We may be addicted to various things, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, or food. In this case we need to participate in more than one Fellowship and work our 12 Steps according to each of our addictions.
The three types of anonymous Fellowships are: Figure 3: Types of anonymous fellowships
1. Substance Fellowships These are Fellowships for people whose primary addiction is with a mind or mood altering substance, such as alcohol and drugs. Fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, etc. deal with specific substances that have become a major problem in our lives.
2. Behaviour Fellowships These are Fellowships for people whose primary addiction is with compulsive and destructive behaviours. These Fellowships include Overeaters Anonymous, Sex and Love Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Co-dependency Anonymous, etc.
3. Family and Friends Fellowships These are Fellowships for people whose lives have become affected as a result of a loved oneâ€˜s addiction. These Fellowships include Al-Anon, for family and friends of alcoholics; Nar-Anon, for family and friends of addicts; and Alateen, for children of alcoholics, and so on. ď ś For information on the primary purpose of various major 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships according to their type, please refer to: Fellowship Directory
4- Fellowship Meetings This page provides information about Fellowship meetings to help you gain a better understanding of what happens in them. You too can benefit from this proven resource, which is an integral part of our recovery process and which is widely available and free of cost.
Criteria‘s of Fellowship meetings Types of Fellowship Meetings Meeting Styles
As newcomers to 12 Steps Fellowships we may at first find the idea of joining a group of strangers – even if they are addicts -- intimidating. Not being familiar with the aim of a meeting and how they are run, we are bound to fear attending one. Will we be put on the spot and forced to talk about personal details in front of strangers? Will we have to stop using drugs right away? Will we be shamed and forced to do things we do not want to do? In fact, though, our fears are baseless and are rooted in our misconceptions about 12 Steps Fellowships. On top of that, our fear of attending a meeting is another example of how our disease of addiction wants to keep us in denial and prevent us from getting better. First of all, any meeting of a 12 Steps Fellowship is free to anyone who wishes to attend. There are NO rules or regulations, and there is nothing we have to do or say. We don't even have to stop using drugs if we are not yet ready to take that big step. All that is asked is that we have a genuine desire to stop using. We addicts don‘t like anyone telling us what to do, and nobody understands this better than addicts in recovery. These are people who have been there and know what it is like to be suffering from addiction. Now they are gathered together to help one another towards recovery as no one else can.
Criteria’s of Fellowship meetings To put your mind at ease about what to expect at a meeting, here is a list of features common to all 12 Steps anonymous Fellowship meetings. Figure 4 : Criteria’s of fellowship meetings
Fellowship meetings are free for anyone who wishes to attend them. We don‘t have to pay anything, sign anything, or notify anyone that we are attending. There are no conditions or qualifications to be met to participate in a meeting. If we have a desire to stop our addiction, which is regarded as the only requirement for membership, then we can freely attend a meeting. We simply show up and take a seat; no one will bother us. There are no dues or fees, no assessments, and no evaluations. A meeting is not like a treatment centre; we usually choose to go of our own accord. The main purpose of a meeting is to carry the message of recovery to those of us who are still suffering. If we have used drugs and go to a meeting, we are usually asked to refrain from sharing. We are also usually asked to leave any paraphernalia outside a meeting so as not to set off any carvings in others or ourselves. But in listening to others talk about themselves honestly, we realize we are all very much alike. In the words of anonymous Fellowships, we identify with each other. In doing so we are preventing our disease of addiction from talking, and we are allowing reality and sanity to break through our denial. All Fellowship meetings are self-supporting. Expenses such as rent for the room, or for tea and coffee, or literature are covered by the small donations made by members. You don't have to contribute if you do not want to or cannot do so. Meetings are open to anybody, and anybody can participate, which creates an open, democratic and non-judgmental atmosphere. Regardless of our station in life, nationality, religion or political affiliation, the only thing that unites us in a meeting is our common desire to stop our addiction and recover through the 12 Step program.
Addicts in recovery run the meetings themselves. Everyone participates in the meetings as equals, with some of us taking service positions on a volunteering and rotating basis as part of our own recovery process. The guiding principle in all meetings is that we are all clean just for today. There is no one in authority at a meeting giving orders. There are no rules or regulations; just suggestions based on the 12 Steps programs of recovery and guidelines on how to maintain the meetings‘ unity called the 12 Traditions. What surprises many newcomers to meetings is that they can be fun. We laugh at the horrific places our addiction took us and sigh a united relief that we are in recovery and free from it now. We find solace in each other‘s sharing. We learn that we are not alone. We feel comforted as we seek each other‘s help and support. Those who stick around found that meetings are places of real joy and companionship. Finally, for the first time in our lives we break out of our isolation and find a new sense of belonging. Through this powerful medium, we slowly experience how it feels to live healthy lives free from addiction; we learn new social skills, make new friends and discover assets we didn‘t know we had. Suddenly the world and its people are not so frightening, and we take our place among our fellows.
3. Anonymous & Confidential
12 Steps anonymous Fellowships are based on the condition of anonymity. Rest assured that no one who sees you at a meeting is going to mention the fact to anyone else. Members at meetings are very rigorous about respecting each other‘s anonymity. Some meetings include as part of their announcements the following reminder: ―what you see hear, what you hear here, let it stay here‖. This makes for a safe environment, one that promotes honest and open sharing. Typically, people at meetings identify themselves with their first names only. The principle of anonymity has many values. First and foremost the principle helps us protect our identity and make it our choice as to who we want to tell about our disease. Second, anonymity helps to place ―principles before personalities‖, which is part of Tradition 12. Ego and grandiosity are pitfalls in recovery, and practising anonymity helps combat them. We are also encouraged to keep our anonymity at the level of media or press, which prevents people from promoting themselves or giving the wrong impression of the Fellowship. Ultimately the principle of anonymity means no one can say you were at a meeting or are an addict but yourself. In addition the practise of this principle, helps keep all members at equal bar with one another. It is irrelevant who we are or what our social standing may be in our community, in a Fellowship meeting we are just another addict in recovery. Confidentiality is very important at Fellowship meetings. All of us in the meetings understand that recovery is a matter of life and death, so we all understand and respect the principle of confidentiality and anonymity.
Service is important in 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships. Experience has shown that doing service, such as chairing meetings, or making coffee, or any number of other Fellowship activities, can help us stay clean. There are many benefits to doing service, which is always strictly voluntary. First and foremost we are staying connected to the Fellowship. We are getting involved and fostering a sense of belonging, which counteracts our usual habit of isolating and hanging out on the sidelines. As addicts we have probably experienced much rejection. We have been shunned away by family, by our community. We felt like outcasts, like we were defective. But getting involved in service brings back our self-esteem and selfworth. We experience how it feels to be useful members of a society. We see that we have something to contribute to this world, and that we are now worthy of joining the human race. Another aspect of service that combats our disease and helps us stay clean is when we help others. Helping others goes counter to the crippling self-absorption we suffer as addicts. We become less self-centred, and our disease has less time to mess up our heads. There is a slogan in the Fellowship that says, "We keep what we have only by giving it away". Based on the experience of early members, doing service is one definite way to save ourselves and ensure our own chances of staying clean. Service is never forced upon or demanded of us. There is no hierarchy in doing service, and you do not get promoted to a ―higher‖ level. Service in whatever form is considered the same - for the pure objective of helping ourselves and others stay clean and in recovery. For knowledge on how a Fellowship is organized please refer to Fellowship’s structure
Types of Fellowship Meetings There are many of us who get introduced to Fellowship meetings after a stint in a treatment centre or as a result of a court order. There are many of us who have hit rock bottom and have no place else to go but a meeting or the morgue. There are many of us who see friends who were addict now getting clean, and we get curious about these meetings. In the end, it‘s irrelevant how you first made it to a meeting, whether you were court ordered or you were pressured by your family or spouse or you came in on your own. The fact is that those of us who attend meetings have a greater chance of recovering and staying in recovery.
2 basic types of meetings -- open and closed
Anyone is welcome to attend an open meeting, while closed meetings are limited to addicts who have a desire to stop their addiction. Meetings are at fixed times during the week, and they tend to be held at churches, hospitals, community centres, etc. Places that are easy to find and accessible to everyone. Some closed meetings are held in prisons, hospitals, treatment centers, or other institutions where only the residents can attend. There are also so-called special interest meetings, such as those conducted in various foreign languages, those for addicts who are hard of hearing, HIV infected, men‘s meetings, women‘s meetings, young peoples‘ meetings, etc. There are also meetings online. It is suggested that you attend various meetings to get a flavor of each and discover which one suits you best. That will be the meeting you will attend most regularly, and the one you might eventually call your ―home group‖. There are no rules on how many meetings you must attend, though it is highly recommended that newcomers attend 90 meetings in 90 days. This is because the disease of addiction is still very active in us and we need the meetings‘ support to combat the initial tactics our disease uses to stop us from getting well. Attending meetings regularly also leads us to finding our second home, a place we can go to and feel part of. Basically, no matter who we are or where we live this indispensable source of support and recovery is available to all of us.
Meeting styles There are different styles of Fellowship meetings, though all have as their primary purpose to carry the message to the still suffering addict. Figure 5 : Fellowship meeting styles
1. Step Study A meeting where participants study or discuss the 12 Steps. Usually, the main speaker shares his or her experience on a particular Step, and then there is sharing from other members of the group. The aim is a deeper understanding of the Steps.
2. Book Study A meeting where participants read and discuss an approved book related to the Fellowship. The aim is to take advantage of the useful information on recovery contained in the literature.
3. Participation A meeting where participants discuss their experience, strength and hope, one member at a time. Their aim is for us to gain knowledge of each other‘s experiences of addiction and recovery.
4. Speaker A meeting where a member shares his or her story of their experiences as an active user and how they got into recovery and what has happened since they have been in recovery. Main speakers tend to be addicts who have longer experience of recovery.
5. H&I Hospital & Institution meetings are often restricted to patients or residents. Local members through the H&I committee bring these meetings into various facilities. H&I meetings are not usually listed in the Fellowship‘s area or world directory.
For information on the format and how anonymous Fellowship meetings are conducted please refer to Meeting format
If you are interested in attending a Farsi speaking Fellowship meeting, please call your desired Fellowship helpline to find out if one exists in your area. You can also refer to Hamrah’s website for details of some Farsi meetings, though please note the information is limited.
