Traditions War: a pathway to peace
Montgomery - Celebration Two
Montgomery - Celebration 2
Donnie and Roxanne, Grover,
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 1
Montgomery History Convention
Speakers: Tom, Joe, Linda, Rachel
I have seen it from both sides it continuously happens and it gets to the point where I have been interested enough. I was involved in service in Narcotics Anonymous since before I started counting my clean time and sometimes it gets to the point where I just see it as not having an end. For me to start getting sick and tired of things that are going on in this fellowship takes a lot. Because I owe this fellowship my life but after awhile I get, I understand opinion and I understand peoples interpretations, but when things go on, I ask six different people about the same thing, and I get six absolutely different answers something is wrong here. You know the things that have gone on in the past I have heard some of the things and for me to share and you know people will ask me questions that makes me feel good That somebody to come and say Tom what is going on? The hard thing for me is that sometimes I cannot answer them. I am the kind of person that if I do not have an answer for you, I do not make one up I go to somebody who I think may have the answer for me and then I get back to you. However, when I kind of run around and around and around and I never get an answer I start to look at it like this is futile. Is it really worth seeking these things out and spending a lot of my time, my energy and my money? I am another addict that really could not afford to be here, unmanageability yeah maybe my phone is being shut off while I am here because I chose to come here rather than do that. That was a choice I had in my recovery because I give a shit. I could be at my states convention tonight but I chose not to be there because I want to know what is going on in this fellowship and whether or not the ties that bind us together are actually stronger than those that could tear us apart. I read something that came from the conference, I read a lot of things that came from the conference and I was real disenchanted, disillusioned, disappointed with a lot of the things that came out of there. There was a panel presentation called what are we here and I came back to my area and I read them the last four paragraphs and it talked about unity and it talked about us being able to disagree without being disagreeable and it talked about whether or not the dilemmas that we come across are insurmountable. I have engaged in a lot of philosophical discussions that there is no right or wrong answers to. Where my opinion has not been respected as I try to respect other peoples opinions. Icons in the fellowship, I do not know I have not been around long enough to have maybe fully appreciate some of the things that the past members or older members of this fellowship offered or what they went through. I would like to find out some of those things. I hope what I see over this weekend is not where we have the people who are kind on the edge and kind of like I do not know what is going on over in one group, and then everybody who is anybody “in this room” ends up at some other table. I see it happen in my region, I do not like it, and I really hope it does not happen here. Because I came out to rummage through peoples archives and to talk to members who have been around for a long time who were involved to get first hand knowledge from these people. I hope that if you are one of the people I am addressing that you take the time out, sit down, and answer some of these questions. I have been privileged to sit in on a number of discussions with a number of people over the last several years. I sit and I do not generally ask questions when it involves things that happened years ago etc. There is a reason for that because if you are sitting there having a discussion I am not going to take up all your time trying to get all the background information, but sooner or later I would like to know. I asked my sponsor this earlier and I did not understand it and I, maybe I am just naïve I have not been around the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous long enough to of become hardened. However, through the 12 Steps as they are described in this book whatever edition it is that you keep carrying, there is a way to let go of resentment of anger. It is in that book to be able to carry something around for five years or ten years. To have that be there for that long a time I do not understand. As far as me, I will be wandering around. I am here to help, I am here to serve the fellowship that I am a part of and to be apart of something that hopefully I will be able to look back upon and say yes I was there and I was apart of that and it turned into something good. I did not turn in to a mess like a lot of things I have seen in this fellowship and a lot of gatherings. In the event that I do make a mess, today I do try to clean it up. Thanks for letting me share. (Applause)
Hello I am an addict named Joe. Hi Joe. I am real glad to be here. I came all the way up here because I have some fears and I then I have some hopes. I have some fears that through my experience in the service structure that all that is done for me so far is kind of like eroding. From what I can see as Lawrence said, a couple of things that he said that as far as the group conscience that in some places it does not exist. You know I have become real familiar through my experience in service that past my region there is no group conscience the way I can see it, it stops there. We try our damndest in our region and in our area to really get as good a group conscience as possible. You know every question in my region we have to take back to the groups to get the conscience before we vote on it. That does not happen in every region. I was involved in the Spanish translation project from the beginning; in fact, about four years ago my area initiated the motion that kind of brought this thing all together. Then a few months ago, the WSO took it upon themselves to just disband the committee and turn the project over to a professional translator. That really hurt me deeply and scared the shit out of me to be real frank with you. I also realized that the service structure is not NA. That even if like tomorrow my area disbands, my region disbands the WSC disbands you know there is still recovery available to me in my home group. Never the less you know as if to me being able to serve through the service structure has really afforded me with a lot of good stuff. A lot of self esteem a lot of like chances to help other addicts and to use my God given gifts to help somebody else and to write literature and to take meetings to institutions. To really share myself as fully as possible and I see the process that I think should be like a real open process and everybody should be able to participate because it is part of our 12 Steps. I see it being closed more and more and more instead of being open. Instead of me being able to participate more you know as I go along in my recovery, and as I gain more recovery to be able to give more of that recovery I see the chances of being closed up and that scares me, because I really need that. Besides going to my meetings, to my home group and get it there this addict also needs a service structure where I can give it away. Besides on a one to one or in sponsorship, but I have a hope that God is in charge and that it says in the Traditions we keep what we have only with vigilance. Although my first instinct is to run away and not push it and not stand for something and not take the brunt of somebody else’s difference of opinion like Carl was saying and realize I need to be vigilant. If I do not give it away, I do not keep it. I want us to keep what we have and to have more you know. So I need to stay involved and when I heard from Billy all the members that have been around for a long time with a lot of experience strength and hope way before who were here as this thing developed. I was very lucky, when I came in the doors it was all there for me you know. I already had like hundreds of meetings you know and I was able to get right into service and serve in many ways, it was all there for me. But I see the possibility that if we do not exert our vigilance that this process will be closed up you know. If the concepts come out and get passed, you know the regions will be disbanded and there will be no chances at a regional level. The Spanish translation thing I was so involved in it I read a book of a story written for the Basic Text, I really got excited, I met some of the people that were involved in that you know, and I was sorry that I did not get to participate. So when I found out there was a possibility that we were going to write another book and that I could be part of that process once more I will do it I am here and will go anywhere so that I can participate in that, because I believe that. The literature was written by addicts for addicts, I really like to understand how it happened that some corporation that is not Narcotics Anonymous now owns all of our literature. I mean how did that happen, I need to know. I need to know how that happened because I want to see if we can reverse that process and to keep it from happening again. If we do not understand our history, we are doomed to relive it again and there was a time that NA did not exist and addicts died and that could happen again I guess if we do not participate as much as we can. To be vigilant and to be of service and I need to serve. My life was meaningless before I got here and since I got here, my life has a lot of meaning because I can serve and that is very necessary for me today and I do not want to lose that. As a good addict I want more, I want to be able to do it much more and much better. I am real glad that I am here and I just want to get everything that I can from this experience. Thank you. (Applause)
My name is Linda I am an addict. Hi Linda. I am from California and the reason I initially came here was in support of a friend, she did not want to fly alone but as it turned out we are both flying alone and we are both here. In preparing to come here, I was not really excited about it until probably about an hour before I was getting on the plane because my life is so full today because of Narcotics Anonymous. As I was watching the fireworks I said man this is way better than getting loaded you know and that is just a little part. Thinking about coming here oh gosh you know I got clean after Jimmy Kinnon died, passed away and I was never fortunate enough to meet him personally, but I seem to click with the family. I got to know Betty and then I adopted Jimmy’s son as my father kind of informally you know so in that essence I have been able to listen to a lot about how this thing started and stuff . I found out the reason I am here after I showed up. I didn’t sleep all night, The plane was booked, I can’t sleep sitting up and the guy next to me took off his shoes and had stinky feet.(Laughter) I mean it was awful and then when I got on my second flight they were serving breakfast and you can’t sleep when there is food you know. When I got here, I was delirious and then I kind of spent a little time at the airport. As long as I knew someone was coming to pick me up, I was fine. Then when I got here, they were just starting up and at this point now, I am very vulnerable and very scared. Because I am thinking that I am going to stay in the room with Betty and did they have it arranged and how is this set up you know I paid my money and I am sitting there all by myself without a soul around me just totally confused. I began to cry, I did not reach out I began to cry and this newcomer that I had met her name is Renee I had been talking to her and she came up and said Linda what’s wrong? I told her I am about to cry I don’t know what is going on, you know simple as registering and getting my room I wasn’t able to do that. She said come on girl let’s get you on up there, and she took me on up to the table and she got me signed up and I got my key and I got me suitcase and was on my way up to my room and I was okay. I said thank you so much for helping me and she said well that is what this program is all about. As I said, it did not dawn on me until after I was here why I was here and that is to carry the message to the newcomers to the people coming in that is what we are here for is to help one another. I too agree that since I have been in the program I have had a lot of backs turned on me because I was new or because I was individual because I had certain opinions, because I wore red shoes I don’t know but many addicts do seem to turn other addicts away because of certain reasons. I remember when I was new I told myself I will never be like that. If there is an addict seeking recovery, just wants to talk, I am going to put off my life to listen, because that is what I needed when I got here. I want the newcomers what Jimmy Kinnon started here, the reason why he started Narcotics Anonymous is because addicts were dieing in AA, addicts were dieing in the street. I think you know today the meetings that I attend it are getting real repetitious, in the name of unity everybody are doing it the same way, and we are losing a lot of addicts. I am just really glad to be here. I am going to have a blast and get a good night sleep tonight, thanks for letting me share. (Applause)
Hi, I am an addict my name is Rachael. Hi Rachael. I am really glad to be here. I know why I am here, but I have not figured out why I am here yet. In the past three weeks or so, one by one my titled service commitments seem to be falling by the wayside. Last year I held a regional position and learned so very much, I grew a whole lot through it, and I swore as I made my final report to the region offside that I would never darken their doorstep again. So then I decided to run for ASR and at the last minute as things work out I was acting as temporary secretary for the area and at the very last minute before minutes and letters of willingness were to go out, and I mean literally at the last minute another letter cam in for ASR of willingness came in. I thought of shit I should have sent this out yesterday and I lost and I have never run for anything and lost before. I was confused and hurt for a little while not for to long I had to call my sponsor right away. Before I had found out that there was going to be someone running against me, there is another man in my home group, I am GSR of my home group and I had asked him if he would consider being GSR. He had never held an area position before and he said he would think about it. So after I lost I assumed, and people were saying well you know don’t drop out of service this and that and the other thing and I said well you cannot get rid of me that easily. He asked me the next week, he knew that I had lost and he asked me if the GSR seat was still open. I was not even cold in my grave yet, people were ready to replace me, and I thought he has never been in this kind of service before and it might just be time that he gets involved at the area level. Therefore, what I saw happening here was the ASR did not happen and somebody else is willing to be the GSR now and it was time I did some service without a title again. I tell you last year when I was real involved in service without a title I wondered at times why I was doing it and when I thought it was over I wondered why I had done it. There was no title there was nobody to say “good job” no reports to hand in, it was just doing a never‑ending job. I came to the conclusion very recently that there is something for me to do and I may just find it at Li‑Hi and so I am here as an instrument. If it is nothing but to get in peoples way, change the tape and run a Dictaphone that will be it for the weekend but I am here for a reason. I was sitting here listening to a little bit of history and I just kept thinking if this was person if this was someone I was sponsoring I would say get a clue and do a 4th Step. This program need to do, needs a 4th Step in a big way(clapping) but I don’t sponsor this program so you don’t have to worry about that. I know there have been times when I have become real cynical about service and it usually is when it gets up there in the big leagues and I get real down on it sometimes. I am not a cynical person by nature, a smart ass maybe but not cynical and every time I get like that my faith and my hope and my optimism is restored when I do service for my home group. When I see, the newcomer and we pass around the phone list, and when we do extra hugs at the end of the meeting. When the low fuel light comes on in my car and “no” to the newcomer that I do not need any money to get you home, I do not need any money to pick you up. It is time for me to give it back and every time I get down, I get picked back up in my group. The area that I come from I love with all my heart. I was, in NA I was born and raised in Kalamazoo NA and it was the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me and then I moved to Lansing and it was even more beautiful. I understand that times, they are a changing in Kalamazoo and it hurts to hear what is going on and I still try now I feel like Pollyanna what you seek you will find. I listen , I have many friends in Kalamazoo and I listen to the ones bitch, bitch, bitch and I am like you are the same people who bitch and you don’t do anything but bitch. If they had an Ad Hoc bitch committee you would be top bitch,”bitch”. (Laughter)(Applause) I think those things, I think those things but hey okay I could not afford to be here and people were shocked that I was not going to the convention to the dance well go on without me. I keep thinking that this reminds me this is NA summer camp here and you know the trees and the woods and I am thinking as I see all the trees this is like a retreat. My sponsor is here and my trusted friends are here, the fireworks were here and harmonica is here and I said screw Michelob it just does not get any better than this. I am just so grateful for all the people I have met in this program and I am grateful for the pain that I have been through in service, because I have learned. That I know today that I have buried many many resentments but at any time I can pick them back up and then there are people that love to get me geeked on that. They just drop the all the have to say is MRSCNA and I am like that and you know I let it go and everyday I let it just stay where it is. I am just so thrilled to be here and I look forward to meeting and talking with some more of you in greater length because I have so many questions, so many questions. Just one big question mark walking around so thanks for helping me stay clean. (Applause)
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 2
Montgomery History Convention 1991
Speaker: Bill, Bob, Bill B., Betty K., Grateful Dave,
Lawrence, Frank, Carl
We will open this meeting with a moment of silence for the still suffering addict followed by the Serenity Prayer and for Marty. God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference, amen. I am an addict. My name is Bill, hi Bill.
