more effective when they were more open and friendly.
It is very much our shared responsibility to clean up our own backyard. No one else can be expected to care about, or understand, our problems. Our members need to know they are taken seriously and respected for their recovery, their help to others, and their ability to grow spiritually, despite our horrific disease. In fact, our program of recovery is centered around learning to take personal responsibility for our lives and our associations. We simply cannot leave it to someone else. Whether we listen to members who care and share their hard-won experience with us or we listen to slick politicians, is very much up to us. If we allow ourselves to be gulled into voting for propositions we don't agree with or understand, then we are letting everyone down, starting with ourselves.
Many NA members today belong to the "No Matter What Club" that espouses the belief in total abstinence by declaring "I will not use no matter what happens." This is a potent counter to the idea that total abstinence is an obsolete notion in the modern world. Except in unusual medical cases, the human body is pretty7 well equipped to function on food, rest, exercise and water by millions of years of evolution and biology
For instance, the Basic Text employed a conference method wherein all members of NA were completely welcome and privy to any sort of information they desired. This proved to be highly productive and it was amazing how some of the newer members went straight to effective solutions and made many contributions. This is where our principle of inclusion first proved itself workable and practical, keeping faith with the democratic processes stressed in our early NA service writings. It was of course also very attractive and somewhat comforting to members with more clean time who could perhaps appreciate more fully the miracles they could see unfolding after thirty years of waiting for a Basic Text.
Out of 300 three hundred members at the Houston World Convention in 1978, over half were from California. They gave us their best and we from the East and Mid-West tried to improve on that in our progams back home! Trusting in the Fellowship was crucial to our evolution. Trust must first be earned, then carefully maintained. If those watching find errors, it is important to make corrections lest the errors endure and eat away the bonds of trust that hold us together. If the watchful are dismissed as uninformed or disaffected, lasting injury occurs. Some things just have to be dealt with before we can go forward. Keeping people in the dark and not trusting the Fellowship with the truth is no solution. Our people can deal with the truth but don't leave it to the addicts imagination!
I first got into world services when I was five years clean in 1979. My perspective is probably very different from someone getting clean and into service after 1990. People with who little clean time say there is no difference between someone with a little vs. arrd someone with a lot of clean time. Those with clean time and recovery know better. Recovery teaches us the error of our ways and so long as we remember the lessons, we don't have to keep making the same mistakes. Also, many times we know what to do next. After many years in service and recovery, someone told me about the two NA's: the spiritual and the corporate. It made sense that some members would migrate to the business-like aspect of NA functions, events, logistics and similar concerns. Others were more interested in the spirituality of the program, personality-change and learning the important lessons of living clean. Each viewpoint created over time its own little world. The two were seen as complimentary while and conflicts were seen as poor understanding that would be corrected as an individual learned more about NA.
It may be important to realize that NA in America and more especially the growth of NA was related to other events taking place in society. It was not until 1964 that freedom of speech became a legal reality in the United States when the Supreme Court struck down the 1798 Sedition Act which forbade spoken or written criticism of the government, Congress, or the President. After the First World War. for example, Eugene Debs was arrested for making a pacifist speech [page 269, f Understanding Power, Noam Chomsky]. He was a presidential candidate sent to prison for ten years because he gave a speech against making war. America is unique for it's hard won freedom. Think about it. There was a reason no one would admit to being an addict in the early days. Suffice to say, people have been fighting for these rights for hundreds of years and NA is one of the blessings bom out of their struggle.
The start point for the modern form of NA was the creation of a service structure in the mid 1970's. It took several years to partially implement the written service structure. It expanded NA on the principle that each and every member of NA has a say in their Fellowship. This healthy form of persona! responsibility enhanced and ennobled the volition in each member that grants them membership identifying through aspiration and pain. All of NA rests on their shoulders.