5- Meeting Format This page provides a step-by-step account on what occurs at a typical 12 Steps anonymous Fellowship meeting. The format of meetings may vary from one group to another, but this overview will give you a general idea of what to expect at one.
1. Welcome Meetings begin promptly and usually last one hour. The secretary opens the meeting with the following: "My name is ….. and I am an addict (or overeater, or alcoholic, etc.) and would like to welcome you to (name of the group). We especially welcome newcomers and those in their first 90 days. If you wish do so, please introduce yourself by first name only". At this point, those in their first 90 days can raise their hands and when called on by the secretary say their names and announce the number of days it has been since they have been clean.
2. Fellowship pamphlets are read Secretary invites members of the meeting to read various Fellowship pamphlets to remind the group of their purpose and philosophy. These may include: Preamble Who is an addict We can recover 12 Steps and 12 Traditions
3. Secretary makes announcements to remind the group to:
Keep their focus on the purpose of why we are gathered here – to recover from our addiction. Keep shares limited to 3-5 minutes in order that as many as possible may have the opportunity to share. Share using 'I statements' (rather than 'you statements'). Avoid giving advice or trying to fix others when sharing (which is called crosstalk). Refrain from asking questions or engaging in discussions during the meeting. Identify rather than compare. That is, focus on how we are similar rather than on our differences. The secretary then reminds members that, “What you hear here let it stay here; gossip may lead to relapse and relapse may lead to death.” (It is a bedrock principle in 12 Step Fellowships that members respect the confidentiality of fellow members.)
4. Main speaker At many meetings a member of the Fellowship with time in recovery speaks for about 15 to 20 minutes about their experience, strength and hope. They usually tell the story of what their addiction was like, how they entered recovery and where they are now. At other times speakers will talk on a specific topic related to recovery, or they might talk about one of the Steps.
5. General sharing When the main speaker has finished, the meeting is open for anyone who wishes to share. Members usually share about the ways in which the speaker‘s story relates to their own. But sharing can be about anything relating to our experiences with addiction and recovery, with our focus on the solution offered by the 12 Steps. People at meetings talk about almost everything: their jobs, their spouses, their families, their love lives, their hurts, their disappointments, their goals, their failures, their successes. Above all they talk about how they stay in recovery despite what happens – good or bad.
6. Ten minutes before the meeting closes:
In keeping with Tradition 7, which states all Fellowship meetings are selfsupporting, the group treasurer announces how much money the group is currently holding and then passes a basket around for donations. Members usually put in a small sum, , though you do not have to contribute if you cannot or wish not to. The money goes to pay for meeting expenses such as tea, snacks, literature, chips, etc. If the groups has met its prudent reserve and is holding extra money, a group conscious is held to donate the extra money to the Area. The literature person, reminds newcomers of free literature for those who want more information about the Fellowship or the 12 Steps. The secretary: o Thanks group members who have been of service to the meeting. o Asks for announcements in relation to Fellowship activities and events. o Invites group members to go out afterward for coffee or something to eat. These gatherings are opportunities for people to get to know each other and for newcomers to ask questions.
7. Chips In some meetings, and for certain anniversaries, chips, key tags, and medallions, which denote various amounts of clean time, are handed out. Members applaud those receiving these tokens, especially newcomers and those coming back from a relapse.
8. Close The meeting closes with group members holding hands and reciting the Serenity Prayer.
The Serenity Prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”
6- Meeting Suggestions If you have decided to attend a Fellowship meeting for the first time, here are some suggestions to help you best benefit from this courageous step that will help you to break free from addiction and support you towards recovery. 1. Find the right meeting 2. Attend regularly 3. Listen to the similarities 4. Accept help 5. Share and participate 6. Create a support system 7. Find a sponsor 8. Work the 12 Steps 9. Prevent a relapse 10. Do service Anonymous Fellowship meetings are places of great support. They provide resources vital to our journey in recovery. As addicts we are most probably fearful and mistrusting of others, so depending on others for help may be a foreign concept. But when we enter a 12 Steps Fellowship meeting, we realize we are not alone. We are reassured that we don't have to overcome our disease on our own, nor be afraid to ask for help. We shall be among people suffering from the same disease as us, yet who have found a way to recover. Their willingness to freely support us provides us with the hope and the strength to work the 12 Steps and recover from our addiction. Here are suggestions to help you get the most out of this indispensable support system towards recovery: Figure 6 : Fellowship meeting suggestions
1. Find the right meeting
Though all Fellowship meetings are about carrying the message of recovery, they differ in various ways. There will be some meetings we can find more identification with than others. So don't keep attending a meeting you can‘t relate to out of habit or simply because it's convenient. If you do that, eventually your disease will convince you that meetings are not helpful and you don't need their support. Since there are so many to choose from, it's not hard to find at least one meeting you can relate to – and when that happens, recovery becomes a lot easier. To find a list of meetings, search online or go to any meeting and pick up a free ―where to find meetings‖ booklet. Another way to find a meeting you‘ll like is to ask other Fellowship members. It‘s a common question; so don‘t feel embarrassed asking it. Get recommendations this way and you will quickly zero in on meetings that work for you.
2. Attend regularly
How often should you go to a Fellowship meeting? There is no one answer as everyone has different needs. It is suggested that newcomers attend 90 meetings in 90 days, so as to get acquainted with and settled into this new support system. During this time you will get intense exposure to the 12 Steps and the people who are working them. Some people go to meetings daily until their urge to use drugs subsides. How many times you attend a meeting depends on yourself, but it is important to understand that Fellowship meetings are the bedrock of recovery. Seldom are we able to stay clean without them. By attending meetings regularly, you are keeping your disease of addiction at bay. Even if at first you are not keen on attending them or your head makes a thousand excuses not to attend one, just go. As they say in the Fellowships, ―take the body and the mind will follow.‖ Experience has shown beyond doubt that those of us attending meetings have a greater chance of maintaining recovery. Many of us have discovered through regular attendance that meetings not only provide us with the support we need to recover but also are places where we feel most at ease and able to enjoy our new found life. We realize this support system has become like a caring family where we are accepted for who we are despite our addiction. Through the support of our group, we gather the confidence to recognize our own value and humanity and slowly let go of the shame that kept us in our addiction. We find ourselves going to meetings just to be in the company of our newfound friends, people who will support us through the ups and downs in our journey of recovery. The camaraderie shared between us in Fellowship meetings has been likened to passengers on a lifeboat after a shipwreck. Where we are joined together in our common problem and united in our journey towards recovery.
3. Listen to the similarities
Our disease doesn't want us to recover, and so it tells us we are different, that what has worked for others will not work for us. So at meetings, it‘s important to listen to the ways in which our story is like that of others, and to avoid focusing on the ways in which it differs. This way we have a greater chance of identifying with others to then hear how they are working the program. In 12 Step Fellowships they express this with the saying: ―identify, don‘t compare.‖
Listening to the similarities also helps us be less judgmental and less defensive. As addicts, we were always feeling either less than others or superior to them. We always want to suss out who‘s who and what‘s what. It‘s part of being human, but the trouble with us addicts is that we take it to the extreme. The result is we wind up concluding how different we are from others and that this program will not work for us.
4. Accept help
People at meetings will offer to help you. They'll offer to meet you for coffee, or give you their phone number and invite you to call anytime. One reason for this is that they‘ve been through it before, and they know that recovery is hard work. In the beginning you may be overwhelmed by their generosity. Our tendency may be to decline these offers of help. We may find it hard to believe that these people really want to spend time with us, or would be happy for us to telephone them. In fact, though, they know that by helping you they're also helping themselves. When someone says, "give me a call" in the outside world, maybe they mean it, maybe they don't. In 12 Step meetings they mean it because helping others is part of our own recovery process. Helping others is a core principle in all 12 Step programs because it is the best tool we have as addicts in recovery to prevent ourselves from relapsing. When we help another addict we are reminded of where we have been and what we need to do to remain clean and sober. So as newcomers to your first meeting, don‘t hesitate to ask for help. As a way to break through these initial barriers in asking for help, you might want to approach three people at the meeting and say hello to them and let them know it‘s your first meeting and that you are nervous or uncertain about how to proceed. You will be amazed at the warm and friendly response you receive. Often the secretary at the meeting will ask if there are any newcomers so that they can be identified and welcomed. Usually at the end of the meeting, we are then invited by to join others for a coffee to get to know the older members of the group and to feel more at home.
5. Share & participate
Meetings are places where we start accepting ourselves for who we are and move out of isolation. We do this by our participation and sharing at meetings. When we share about what‘s really going on with us, we start to lift the burden of shame and guilt we have carried for so long and which contributed mightily to our addiction. ―Sharing‖ at a meeting simply means talking about our experiences with addiction and how the program and the fellowship is helping us in our journey towards recovery. We don't need to share right away at a meeting. We can just sit and listen, and feel safe and comforted in the fact that we are among likeminded people. In fact it is suggested to us newcomers to focus our attention on listening and finding similarities in our first meetings for this will help us identify and hear the solution. We don't even need to say we are addicts if we are still struggling with this concept. When we do share, the key is to be honest as this is the way we come out of denial. Remember, there is no one in the meeting who will reprimand or judge you. We are all addicts with horrific experiences and most probably there is nothing you have done that others have not done worse.
6. Create a support system
Many of us have been able to prevent a relapse simply by picking up the phone and talking with another addict. No one can explain why, but it seems a force greater than ourselves comes into play when we hook up with another addict. There is a saying in the Fellowships that says, ―Pick up the phone, not the drugs.‖ By getting phone numbers and making friends at meetings we are creating a support system that can help us over any obstacle in our journey in recovery. The importance of creating a support system is reiterated to newcomers when the secretary suggests going for a coffee after the meeting. Even if every fiber in your body wants to go back home to the familiar yet painful place, take courage and accept this offer. It usually leads to great friendships, while opening your world up to all the new possibilities recovery offers.