Readings “Who is an Addict”‑ Vicki… “What is the NA Program”‑Ron… “Why are we Here”‑Rueben… “How it Works”‑Pat &Marie “
First, I want to welcome everybody and thank everybody for reading. This meeting is listed, as the opening meeting is the agenda and Alabama History Report. Agenda is what is in here basically and what we are here for this weekend. It is a History Conference and there is, the reason this conference is being put on is because of the lack of information that we have in Narcotics Anonymous. In our Basic Text and the approval process, it talked about that the book was not completed. That the book was supposed to continue to complete a history project and that was derailed somewhere. It was put under the carpet. I have to remember that because when the book was in the approval process we got a little flippy‑floppy. We got a set of stories, it talked about the history of Narcotics Anonymous, and it talked about we had a job to complete with the Basic Text at that point and time. The job was not done and I was in Ivy land, Pennsylvania when they were working on those stories and at that point, there was energy for writing the history. This conference requested the history from WSO and the WSO has not sent any of the collection of the history that it said it would send us. The reason we decided that we wanted to have a history conference , last spring, I mean last summer this group hosted a conference in a church basement and we had a few people come and go over some history and what we are seeking is to find out is the actual history of Narcotics Anonymous. Therefore, the agenda we scheduled was for the history from the 50’s and 60’s and what we are looking for is maybe some questions from the floor of what they are seeking. What people expect out of here, so we can get them type of questions answered by the people that have been brought in. We have members present there that have been involved in Narcotics Anonymous for a long time. They are going to be on panels and provide that information for us and we are going to be collecting that type of information. What else we will be doing is trying to collate and put together a history book of Narcotics Anonymous. You know which we feel is important and imperative that this project be complete. We feel that what will happen with our history is going to give us a lot of solutions for the problems that we are involved in today on our Narcotics Anonymous. This is one of the reasons this group chose to be involved in this project. We have chosen to be involved in it because of derailment of the history project and because there are a lot of people out there that are seeking where they came from and who started Narcotics Anonymous. There are a lot of rumors out there, there is some documentation. The little White Book starts that Narcotics Anonymous started in 1953, and then there is talk of a man called Jimmy Kinnon. If you call the WSO up it is almost like the mans name is defunct and that he never even existed almost. You ask WSO who started Narcotics Anonymous and they tell you God and they will not mention a lot about it. In our service structure and what we are looking for you know, it is as my home group has been involved in‑group conscience. Where did group conscience come from? What does group conscience actually mean? What does it mean to the people that were actually involved in Narcotics Anonymous in the early days? What were their intents, what was their purpose? You know 1981 when I called the WSO up and a man named Jimmy Kinnon answered the telephone. Have we lost his spirit that is some of the stuff we will be going over here. In 1981 when I called the WSO up Jimmy Kinnon, I told him about that, we were starting a new area and that we did not have the money and needed literature and he sent our area a hundred dollars in literature. He said if you can repay it, you can and if you cannot do not worry about it. Those were the type of things I think we were interested in, you know what happened in the 50’s and 60’s in Narcotics Anonymous? Were there Tradition violations, how did they work through them situations? Those are things we were looking for as a group. Looking for you know it is like anything you grow up through and you go to school and you read history books about where we come from. You have some kind of foundation to go to; you have to see how the human race grew, what mistakes they made and how they were corrected. But Narcotics Anonymous, we have no basis to go from and that is disheartening. When I know we are history right now the people that are here are history.
We are looking at the 70’s, many things we know about the 70’s is a period of time when the WSO came into existence, what was the reason for it? We know that it was in a mans house for a while, we know that it was taken out of a house. We know there were other members that participated there. Who were they? How did they participate and what transpired. It is something, I have asked my sponsor many questions, certain areas are unanswered, and I wonder why. When I was on the World Service Conference floor and I talked to certain people and was told I should not even be talking to them I wondered why. These are the things that if we are about, if we are about theses principles that we talk about, these Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. They are part of our history. Why did we adapt the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions from another fellowship called Alcoholics Anonymous to start with? Why did our service structure evolve? Why did the first thing called the NA Tree come into existence? Why has the service manual basically not adhered to? Is it because of principle violations and if so how do we heal from that? You know we had a Federal Court case last year. What is the reasoning for a Federal Court case against an NA member in Narcotics Anonymous? Why does our history have to have that involved with it? You know and those are the questions we look for, the home group wrote a letter in the area that we participated in sent a letter to WSC Narcotics Anonymous. It was sent to the BOT, BOD, World Service Inc. and all WSC sub‑committees and to all Narcotics Anonymous as a whole, you know and it is a letter that went out but never a reply, and it had to do with principles, it had to do with questions of traditions. Our history has shown that there have been members ridiculed who have spoken out and why does that have to happen in a fellowship that is supposed to be spiritual. Those are the things that need to be healed in order for us to continue. What happened with the spirit of the of the older members of Narcotics Anonymous that one time worked together and today cannot even talk at times. I am not just talking about people from the 50s’, 60s’ and 70s’ but people who got involved in service in the 80s’ and all of a sudden went into service as friends and n longer can fellowship or communicate and that is part of our history. Why is it just in my home group when newcomers come into it they are ridiculed by other groups for joining a home group that is part of our history, but it continues? These are the things I know that we were looking forward to working on. Why is it when we talk about writing a service book that it is not supported by our World Services that is suppose to be there to service I can tell you this conference was told that it has been cancelled, I have received the calls that this conference was cancelled. I know it came out of the WSO. Why does that have to happen? A friend of mine in California walked into the WSO, the flyers were removed from, and he had to go in and ask why and have them put back on in the WSO. What is the fear we have of having our history put together? Are we afraid of truth or is it that we have skeletons in our closets that we do not want to bring out in the light? Don’t our principles teach us better? Don’t our principles teach us if we are truly seeking the steps and participation of traditions do not they teach us better? What has been the history of the steps and traditions in our fellowship? What has happened to people that has worked with them? What has happened with the spirit of newcomers that use to be excited to get involved in this fellowship and are now today told you do not know enough stay away? Why did the committee’s structure close down to get involved in our World Services? They are questions that are not even written about, but there is a reason why. What is the actual purpose of it? What is the constant conflict in our fellowship? That is what we are hoping to get some answers for here. We are also hoping to come out of this here with an actual working body to continue to work together to complete a history book. I think what I would like to do at this moment is we have, we have three members present that are going to be involved in the agenda okay. We have a man named Bill B, from San Diego. (Applause) We have Fawn who uses to be involved in the WSO who lives in Maryland. (Applause) We have Bob B who was involved in throughout the 60s’, 70s’ and 80s’ that I know of from Los Angeles, California. (Applause) Betty K, I was looking for you from southern California.(Applause) What I also wanted to say was this was Jimmy Ks wife and hopefully this weekend we will hear about Jimmy K and get to know Jimmy K a lot more. I hope that the people who never have to meet him will be able to feel his spirit. (Applause) Then we have three other members who are coming who are not present at this moment yet, Bo S., Jim M. and Greg P. that have been involved in our service structure basically from the 70s’ and in the 80s’. They were also involved in the Basic Text and NA Tree and the beginning of the NA Way magazine. What I would like maybe at this moment is to have, before members come up and maybe share about five minutes each on what they would like to come out of this history conference and what questions they have so we can just start and roll around. (Applause)
My name is Bob and I am an addict, hi Bob. I look forward to this conference for a number of reasons. I think that very often we need a collection of information that Billy was talking about. However, at the same time we do not need a distortion of that information. There is much information that is available and sometime we must request it or go and get it or do whatever method we have to do about getting it. One of the basic reasons why the history has not been written, because it is incomplete. Different factions as I believe that they have more history than what they really have. There is a lot of information that is trying to be pieced together and slowly by pieces and bits, that information is being put together. I will share with you anything that I have there is some stuff that came out of the office that I will try of we have photo copies to make available to anyone here because it is not hidden out . It is not being hidden away but if it is incomplete there, is no need of giving it to somebody and say here it is. There have been some vain attempts to give out some misinformation, or be misguided information, where there are other documentations that refute that information. Therefore, we do not want to have controversies of let us say, by time you issue out one document somebody come in, throw another one in your face, and say what about this. That has been a continuation of that same issue has been going on for a number of years. Primarily, hopefully, collectively that people in this room that have these bits and pieces of information will share all of the information that they have so we can get a complete and correct copy of that information for everybody. I have never hid out any information from anyone. Whenever I go out to do history workshops I lay it in the table and let everybody see what I have. To access it to think what they may about it, it is what it is and that is usually what history is all about. It is what it is not what we think it is or pretends it to be or what we wish it could be it is what it is. It stands on its own merit. Each person sometimes has to come to their own conclusion about that without being led down whatever path they are being led down. There are no bones to be picked as far as I am concerned. I think that on of the biggest things that we find out is that we have a division or sense of thinking we have a division of trying to think that we have some “they” and “we” type of mentality. I do not see it as a they and we mentality because we are addicts that are recovering in some state or condition that is going to need a lot of help along the way. It is a changing of attitudes, learning something about working together, learning something about accepting group conscience as we were talking about. It is very difficult very often when my idea is voted against and I have to accept what the group conscience is because I do not agree with it whole‑heartedly, but it is usually acceptable, it is just an alternative to my thinking. Very often, I do not want to go and let you know that you have your rights in your opinion or your thinking and sometimes I have to give that up also. So I think it is one of those places we arrive at hopefully, with intentions of finding out information that we can pass on at another time and it be correct. Not something that somebody told you or what you thought you might have heard but what you have documentation and that is the way it is. I hope that is what it is all about and if I can be of any help in anyway, telephone or otherwise I will give you any materials I have, any research things that I am doing I will share them with you. That is all I can do right now so that is it thank you. (Applause)
Speaker: Bill Beck
My name is Bill Beck and I am an addict, hi Bill. You know like Bob said I feel that a lot of things can probably be resolved in a few meetings like this. I do not see the problem as great as it has been made out to be. I see this always as I have always seen it a simple program for complicated people. I think we have all heard that, I think that it is a lot of individuals that have a few things here and there trying to do the best that they could do. You know whatever I try to share; tomorrow I am going to try to share. I have always been a real on the table kind of a person to the extent that I became very controversial at one time. I want to tell you one of the things that Jimmy K uses to say and the fact is I do not like Jimmy K I like Jimmy Kinnon. I mean he is dead so it isn’t breaking anyone’s anonymity so we might as well say it like it is right. I am not Bill B. I am Bill Beck. I think that when we take a look at this in its simplest form and that we realize that the reason why we got here is because we have been in a state of controversy of which Jimmy Kinnon said is all right as long for the addict to be as long as it was within our fellowship. If we take our controversy out of the fellowship then we are breaking out traditions. The controversy in fact can help us to maintain our own personal sobriety. I mean I don’ know about you man but I get a resentment I got to go work the steps on it man and grow a little bit because I have had my feelings hurt many many times and it has become a real growing situation. You know there is sobriety amongst adversity. You cant do anything, I mean once you get into this game and you get into service and you get into having an interest about this thing called Narcotics Anonymous you know your future is much more insured than it would have been if we were all out knick‑knackin, paddy‑wackin on a corner somewhere. Then there are others that are out here just sort of like floating around and they are as I was, I mean it took me about twelve years before I found out that it was a program of total abstinence you know. That is I was so amazed when George told me you do not take anything, so I think we learn slowly but we learn surely. I think some things are going to be revealed this weekend. I think we are going to look at the simplicity of this situation. I think there is going to be a lot of fruit for thought and you know truth always prevails. Of course, there is o question in my mind because I know the truth. I mean Jimmy Kinnon was the founder of Narcotics Anonymous; he always will be the founder of Narcotics Anonymous. So I am really looking forward to hear the things I am going to hear. I am really looking forward to being able to share whatever it is that I can share. I will answer freely questions here r if you see me walking around to the best of my ability. Thank you. (Applause)
Hi my name is Fawn, I am an addict, hi Fawn. I am here because I heard Betty was coming here and I wanted to come with her and my friend Bill made the trip even more worth it. I hope something will come out good out of all this. I really like your opening remarks a lot Bill and it is funny back there when you were asking questions. A lot of times one thing that I remember was the issue that came to my mind was exposure. I think a lot of the controversy or a lot of the things we have today involving some of the problems stem from way back along long time ago. Thirty‑year‑old resentments, twenty‑year‑old resentments and I think, I am here because I want to make sure that none of these resentments or problems stand in the way from acknowledging who the founder was and giving credit where credit is due. I am here to just hear some information and I hope, sometimes I think that NA just needs a healing you know. I do not that going to happen other than people just telling the truth. I do not think the truth has always been very spiritual or nice. I am just here because I am interested and I care, that is it.
