Along with distancing the writers, the corporation has continuously operated so as to distance themselves from the general Fellowship as well. Changing the service structure in the 1990's is the most graphic example of this. It is well known the drug replacement and court ordered attendance are the two big threats to the growth and continuance of NA today. Drug replacement was invented as a way to switch addicts over from street drugs to government and medicine approved Pharmaceuticals that have the same withdrawal effects as heroin and morphine.
Court ordered attendance becomes a problem when groups are overwhelmed with people who don't want to be there. We, as the informed membership of NA, have to open discussion on these topics and formulate real solutions if we are to survive.
The rule about policy changes is this: unless you understand and agree with every single word, do not vote in favor of a motion, however persuasive and engaging a presenter may be. You do not buy a car or even a burger this way if the information is not completely correct and understandable, the only proper thing to do is vote it down. That's what it means to have a vote. Getting a crowd of voting "delegates' whipped up, hungry, tired or confused and then calling for the vote is a dirty trick. If this is attempted, get up and leave the room to destroy quorum.
If you are unhappy with the effects to the motion later on, you may hear them say, k'Well, you voted for it!" They'll say it whether you hear it or not. We are not little children and we have not come this far as a Fellowship without learning from our mistakes. Admission of error is a positive thing here in NA! We get new lives by correcting our mistakes.
Ask yourself: what does NAWS actually do for you? We wrote a book with no NAWS. We carried our message to the world with no NAWS. What do we need someone to tell us what to do for? We do need a WSO. We do need a Conference to bring together all the Fellowship periodically. Why do we need a ten or twelve person service board that actually created itself with no guidelines?
Our Twelve Traditions grant us the right to create service boards and committees and when they become too burdensome and expensive, we can un-create them as well. I'm not saying this is our only option but it is certainly an important thing to know. The AA 12 Concepts give their General Service Conference the right and ability to order resignations and restructuring of their Generat Service Office should that ever become necessary.. Is this true of the NA 12 Concepts? Also, it would probably spin off into a Fellowship civil war. The answer would seem to be in education and certainly there have been valiant efforts to assemble and make available factual material on our history so that members can become more informed.
But the most important information will always be the how and why of spiritual living. There is a vast difference between the person who uses anger to fire their enthusiasm vs and apersonwho disagrees and tries to work towards a point of remedy. There must be twenty thousand NA members out there who have the knowledge and information awaiting an opportunity' to help make it better. There are probably twice that number who know better and refuse to do anything because they are bogged down in fear and resentment. Certainly those who hide out in other fellowships do nothing to help. As others have shared, AA never had another program to run to!
While this may be taken as a negative observation, it just puts those who care in a wonderful perspective. They carry forward the first addicts who had the gumption and temerity to step out on faith and help the program take her first painful steps. We in NA have never gotten anything easy. We generally proceed by making every mistake in the book! If anything at all works, we move through that of necessity7.
When working on the Basic Text during the 1978-80 fiscal year, we had fantastic problems with the minutes of the First World Literature Conference at Wichita. The next year, we had toughened up our attitude towards what was possible and not. So, when the Conference at Lincoln began, we announced minutes would be taken as we proceeded. There was an immediate outcry, ''We can't do that! That's impossible. No organization does the minutes that way." Whew, it is hard to believe just how much this upset some people. As the Chairperson, I said, "Well, you may be right but we're going to try anyway, ok?" They couldn't say anything to that so that's what we did.
The minutes of the morning session were on the tables as members filed in from lunch and the afternoon minutes were on the tables after dinner. That's how we did it. The members who complained just shrugged but it saved us a ton of trouble at Lincoln, Memphis, Santa Monica, Warren, Miami, and Philadelphia. We even pasted them on the walls at the access points. I don't recall anyone complaining about inaccuracies in the minutes and it certainly went a long way to keep peace in the valley as we proceeded. Also, we gave away copious copies for attending members to take home with them. Remember, they paid a