7. Find a sponsor
Sponsorship is a unique and indispensable feature of 12 Steps fellowships and it comes in the form of an addict in recovery who can freely support us in our journey towards recovery. A sponsor acts like our personal coach or guide in recovery. A sponsor is simply a regular member of the Fellowship, but one who has a good working knowledge of the 12 Steps. Choose as a sponsor someone you can relate to, someone who has the type of recovery you would like to have. It is strongly recommended that you find a sponsor as soon as you feel settled in a meeting to guide you through the Steps. Remember it is the 12 Steps that provide us with the solution and the program to recover from our addiction. In addition, a sponsor provides you with the necessary support you need in the recovery process. Initially they can help you understand the format of meetings. They can phone you and motivate you to go to meetings. They can also act as an early warning system to help you recognize if you're in denial, or if you're heading toward relapse. It is suggested that you find a same sex sponsor, so as to avoid romantic involvements and because you are bound to talk about your personal life in detail and want someone you feel comfortable with. It is important to bear in mind that the role of a sponsor is to primarily guide us through the 12 Steps and support us in matters concerning our recovery. They are not our therapists nor financial or family advisors. Most of us have trouble asking for help, so we may postpone finding a sponsor. We may fear getting rejected, or we may have difficulty trusting others. But we need to ask ourselves how desperate we are to recover and to what lengths we are willing to go to find it. We need to confront our disease of addiction, which makes all sorts of excuses for us not to find a sponsor and not to recover. Also, don't forget that sponsors are people just like you, people trying to get better a day at a time. The section on Sponsorship provides you with detailed information and suggestions on how to find a sponsor.
8. Work the 12 Steps
Meetings are great arenas for learning about and working the 12 Steps. After all, the solution to our recovery is through the Steps, and at meetings we have a chance to hear how others are working the program. We can use our meetings to learn from their experiences and share any difficulties we may be having around working the Steps.
9. Prevent a relapse
Meetings act as a great preventative tool against a relapse. Go to meetings at the times you used to use drugs. As addicts, our bodies have developed an internal clock. If your habit was to use drugs on Friday evening at 6 o'clock, then attend a meeting at that time. This will ensure that you will not fall victim to the obsessions and cravings, prominent in the early days of recovery. But even after the early days, after we have recovered from our obsession and cravings to use drugs, attending meetings serves as a powerful tool for the maintenance of our recovery. 12 Step programs provide us with the means to recover from addiction on a daily basis. Our disease is chronic and we are never cured from it, so we need the support of our meetings to keep our thinking sane and focused on our ongoing recovery. For detailed information on how attending meetings can help you prevent a relapse, please refer to Relapse
10. Do service
Service means doing any activity that supports in the running of the meeting or with helping others. As newcomers, doing any kind of service within our capacity can strengthen our efforts to stay clean and in recovery. By making the tea, setting up the chairs, greeting people coming into the meeting, we will feel good about ourselves. Our usual habit of isolating is challenged, as we become valued members of our meeting. We experience a sense of belonging and comradeship – something most probably lost in our using days. In addition, doing service helps restore our social skills as we engage in altruistic activities and get out of our addict heads.
7- Twelve Traditions The Twelve Traditions are the guiding principles that keep anonymous Fellowships united in their primary purpose. Knowledge of these Traditions can help you understand why and how these Fellowships are organized.
12 Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous Principles of 12 Traditions
The 12 Traditions provide the guidelines that protect and unite the Fellowship. They were originally published by A.A. in 1946, following years of sometimes bitter conflicts that threatened the survival of the Fellowship. The disputes among early members revolved around who could be a member, group autonomy, and singleness of purpose, endorsement of other enterprises, professionalism, public controversy, and anonymity. A.A. cofounder Bill W. realized that in order for A.A. to survive it had to set down bylaws to resolve conflicts. The 12 Traditions helped address disputes in the Fellowship, enabling it to survive and grow.
12 Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous Below are descriptions of the 12 Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous as way of example to help you understand the purpose and the objective of each Tradition in relation to the Fellowship as a whole.
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon NA unity.
First and foremost the Fellowship must ensure its own survival, and Tradition One spells out this primary goal. If the Fellowship fails, then it won‘t be there to help anyone recover. So Tradition One makes clear that our recovery depends on keeping the Fellowship safe. The truth is that seldom has any one of us been able to recover without the support of the Fellowship. ―The group must survive or the individual will not.‖ This doesn't mean that individuals don‘t count. If anything, 12 Step Fellowships value and respect its members to the utmost. As members, we have a right and a voice in every decision. We are all valued as individuals and free to proceed in our recovery without rules or conditions. No one in the Fellowship has the authority to punish or expel us. The principle of Tradition One is also aimed at keeping oversized personalities in check. Pride, ego, and self-entitlement can be destructive in any organization, and could prove fatal in a Fellowship. This Tradition aims to head off grabs for wealth, power, and prestige among members. The result is that individual members learn to put personal differences aside for the sake of keeping the priority on the unity of the Fellowship as a whole.
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.
The aim of Tradition Two is to set up the foundation of the Fellowship, the basic way in which it works. In the Fellowship if there is a decision to be made concerning the group, it is thoroughly discussed before being voted on. Everyone gets a chance to speak and then a vote is taken and what that vote decides is called the ―group conscience‖. This principle of a group conscious is believed to be what our loving God wishes to express, which is whatever is in the best interest of the group. Conflicts are dealt with through this process, for once all voices have been heard and a group conscience taken, the matter is closed. Through this voting system, every member gets the chance to express themselves, and no one member has more authority over another. The principle behind an ―ultimate authority‖ promotes equality among members and creates a democratic and open-to-all structure. There is no member better or worse than another in the Fellowship. No matter what our background, education, or professional expertise; regardless of how long clean we are, our religion, culture, or political affiliation, once we enter the Fellowship we are regarded simply as an addict in recovery. In this way, the Fellowship reaches out to all who would seek its support and provides us with a sense of belonging. This Tradition has sometimes been mistakenly taken to mean, "we have no leaders." In fact, though, to function the group requires that members – on a voluntarily and rotating basis – step into roles of leadership. The main point is that these members have no authority over the rest of the group. Whether they are the group's representative to the area or district, or the secretary or treasurer, they have been entrusted with the responsibility to serve the group, but not make decisions for it. Groups clearly have other "leaders" also. There are those who, by sharing their wisdom and strength in the meetings, are quietly recognized by the group as "spiritual leaders." There are those members who are so well founded in the principles and traditions of the program that the group turns to them when questions arise involving possible violations of those principles and traditions. These too are leaders, but they also do not govern.
3 - The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.
Tradition Three constitutes the one criterion for joining the Fellowship. It makes clear that each of us is ultimately responsible for ourselves. We each decide if we are a member of the Fellowship simply by our ―desire‖ to stop our addiction. Through this we take responsibility for our disease and our recovery. When Tradition Three was first written it referred to ―an honest‖ desire to stop drinking. This led to controversy, though, since it was clear to some that by stipulating that the desire had to be ―honest‖, other members could judge who can or cannot join the Fellowship. Realizing the danger of this in that it may have prevented those who are sick and want to recover from joining the Fellowship, the word honest was taken out to eradicate the possibility of anyone acting as a judge, juror, or excutionaire. The Third Tradition also protects our Fellowship from outside influences in that it belongs solely to addicts with a desire to stop their addiction. In this way the primary purpose of the Fellowship is maintained and avoids getting diluted or influenced by people or groups with non-addiction related issues.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or NA as a whole.
Tradition Four aims to keep the structure of the Fellowship loose and non-restrictive to enable members to run their local meeting as they see fit. Any two or three addicts can call themselves a Fellowship group so long as they gather together for the purposes of recovery with the 12 Steps and abide by the 12 Traditions. Each 12 Step group has complete freedom to manage its affaires exactly as it pleases so long as it does not threaten the Fellowship as a whole. For example, a group can decide the program content of its meetings and the topics that will be discussed. The group can decide if the meeting will be opened or closed and when and where the meeting will be held. Each group can decide to change its meeting format and it has complete authority to spend its funds as it sees fit. The group can also decide how it wishes to open and close its meetings. In this respect, all groups are autonomous in the running of their internal affairs. It is entirely up to the membership of that individual group. However, the second part of this Tradition, ―except in matters affecting other groups or (Fellowship) as a whole‖, sets a condition on the autonomous nature of individual groups. If a group were to set a policy whereby it admitted only Muslims as members, for instance, then it would be affecting the Fellowship, as a whole for it would not be acting on principles of non-discrimination. Or if it invited treatment professionals to speak at a meeting or promoted a specific medical treatment or medication or the latest therapy techniques, that group would be in violation of the Traditions and in danger of doing harm to the Fellowship as a whole for it would be moving away from its primary purpose of carrying the ―message‖ – the solution for suffering addicts via the12 Steps. By the same token, each group is autonomous, but this does not mean an individual group has the authority to, for example, rewrite the Steps or Traditions, or to create its own literature. Nor should groups use the meeting for profit making purposes. Tradition Four also grants freedom to individual groups to exercise their right to be wrong. In other words, groups can have their own experiences, learn from them and move on. There is no right or wrong way to hold a meeting, and so long as they do not stray too far from the primary purpose and Traditions, they can do what they wish. It is this principle of flexibility that makes each meeting different from another, allowing us to experience different flavours, atmospheres and individuals in different meetings. We therefore enjoy choices as to which meeting we wish to attend and have the option of different types of meetings.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the addict who still suffers.
The very essence of all Fellowships lies in preserving this Tradition. We are all gathered together for one reason only: to carry the message of recovery through the 12 Steps to all those who are suffering. As addicts who have found the solution to recover through the 12 Step, we have a unique gift that gives us an incredible opportunity to share it with suffering addicts. This is primarily what all Fellowships are about. Suffering from the disease of addiction and finding a way to recover sets us apart from normal people. Our experience can be a powerful tool in helping others recover. We use the forum of our Fellowship purely for this one primary purpose.
The aim of Tradition Five is to keep our groups focused on this one primary purpose and prevents meetings from becoming anything but places for recovery from addiction. We don't use our meetings for social purposes, places to find a job, a lover, or places for us to exercise power, prestige, or control -- all the things that can lead to the group‘s downfall. When we are focused on carrying the message, we are united in our aim to recover regardless of our many opinions or conflicts. We are reminded we are here for our survival. When our primary purpose is carrying the message of recovery, then it becomes irrelevant who we are outside the meetings. We may be qualified members of society, doctors, solicitors or clergymen, but in the Fellowship, we are only addicts trying to carry the message of recovery. The practise of Tradition Five keeps us focused on our primary purpose and deters us from getting entangled in other issues. Meetings are not places to promote or argue our politics or preach our religion, etc. Nor are we there to convince a suffering addict of the possibility of recovery on any other basis but the 12 Steps. We recognize why we have joined the Fellowship, put aside our knowledge, education, or qualifications -- or whatever criteria we may have in the world outside -- and join each other in carrying the message as addicts in recovery who have beaten our disease.