Speaker: Betty K
I am Betty and I am an addict, hi Betty, thank you. Well I am here because I talked to Bill and Carl and they were telling me how the fellowship can get together and how we do not have to be mad at one another anymore. My reaction was right away well I do not know if I get here, I have to tell it as it is I am just one of those people. If I come here, what will I do if I come here and see some of these people that shot at us or tried to hurt us and do all these things and I thought I just have such a hard time talking to these people yet and I thought the fellowship really needs some mending, it needs mending badly. You know our checks and balances for me are out of whack you know and I would like to see the history written but number one I would like to see the book written about Jimmy K, Jimmy Kinnon as Bill said. You know I drive down the street just before I came out here, I am driving along the street and I see a bumper sticker and it says I am a friend of Bill W. and you know on my bumper it says I am a friend of Jimmy K. so I drove ahead of this car. (Applause) But you know there are so many people that I think in California that will loose so much, they loved NA and it should not be taken away from them. Like Bob and Bill, you know a lot of these guys you know to me it is like when it first started it was very hard I imagine. I use to listen to Jimmy talk about how these use to go in a whole bunch of groups and they use to go on a 12th step call together a whole bunch of them. They would just overtake this person, you know because they were all scared to death that they would use if they went 12th stepping so here they would clinging to one another, poor guy was scared to death. You know it must have been very hard and so a lot of people you know I do not want to see them lost along the way. Our history is what is really important and the true facts and you can write as many books as you want to. I have to tell you a lot of them get pretty pissed off at me at times but I tell them I have things that a lot of them do not have. When Jimmy passed away, there were things up in the attic that had never been seen and I have those things, I have quite a bit of things. You know it is kind of like at one time it was different things have happened, you know I am standing on my tiptoes I feel very short. No that is all right I am just verbalizing, but at one time you know I received a letter from the office and I was asked after so many years of them using a tape I was asked if I would please sign over this tape to the office and anything pertaining to this tape. It is like I am looking at this and reading and thinking what is this “anything pertaining to this tape” and I just filed it. I talked to other people in the program and we discussed that and decided that was not the proper thing for me to do. There are people have given me things and asked me to hang on to them you know and when I talk to them they say please do not let go of these things yet it is not time yet. You know our getting together, you know I have a hell of a time talking to Bob, it is like Bob and I get around together and it is like it starts almost as a conversation and then I am like turning away I have to tell it as it is, hahaha Bob is laughing. I do not know how I am going to be around some of these others you know it is going to be very strange. You know it is kind of, like I do not know how to really describe, in a lot of ways I am use to street language. So I do I clean up this, you know some times I feel like “Fuck Um”.(Applause) You know I love the addict and I love this program so much and I don’t want to see it broken up, I don’t want to see it broken up no way. When Jimmy was kicked out of the office and he was kicked out, you know if some of you do not know. He was, he went to the office one day and the door was locked you know he was out. He came home and he cried, we both cried because we love this fellowship so much. I am kind of jumping around a lot of people have put a lot of in this you know people even the newcomer who is coming in today has put a lot of love in this and a lot of faith. There is no reason for people going back out or going to another fellowship. Oh speaking of that I have to tell you, here we go, here we go Carl. I hear that maybe we will be writing, talking about other fellowships so as long as we are at it maybe we should put the PTA in there and some of the others. From what I understand this is the NA History and so maybe coming together will give, I hope this will all come out. I have been saying like please God, Higher Power or guide or whatever just let me say and let me do what is right and I have heard others saying and doing the same thing. I hope this does come out right I sincerely do and I would like to see that book written, oh God I would like to see that book written. Carla and Bill have listened to me over and over on this and they would like to see this book written. I am glad to be here, I really am, thank you. (Applause)
Speaker: Grateful Dave
I am Grateful Dave and I am an addict, hi Dave. Hi, family one of the things I would like to see out of this weekend is just like everybody to lay everything they feel out on the table. It was said that there is no controversy that we cannot handle as long as it is kept inside the fellowship. I know a lot about controversy that has been taken out into the public (Laughter) I probably have the dubious distinction of being the only addict that has ever been sued by Narcotics Anonymous in Federal Court. I am just here to let you know that I am going back. (Applause) Because when that book was written and this fellowship was put together it was put together for the public trust and for the public benefit and it was not suppose to be Narcotics Anonymous Inc. and that is what Narcotics Anonymous has turned in to today, it has turned into Narcotics Anonymous Inc. All of us are just being we are more or less wage slaves. We send the money out there, they pay the wages, and basically, we do not get anything for it. There has been over twenty million dollars in the past six‑year’s total gross income and we have nothing to show for it. You know Jimmy wrote something one time he said” politics make strange bedfellows” and one of the reasons our history has not been told is because of politics. Here we are from probably every conceivable political spectrum and ilk and we are all here strange bedfellows. Some of us want to have the history told the way we want it told and some of us want it told the way they want it told. I think that really we are just going to have to just put it out on the table the way we see it and respect each other. I know many people do not agree with the way I see historical things, but they should agree with my absolute right to say and state what I believe and so should the other person that does not believe as I believe have the same respect to say it. If we are going lay it out lay it all out and let God sort it out. I believe we need to know the documents we need to know what it is and we need to find a way to reproduce the things where they do not get away from the rightful owners and the rightful owners are the Kinnon Family. In order to settle these issues once and for all we need to have that information. We need to have that documentation certified, notarized copies that are freely available through orders and subscriptions. Through the telling of that early history of Narcotics Anonymous, we will probably uncover some skeletons. We will probably open up a Pandora’s Box of things that may even cause more questions to be asked than answers to our current situation. I do not know I cut open a golf ball one time, it is real tough on the outside, and there are a lot of stretch rubber stings until you get to the core. It is the core that we are looking for you know and we have to go through a lot of hard shit and a lot of bouncy Teflon rubber you know people with an agenda and things to hide to get to that final core of the truth you know. Perceiving the truth is difficult at times when you throw in the disease of addiction. I have learned that I can grow through any controversy as if working the steps is controversy. It causes controversy in me, I want to go and die, see, and that is controversial to work the steps to go the other way and live. So our program is about controversy, it is about growth you know because if we all sit around and there is never anything to challenge ourselves then why would the newcomer want to be apart of this? Because we will, all be spiritually dead robots walking and talking the same way. That is basically what has happened. We have taken out the , it seems to me that we have taken out the individualism and the creative spirit and that type of stuff and we are all marching to the same tune like I have seen ducks walk across the road and I mean it is like what the hell. I think we need to quit profiteering on Narcotics Anonymous you know we need to have thirty‑cent Basic Texts and penny pamphlets and get about the business of returning this fellowship to the addict. We have got work to do. Thanks (Applause)
Okay I will thank the people who came up and one thing I want as I sat there listening, I can hear real good with those headphones. Lawrence gave me something here it says Sigmund File. It is suppose to be the stuff sent to the office, I just paged through it, and it is like I heard Bob talk up here. It is not, it is a bias collection, this letter was never even filed or documented. The stuff we did in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and we sent out about the fourth Edition. There is a lot of stuff in here about the fourth Edition but never the stuff that was sent from Pennsylvania that multi regions worked on, it is not even in there. For our history to be collected, all of that type information has to be put into file and gone over not just. What we are going to do is copy this here and people will be able to get this at the cost of what it costs to operate the machines that we rented this weekend so they can see. I will also attach this letter, two letters not just one from this area that we participated in but also Philadelphia Area of NA concerning issues of Traditions 4 and 9. You know Philadelphia Area is outraged for the following reasons. I just need to, yeah
Bob: Question, are we going to get any of the information that other people have to go into because I think what you have is a worksheet and it is not complete and not something that someone could go by and give you some guides. We need a whole lot of pages in between there, we need the pages in between is what we need is to do what we are here for.
Bill: Well this is what Lawrence gave to me okay, but this stuff was also sent to the WSO
Bob: That is beside the point; we got a lot of other stuff that is not in there also
Bill: Bob, all this stuff we will get into
Bob: I am just saying we need to get the other stuff that needs to go in there also, that is all I am asking.
Bill: All the material that we collect this weekend will be available okay at the cost of the machines that is what they were rented for. Okay, all of it, if you got anything that is not in here we have two copy machines that we will be making available here. Anybody that has brought stuff or has archives. We have a room over here that will be locked up when it is not open. It is an archive room that we put together and it is very large okay there is a lot of room so if anybody brought anything to please bring it over. The machines will be there for the purpose of copying for the cost of the machines. I want to thank Lawrence for bringing this and if you have anything to say come up and say it.
