members (Tradition 9), we do not lend our name to outside groups or organizations with specific warnings against problems of money, property' and prestige (Tradition 6). Many if not nearly all members think the Basic Text and 17 of the IP's came from WSO - not from NA This erroneous idea is never dispelled by the corporation. In the business world, professionals get paid for telling us what to do. In our case, this is ridiculous. Every NA member knows we are about 12 Steps, 12 Traditions and total abstinence. All else is not NA.
To see this more clearly, consider money problems. We print and publish literature within NA. The profit margin from literature sales is great so there should be plenty of money in our coffers. If there are problems of money shortages, there can be only one explanation: over-spending and poor budget controls. With no other goals than helping the addict seeking recovery, how can this occur? Saying the money goes for services beyond what money comes in is not an answer, it is an excuse.
Cutting costs would seem a solution. Who would over-spend? Not our trusted servants, I hope. Are there any other people who have a say in NA? Are they subject to the 12 Traditions? If not, they are not NA. If they are not directly responsible, they are not NA. Fiscal responsibility with regard to our copyrighted materials requires prudence in spending. Nowhere in our service structure is there justification for excessive spending beyond our means. Should such spending occur, it might be an indication that someone within the system has other goals in mind than the Fellowship s welfare.
Who owns the copyrights on our literature? Many members see a quiet attempt to copyright new literature written after the 1990's as a move to put our copyrights into the hands of the corporation.
Could this be?
Is there any problem of prestige? Are there any prestigious positions in our service structure? Who is the Executive Director of WSO? Who is Chairperson of the WSC? Who is Chairperson of NAWS? Is our Area and Region noted for its dedication and service to the needs of the NA services provided? Is world services noted for its humility and impressive record of following the Will of the NA Fellowship? Looking at things in this way may help us sort out where some of our problems are coming from and what we can do to help restore good order in a loving and caring manner. Anger won't do the trick. If someone left the barn open, you can't blame the animals for getting at the food. Shut the door and get someone else to watch it.
In detective work, they say follow the money trail. That might be a good idea for us to keep track of since I heard someone got another raise at WSO. It would be less insulting if they weren't broke and down to two months operating expenses. Wonder if that is before dipping into the prudent reserve or having spent the prudent reserve down to that point. Money, property and prestige has a certain allure but no one has ever called it recovery. Spiritualists throughout all time have warned against noisiness, transience and fame as substitutes for reality. It's not what you have, it is who you have to share your life with that counts. As soon as you begin compromising your values, your worth as a person begins to fall off. You simply cannot feel good about yourself if you are violating your own code of honor. This may sound simplistic but it can be the greatest joy on earth or it can be a living hell.
God, like water, finds It's own way. Where it is blocked, God will back up and move through every crack available. In time, God always wins. When our service structure became the play thing of a tiny group of people, the energy began to find other ways to flow and move into the lives of people who depend on It. Mentation will never beat out the spiritual. Mentation is the tiny mind of man. Spirituality hooks us up to the universe. There is a defacto service structure already in place. Your reading this essay is an example. When structural service began to flop as the energy that comes from group conscience fell off, people in NA found new ways to meet their needs. The accumulation of information and contacts has resulted in an unexpected boon for Fellowship communications. We used to have to construct expensive and burdensome committees to collect, discuss and propose solutions.
Now we can just do what we are doing here: sort it all out on a big screen, worldwide Fellowship computer screens! In a few months, the Fellowship will begin reviewing just how much is being spent on the marketeering to change our service structure. Members in the NA Continuum are watching intently. They just haven't quite figured out that they are the ones really in charge.
Service in NA used to be great fun! The spirit of the thing, the newness, the feeling of doing something good and unique to addicts who were discovering how to live clean, help others and grow spiritually. Make the atmosphere stifling, attract officious types with delusions of management, create a jigsaw puzzle of policies that makes it hard for someone to get involved, and suddenly service isn't so much fun. We call conflicting policies politics . The joy of giving rarely comes into play. Onerous rules outweigh the accomplishments. Any bureaucracy gets old. It takes a lot of talent and energy to keep it going. Our trusted servants in many; many cases have been subjected to hundreds of hours of listening to members who didn't take the time to