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, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
Tradition Six sets the guidelines that help keep our Fellowship from getting diluted, affected or influenced by other agencies. In practicing this Tradition, we preserve our unity and singleness of purpose of carrying the message of recovery to suffering addicts. Tradition Six came about as a result of early A.A. members‘ dreams of expanding their message of recovery outside the Fellowship. They approached men of religion, politics, medicine, and law to spread the word of their new discovery, with the ultimate hope of transforming the world. These early members set off getting involved in other organizations, spending time promoting their views to hospitals, politicians, and so on. Soon they discovered that the Fellowship itself was at peril, with its member more interested in finding status and power and financial gain as opposed to adhering to the primary purpose. The result was they were in danger of losing the Fellowship itself. Through these bitter experiences they realized that in order for the Fellowship to survive it couldn‘t be in any way connected or related to any outside agencies. No matter how good a member‘s intentions may be, they should not use the Fellowship for any other purpose but to help suffering addicts. Yet Tradition Six applies to the Fellowship as a whole -- not to individual addicts in recovery, who can do whatever they please, so long as they don't name or affiliate their work with their Fellowship. Some of us may be employed by treatment facilitates and we can use our experience as addicts in recovery to benefit others. But it is important to distinguish between our work, our outside world, and our Fellowship.
7. Every NA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. When we first come into the program, we learn that we are responsible to do the work necessary to recover from our addiction. The first part of Tradition Seven in a way extends this principle to the group. Each group is responsible for its own upkeep, such as paying for rent, literature, tea or coffee, etc. In addition, Tradition Seven helps with our own growth towards a healthy life as individuals and as a group. When we were active in our addiction, we constantly borrowed money from others, expected others to pay for us, or stole from them. If we don't take responsibility for our disease we cannot recover, and if our group cannot meet its responsibility and expenses then it may be best not to be there. In a way this Tradition reminds each member of the group that each is responsible for their group, that they need to -- if they can -- contribute to its running. Many of us have regained our lives and are now living prosperously. Contributing to the functioning of our group is in a way extending to our group the self-responsibility we assumed when we came into the program. The second part of Tradition Seven – declining outside contributions -- came about yet again as a result of the hard experience of early members. They realized that once they accepted outside contributions, the Fellowship would become affiliated with the donor, which would open the door to exploitation of the Fellowship. But the fact is our Fellowships need money to carry the message. From our groups for running meetings, to our areas and committees to carry the message, to bringing meetings to hospitals, publication of flyers, telephone helplines, etc. These costs have to be met if we are to preserve our primary message of carrying the message to the addict that still suffers. So how do we go about this? To keep our Fellowship financially independent, we have to realize there is a right way to go about this, and that right way is the money we place anonymously in the pot at our meetings. The principle of Tradition Seven -- declining outside contributions -- aligns with the principles of poverty, which the Fellowship adheres to for two reasons. First, if the Fellowship gets rich through outside contributions, there is little chance of promoting self-responsibility. Members would think it rich and not feel the need to contribute. Second, wealth would bring with it conflicts over ownership and status. Having trustees or treasurers with money would inevitably make them feel more powerful and more important than other members. The less money involved, the less need for control, and the more time on our primary purpose.
8. Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
Tradition Eight is based on the spiritual principle of ―free we have received, freely give.‖ If our Fellowships were to be professional entities, then issues such as money, control, and power would come into play, which would ultimately divert us from our primary purpose. The 12 Steps are a spiritual program for recovery that is free to anyone with a desire to stop their addiction. They originally came about as a result of the experiences of a couple of addicts who freely helped each other in order to stay clean themselves. Tradition Eight is the guideline that endeavors to keep the same principle active today – which is for meetings to be non-professional places where we can freely help each other recover with no other motive but to help ourselves. Experience has shown that if 12th Step work is carried on any basis other
than this principle then it does not work. Say for example that we approach a newcomer as a professional with authority, or with an angle to gain money from them. The result will most probably be negative. So in order for our Fellowship to stay true to its primary purpose, it has to remain non-professional and not profit making or in any way financially based. There is a distinction between being non-professional in the Fellowship and our members carrying out professional work to help suffering addicts recover. There are many of us who have found an incredible new life through this program and now have a special gift, which we have made into a profession to help others. This does not violate Tradition Eight, for as individuals we can do whatever we want with our life in recovery. But we need to be mindful our Fellowship‘s Traditions and not violate anonymity. Tradition Eight states we are to remain non-professional, but for our primary purpose to be carried out outside the scope of individual groups -- especially in view of how Fellowships have expanded -- then special workers are required. Such paid employees will be involved in activities such as publishing and mailing out literature, answering helplines, administration work, and so on. This activity is essential in keeping the day-to-day activities of the Fellowship going. In keeping with selfsupport as spelled out in Tradition 7, money to support such work is paid through group contributions.
9. NA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
In the real world businesses and other groups are "organized." There is a hierarchy of authority established so that some members of the organization can "direct" the actions of others. But Tradition Nine sets the guideline that no one in the Fellowship has this kind of authority, regardless of his or her length of clean time. We are a Fellowship of equals in which the group as a whole makes decisions. This Tradition helps create an atmosphere of democracy, one in which we are all of equal value and so feel encouraged to join and belong. With it comes a therapeutic advantage, for as addicts we have usually felt like outcasts, shunned by our community. But when we join the Fellowship, which readily accepts us and wants us to be an active participant, then our tendency to isolate disappears and our sense of self-esteem and value increases. From a structural point of view, Tradition Nine helps define what ―organized‖ means in the context of Fellowships. The reality is that every society, nation, or government has to have some sort of hierarchy of power. This is not the case with Fellowships, as no one has any authority or power. There is nobody ruling us or anybody for us to obey. Experience has shown that it is the lack of organization that has enabled Fellowships to be attractive and welcoming to us addicts. Yet Tradition Nine states we are organized in such a way that our primary purpose can be carried out effectively. For example, we have service committees whose primary roles are to reach anyone who wants recovery beyond the scope of a meeting, such as hospitals and institutions (H&I), public information (PI), helpline, etc. We have a hierarchy often referred to as the upside down triangle, whereby everyone‘s voice can be heard -- from group to area, to region, and the world. Yet this way of organization does not allow for any member to have authority or power over others or the group. We all work in the spirit of service for free and are considered as trusted servants. Even our Fellowship trustees are referred to as caretakers and expediters.
10. Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Tradition 10 is the guideline that aims to prevent our Fellowship from getting diverted from its primary purpose. It prevents Fellowships from getting involved in such matters as politics, religion, medicine, and so on. Experience shows the Fellowship cannot afford to get involved in discussions or arguments that may ultimately divert us from our own recovery and survival. We are addicts gathered together for one purpose only, which is to help each other recover through working the 12 Steps, a great achievement in itself and a matter of life and death for many of us. We are too busy learning how to live a new life. We have neither the energy nor the time for -- nor can we afford to get involved in -- discussions or arguments that may divert us from our own recovery and survival. The Fellowship must avoid getting drawn into public controversy. For the Fellowship to be involved in -- or even express an opinion about -- anything but ―carrying the message‖, then it has opened the doors to outside influences, and to controversy. Simply put, a Fellowship cannot take sides in any issue that falls outside its primary purpose. To do otherwise is to invite divisions along the lines of politics and religion, for instance. For example, we may get politicians coming into our groups preaching about their principles, or doctors telling us which treatment is best for all of us, or religious people preaching how we should best live our lives. Imagine, soon we would be at each other‘s throats -- or racing off to get high again! Tradition 10 ties in with the slogan of ―Keep it simple‖, a principle suggested to us when we came though the doors, and one that has helped us greatly in our recovery process. As addicts, we lived complicated lives, fighting everyone and anything. When we keep our recovery simple by ―having no opinion on outside issues‖, we can leave each other alone, and give the respect each one of us deserves to journey in our own recovery. We do not judge each other. We don‘t say to our fellow members: you‘re not clean because you are smoking, or your family is in a mess, or you‘re not working the program, or you are on antidepressants and your recovery doesn't count. All such opinions have no place in our group. They are none of our business, and expressing such hurtful opinions may prevent another from seeking this program or lead some of us to relapse.
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.
Tradition Eleven can be broken down into two parts, the first referring to our public relations policy, which, simply put, means we do not need to promote our Fellowship, and we don't need to sell our program to anyone. As addicts in recovery, our living examples of where we were and where we are today is a powerful attraction for suffering addicts to seek our way of recovery. When others see how our lives have changed, and how we are mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy, this acts as a powerful attraction for them to want this program. There is no need for promotion. The second part of this Tradition sets the guideline on how we as members of Fellowships should present ourselves to the outside world -- especially at the level of any kind of media. It's a Tradition that aims to protect and keep our Fellowship safe. If we have found recovery through a 12 Step Fellowship, then we are asked not to reveal that fact at a public level outside the confines of the Fellowship. If we
do so, we are ultimately pretending as if one person represents the whole Fellowship, which runs counter to its core principles that are based on spirituality and away from self-centeredness. This is to avoid possible confusion in the minds of the public, who might get the false impression that the person identifying himself as a member of this or that Fellowship is a representative of that Fellowship. One danger in such a situation would arise if that person relapses, thus reflecting badly on the Fellowship as a whole.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. •
Tradition Twelve is the foundation that keeps us grounded and reminds us why we are in the Fellowship. Whereas the principle of anonymity in Tradition Eleven is aimed at the level of media so that individual member does not endanger the Fellowship as a whole, here the guideline on anonymity refers to how we ought to live within our Fellowship. By keeping our personal anonymity at all levels of participation in our Fellowships, we are ultimately sacrificing the ―self‖ for the greater good of our Fellowship. The message we are carrying takes precedence over the person carrying it. We do this in part by going on a first name basis in meetings and when doing 12th Step work. The practice of this Tradition helps place the principles of our Fellowship above individual personalities. It serves to keep our egos at bay. By practicing anonymity, we credit the Fellowship for our success in recovering, rather than taking the credit ourselves. It is the guideline that denies our self-seeking and grandiosity. Anonymity is also a safeguard for us members. Though we have come a long way from the days when we were shunned, it is still up to each of us whether we want to tell anyone outside the meeting that we are a member of a 12 Step Fellowship. This guideline is a great reassurance to those just coming into the Fellowship. In addition, respecting another‘s anonymity has the potential to prevent a relapse. There have been occasions when a member relapsed because their anonymity was broken outside the meeting, with the result that their work colleagues or family found out they were addicts. We need to feel safe in our Fellowship, and practicing this principle not only values our personal choices and decisions but also maintains the integrality of our Fellowship. For example, if someone shares a secret at a meeting or a sponsee relates something meant for our ears only -- and we break their confidence, think of the consequences. What will happen to that person? Where would our Fellowship be if this were common practice? The importance of respecting each other‘s anonymity is reflected at each meeting when the secretary announces to the group ―What you hear here let it stay here; gossip may lead to relapse, and relapse may lead to death.”