I am Lawrence and I am an addict. I live in California now and just about fifteen minutes away from the WSO. I am here to tell you that I am welcome with open arms but I am not ask to stay and that is okay that is not my shit. I just stand for what I believe in and try consistent with it. You know there is a lot of stuff just like Bob was saying me and Bob happen to be roommates this weekend and he showed me some stuff very similar to this that he put in a packet that he put together and a lot of that stuff is not in here. There is also some thing that I thought was historical that dismantling of the Spanish Basic Text translation literature committee. I believe that is very significant and it a recent occurrence and that is not in there either. I have a proposal that was put together from the BOT that was given to every committee member without a BOT letterhead and that is not in there either. I am sure that if we are persistent, we use, as Malcolm X would say any means necessary we might get what we need, and we might get what we really need. It just I brought this same issue up with Bob and he could not believe that the BOT give us a blank proposal without a letterhead on it. I am here to tell you I have copies of that. I brought a duffle bag of stuff. I do not know what is in it you know I collect everything that I can get my hands on. One of the advantages of trying to be tactful and diplomatic while visiting the WSO is maybe sometimes you can attract more with honey than vinegar. There are a lot of people thinking that I am not returning to California but I am and it is not because I want to it is because I have a responsibility to. I have a wife and I have a child and we are having a lot of difficulties, my marriage is on the rocks just say it like that. But just like my relationship with Bill and my relationship with everyone in here, it means enough to me to make it work out. You know if there is some stress there I need to try to work it out I need to take a look at my stuff. In California, they call it issues, my stuff and try to work it out. Being in California has been very enlightening you know and I don’t mean that in a bad sense it has just been very different for me being from the east coast it has just been very different for me. Having the opportunity to attend my first WSC was very difficult for me too. Especially when they have open forums and a member cannot actually step to the microphone but a special worker can. I have a problem with that because I am paying that special worker just like you are by what we put in the basket and what we buy in terms of literature and all of that stuff. I have a problem with that because I think that creates conflict. It creates a conflict of interest. You know it creates the influence kind of factor. I really did not get to know Jimmy on the intimate level but I did get the opportunity to hug him when I was a newcomer at the World Convention in New York. Just being able to chat a couple of words with him, I was able to feel something that was driving him. I am not saying, I think we are all apart of the history. Everyday we wake up clean and go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that is history. Recover is controversial as far as I am concerned, it is a radical concept you know because what I know how to do is self‑destruct and try to destroy other people. So this is totally un‑natural for me to go against what I am doing here. I scratched the money together to come here because I thought it was very important. Last year I had a conversation with Bo Sewell and you know he mentioned that maybe we need to do a history literature addathon or something like that. I do not know what it was I just went to the home group, this home group here that is putting on this activity and Joe has always been like a constant in my life. When I do not expect to see him, I see him. I threw up, I do not know what kind of motion I made but anyway the group took it over and this is what is happening today, this is an extension of it. I try to remember now and I try to figure where the group conscience meetings are at and I either try to call the church or the home where the group conscience is going to be held and I have caught you guys a few times like that. (Laughter) You know it is hard to talk about group conscience, as we know it here on the east coast as compared to the way it is in California. My experience has been that there is no group conscience in California, and I do not mean that in a demeaning way I just think there is no group conscience. I dint think I mean there are home meetings but just no home group. That is something I would like to see brought out in this workshop here is the history of group conscience, the history of home group, you know how we feel in home group about one other and how we learn how to serve. They actually say that groups are not responsible enough anymore to make decisions regarding group conscience I think is a lie. Because I know, I have experienced that. So yeah, this is my donation, I just want the original because I collect stuff, and I collect whatever I can find. You are more than welcome to it. Thank you. (Applause)
I was going to say I want to apologize but I do not need to apologize it is for the Alabama person that is coming up from the Alabama history committee that is not present right now. He is on his way and hopefully for God he will make it. He left Alabama with fifty dollars in his pocket to get to Tennessee to go to work, he is waiting to be paid on Wednesday, and then he was heading up to Pittsburgh to meet somebody and head in. He was going to loan money in Pittsburgh so he could gas to go back home again and he has four files with him of what they have collected and hopefully he is going to make it here. There is a history conference next month in Alabama and hopefully some people can make it there too but Carl as some, what did you call that. I will just let you come up and explain it yourself Carl.
I am an addict named Carl just trying to get real. One of the things that got me interested in Narcotics Anonymous history is its incompleteness. Where we had come from, what developed Billy’s home group in Allentown had started in December of 89 to look at a project, a short meeting took place I think just a single day in 89, and then the summer of 90 they had an addathon. So I got involved so over the last year and a half my phone bill really indicates that I had an interest in seeing something done with NA History. The addathon last year gave us a view from a number of members. Fawn contributed an overview of the office, we received a letter from one of the early chairs well actually the first chair of the first region of Narcotics Anonymous giving an overview of what he felt was the developmental period in the late 70s and early 80s. We reviewed history of the Basic Text; it was the collection of the stuff that was missing out of the formats that we are talking about. At that same period of time as we became more involved in other controversies Alabama and I am not speaking for Grover who should be here attempted to put together a weekend. At that particular weekend, it evolved into being basically a collection of more information on writing the Basic Text with four very important members of that process. The afternoon session that might have been something else ended up pretty much being a free for all. But out of that began a process, and the first process that I can find any documentation for was the literature committee of 82 pretty much putting an Ad Hoc Committee together to begin compiling the history of Narcotics Anonymous. Until earlier this year, it was believed that, all that information was lost. We have since received a packet of about twelve states or cities that in the late 82 and early 83 had sent in histories. Since that time the Ad Hoc Committee in Alabama has become a permanent committee and has continued to progress towards achieving a collection of what seems at least to me so far from what I have seen from the committee a chronological history. That is much of what was contained in the 82 and 83 material when the meeting started where they were etc. In that 82 document from the literature committee they had a questionnaire asking that sort of thing, who, what, where, why, how many. To that end on the Saturday at the conference in Alabama last year we had an open forum session for about four or five hours trying to discuss how were we going to work towards compiling the history of Narcotics Anonymous into that end and the title ended up being “Guide to collecting historical information about Narcotics Anonymous”. It was an overview of how we were going to collect the material. Betty was reading it this afternoon and found some of our more humorous comments like “This effort will be attacked, use tolerance patience and know we are right”. I don’t know how right we will be I think one of the important things is one of the things Dave mentioned that it is very important for us to put the literature together with all of the viewpoints and for the individuals to sort. The other comment I think was “Avoid Politics” well there is no way in Narcotics Anonymous. I do not think that from my viewpoint that recovery is controversial. What happen in our meetings are miracles and that as we realize our services that are where our politics enters. That is where our controversies and that is where our difficulties have continued to come from. To that end, we have input sheets from that particular workshop. What needs to be included in collecting them, these will be available, as I have made ten or twelve copies already. For me the spirit of the history of Narcotics Anonymous the world needs to know. I think we need and deserve being very proud of what we do. We have created a situation that was unheard of in mans history and we need to respect that foundation and the individuals involved and learn from our mistakes. Much of what I have collected in history and archives in Narcotics Anonymous point to the same sort of difficulties reoccurring again and again. I believe if we collect a history that actually looks at some of the personalities and looks at some of the things that we do to each other, which are sometimes pretty shitty, that maybe we will not continue to do them. But even more so that when we get involved in service and that time comes when somebody is pointing the finger at you you’ll know that you are not alone, that it is not so different for you to take the brunt of somebody else’s opposition. That when you are out in front you get shot at when you take a stand somebody is there to cut you down. I know that something like that would have helped tremendously in my recovery and in my service involvement because that would have given me the opportunity to not feel so different. If I had known that all of those things had been done to all of you that came before me maybe, it would not have had to hurt so much. Maybe that is part of the process but I think it is apart of the process that we can change. So after all of those phone calls and after all of that time trying to figure out how to progress I hope we will write a feeling document instead of a ca‑chunk, a‑chunk, ca‑chunk. I do not think that is what we are looking for at least with the people who have been involved in this end of the process. We hope that we can come out on the other end using what Alabama has done, using what was done in 83, using the experience of our members with twenty or thirty years and ten years and five years and ten days. Therefore, that we can do something for the benefit of us all and for the benefit a world that does not know about us, that does not know our history. They do not know the miracles that happened here. Maybe we can just get on with it. We have attempted to place an agenda together that covers some of the main issues that have yet to come. We have sort of avoided the 80s because there is just so many more people that we are going to need to have show up at a place like this and so many more negotiators to manage them all in the same room on the same weekend. Hopefully we will learn some of that here, maybe some of those resentments and some of that pain, Billy mentioned that some of those people that use to work together would once more work together. That it can be over with, it is time to get on with it, and that those same mistakes do not continue. I am excited about it, I love archival material. I collect any piece of literature that I can find because we do not seem to produce any anymore. So it is time for us to look at doing that, there is quite a bit of that in the archive room and that stuff will be available. Use our resources as Billy said we want to open up and find out what you would like to know and what you think is important to be contained in this history document. What sort of information is pertinent to you today, you know what sort of focus that might have and maybe a little bit more so, what the hell you going to do to help. There have been a few of us struggling and trying to figure out what, when, where, and how, we already know why. But we need your help to be able to accomplish that. So hopefully this weekend as we get farther along into that agenda you see that Saturday Night we left most of the night open which is great for addicts and we will figure out where we are going from here. I hope you will all come and hold on and write it for all it is worth. Thanks (Applause)
My name is Frank and I am an addict, hi Frank. I am going to try not to get emotional, it is hard not to though. I grew up in a real large family, my father was always messed up, my mother was always messed up and my sisters and brothers were always messed up but we never knew each other. I never knew where I came from. I hit my first meeting in 1973, I tried for a lot of years to get into recovery, and I bounced and bounced and bounced. I finally got into recovery a few years back and I wanted to be apart of I wanted to feel like I belonged. From the very first day I felt good but I really did not feel like I belonged you know I was always involved in controversy. No matter what I did, I was involved in controversy, the home group you know I wanted a nice tight home group and it did not come about until recently. Then I got involved in area and I wanted the area to be real close and that really did not happen. There were always many items a lot of controversy and many resentments going on and right up to region. I was always one who wanted to know where I came from. I never really believed my father was my father, I never really believed my mother was my mother and I always felt like I was the odd guy on the block. My whole life I always felt like the odd guy on the block. Now between, with shame and pride I can tell you that in my region that I have more archives and history than the region you know. I have a better history put together; my area does not even have a history. People would just throw stuff away they did not care about it; you know it did not matter to them. I go up to our RSO and I need to say my wife works there. She is not in the fellowship and I would go up there and find stuff in the wastebasket, stuff that meant a lot to stuff and me that meant a lot to the people who really cared about Narcotics Anonymous and where we came from. It uses to really tear me up to see this stuff wasted and thrown away. When I found out about this conference I was real angry because I found out there were others before this and I did not know. I know deep down in my heart that it was kept from me people would not tell me about it because they did not want me to find out. I would say to sponsor I want to know about this and he would say it is on a need to know basis and you do not need to know. I would call World Service and try to find out about history, you know where did we come from, how did we start? They would tell me we do not have a history put together and I would call another day and they would say it is not done yet, send me what you got. I would tell them what I had and they would say send me what you got. This is all truth, I am not saying it because I heard it here today but I sure as hell identify with the feelings that people were sharing here today. For me you know I feel that it is real important in the spirit of what I was taught in Narcotics Anonymous, to share and care the NA way. That this weekend we work together, not keep anything from each other, and just let things happen. If I give you, what I have and you give me what you have then we can come up with a history. We can come up with a history; we can come up with a history. We have it, I know we do I know we have it. We have to put our prides and our egos aside and we have to do what is right. For me a lot of times like when I go to a meeting I try to share my experience, strength and hope. I try to share where I came from; I try to share what I am doing with my life today. I also share abut history, I shared about how I first meeting started and I shared about the floating type meetings we had. I have shared about standing on the corner waiting for a car to come by and pick us up to go to a meeting because there was none around. I share all that, that we are fortunate today. In my area alone we have seventy some odd meetings you know in our area. On any given day, I can go to three or four meetings, on any given day. You know when I first came around if I could get to one or two meetings a week I was lucky and there is a real need for me to know where did it all start. You know I am Italian and I know I am Italian because people tell me I am Italian. I want to know my grandfather, my grandmother, they are still alive, I want to know my cousins and I want to know my sister and brothers. I will be damned if I will allow anybody to tear Narcotics Anonymous apart. You know it saved my life and I will do everything in my power to keep it going, to keep it going. My worst nightmare is the same nightmare that most of us have, to walk into a house one day and not have a meeting there. I believe in welcoming the newcomer in, people were there for me and feel like it is my responsibility to be there for the newcomer. I cannot imagine anybody telling the newcomer to sit down and shut up, stay stupid you will learn more. My sponsor use to tell me stay stupid you will be okay you know and I use to get real angry because all my life I was stupid you know. Today like in over four years in recovery I have never missed a holiday with my wife and kids, and I didn’t’ have the money to come here, and it was real hard to call Bill up and talk to him about not having money. I am a Joe Macho; they use to call me the mayor of Putman Corner. I always had money and a flashy car, but today I didn’t have the money to come here, I didn’t have the money but it meant so much to me that I talked to my wife and I talked to my friends . I got a ride here, I talked to Bill, and I told him I want to be here. I do not know the point I am trying to make is it is just so important that we do this together, not separately. It is not for me to put my history together and for you to put your history together and then try to match them up you know. Let us put the histories together, together and I think we are going to be ok. Thanks (Applause)
I want to thank you for sharing. What time is the meeting supposes to, we started late right. Okay, let them run, who wants to go next?
