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Incorporated book "/» Times of Illness" is any indication, some of us may have to tell our newcomers that certain books are just not accurate. Is that a pleasant way of saying it? Like, it's OK to use some drugs, just watch it. That's not like saying, "Now you have power over your addiction and can use small amounts of certain addictive drugs that have severe withdrawal side effects safely." How far down this road can you go without stumbling into the conclusion that NA just isn't NA anymore?

Guile, trickery, even second-level agendas undercut and undermine our spiritual Fellowship. Yeah, we have faith and we know everything is going to work out but in our case especially, the wrongdoers will 'do' themselves in before anyone else even knows. So, our service is to the wrongdoers also. They probably don't like what they are doing anyway. They have just been sold a bill of goods - that's where you pay the price but don't get anything but the bill! - and can see no alternative. What seems to be happening is world services is overspending and running out of money. So somebody got the bright idea that there was tons of money being spent on our service structure and that if that could be changed, they would bring in more cash. That is typically the way corporations think. So, they set out to change our service structure for the financial rewards.

When I and many others serviced the Fellowship in the 1980's, we were a Fellowship-wide network of honest, loyal and enthusiastic recovering addicts with no goals but to increase our common welfare. The level of commitment was total. Businesses play by different rules! If you don't understand this, take an old-timer- aside and ask them to explain it to you so that you can understand. Our volunteer service workers need to be praised for their courage and dedication through some pretty rough years.

But real service engages the joy of giving and that is a precious part of our NA program. It is up to the few to awaken the many. They may need a little time to absorb the information withheld by those in power over them. The strength of propaganda is so absolute that without care and concern, you can literally have brother fighting brother and sister fighting sister to the death over differences in what they have been told. If we are to be winners in the struggle, we certainly don't want to look back on wreckage and more needless suffering.

It is unpleasant to bring some of these matters up. Certainly great steps were taken by the Fellowship from 1975 when the NA Tree was approved by the NA Board of Trustees to date - but I hardly credit the corporation with a positive role. I have heard from so many how they worked hard for years only to be summarily dismissed. And many told stories of being in session and uttering the words, "Oh, I don't think we have a mandate to do that. We need Fellowship direction on this." And then being immediately dismissed. Others simply sided with the Fellowship often enough to be tagged as 'not a team player' and whoosh, they were gone. I was contacted by a few of these but surely there were many more.

We have a real need to address and evaluate these things if we are to go forward without endless repetition of one power group displacing another in an endless series. Power groups are the problem, not the Fellowship or even necessarily the policies - however flawed they may be. Sweeping real problems and issues under the carpet makes it hard to walk on the carpet. Easy things become difficult or even impossible.

Commendations are in order for WSO shipping, clerical and all the nuts and bolts of running a world office. I have nothing but praise for them. But I learned important lessons when I administrated portions of the World Service Conference as WSC Literature Chair for two years, WSC vice-chair, an ad-hoc committee for convention guidelines and an ad-hoc on service structures of other Fellowships, especially Alcoholics Anonymous. Then five years on the WS Board of Trustees. I saw how hard they worked on policy to keep things spiritual in AA. I learned if you trust people, they trust you. In a spiritual organization, praise your workers, and pass over lightly those unable to fulfill their tasks at present or ask for help. All Glory to God because belief in a loving God is what keeps us all going.

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