Principles of 12 Traditions Table 1 : Principles 12 Traditions
It is important for us addicts in recovery to observe the 12 Traditions. These guidelines ensure the survival and growth of our Fellowship and our personal recovery. We have to remind ourselves of how our Fellowship saved our life and respect what it is asking us to observe so as not to endanger it.
8- Traditions Checklist Those of us who have been in recovery for a while and are active members of our Fellowship may be interested in learning how the 12 Traditions can be applied at the group level. Answering the questions below – individually or as a group – will raise your awareness of how you can work each Tradition for the greater good of your meeting and the Fellowship as a whole.
Tradition 1 - Principle of Unity Tradition 2 - Principle of Authority Tradition 3 - Principle of Eligibility Tradition 4 - Principle of Autonomy Tradition 5 - Principle of carrying THE message Tradition 6 - Principle of Outside enterprises Tradition 7 - Principle of Giving it away Tradition 8 - Principle of Authority Tradition 9 - Principle of Authority Tradition 10 - Principle of Outside issues Tradition 11 - Principle of Public relations Tradition 12 - Principle of Anonymity
The Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous has been used here as a way of example, but you can substitute this according to the name of the Fellowship you belong to for better identification. If you plan to work on this Tradition checklist please do so outside your regular Fellowship meetings as this is for personal use and does not constitute a Fellowship meeting. For the Word version of this document to adapt and work on, please refer to: Traditions checklist
Tradition 1 - Principle of Unity Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity. 1) Am I in my group a healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? What about gossip and taking other members‘ inventories? 2) Am I a peacemaker? Or do I, with pious preludes such as ―just for the sake of discussion,‖ plunge into argument? 3) Am I gentle with those who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive? 4) Do I make competitive remarks, such as comparing or contrasting one group with another? 5) Do I put down some Fellowship activities as if I were superior for not participating in this or that aspect of it? 6) Am I informed about the Fellowship as a whole? Do I support, in every way I can, as a whole, or just the parts I understand and approve of? 7) Am I as considerate of all the members as I want them to be of me? 8) Do I spout platitudes about love while indulging in and secretly justifying behaviour that bristles with hostility?
9) Do I go to enough Fellowship meetings or read enough literature to really keep in touch? 10) Do I share with the Fellowship all of the bad, the good, and me accepting as well as giving the help of fellowship?
Tradition 2 - Principle of Authority 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. 1) Do I criticize or do I trust and support my group‘s trusted servants, officers, committees, newcomers and old-timers? 2) Am I absolutely trustworthy, even in secret, in my service or other Fellowship responsibility? 3) Do I look for credit in my service work or expect praise for my ideas? 4) Do I have to save face in-group discussion, or can I yield in good spirit to the group conscience and work cheerfully along with it? 5) Although I have been clean a few years, am I still willing to serve my turn at Fellowship‘s chores? 6) In group discussions, do I sound off about matters on which I have no experience and little knowledge
Tradition 3 - Principle of Eligibility The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. 1) 2) 3) 4)
In my mind, do I prejudge some new members as losers? Is there some kind of addict whom I privately do not want in my Fellowship group? Do I set myself up as a judge of whether a newcomer is sincere or phony? Do I let language, religion (or lack of it), race, education, age, or other such things interfere with my carrying the message? 5) Does a celebrity impress me over? By a doctor, a clergyman, an ex-convict? Or can I just treat this new member simply and naturally as one more sick human, like the rest of us? 6) When someone turns up at the Fellowship needing information or help (even if he can‘t ask for it aloud), does it really matter to me what he does for a living? Where he lives? What his domestic arrangements are? Whether he had been to the Fellowship before? What his other problems are?
Tradition 4 - Principle of Autonomy Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole. 1) Do I insist that there are only a few right ways of doing things in the Fellowship? 2) Does my group always consider the welfare of the rest of the Fellowship? Of nearby or far away groups? 3) Do I put down other members‘ behaviour when it is different from mine, or do I learn from it? 4) Do I always bear in mind that, to those outsiders who know I am in the Fellowship, I may to some extent represent our entire beloved Fellowship?
5) Am I willing to help a newcomer go to any lengths—his lengths, not mine—to stay clean? 6) Do I share my knowledge of the Fellowship‘s tools with other members who may not have heard of them
Tradition 5 - Principle of carrying THE message Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the addict who still suffers. 1) Do I ever cop out by saying, ―I‘m not a group, and so this or that Tradition doesn‘t apply to me‖? 2) Am I willing to explain firmly to a newcomer the limitations of the Fellowship‘s help, even if he gets mad at me for not giving him a loan? 3) Have I today imposed on any Fellowship member for a special favour or consideration simply because I am a fellow addict? 4) Am I willing to twelfth-step the next newcomer without regard to who or what is in it for me? 5) Do I help my group in every way I can to fulfil our primary purpose? 6) Do I remember that Fellowship old-timers, too, can be addicts who still suffer? Do I try both to help them and to learn from them?
Tradition 6 - Principle of Outside enterprises An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. 1) Should my fellow group members and I go out and raise money to endow several Fellowship beds in our local hospital? 2) Is it good for a group to lease a small building? 3) Are all the officers and members of our local club familiar with ―Guidelines on Clubs‖? 4) Should the secretary of our group serve on the mayor‘s advisory committee on addiction? 5) Some addicts will stay around in the meeting only if we have a TV and card room. If this is what is required to carry the message to them, should we have these facilities
Tradition 7 - Principle of Giving it away Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. 1) Honestly now, do I do all I can to help my group, my central office, my GSO remain self-supporting? Could I put a little more into the basket on behalf of the new guy who can‘t afford it yet? How generous was I when using drugs? 2) Should the Fellowship make a profit from its resources? 3) If GSO runs short of funds some year, wouldn‘t it be okay to let the government subsidize Fellowship groups in hospitals and prisons? 4) Is it more important to get a big collection from a few people, or a smaller collection in which more members participate?
5) Is a group treasurer‘s report unimportant business? How does the treasurer feel about it? 6) How important in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect, rather than the feeling of being always under obligation for charity received
Tradition 8 - Principle of Authority Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. 1) Is my own behaviour accurately described by the Traditions? If not, what needs changing? 2) When I chafe about any particular Tradition, do I realize how it affects others? 3) Do I sometimes try to get some reward - even if not money- for my personal efforts? 4) Do I try to sound like an expert on addiction? On recovery? On medicine? On sociology? On the Fellowship itself? On psychology? On spiritual matters? Or, heaven help me, even on humility? 5) Do I make an effort to understand what the Fellowship employees do? What workers in other addiction agencies do? Can I distinguish clearly among them? 6) In my own Fellowship life, have I any experiences, which illustrate the wisdom of this Tradition? 7) Have I paid enough attention on why and how the Traditions developed?
Tradition 9 - Principle of Authority A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. 1) Do I still try to boss things in the Fellowship? 2) Do I resist formal aspects of the Fellowship because I fear them as authoritative? 3) Am I mature enough to understand and use all elements of the program—even if no one makes me do so—with a sense of personal responsibility? 4) Do I exercise patience and humility in any job I take? 5) Am I aware of all those to whom I am responsible in any Fellowship work? 6) Why doesn‘t every group need a constitution and bylaws? 7) Have I learned to step out of a service gracefully—and profit thereby—when the time comes? 8) What has rotation to do with anonymity? With humility
Tradition 10 - Principle of Outside issues Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy. 1) Do I ever give the impression that my Fellowship has an opinion on outside issues? Such as forms of medical treatments, other Fellowships, etc. 2) Can I honestly share my own personal experience concerning any of those without giving the impression I am stating the opinion of the Fellowship? 3) What gave rise to our Tenth Tradition? 4) Have I had a similar experience in my own life? 5) What would the Fellowship be without this Tradition? Where would I be?
6) Do I breach this or any of its supporting Traditions in subtle, perhaps unconscious, ways? 7) How can I manifest the spirit of this Tradition in my personal life outside or inside the Fellowship?
Tradition 11 - Principle of Public relations 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. 1) Do I sometimes promote the Fellowship so fanatically that I make it seem unattractive? 2) Am I always careful to keep the confidences reposed in me as member? 3) Am I careful about throwing Fellowship member‘s names around? 4) Am I ashamed of being a recovered, or recovering, addict? 5) What would the Fellowship be like if we were not guided by the ideas in Tradition Eleven? Where would I be? 6) Is my recovery attractive enough that a sick addict would want such a quality for himself/ herself?
Tradition 12 - Principle of Anonymity Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. 1) Why is it good idea for me to place the common welfare of all Fellowship members before individual welfare? What would happen to me if the Fellowship as a whole disappeared? 2) When I do not trust the Fellowship‘s current servants, who do I wish had the authority to straighten them out? 3) In my opinions of and remarks about others, am I implying membership requirements other than a desire to stay clean? 4) Do I ever try to get a certain group to conform to my standards, not its own? 5) Have I a personal responsibility in helping my group fulfil its primary purpose? What is my part? 6) Does my personal behaviour reflect the 12th Tradition—or belie it? 7) Do I do all I can do to support my Fellowship financially? 8) Do I complain about certain behaviour—especially if they are paid to work for the Fellowship? 9) Do I fulfil all my Fellowship‘s responsibilities in such a way as to please privately even my own conscience? 10) Do my utterances always reflect the 12th Tradition, or do I give Fellowship critics real ammunition? 11) Should I keep my membership a secret, or reveal it in private conversation when that may help another addict (and therefore me)? 12) What is the real importance of me among more than a million Fellowship members? The source of the information above is derived from Alcoholics Anonymous Grapevine. These questions have been adapted from AA Grapevine in conjunction with a series on the Twelve Traditions that began in November 1969 and ran through September 1971.