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 3
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speaker: Bob B.
Lawrence. Reading: The Twelve Traditions of Narcotics Anonymous.
This morning what we are going to do is go over the 50s, 60s, and any other information on Narcotics Anonymous. We have Bob B. Bill B. and Betty if she is up she is on her way. So what we will do is have Bob start the workshop off.
Speaker: Bob B.
My name is Bob and I am an addict, hi Bob. Good morning and I hope you all had a good nights rest and I know you didn’t because I know most of you were up with me. Laughter) I think one of the things that we were talking about where Narcotics Anonymous came from and did not come from. I think initially we can say we came from God; it was a present from God. The need existed and somebody tried to fill that particular need. Much of what is deep into the controversy probably in terms of history is concerned is where it came from, where the name originated, who was initially involved and I think one of the things is, is that I think we have to realize there are many pioneers in terms of discovery of things happening. Just like there are many concepts or ideas that come into the religious folds, they say they come from different leanings and so forth. Trying to obtain the same goal, ours happen to be recovery from our addiction and how do you best help addicts, and you are talking about a time when we think that it is a new era when we are thinking about our recovery or the need for a place to recover. That was not so because I think the were a number of times that there were vain attempts to start something to help the addict to recover, not too much success, the nature of the disease itself and the social attitude and people acceptance as to whether addicts were treatable or not became part of the question.
But during one of their amazing discoveries at this particular time they said what they would do was that the government decided they would isolate the addicts so they could put them under the microscope and study them very intensely so they could see what they could do about dealing with addicts at large. If we had them in one place maybe, we can tell what to do and how to do it and by deep analysis or discussion, we could come up with some idea of how we could help these poor souls. Because addiction has been around for a lot of years not just in terms of talking about 30s and 40s we are talking about going back into the 1800s they had problems with addiction. They had whole nations; China had a big drug problem. They almost lost all of China due to drug addiction. They found out it was a controlling factor in terms of dealing with addiction. Dealing with a country or dealing with people, if you kept them addicted they had lost the will to resist and that was how you control. They had a big controlling factor, opium wars that went on for years and lost whole dynasties as a result of drug addiction. So drug addiction is not new, how they dealt with it was becoming a new concept. They say what do you do about it very often the case was you hide them away, stow them away, throw them away whatever the idea was at the time as to that is how you treat drug addicts. You just isolate them, keep them in confinement wait for them to clean up and then let them go again, and to do that over and over again and so you always have a repeat performance in terms of what you were doing in terms of recovery. But all of you may think they call it recovery, they use to say getting well. They did not know that it was an ongoing process that went on rather than talk about getting well. During the early 20s they said to have come up with an idea that they needed, one place they needed to do in this isolation thing was to open up a hospital so they would have a facility to do this great study. Even after 20 years of study, they did not really come up with any real conclusions of what to do with addicts. They know that they lied and that they loved candy bars, they knew that you now. (Laughter) The rest of it they say was kind of vague, they knew some of the characteristics they knew what some of the addicts would do, they knew that it was a continuing thing, that they came back and came back and came back. During that time, they say that is when they established the United States hospital down in Lexington and one down in Fort Worth after that, but they had still been trying to understand what the addict was all about. What happened was they say that an onset say AA had started a little movement on the east coast and it seemed to take off like wild fire. Then came along some other people about the same time that said they were not dealing with that particular concept of alcohol being a drug. They thought it was something else and they thought it was different. Somebody came up with the idea they said that maybe those concepts and ideas would work and so as a result of that, this is probably where some of the issues come up in terms of saying where it started and did not start and so forth. The idea, the name was all the publications that I have seen pointed to people that participated in that exercise during that particular time. Some of them are still alive and some of them wrote their own case histories as to where they came from and what they were involved in.
I have here in, I think there is a copy in the back to be copied that will give you reference to some of these people that were around at that time. What they call at that particular time what we are talking about in the 40s, a thing called Narcotics Anonymous, but it was called a number of other things prior to that. They called them Addicts Anonymous, Narco Group and they called it a number of things until probably in 1948 or 49 when Danny Carlson got out from Lexington and kind of spearheaded an idea that under the auspices of the Salvation Army seemed to be kind of in the forefront of helping people. One of the few places that I donate to without any problems with is Salvation Army and it is because they seem to always be available when a person comes and sticks out their hand and says I need help they will usually will go out of their way to get you some help. It was usually providing facilities for people to house them or keep them or to rehabilitate or to help them in any type pf venture that they thought was worthwhile. They would give Danny a meeting, subsequent to that he started a meeting in New York, he started a meeting in Lexington, and they called it Narcotics Anonymous it was that simple in that respect. However, one of the things that happen during these periods of times they say is that there was no meeting place there was no central headquarters or no central point of functioning. No place to say who do you call, you had to get in touch with this particular person by going to the Salvation Army and saying what night is the meeting on so to speak, and they would tell you Thursday, Friday Saturday whatever the night the meeting was and that was when you got there when that meeting was. I guess whoever was there was who started the meeting and the thing of home groups and such was kind of unheard of. It kind of followed the pattern of AA or the AA concept but they still called themselves Narcotics Anonymous but they were kind of undercover. It was kind of undercover due to the laws of the land at that particular time. The laws of the land stated that addicts did not congregate people that had been felony or on parole could not congregate, so they were almost like an undercover operation. It could not be out in the open it could let be known that they were congregating because the police had bad attitudes about drug addicts and they would maintain that attitude for a long time. They still some of them have that attitude but it has changed market ably because of our own, what we experience today we are able to do all these things that we were not able to do for many years.
During this time as I said we had many attempts at trying to start and maintain the idea of addicts helping another. I have two articles here, on the table here that were part of the conflict was they said , the question arises out of these articles out of 19, well speaks back to early 1940s or the mid 40s to Narcotics Anonymous. I mean whatever you want to think of it is okay, I mean the articles were written and people come to me and say well what about this or what about this. Or they come and bring me one of these people’s articles. A fellow wrote where some of these people wrote a case history or a story about themselves which you will find in this reference here of as to that story what book it is in, go to the library, go to the store and buy the book where he references through their recovery in Narcotics Anonymous that proceeds 1953. For whatever you want to do with that is okay it has nothing to do with what we are here for, I think we are talking about information or non information or whatever you want to call it.
So but one of the problems during this time as I said where they would like to state in these particular articles which jumping up is Danny Carlson’s name and there are a number of articles of the same type that are around and exist which brings up questions very often in terms of our history. Talking about our history, I think we are talking about new beginnings and I think this is where we are coming into a time to talk about new beginnings. The new beginnings are that we have a number of pioneers that become involved in that new beginning. Because I think some of these ideas have been transferred, transplanted, or transported from one place to another and they arrive at a certain destination and they say let us try it here too. Those pioneers who were open enough or far thinking enough to present the idea, as we know it today. Amongst those people at that time was Jimmy Kinnon, and probably one reason that he stands out very vividly is because of the work that he put into and the dedication that he put into maintaining, opening the doors, keeping the doors open and being the person that you could contact when you could not contact anybody else. Very simple, I would not be here today if I could not have picked up the telephone and called Jimmy Kinnon, very simple. I probably would not be here if my wife had not picked up the phone prior to me getting here and called Jimmy Kinnon. Actually, she called Jimmy Kinnon’s wife, and Jimmy Kinnon’s wife told her about this organization Narcotics Anonymous and did she want to talk to her husband that has this meeting going on in Studio City. So my wife took the information of where they were going to meet and how to get there and gave me instructions about let’s go to this meeting or let’s go check this out and I sent her to the meeting because I was not ready to clean up. The thing is the contact was made and subsequent to that, because of the pressures of family and so forth. With the case of you are going to have to do something about your that shit that stuff you are doing, because the reason I hooked up with her was because she was going to help me get my shit together. Part of the thing was we are going to have to go and get some help. Now there were not that many places to go and get help in 1959 they were far and few between. Lexington was one of them and I think I still have an application for Lexington floating around in my papers over here. But I use to carry one in my pocket at all times because when I went down to the court I was always going to lay it on them, what are you going to do about your problem Mr. Barrett. I have my application to go to Lexington, huh. Along with that application to go to Lexington I had that little yellow book down there with Narcotics Anonymous on the front of it and I am, trying to get, my shit together and they would tell him “lock him up”. You know because I came with that it was a regular thing, I came with these things and I am going to get it together tomorrow. My application has not been accepted yet, and I am just waiting to go this place in the sky to get my stuff together. So you can understand that my attitude about addiction because I was one of those guys that had some preconceived ideas that I was going to be an addict forever. That is what everybody told me. I was led to believe that I was hopeless, the military had gotten rid of me and put me out on the street and told me go for it, and I was going for it the best way I knew how. You know everybody’s store, every time somebody would lay, something down I would snatch it and go. So I would go to jail just to come back out and to ruin my health all over again through the same process, but I would always go back to the meetings to see who was there. I would go back and make my inspection. They use to ask me, Bob when you get out you want me to come down and, we could go to a meeting or we could talk. It was always the case of, no, I will see you later, I will get there, and I will see you at the meeting. Always had to stop in between the jailhouse and the meeting you know for old time’s sake a little taste and I always ended up with another case. But they would always come visit me when I got locked up. They would always come visit me and write me letters to me but they would never put any money on the books, never put any money on the books. That is all they would allow was three dollars anyhow on the books, but they would never put that three dollars on the books. I would look forward to a visit I would think I am going to get duckets, nope no money just a letter and a how you doing Bob, you want us to come and pick you up when you get out. No, it was a constant thing at that. I think that the vigilance that went on here at this particular time and the person that was available for this information was was Jimmy. That was a contact point. In other words, we had a telephone; we also had a post office box that we would maintain. The fact is the Post Office maintained that box even when we were not paying. They would say we know you are going to catch it up, we know you are going to pay it off later. They knew we had problems with money, called none we did not have any. It was always the case of if you needed to print you would have to start literally months ahead of time in order to raise a hundred dollars for the printing. I am talking about a hundred dollars for the printing; we are not talking about a thousand dollars for printing. However, we were lucky along this line because we had another person in the program that had a printing company but he just could not keep carrying Narcotics Anonymous forever or what we knew as Narcotics Anonymous at times forever. So it was always the case of say we always paid our bill eventually, it was always a struggle but we got a bill today and we would have to get an extra dollar here and get the dollars together and go pay this bill for our printing. But as I said, I got out of places and came back to meetings during those early years. It was always a case of, not the same people there. With all the years, you would want the same person there and that was usually Jimmy. He would be sitting by the coffee pot reading the book and saying come on in you know and it was a constant thing of come on in let’s talk. I think I spent numerous hours after meeting in distant places, on the side of roads in coffee shops or wherever talking to Jimmy in his dream in his ideas as to his hopes for Narcotics Anonymous. It was a slow process because as I said the attitude, the social attitude at that particular time it was of such you did not talk of addicts to readily. You did not congregate to many addicts together at any given place without some suspicions being aroused. Therefore, we had some difficultly in terms of trying to lessen the feelings, threatened about going to meeting because there was always a fear that you were going to be picked up before you got to a meeting or be picked up after you left the meeting. They were sitting there, very often, you would come out of the meeting and look down the block and one of those cars was sitting down the block. You know because they had heard somewhere that addicts were going to congregate and they did not giving a damn about Narcotics Anonymous. Whatever it implied it did not mean nothing to them they knew they were swooping up addicts and that is what they were doing, swooping them up, locking them up. At the same time, I think what was happening here there were more people being exposed to this thing called Narcotics Anonymous by the exposure and the printing of that little yellow book was one of the things of exposure. You had something concrete, and it was only a few pages in it, there were questions on the front of it, it had what the program was and the steps, and some of that was misprinted. See we did not have a lot of proofreaders at that time like we have today. We did not give a shit about the proof reading and the, this, thus and they’s were and the periods and commas were in the right lace. If it was misspelled and you understood what it was, you understood, what it was you did not have to worry about the misspelling. The steps did not change and recovery is in the steps not all this here other text and things we bring around it. Now very often even n the reading I had great difficulty with reading anyhow as far as text was concerned. My head I could read the word properly I put the comma and period in the proper place but my head would change it, it would alter the meaning the words would change and it did not mean what it said anyhow as far as my head was concerned. So I usually had to go to another individual to explain it to me and they made it very simple, they would make it very simple of how it worked. They would talk about formulas, they talked about recipes, they talked about all these things and made it very simple for me because I tend to have a problem with understanding what is being said. Because even in the first step I could not get the concept of being powerless over my addiction, because the first thing we use to talk about was I am a dope fiend. First thing, damn near everyone around the table to see how further out they can be in a meeting. They would how I am a dirty dope fiend; well I am a slimy dope fiend, well I we always tried to do one up on everybody else. So it was not understanding what the first step was even talking about cause we nothing about the nature of the disease called addiction and we had these teachers like Jimmy that would have to teach us what addiction was about. That is where we needed to have that learning taking place is in understanding what we are reading. It was always the case as I said one of the things I could always rely on is if I needed to talk to somebody I could call Jimmy, because if you were like me my phone was cut off most of the time, if I had a phone. It was a continual thing of not only being cut off.