9- Fellowship’ Structure This page describes in a general way how 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships are structured and organized. In addition information about Iran’s Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship is provided to enhance your knowledge about its incredible growth.
Structure of anonymous Fellowships How Fellowships are organized Iran‘s Narcotics anonymous Fellowship
Structure of anonymous Fellowships 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships are not organized in the formal or political sense; there are no governing officers, no rules or regulations, no dues or fees. The structure of 12 Steps Fellowships has been called an upside-down triangle, in which the groups are on top and "headquarters" is on the bottom. This is because group members -- especially newcomers - are the most important part of the Fellowship. This upside-down hierarchy of anonymous Fellowships helps head off struggles for power, prestige, control, or money among members – and so helps the Fellowship keep to its primary purpose of carrying the message of recovery to those still suffering. Figure 7 : Structure anonymous fellowships
How Fellowships are organized Below is a description of the way anonymous Fellowships are generally organized, and the level of service involvement by members.
Groups Anonymous Fellowships are made up of groups or meetings, which are at the top of the Fellowships‘ organizational structure in keeping with the fact that groups and individual members play the most important roles. In accordance with Tradition Four, Fellowship meetings answer to no authority except their own group conscience. Groups are autonomous except in those cases when their actions affect the Fellowship as a whole. In those cases, the issue may be taken up by the trustees of the General Service Board. Groups are the core of the Fellowship, and since they are autonomous they are governed in a very loose manner, and are left to run meetings as they see fit. It is accepted that wherever two or more gather for the purpose of carrying and maintaining recovery, that constitutes a 12 Steps Fellowships group. Generally each group has a secretary, a treasurer, a GSR, and a literature person. They are all voted in by the group, and generally there are some sort of clean time requirements. Everyone doing service at a meeting does so voluntarily, and usually serves for one year. They are not authority figures. Finances do not play a big role in groups, since groups charge no fees and are not money-making operations. Usually groups pass the pot during the meeting to pay for rent of the meeting space, provide literature, tea or coffee, and support the organization at a higher level if they can. The group is primarily responsible for keeping the meeting dependable and effective, using the guidelines of the Steps and Traditions. Groups or meetings form districts, usually on a geographic basis, and districts form areas, also usually on a geographic basis.
GSR Each group or meeting elects a general service representative (GSR) to represent the group at district and area business meetings. They are considered ―trusted servants‖ and serve to carry the conscience of the group to their districts so that the voice of the group can be heard and taken into account.
Committees There is a need for some kind of structure within the Fellowship to carry the message in ways that are impossible for the local groups. Among these activities are the publication of literature and public information resources, helping new groups get started, publishing an international magazine, and carrying the message to hospitals and institutions, and helping members start groups in other countries. Committees are formed to carry out such activities, and these would be Helpline Committees, Public Information (PI) Committees, Hospitals & institutions (HI) Committees, and so on. There is generally a clean time requirement to become active in any of the committees.
World Service / Conference structure Usually the Conference structure of anonymous Fellowships is the framework in which these "general services" are carried out. It is a method by which the collective group conscience can speak clearly and convey its desires for worldwide services. It is the structure that takes the place of government, ensuring that the voice of the Fellowship will be heard and guaranteeing that movement-wide services will continue to function under all circumstances. World services adhere to the guidelines of the 12 Steps Concepts. The
principle of rotation of responsibility is followed in all service positions. The spirit of rotation is a vital principle within each Fellowship‘s service structure, which calls for nonsuccessive terms on all service positions. This enables more members to enjoy the benefit of service. Positions in the Service Structure are rotated according to a vote of the Service Structure. Representatives to the local service organization are voted on at the Service Structure level according to a schedule set by each Service Structure. Officers of the service organization are elected based on the group conscience of that organization. As a way of example the service structure of Narcotics Anonymous’ Fellowship is illustrated below: Figure 8 : NA Fellowship service structure
Iran’s Narcotics Anonymous Fellowships In 1990, two brothers who had joined NA in California earlier started the first NA meeting in Iran. The first meeting was held in Gharchak Recovery Centre. These meetings were held for one year but due to the negative public view on addicts at that time, these two brothers stopped this path of recovery and the young Narcotics Anonymous Organization in this country became inactive for a few years. But this was not the end of the story. In 1994 two other addicts who had become NA members in Canada and USA, met accidentally in a party in Tehran and decided to send the message of recovery to the addicts at Gharchak Recovery Centre. The "Iranian Behzisti Organization" helped these two pioneers to reach their goal. Later, another Iranian who was an active NA member abroad joined this group and the development of Narcotics Anonymous in Iran became a reality. Behzisti Organization
finally agreed to hold weekly meetings in Gharchak (1993). Then this trio was able to rent a place in Tehran and one of the brothers whom we mentioned above also joined this small group in their path of recovery. Now after all those years, hundreds of meetings are held daily all over Iran, in cities and even rural areas. Over 100,000 Iranians are attending various NA Meetings in all parts of the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the help of Narcotics Anonymous, a substantial number of addicts are living a fruitful and healthy life. Iran‘s NA Fellowship is currently one of the largest regions worldwide and in terms of membership ranks second to America. Its structure, as briefly described below, is slightly different due to its growth and size. There are presently (as of Jan2012) a total of 4000 groups in Iran each of which send a Group Service Representative (GSR) and an Alternate GSR to their local Metro Committee. There are 20 Metro Committees in Greater Tehran alone and across the whole of Iran, there are 182 such service committees. Each Metro Committee then sends a Delegate and Alternate Delegate to its respective Area Service Committee; of which there are 21 in total Area Service Committee delegates are then sent to the Regional Assembly where overall decisions about Iran‘s NA Fellowship are reached via group conscience. For coordination and matters affecting the NA Fellowship as a whole, delegates from the Regional Assembly are then sent to the NA World Service Conference and also the Asia Pacific Zonal Forum. The WSC is held in America and the other NA member countries, in rotation. The Zonal Forum venue is also rotated between different NA regions within the zone.
Statistics of Iran’s NA Fellowship (as of Jan 2012): o o o o o
Number of Members: over 400,000 Number of Groups: 4000 Number of meetings per week: over 18200 Number of Metro Committees: 182 Number of Areas in the region: 21 Figure 9 : Iran's NA Fellowship service structure
10- Fellowships directory This section provides a brief description of some of the main 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships. The information serves to help you gain an understanding of the primary purpose of each one so as to find out which one relates to your type of addiction and can best support you towards recovery. The section is divided according to the 3 main types of anonymous Fellowships, which are:
1. Substance Fellowships Are Fellowships for people whose primary addiction is with a mind-altering substance or substances, such as drugs and alcohol.
2. Behaviour Fellowships Are Fellowships for people whose primary addiction is with compulsive and destructive behaviours such as sex, gambling and or co-dependency.
3. Family Fellowships Are Fellowships for friends or family members whose lives have become effected as a result of a loved oneâ€˜s addiction â€“ be it to substance or behaviour.
Substance Fellowships Substance Fellowships are for people whose primary addiction is with a mindaltering substance or substances, such as drugs and or alcohol. Below are descriptions of some of the major substance Fellowships that offer a program of recovery and support so as to help you find out which one suits your needs and can best support you towards recovery.
Narcotics Anonymous – NA Alcoholics Anonymous – AA Cocaine Anonymous – CA Crystal Meth Anonymous - CMA Marijuana Anonymous- MA Nicotine Anonymous- NICA
Narcotics Anonymous – NA ― NA is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a programme of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using. We suggest that you keep an open mind and give yourself a break. Our programme is a set of principles written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives. The most important thing about them is that they work. There are no strings attached to NA. We are not affiliated with any other organisations, we have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone. We are not connected with any political, religious, or law enforcement groups, and are under no surveillance at any time. Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion. We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away. We have learned from our group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean. Narcotics Anonymous offers recovery to addicts around the world. We focus on the disease of addiction rather than any particular drug. Our message is broad enough to attract addicts from any social class or nationality. When new members come to meetings, our sole interest is in their desire for freedom from active addiction and how we can be of help.‖
Alcoholics Anonymous – AA ― Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.‖
Cocaine Anonymous – CA ― Cocaine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances. There are no dues or fees for membership; we are fully self-supporting through our own contributions. We are not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution. We do not wish to engage in any controversy and we neither endorse nor oppose any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay free from cocaine and all other mind-altering substances, and to help others achieve the same freedom. We use the Twelve Step Recovery Program, because it has already been proven that the Twelve Step Recovery Program works. ‖
Crystal Meth Anonymous - CMA ― Crystal Meth Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from addiction to crystal meth. Our primary purpose is to lead a sober life and to carry the message of recovery to the crystal meth addict who still suffers. ‖
Marijuana Anonymous- MA ― Marijuana Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction. Our primary purpose is to stay free of marijuana and to help the marijuana addict who still suffers achieve the same freedom. We can do this by practicing our suggested twelve steps of recovery and by being guided as a group by our twelve traditions. Marijuana Anonymous uses the basic 12 Steps of Recovery founded by Alcoholics Anonymous, because it has been proven that the 12 Step Recovery program works! ‖
Nicotine Anonymous- NiCA ― Nicotine Anonymous is a Non-Profit 12 Step Fellowship of men and women helping each other live nicotine-free lives. Nicotine Anonymous welcomes all those seeking freedom from nicotine addiction, including those using cessation programs and nicotine withdrawal aids. The primary purpose of Nicotine Anonymous is to help all those who would like to cease using tobacco and nicotine products in any form. The Fellowship offers group support and recovery using the 12 Steps as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous to achieve abstinence from nicotine. ‖
Behavior Fellowships Behaviour Fellowships are for people whose primary addiction is with compulsive and destructive behaviours such as sex and gambling. Below are descriptions of some of the major behaviour Fellowships that offer a program of recovery and support so as to help you find out which one suits your needs and can best support you towards recovery.
Overeaters Anonymous - OA Sexaholics Anonymous - SA Gamblers Anonymous - GA Co-Dependents Anonymous - CoDa
Overeaters Anonymous- OA ― Overeaters Anonymous offers a program of recovery from compulsive eating using the 12 Steps and 12 Steps Traditions of OA. Worldwide meetings and other tools provide a fellowship of experience, strength, and hope where members respect one another‘s anonymity. OA is not just about weight loss, weight gain or maintenance, or obesity or diets. It addresses physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It is not a religious organization and does not promote any particular diet. ‖
Sexaholics Anonymous- SA ― Sexaholics Anonymous, or SA. is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition oriented Fellowship of men and women who help each other to stay sober. We offer help to anyone who has a sex addiction and wants to do something about it. We SA.‘s have a special understanding of each other and the disease, and we have learned how to recover through the 12 Steps of SA. We in SA. believe that sex addiction is a progressive illness which cannot be cured but which, like many illnesses, can be arrested. An obsessive-compulsive pattern exists in which sexual activities have become increasingly destructive to career, family and sense of self-respect. v
Gamblers Anonymous- GA ― Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem. Our primary purpose is to stop gambling and to help other compulsive gamblers do the same. Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real problem gamblers. No one likes to think they are different from their fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our gambling careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could gamble like other people. The idea that somehow, some day, we will control our gambling is the great obsession of every compulsive gambler. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of prison, insanity or death. We learned we had to concede fully to our innermost selves that we are compulsive gamblers. This is the first step in our recovery. With reference to gambling, the delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed. We have lost the ability to control our gambling. We know that no real compulsive gambler ever regains control. All of us felt at times we were regaining control, but such intervals - usually brief -were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced that gamblers of
our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period of time we get worse, never better. Therefore, in order to lead normal happy lives, we try to practice to the best of our ability, certain principles in our daily affairs. ‖
Co-Dependents Anonymous- CoDa ― Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) is a set of informal self-help groups made up of men and women with a common interest in working through the problems that co-dependency has caused in their lives. CoDA is based on AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and uses an adapted version of their Twelve Steps and Traditions as a central part of its suggested programme of recovery. To attend CoDA meetings, all you need is the willingness to work at having healthy relationships. This means that all kinds of people attend meetings. Individual members can and do have differing political, religious and other affiliations, but since these are not relevant to the business of recovery from co-dependency, no comment is made about them. ‖
Family Fellowships Family Fellowships are for friends or family members whose lives have become effected as a result of a loved one’s addiction – be it to substance or behaviour. Below are descriptions of some of the major family support Fellowships that offer a program of recovery and support so as to help you find out which one suits your needs and can best support you towards recovery.
Nar-Anon Families Anonymous - FA Al-Anon & Al-Ateen
Nar-Anon ― The Nar-Anon Family Groups are a worldwide fellowship for those affected by someone else‘s addiction. As a Twelve-Step Program, we offer our help by sharing our experience, strength, and hope. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of addiction in a relative or friend. Nar-Anon's Purpose Nar-Anon is a twelve-step program designed to help relatives and friends of addicts recover from the effects of living with an addicted relative or friend. Nar-Anon's program of recovery uses Nar-Anon's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. The only requirement to be a member and attend Nar-Anon meetings is that there is a problem of drugs or addiction in a relative or friend. Nar-Anon is not affiliated with any other organization or outside entity.‖
Families Anonymous – FA ― Families Anonymous is a world-wide fellowship of family members and friends affected by another‘s abuse of mind-altering substances, or related behavioural problems. FA has groups, spread throughout the country, which meet regularly. Any concerned person is encouraged to attend the meetings, even if there is only a suspicion of a problem. The Fellowship is a self-help organisation with a programme based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions first formulated by Alcoholics Anonymous. The aim of the group is to help the family and friends of people with a current, suspected or former drug problem by providing mutual support and to offer a forum where experiences and anxieties can be shared. In the group members learn to come to terms with the problem that is disrupting their lives. Attending meetings helps members adopt an honest and consistent approach towards the addict. This in turn often brings him/her to realise that he/she needs help to live without drugs. Experience has shown that help for the family and friends means important help for the drug-dependent person.‖
Al-Anon & Al-Ateen ― At Al-Anon Family Group meetings, the friends and family members of problem drinkers share their experiences and learn how to apply the principles of the Al-Anon program to their individual situations. They learn that they are not alone in the problems they face, and that they have choices that lead to greater peace of mind, whether the drinker continues to drink or not. Al-Ateen is a peer support group for teens who are struggling with the effects of someone else‘s problem drinking. Many Al-Ateen groups meet at the same time and location as an Al-Anon group. Al-Ateen meetings are open only to teenagers.‖
11- Start a Meeting This page contains information and suggestions on how to start a 12 Steps anonymous Fellowship meeting in your area. The information may be especially useful for Farsi speaking and or Iranian addicts in recovery living abroad who would like to have a Fellowship meeting in their native language.
Meeting Starter Kit Suggested procedure Promotion warnings
Starting a 12 Steps anonymous Fellowship meeting is relatively easy. It is said that whenever two or more addicts gather together to help each other stay clean and help carry the message of recovery with 12 Steps to the still suffering addict‖, then that gathering can be called a Fellowship meeting. If you are an Iranian addict in recovery who is living in a foreign country and are not fluent enough in its language to be able to fully participate in its Fellowship meetings then having a meeting in your native tongue can provide you with the support needed to ensure your recovery. Or you may simply want to start a new Farsi speaking Fellowship meeting as part of your Step work and because you know of other Iranian addicts in your community who can benefit from this indispensable support system. The truth is that seldom have any of us been able to recover by ourselves alone. Most of us have found the support of our Fellowship meetings indispensable for recovery and for maintaining that recovery. So if you want to start a meeting to help yourself while also helping others who want to recover, that can be easily done. Starting a meeting makes an enormous difference in our recovery as it helps us work our program by carrying the message of recovery to the still suffering addict. If you find yourself in a position where you believe your recovery and that of others in similar circumstances can benefit from a new meeting, then why not give it a try. Starting a new meeting may be an especially good idea for those of us who live in a foreign country and would like a Fellowship meeting in their native tongue. Having a meeting that‘s conducted in your own language will make for easier identification with others. Being among a group with a similar background and culture means those in the meeting will be in a better position to understand one another‘s issues and lend each other support. This can be a critical element for the maintenance of our recovery as well as an encouraging factor for newcomers to join the meeting. You need not be an ―expert‖ in recovery to start a new meeting. As with everything else in 12 Steps Fellowships there are no rules or qualifications to fulfill. There is only a set of suggestions given by our Fellowships aimed at keeping meetings aligned with its principles and Traditions. So long as you are clean from your addiction, so long as your motive for starting a new meeting is based on the right motives and so long as you can make a commitment to pursue in your intention, then that is all that it is needed. Remember the fundamental reason Fellowships developed was to carry the message of recovery to the still suffering addict. The main way this principle took form was through meetings. Experience has proved again and again that helping others is instrumental in helping us stay clean. All Fellowships therefore greatly encourage that new meetings be started whenever and wherever they may be needed. After all new meetings attribute to the growth of the Fellowships and its message being carried to others.
The general criteria of what constitutes an anonymous Fellowship meeting are: 1. It should be open to anyone who has a desire to stop their addiction- Tradition 3 2. It should be self-supporting- Tradition 7 3. Its primary purpose should be to carry the message of recovery to the still suffering addict through application of the 12 Steps- Tradition 5 4. It should have no affiliation with any enterprise outside the Fellowship- Tradition 6 5. It should have no opinion on outside issues- Tradition 10 6. Its public relations policy should be based on attraction rather than promotionTradition 11
Meeting Starter Kit Almost all 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships provide free information on how to start a new meeting in so-called Starter Kits, which can be found on the Fellowship‘s website or by contacting the Area Service Committee - ASC. Information on when Area Service Committee meetings are being held is usually provided on their websites or you can obtain this information by contacting their local helpline. Helpline numbers for various major anonymous Fellowships are available in: Farsi Meetings For a small price, some Fellowships provide extensive information packages on starting a meeting, which can be purchased through their online stores. These packages usually include a Handbook of the Fellowship to familiarize you with the Traditions and suggested responsibilities for various positions in a meeting, such as the group secretary, treasurer, literature person, GSR, and so on (and whether a certain amount of clean time is required). Also provided are recommended meeting formats and information on how to conduct the meeting. Information and forms are provided on how to register your meeting in the Fellowship‘s local directory and website. In addition basic pamphlets and some clean time chips are also included. Some Fellowship Area Service committees also provide financial support to new meetings. Bearing in mind the purpose for such committees is to unify and to promote growth within their Fellowship, they endeavor to support a new meeting as best as they possibly can. If you are hoping to start a new meeting, it is a good idea to first obtain a copy of a ―Starter Kit‖ to familiarize yourself with all that is required. Or you can attend your Fellowship‘s Area Service committee where you can get a copy of the ―Starter Kit‖ as well as asking for support to help you in your endeavor.
Below are links to ―Meetings Starter Kits‖ for various 12 Step anonymous Fellowships: Narcotics Anonymous-meeting starter kit Alcoholics Anonymous-meeting starter kit Cocaine Anonymous-meeting starter kit Overeaters Anonymous-meeting starter kit Sex and love addicts anonymous-meeting starter kit Gamblers Anonymous-meeting starter kit Nar-Anon Family groups-meeting starter kit Al-Anon & Al-Ateen-meeting starter kit
Suggested procedure In addition to the information found in Fellowships’ Starter Kits, below are step-bystep suggestions that can help you start a new meeting. Note that these are merely practical suggestions that have worked for some of us. As always, there are no specific rules on how to start a new meeting and the procedure may differ from one Fellowship to another. Figure 10 : Procedure to start a meeting
1. Get Meeting Starter Kit
As noted above, it is a good idea to first obtain a ―Meeting Starter Kit‖ from your Fellowship of choice. In this way you will learn what is involved in starting a new meeting and whether you want to take on that commitment.