I think one of the things that happen here is that we carry the message. We become the messenger by our contact with one another because people ask us, where you been , what you been doing and you will pass on perhaps , if they say man I need some help, and I say well have you ever tried Narcotics Anonymous? I may have not even been clean and telling them to try Narcotics Anonymous, because between 1959 and 61 I did not stay clean. I was making that revolving door, but at the same time, I kept that book and I mashed it on other people. Boy have you ever read this, hell of a concept here man, shit damn man check this out. Not that I was doing it but in them moments of clarity I seemingly had some substance to go by or some direction to follow when I choose to follow them, see because I did not choose to follow them. The idea of me cleaning up with somebody else was ridiculous. I made vain attempts to try to make it look like I was trying to clean up for another individual and that did not work. So we reach that point of crisis I think that usually occur is most of our lives that we clean up or die, very simple, clean up or die. Now some people choose to die and that is very unfortunate, but once you have come to Narcotics Anonymous you have heard the direction and know the steps the responsibility is yours, you cannot give it to nobody else, the responsibility is yours. It does not need no great amount of text to go around that because the formula is in the 12 steps but first me must understand the concepts and the ideas of what those 12 steps mean. We must understand those steps and there is always a process that goes along in understanding what it said, not what you think is going on, you must know by the process.
So it is an ongoing process what happened during this particular time we are talking about the early 60s now is I had to go do some time because I owed the state some time so I went up to Hatchbee. Once again, they sent me some books. Jimmy one more time sent me some books into Tahatchbee to start a meeting. I kept contact and I think I had some kind of desire to want to do something about what was happening because the things that they told me were happening to me. They talked about jails institutions and dieing, the only thing I had not done yet was die. I had come close to that on a number of occasions but my last occasion I had almost really died at the hand of others not my own hands. It got my attention real abruptly you know like that will get your attention, shotguns and shit will get your attention. So they had my attention you know and I kind of made that first part of that step in terms of surrender, which we talk about in the first step, is surrender, I gave up. It was not this type of giving up it because I had given a lot of them up. It was something inside that I gave up and said well I will try it. So during the early early onset of this time here there were other instrumental people that came along. There was the little Sylvia that got out of Lexington that came along and found Jimmy and she became kind of like a mainstay for a long time. She use to go out and be on the telephone and she would go out and hustle up addicts because she had a car. See that was a rare thing for addicts to have cars back then. See if you were like me that state had already taken my license so I did not have a car. No I can’t say that, I had your cars, that is not true I had your cars but I did not own a car and any car that I may have owned at that time was somebody else’s you know or I had one of those fifty dollar special. You could get one of those fifty dollar specials, cause you would get one of those fifty dollar specials that you put a nickels worth of gas in to try to get to the connection, on flat tires, balled tires no oil in it, all those things that we do you know.
Therefore, what occurred here was you get to the meeting and little Sylvia would, she was like a little mother hen. She use to Shepard you around make sure that you were there where you were suppose to be or meet her at work when you got off or whatever the case is. In other words, she did not soft pedal this thing called Narcotics Anonymous, you know one of these hard nosed. She was about that high and full of grit and would talk long shit, and she did not take no shit from no addict. You know she had been one for a lot of years and she had got worn out. So she had become very instrumental in terms of like being Jimmy’s right hand person. Kind of stand on the right hand, do the calling and running around because during this same time here Jimmy was getting ill due to something from working on those roofs and things breathing that tar and his lungs were giving out. He was developing some tuberculosis so he was becoming somewhat sickly and was not able to get around as well as he use to or as much as he use to. Therefore, Sylvia was pretty much the Shepard of the flock for a long time. She was kind of like the one opening the doors and making sure the coffee pot was there and that the meeting got started and all these other types of things. Then there were other people that came along at this same time. We had what we called big Sylvia and little Sylvia and people would get them mixed up. I do not know how they would get them mixed up because one was about six foot tall and the other was about five foot tall. So you got two diverse people that are two different people, one was an early and one was a late. Sylvia got out of jail and she got the message brought to her in jail, Zona brought her the message in jail because she was doing a violation on a from a penitentiary and she went up to the county jail and met Sylvia. Once again, the little book plays its part, have you ever tried Narcotics Anonymous that is it baby. So big Sylvia arrives at the meeting you know to find out what this thing is all about because she had a desire to want to be clean and she got very active. Then there was another lady that just got out, Penny just got out of the penitentiary and they seemed to be like little mother hens around there taking care of all the kids, like where are you, what you doing they were always questioning what is going on. They always seemed to have those mothers around because if you are like me you needed a mama. I needed somebody to take care of me. So I feel in that real good, when I was around mother me, because I missed it at home so I needed it somewhere. I was always hunting for a mama so it fit me real good. I had mother substitutes all over the place you know worry about Bob, shit I needed help.
So what evolved from this was periodically Jimmy would send message as to what we needed to do and one of the things we needed to do was to become more organized in terms of letting more people know what was going on at Narcotics Anonymous. We were becoming somewhat not respectable but we were becoming an organization that people were staying clean and carrying the message by whatever means and it was usually hand to hand and mouth to mouth. However, it was becoming more widespread, more people were getting the message and if they went away somewhere, they would carry it with them. They would carry a book they would carry this contact person they had the post office box, they had the telephone that they could call somebody. But part of what Jimmy comes up with was he kind of outlined a plan of a kind of a parent organization. The parent organization of Narcotics Anonymous you might see on something as the early, as a direction we chose to use. Almost like an organization or how you organized things, chain of command so to speak a direction, a formula to hold things together, for no better word, somebody in charge of or responsible for the duties that needed to be taken care of. They needed to be outlined in terms of saying directly as to what you are suppose to be doing or how you were to be doing it. So you derive this here thing called the parent organization that is pointed out a certain amount for leadership, a certain amount of people that come before you that have some sense of direction of how to do things. It functioned fairly well in terms of functioning because we only had a small core or group of meeting, which constituted about three or four meetings. Most of all those meeting were centrally located in southern California.
Now 1965, 1966 came along and the colleges were getting on the bandwagon, they were going to study addicts. They had grants, they had money to study addicts in addiction, flower time, flower children, and money people were getting hurt. Money people were out in the streets with no direction, so they decided they were going to study the phenomena of why kids run away from home, ran to the streets, and use all of these crazy drugs. So Berkeley undertook a study, they developed a thing called Ad‑Center. Now what they needed were some addicts that were clean to give them some direction or some ideas of how to do this thing. Now they came, they knew where some addicts were because one of the ladies that wee involved was a lady named Vargas that had worked in the Social Service system. She said I know where there are some addicts that will staff your study. They went to Southern California and took all the people that had time and that would leave and took them to Northern California and offered them a job. You know most addicts need jobs because they are either under employed or not employed at all. So at the advent of that Sylvia was one of king of like the mainstays that went up to Northern California with Penny and Ron, Russ. It was a core group of about eight to ten people that went to Northern California and started Northern California NA. They would have an outgrowth of that of starting many meetings in that particular vicinity of Northern California. At the same time flower children traveled, they traveled all over the country and this here little book would pop up all over the country and inquiries would come from all over the country as to what is this thing called Narcotics Anonymous. They had one reference point, Jimmy was that reference for a long time but once again and what did happen here was they started contacting other people on the fellowship. As I said at this point, Jimmy was sick during this period of time right after the early 60s or the mid 60s and he was becoming more incapable of doing those particular tasks. Those tasks were left to people like Sylvia, Penny and I happened to be around, I seemed to have a permanent address, and I had a telephone because I was clean and I had been working and I started maintaining these ideas of having a telephone right, getting a car and being available. One of the differences I think that usually happens was I was becoming a useful member of society in spite of me, by doing these things that people suggested I do. It became a very slow process of growing through this method. Now what happened at the same time here in the 60s were we had a lot of changing going on in terms of who had the resources of where was the money going once again because we had very little of it so we didn’t have to worry to much about it. It was usually in somebody’s dresser drawer of shoe or something or whatever the case may be. So probably what the growth that went on here we did maintain some semblance of organization, somebody being responsible for getting the message out to other addicts , what other materials we did have being in one place there was not much of that and for a lot of years I was accused of carrying around the office in my car. A lot of that is true because if you needed something you would have to call me and I would have to deliver it to you out of the back of y car. Therefore, I had this information here and I usually carried it around in a box in the back of my car. They knew to call Bob because that is where Bob would have it in the back of his car, Bob had a car, and he could get there. See so it became a thing that I might have transported what was considered the office around in the back of my car for three or four years.
Now we are up to probably the late 60s by this particular time 60s getting close to 1970. Let me backtrack just a little bit. Part of this formation in 66 was part of this development of organization was selecting a BOT, starting regional and area service committees, and having somebody to chair the parent organizations which was Southern California. So you can see we had a loose organization, very loose because we knew very little of organizing anyhow, best we were lucky to know how to stay clean. But the things out of staying clean were the thing of following the steps and working together with one another. We became very intimate in terms of our relationships because if we had fifty members we all went to the same meetings, I do not care where they were we all went to the same meetings. I remember many a night when I had to transfer addicts on a radius of twenty‑five or thirty miles in a circle, because we would load up a car and I do not care if you lived in Long Beach or the valley or wherever the case is. We would just make the circle, get home whenever we got home, and get to work whenever we would get to work. It did not make any difference we became working together for a long time in that process. Therefore, we were growing because more people were staying clean and other people were getting out of these institutions called like Tahatchbee, Louie got out and he started a meeting. We were talking about last night we had all kinds of meetings that we started up just because we decided that we needed a meeting. We had what we called jazz meeting, it was at Louie’s house on the blue light and music in the background and we were talking about our problem and we had to go through the den in order to get to the house that was having this meeting. It was in like a court and you had to pass all these places where they were dealing drugs out in the street. They kind of like included themselves on occasion asking like what’s all this shit about baby, some would wander in and like hey what is happening. You know we had the blue lights on and they thought that we was using I guess because the blue lights and the music in the background I mean hey the atmosphere was right. But I mean as the case goes people were staying clean and I think that is one of the key because they were staying together, working together and doing things together. We use to go on Twelve Step calls together. We did not dare go on a Twelve Step call without calling someone else and saying hey man, I got a hot one. We usually very often scared people to death because you can imagine four or five dope fiends running up to the door of anybody’s house and they using, that is fear. I do not know about you but anytime anything like that happened at my house “Oh no what is happening here”. That is the kind of thing that was happening during those particular years, so we developed you know and kept on developing I think the BOT kind of became kind of a core of core of authority, core of responsibility, core of whatever, and core of chaos whatever the case may be. Because what we did at that time was try to run things in a since of speaking. It is not that we dictated or anything but, we set up conditions by which we operated, by which we functioned to the best of our ability. Now we called that other organizations office occasionally to ask them about certain things. The fact is we called them a lot of times to ask them certain things and they were, the letters we usually received were very non‑committal not very directive. They would tell you to do it to the best of your ability or I think you are doing a good job and good luck that is about the extent of it. But we were still growing, we were still growing the message was getting out. We were becoming more responsible as far as the organization was concerned like starting a bank account, which was one of the difficulties in terms of addicts. We needed to become more business like in our doings. It became very difficult of who was going to sign the card to get the money out because if you were like most of us you had bad records in terms about signing anything. So it became difficult and you had to hunt very judiciously to find a person who did not have a dirty record perhaps to sign a check. Not that there was a lot of money involved, we were talking about a hundred or two hundred dollars at any given time, but we needed to learn how to start keeping records of these types of things. What happened here is as I say theses records very often they said if a person would change their residence and move somewhere very often they would carry those records in the back of their car, or carry part of those records somewhere else. So we had no central location for to put these here things. Jimmy was in the hospital so we could not leave them with Jimmy because we needed access to these particular things. Therefore, Sylvia had them for a while, Ron and Cathy had them for a while, I had them for a while, you now and they kept bouncing around. Whatever records we had were bouncing around. The great idea came about that we needed to do some things more in terms of organization because we were becoming somewhat of a national organization. We had meetings going on in Pennsylvania, meetings going on in Cleveland, meetings going on, inquiries from everywhere and we were doing the best we could with a voluntary type of operation. Now we got a lot of flack from the east coast because they were not getting their materials fast enough. They wanted to know, demanded to know why they could not get their mailing (side Two)
Therefore, you continually are trying to do something with a rag tail organization, which there is a certain amount of dedication involved here true enough. Apart of this dedication is they say do you have the time and the energy to give to that particular project that you are trying to get done. So we are right at the edge of 70 now and the thing we have become very aware of is that we need to carry the message at a greater, more at large. We needed an office; we needed a central place to put the records that we were accumulating. We needed to get them out of the back of people’s cars and put them in one place and have a central location to respond to or go from. We had no idea how to get this money because we had been pleading with the fellowship of send us some money so we can continue printing and so we can continue this thing called getting the message out. So we came up with the bright idea of lets have a convention. And entailing this having a convention we were going to have conference and convention together where all the people from all the meetings and their committees of all the meetings like their secretary and treasurer whoever is the steering committee was going to compose this here part of this here conference. So how we got together on this here first convention was we got together in terms of we went into our pockets, those of us who was working at the time and we financed the first convention out of our pockets. On the onset of that in La Mirada we had, what we called our first World Convention and the World Convention was somewhat of a small occasion. We had approximately 200 people at that first convention and that was a smashing turnout. Jimmy was out of the hospital, he was able to get out of the hospital for the occasion and he came and spoke at our convention at that time. While he was in the hospital, he developed the logo. He was like the person who loved to do arts and crafts and leatherwork and all this type of stuff. He made the logo and he presented it and said this is what I would like the logo to be. What do you fellows think? Hey, looks good to me, group conscience, looks good to me. That was it, it was accepted, and we had no problem about the logo. We had no fights over it, looks good to me, great let us do it. That became the logo, and we did not need to go to no copyrights and all this other stuff to see if it was legalized or stamped right or whether it was authorized. We declared it; we declared it okay, end of session.
At about this same time we are talking about the conference. The first conference we had in Ventura County. The Tree was developed in terms of greater organization. We had a conference which would further this organization in terms of how we should operate and how we could or should or would operate. So we were coming along, we were growing, and in the process of doing this work we were staying clean. I think one of the things we were doing in many instances demanded upon the fellowship to follow our lead. It was not a question of asking what your conscience was, it was called a case of this is what we have decided. Very often, we may ask what do you think about it, maybe we might ask you what do you think about it. It was usually a case of this is what we decided at our gathering and we got very little response in terms of saying yeah, nay or otherwise. You have to realize it said I think very often addicts like ourselves at sometime once we get clean we have other ideas of what we approved yesterday. All of a sudden, we become clear that we want to go in a new direction or do something else different. Sometimes we will become very verbal about that response and so we start jumping on tables and pounding podiums and cursing people out and getting in fights in the parking lot. All of those because we have not learned to work together and tried to come to one understanding of a direction of what we want to do and how can we best do it. We don’t have to I don’t think like or love each other in that respect but we must love each other enough hopefully that when we come through the doors of Narcotics Anonymous that we are working toward one goal, collectively working toward one goal. I do not have to sleep with you but I have to work with you. It is just like if you go to the job, you might not like everybody at that job but you go to that job for a purpose. We come here to Narcotics Anonymous in the term in the theme of service and I think that sometimes we do a disservice because we go so far a field to what the objectives is.
I think one of the things that is happening here today is I think hopefully we are coming to some understanding as to what the history is and hope we can maintain some of that idea of we all need to work towards history. The little bits and pieces that we need from you to make it all; to put it all together is necessary. We do not have no history with out these little pieces together. I do not have all the information, I do not think there is any one person here that has all the information but collectively we have all the information. Now we must come to some common ground or understanding of how to put that information together to best present it to the fellowship out there who is waiting for it. Now they are waiting for it, but you will have to do the work and look to be criticized in the process. (Laughter) It is almost a forgone conclusion that you are going to be and sometimes it becomes very frustrating and I know some of these things are labors of love, but they can become very frustrating because of our roadblocks that are thrown constantly in the way and say that is not the way I want to see it. I think we have to take into consideration because the minority opinion sometimes becomes very important, because they may have that little key that we need in order to open up that door we need to open up. So we cannot discard anyone, we must be inclusive in terms of our undertakings in order to include all of the information all of the resources. Regardless of what we believe or think they should be, because very often I have to accept what the group conscience is whether it is my conscience or not. Sometimes that is very difficult to give up my right to have my opinion. I still got my opinion but sometimes I have to accept the conscience as to what is acceptable or what thy want to have or what they think they should use. I have to be accepting of that and I found that hard to give up because I am a person who loves to bite into things and hold on. I hate giving up things, my idea and I think very often if we are addicts like myself we are very tenacious about that and we like to hold on to things and we hate to give up what we think is a good idea. There may not be anything wrong with your idea do not get me wrong, but the conscience or the group said no, just that simple, no. They may go back or change to that at another point, I have seen that happen here too. The Tree had been disassembled three or four times, it is still a piece of literature that they still refer to as the Tree. Do you know that it has been disassembled fifty times because they did not like the way it was written in the first place and do you know that it is right back almost, where it started originally. So somebody must have been thinking somewhere along the way, but once again we are talking about the conscience of the group and their understanding as they get to a certain place of understanding.
(Audience) Excuse me, I hate to interrupt but on the agenda it is allowing this time to speak about the 50s and the 60s, the 70s will be this afternoon.
Well I am sorry about that; I was just up to the 70s here.
(Audience) Well, the Tree
The Tree, when was the Tree? The Tree was in the 60s. Well I heard you mention the 70s.
Well I am just up to that cut off point. I am just about finished anyhow; I am just trying to wind this up because as I said there is a lot more history that goes on as you are saying. I would have liked to have stopped earlier anyhow, but anyway
I think one of the things as we become aware that there is information available rather than to say there is no information. Sometimes we must ask the question and there is somebody here that can reference you to some information, so I want to thank you. (Applause)
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 3 B
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speaker: Bill Beck
Hi my name is Bill Beck, I am an addict, hi Bill. Like we were talking last night, Bob and I have covered a lot of ground together. Part of my experience is that I was originally introduced to the program in 1956 in a penitentiary also by the little white book the little yellow book, what is it little yellow book turned white. Most of everything that I heard is about the way that I remember it. One of the things that I preface though by the Traditions is that you know prior to Alcoholics Anonymous there was a program called the Wastonians. AA does not like claim to the fact that the Wastonians was the founding group of AA. Then there were some people that I ran into from Tender Loving Care and they also came out of that original Radford Street Group but they kind of went off in another direction. See I am talking about that non‑information area. I love the way Bob said that, how did you say that Bob, information or non‑information right. Because I mean it is like how in the hell do you talk about this thing without schlucking over a little bit you know what I mean right. So those people you know and the reason why I bring that up is because in the last few years a whole bunch of little goddamn pieces of paper like this have been filtering across my desk. From all over, the damn world and I do not know who write them or who is up to them but I have a sneaking opinion you know. Some of what I have actually investigated and found out that there was a little covert activity going on by some particular individuals, which has disturbed me through the years. Anyway, there is a set of Traditions and that set of Traditions bind me to not connect myself with any non‑informational years. Now Tender Loving Care they went off to become Synonon and then there was another old guy that had a potential, had a little garage out in ( ) or San Fernando out there and they came up with this Addicts Anonymous but they did not practice any Traditions. Then again what do we do, do we go back and say that the founder of our organization is the founder of the Salvation Army whom Danny Carlson or whoever worked for? You know fuck no we are not the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has not a damn thing to do with Narcotics Anonymous, and neither does Tender Loving Care nor neither does any attempts of somebody going out to start an Addicts Anonymous. What has happened is that in a quest for knowledge people either knowingly or unknowingly subverted our Traditions. The very thing that made our program grow, prosper, and bring us to what we are today is the fact that when Jimmy Kinnon had his inspired dream and believe me he did. He shared it with me many years ago as he told Bob about the purposes and the directions of the fellowship. But he saw a program just like people who started Overeaters Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. They saw that dream and it was bound out of a Twelve Step philosophy we all know that. We are not even affiliated there we just work in cooperation there of. But he knew inherently that all these other attempts were bound to failure without the Traditions and isn’t it strange that here today that after the man is dead and gone after so many years that it is the Traditions that protect him today and his position of being the founder of Narcotics Anonymous. First of all, it is the unity our common welfare comes first, personal recovery depends on it. If this ain’t unity, I do not know what is. Then they talk about our group purpose, but one ultimate authority a loving God. Yes, certainly, God moves in mysterious ways through the group but one man went to some people and said hey man we need to have a group. It is like a preacher that goes and gets his flock together and the God moves through the church. Therefore, this man called the fellowship together and then in his humble experience of being who he was and believe me folks anybody who ever touched this man or got around him knew that they were in the presence of a very special being, a caring and unselfish person. It is like I doubt very seriously that there was very many days that there was not a knock on the door. In addition, I think Betty can probably attest to this, she probably lost a lot of sleep with him rattling around and starting the goddamn coffee pot at two or three o’clock in the morning when that little side door would open up and you know. When the telephone calls would come in with the three hour lapse you know they thought it was one time over there you were suppose to be in the middle of your sleep time you know and they were on their way home from a meeting. Anyway, all that happened you know and so the Traditions say that we need never endorse or lend our name. So what does that mean that means no we are not connected to Tender Loving Care, we are not connected to Addicts Anonymous, and we are not connected? I do not give a shit about Life magazine we are not connected to the Salvation Army or Danny whomever. Fact is somebody I guess Bill Allen when he picked me up he asked me you ever hear of this name. I went yeah, yeah I think I heard that name somewhere but it was so insignificant that it passed in here and went out the other side and then as Bob was recalling it, I was going like oh yeah. But it did not have any business or relativity with us. So once we were called together, once this man called us together then and only then did we become a group conscience. One person is not the group but one person can call in the sheep if you understand what I am meaning and there in comes the founding. Now you have people that come to the first group, and this man being that humble individual that he was he just took an office like everybody else, and one time he was the chairman, another time he was secretary. Like Bob said he was by the door, the coffee maker, the hand shaker the hey come I will go out to the railroad tracks and look for sputnik with you (Laughter). At that point, fuck he wanted a fellowship for himself, he was a heroin addict going to AA meetings man. He probably was scared to death because those motherfuckers over there at Radford Street use to tell us to get out. I remember going there and Hey get out of our meeting. So that is how it happened and that is why I said last night that the answer was simple. We could put it to rest once and for all. Most of the history that I have heard is pretty good except I always wondered what happened to the real first convention as I watch this stuff. There was a convention prior to that that happened on Cuanga Blvd. in ah what the hell was it a VFW or American Legion Lodge (audience speaking inaudible) Well I could stand corrected but I was pretty sure it was the first. (Audience, no it was the second) yeah okay who remembers to long ago partner. Well maybe it was the second but I was pretty sure it was the first what difference does it make. At this point what difference does it make? All the rest of it really went sort of the way that Bob explained it. I could not have explained it any better.