2. Establish your motive
Once you have read the information in the ―Meeting Starter Kit‖ and have decided to start a new meeting, make sure your motive and intention for doing so is aligned with the principles and the primary purpose of your Fellowship. Ask yourself why you want to start a new meeting. Is it that you would like to carry the message of recovery to others in similar circumstances to you? Is it that that there is a need for Fellowship support in your area among addicts with similar backgrounds as yourself? Is it that you believe your own recovery can become more solid if you had the support of others you can more relate to? Make sure your motive in wanting to start a new meeting is not based on your ego -- aspiring to status or higher standing in your community is not a good reason to start a meeting. When our motives are right, there is less likelihood for us to get resentful or potentially harm others in the process. There is nothing more detrimental to a newcomer than sitting in a meeting dominated by egos and personalities. For a newcomer especially, any meeting of a Fellowship will represent what the Fellowship stands as a whole. It is up to those of us who start a meeting to make sure it‘s primary purpose is to carry the message of recovery to the suffering addict and that it is solution focused. There may be newcomers coming to our meeting as a last resort, for them recovery may be a question of their life or death. We need to remember that though we are not responsible to keep others clean, we are responsible for carrying our Fellowship‘s message of recovery to the best of our ability.
When we start a new meeting with the right motive and for the right purpose, we are less likely to get disappointed or take it personally if the meeting fails to flourish. Whatever the result, we can practice Step 3 and leave the outcome to the care of our God. The point is we started a new meeting with the best intention and as part of our own program of recovery, whether it folds or grows are things we have no power or control over. With this spiritual attitude we can ward off our high expectations and instead practice humility and reliance on our God. Those of us who have taken courage and shown the commitment to start a new meeting have found valuable lessons that have led to further growth and quality of recovery.
3. Find another addict in recovery
It may be a good idea to find at least one other person who is in the same Fellowship as yours and who is interested in starting a new meeting as this will encourage and support you in your endeavor. Discuss your motives for doing so and your commitment to pursuing it so that both of you are clear about your purpose. Experience has shown it takes about a year or two for a meeting to get settled and established. This may mean that there will be times when you have to persevere and show up regardless of any other person being there. Although there are no requirements for clean time to start a meeting, there are suggestions regarding having a bit of time in recovery along with a working knowledge of the Steps before taking on this big service commitment. Most of us have to focus our time and energy on working the Steps and learn how to live this new way of life in the first couple of years in recovery before we can dedicate ourselves to these big or time-consuming service commitments. We would also need some working knowledge of the 12 Traditions in order to ensure the meeting we have started runs alongside the unifying principles of our Fellowship.
4. Sort out logistics a) Find venue Locate an appropriate meeting venue. You may want to attend other 12 Step meetings in your area to find out where they are being held. Or you can look through existing Fellowship ―Where to finds‖ to discover where other meetings are being held. You can also inquire about meeting rooms in hospitals, churches, treatment centres, and community centres. It is a good idea to choose a venue that is relatively easy to find and access, ideally close to public transportation. It is discouraging for a newcomer trying to get to a meeting yet finding it difficult to find. It is generally recommended that meetings not be held in members‘ homes. Holding a meeting in a member‘s home may affect the willingness of some members to attend and may lead to disagreements. It is best to hold a meeting in a neutral area, not a place where one member may feel in charge because the meeting is being held in his home. Although some meetings may start in a member‘s home, Fellowships encourage and suggest that they relocate their meetings to public facilities as soon as possible.
b) Rent Fellowship meetings are greatly encouraged to abide with Tradition 7 and be self supporting, so it is important to find out the cost of the rent for the venue you are considering and make sure it is feasible. Obviously, the number attending may be small to begin with. Some Fellowships make provision and provide financial support for new meetings, which you can use to pay for the rent or buy literature. c) Time & day Decide on what times and which day of the week you want to hold the meeting. Most Fellowship meetings run in early evenings because it is convenient for members to attend them after work. But you can set up your new meeting whichever day or time you think would best suit the community you are trying to support. Meetings usually run for one to one and half hours. d) Meeting Type Decide on the type of meeting you want to hold. Is it going to be a special interest meeting -- for example Farsi speakers meeting -- or open to all members? Will it be an open meeting or a closed one? (Note: a closed meeting is only for those with a desire to stop their addiction, whereas general members of the public can attend an open meeting.) e) Meeting Format Decide how your meeting will be formatted. For example, will it be a Newcomer, Speakers or Step study meeting? There are many ways you can format your new meeting. Just as all of us have our own personalities, meetings develop into their own identity and way of doing things. As it says in the Traditions, ―Each Group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting other Groups, or (Fellowship), as a whole.‖ You may start a new meeting with a specific type of format, but as it grows find it more beneficial to its members to vary it. Feel free to innovate. Often, a meeting will grow larger than originally anticipated. A meeting format that worked well for a small meeting may not work as well for a larger one. If your meeting experiences that kind of growth, you may want to consider making some adjustments in your format, perhaps even replacing it altogether. Most Fellowship Starter Kits provide information on the types and formats of meetings. In these you will also find sample meeting formats, the suggested approved readings and literature to be read at the meetings, the responsibilities of other service commitments, (and whether a certain amount of clean time is required for various positions), along with other information that will help you run your meeting effectively. f) Name your meeting decide what you want to name your meeting. The name of a meeting usually reflects its focus. For example, if starting a new meeting aimed at Iranian addicts then it can be: Farsi speaking Fellowship meeting. Alternatively, the name may reflect where the meeting is held, or be taken from a saying in the Fellowship (such as ―Just for Today‖ or ―Living Now‖).
g) Appoint service commitments it may be a good idea at some point to hold a business meeting to vote in service commitments servants. This of course depends on whether you have already started your meeting or whether you want to wait until your meeting gets established and is registered with the World Service Office- WSO. Most groups have a secretary, treasurer, literature person, and group service representativeGSR. Most Fellowship provide Handbooks where the responsibilities and clean time requirements for each of these roles is described.
5. Get ASC support
Now that you have established your motive for wanting to start a new meeting and have sorted out the logistics of it, it is time to go to your Fellowship‘s Area service Committee – ASC. These committees are places where we announce our intention to start a new meeting and get our Fellowship‘s support. ASC‘s are places where you can gather experience from other meetings in your area, see what has or has not worked for them when they started a new meeting. You can ask for guidance and support to find out how it can help your new meeting run more smoothly. For example you can ask its members to come and support your new meeting by coming to do a chair Usually at ASCs you can purchase any literature, pamphlets, or chips you would need for the new meeting. Most probably you can also get a copy of the Fellowship‘s handbook. Some Fellowships provide financial support for new meetings to get started. In such cases a group conscious may be taken at the ASC for a sum of money to be paid to the new group to buy literature and chips or to pay its rent for a short while. ASCs are places where you can raise awareness of your new meeting with other members and groups. You can even print flyers and request that the GSR‘s from other groups distribute those flyers and in other ways spread the word around. At the ASC you can also obtain the form to register your new meeting with the World Service Office. Some Fellowships provide this form directly online. Once registered, the details of your new meeting become available on the Fellowship‗s directory and online.
Knowledge and practice of the 12 Traditions is essential to keep a new meeting focused on the purpose and principles of its Fellowship. Many new meetings have folded because of lack of adherence to the primary purpose of our Fellowships and their 12 Traditions. In keeping with Tradition 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.‖), Fellowship meetings cannot be promoted. Our public policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. This means we cannot advertise our new meeting to the outside world. Nor do we use the new meeting to promote ourselves or our status or standing in our community. We can raise awareness of our new meeting by a variety of means. We can first announce it at our ASC and ask other Fellowship members to spread the word around to other members and groups. We can contact
our local Public Information committee and let it know of the existence of our new meeting. We let the PI committee know if it is a Special Interest one for example a Farsi speaking Fellowship meeting and find out how it can be supportive towards the particular community, that we have targeted. We can spread the word ourselves and allow our own recovery be an attraction for other suffering addicts in similar circumstances. In keeping with our Tradition 12 (―Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities‖), we cannot use our personal details to reflect our new meeting. For example, we cannot run an ad in the local newspaper or TV to announce a new meeting using our own name on it in any way. Although a notice in the classified ads of local newspapers containing a contact number for the Fellowship helpline is in keeping with our Traditions. The same principle applies to keeping ourselves anonymous. As Tradition 12 suggests we need to place principles before personalities. This means we need to remember we have set up a new meeting to help carry our Fellowship‘s message of recovery and not our version of it. Yes, it is true that we have put hard work and energy to start a new meeting, but the meeting does not belong to us. We have done so to keep ourselves clean and help other suffering addicts. Now as another equal member of our Fellowship we participate in it. We keep with the principle of anonymity and humbly let go of any authority or control over a new meeting we have started.
If you are a Farsi speaking and or Iranian addict in recovery and wish you had a Farsi speaking Fellowship meeting in your area why not start one? Remember that meetings in our native language are desperately needed as they provide the vital and indispensible support needed for recovery. If due to language barriers you need further support, please contact Hamrah. Ways Hamrah can support you to start a Farsi speaking Fellowship meetings are: 1. Offer information about your Fellowship's Area committee meetings in your area, along with how to obtain a Meetings Starter Kit. 2. Post you free Farsi translated Fellowship literature providing we have them available and you live in UK. Click here to contact Hamrah: Contact
Figures & Tables Figures Objectives anonymous fellowships _________________________________________________ 3 Effectiveness of fellowships ______________________________________________________ 6 Types of anonymous fellowships __________________________________________________ 8 Criteriaâ€˜s of fellowship meetings __________________________________________________ 10 Fellowship meeting styles _______________________________________________________ 13 Fellowship meeting suggestions __________________________________________________ 17 Structure anonymous fellowships _________________________________________________ 36 NA Fellowship service structure __________________________________________________ 38 Iran's NA Fellowship service structure _____________________________________________ 39 Procedure to start a meeting _____________________________________________________ 48
Tables Principles 12 Traditions_________________________________________________________ 30
About Hamrah Given that addiction is scientifically proven to be a disease, and the effectiveness of 12 Step programs towards recovery from it, Hamrah has been established to provide information on the disease of addiction, its various manifestations and its effects on family members. Our hope is to empower you with information about 12 Step programs and Fellowships so that you may find the means and the support to recover and live a new way of life free from addiction. The information provided aims to empower: 1- People suffering from addiction, be it to substances or behaviours. 2- Addicts in recovery wishing to enhance their knowledge of 12 Step programs and Fellowships. 3- Family members and or friends seeking to recover from the effects of a loved oneâ€˜s addiction on their lives. 4- Community members interested to learn about the disease of addiction and recovery with 12 Step programs. 5- Professionals interested in enhancing their knowledge of 12 Step programs and Fellowships so as to support their addicted clients towards recovery.
Anonymous Fellowships booklet provides an overview of 12 Steps anonymous Fellowships. It describes how they are an indispensable source of s...