Then we jumped up and went through the late 60s and NA was doing resurgence finally because I am one of those people like he says he did not get the, well fuck I am a real hard. I mean it is like I was around for twelve years, I mean from 1956 to 1968 it is like in 1968. This guy told e you are not suppose to take anything, and I went nothing.(Laughter) I did not even remember riding my motorcycle into the meeting until Bob reminded me last night and I am like oh yeah right I did that. So how am I supposed to remember what year a fucking convention was a hundred years ago right? But going back and looking at that period of time, I mean it was so fantastic man the beginnings of coming together and I think the term that was used at that time all the time was “NA is coming of age, NA is coming of age”. Goddamn I got off the airplane the other night and I asked somebody in the arrogant California way you know, hey how many meetings you got in this town. They told me three hundred and some odd, I went three hundred and I mean fuck I was staggered man. I said well shit that is more meetings, this is like Philadelphia man, that is more meetings than they got in LA and San Diego put together. This is just one little town, shit it came of age but it was not where I grew up it was here (Laughter) and everywhere else. Then why because our founder talked on the phone all over God’s creation. I never could figure out how that one lonely guy got in Australia man. He kept calling up; in fact, he still calling probably thinks that line is just busy (Laughter) you know. So then, we got up into the 70s and Jimmy began to rally back. See for years they thought he had emphysema and man this poor guy, this is the honest to God truth, he came to my Barber Shop trying to come in to get a haircut and he got that little thing taking two steps forward and one step back and then he is like courageous. He is still there in the end when he was dieing of cancer he was still there. The people still came like the moths to the light and the man was in pain man you could see it but his eyes shown man right to the very end. He gave of himself, he was in the hospital bed man and the family, and I mean if it were not for the family shit, there would have been a throng. I was privileged by the family to be able to be allowed to be some of the last people to, we had to keep the people away. Even then, as I sat in the hospital room with him all night he would not shut up. This guy you could not shut his mouth if the I mean the pain would get him a little while and he would look up and see me sitting in the chair and goddamn he would start talking to me and I was like I don’t think this guy will ever die, he is a immortal. Well as we know, he was a human being and he did have to go you know but he is here within all of us.
The 70s came and there was a birth of The Tree, a very strange thing happened then though I think this was kind of like the onset of that the fact that the program was really going to grow. The person that helped him writes this Tree, one of the major players, he did not show, and some other major players are not here. (audience. They just pulled in and are going to get some sleep)Anyway what happened at this particular time is that some people had kind of aspirations that they would grow up, get a job, take over the World Service Office and have some money come in and it did not happen and some feelings were really hurt. Then we had the calling together of a conference from the north and the south. See there was kind of a thing see around Jimmy was like Narcotics Anonymous, it was all about Narcotics Anonymous. Then there was a little click that happened over here and they sort if kind of made a separation. Like there was a little war and the reason why I share this story is that I think this is one of the things. I heard somebody say hey what are some of the same, what are some of the mistakes we do not need to make. This is one of them; the reason why I am going to tell this story is because it is what is permeating, and what has gone on. It is like the Martins and the McCoy’s, the goddamn war has not ended until today, we all get our sponsors, and we all have our grandfathers. Jimmy was not my sponsor. My sponsor was a crazy guy man that went around burning down houses and hitting people in the head and I thought that was the way the program worked. I thought fuck this is what you do if the guy fucks with you, fuck him up. So we went about fucking up some people until I ran into Jimmy Kinnon and he said no, no the program is a set of principles written so simply that even I can apply in my life. You do not go around doing things like that, that is not the fellowship you know. I went oh I thought you got loaded for twelve years and then you went and kicked the shit out of the people that did not like the things you were doing. Like the cave man days, like my clan is stronger than your clan is. So if we did not do it with clubs we did it verbally, big mistake folks. So what happened then was that this thing was born, it became, and this thing became such an irritation to me. I am so glad that this man explained to me that this was not a program of violence but love and care. Because at this juncture I surely would have killed. (Laughter)
So I got a call and by this time I was on the BOT and I hold an illustrious position because I was probably the only guy that was on the BOT kicked off and then put back on. That was not only an honor but also a double honor. So although it has of humor it also has its point of seriousness and everything to it. I was called upon to carry a message to this conference. Now the conference was not to be about this, it had a little to do with, hey man can’t we do something about this fucking war. But you know what in good conscience under the name of ,”can’t we do something about this war” we really came there to beat the shit out of each other. I mean everybody had their shields polished up and their swords. But this thing, we had a group conscience and we had a fellowship and the fellowship elected the trustees. The trustees were doing the best they could in a group conscience basis, but in that beginning of organization like Bob said, well like what the fuck are we suppose to do man, so we must suppose to do something. I can remember us having discussions about what are we suppose to do. Well we are suppose to be the guardians of the Traditions obviously, but then what do you do. Hell there was only fifty or a hundred people in the fellowship; I mean it was not all like he said all this stuff flying around and you know. You could take care of business adequately out of the trunk of his car. So we said okay you are going to have a literature committee and you are going to have this committee and that committee. So this thing came by in concept like he said, Jimmy drew the thing we looked at it and said Yeah, all right geez it has been happening, man I am really glad somebody could tell us what it is we have been doing. Which is a fact, see so you we said this is what it is and we approve it and then we took it to the whole BOT and the trustees approve it? Now we went to this conference with this and you have to understand the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous had approved this. The click came, they had a lot of questions, and they did not want to approve it because there was a natural war going on. But I talked and I talked and I talked and every time it came up I said no you don’t understand man, Narcotics Anonymous has voted they went to the next level they voted. This is it, this is the bonified whatever built into this structure allows us to change if we want to change it. These are the rules that we play by. At this juncture, what happened finally was that everybody went whew after these two days of hacking and hollering up there in San Luis Obispo? I am sure, were you at that thing? So then, what happened when it was all over one man decided to say, “Screw what the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous wants, and screw what the other faction that was finally coming together wants”. He says “I am taking this out to the fellowship and that is what happened” and we had two or three of the most insane years and so obviously our conferences grew out of insanity and hurt feelings. I did not even realize, you know I mean I knew that there were these things and it hit me the other night as I was talking what had happened , what was wrong with that thing that happened back then. Only now after all these years the light bulb went on, I said Oh yeah the fellowship voted for this and the fellowship was going along with that and one fucking guy got up and screwed the whole thing up.( Audience: who was that guy?) Greg Pierce.
Then what happened is that somebody moved up to Oregon and then there was phone calls, cause we were growing up there was splinter groups that were popping up all over the United States. But there were a lot of phone calls going on from Oregon all over and it was really weird. Because the next thing I am hearing about this senile old man who is running this office, that still cannot get the volunteers there to stuff envelopes and yeah there were some legitimate complaints about, hey I sent for my starter kit three months ago. Hey, you know what when there are 942 starter kits to start out and 1 guy who has to talk for six hours on the phone and six hours to somebody else. Then needs a couple hours sleep and he has got to go take a shit and he has got to drink his own cup of coffee and he is saying please, please won’t somebody come over here and stuff envelopes. A few people made it over, and Fawn made it over and some other people made it over there and little by little. Then Bob would come and we would say we need the stuff in the back of the car you know. So the grew that way except these rumors started coming in from outside. There was some mis‑information that was put out. It filtered into even the BOT, a couple of people had some RV’s that began to go throughout the United States and so now this same kind of faction that we had been dealing with, the kind of split now began to happen over here from this area. Yet you had Narcotics Anonymous just kind of doing its thing and growing up. The thing that was sad about it is that as it went on it got really fairly nasty and then there were noises from some where in the southeast that if this person is all senile and this is why, I mean there is like a great distance. People were not really flying back and forth like, they are now and they were having this stuff. Oh well if maybe if one little old crazy old man sitting over in a closet then maybe we should get the World Service Office over here. I started hearing those things and we are going hey wait a minute whoa, whoa, you know. I mean even the trustees were not going for that man. Therefore, what do we call that controversy, but the old man was the protector of people because he said it is okay to have controversy inside of the program that is how we grow. We grew in spite of all of that. I am thumbnail sketching through this and then maybe I can back up and answer some particular questions or I will think of something else to say.
But as it went into the 80s, you understand then came other crews out of the west that came in. I mean the structure is here and they are not coming in unity man, they are coming to do battle. That is why I finally stood up and said Jesus Christ man I refuse to business with deceit and dishonesty and covertness and I was really controversial for many years until I went and just literally hid from the insanity of it all because I will lay the shit right on the table. All the little covertness and I even taped certain people on tape. I call them on the telephone because I was privy and part of this and that. I taped them all and went to this conference and I told them and I told them, man if anybody wants to hear the truth look they are trying to run a coo on the old man and I had the old man listen to the tapes. Me and Doug F had to force him to listen to it because he did not want to hear it. He just wanted to believe in everybody. So I kind of resigned but then I watched this other thing. I watched the new breed of the 80s who had their sponsors who were out of the original click. Who said hey those guys are dirty mothers and they had all their people well trained and now you had the people over here from the south and from the east that are saying hey you know what man, we are dealing with senility, stupidity and inefficiency. I can understand people over here feeling that way because you write a letter and say hey we need a starter kit or whatever and you think what the big deal is. You know fold it, put it in an envelope, lick it put a stamp on it and it should be back in a week... But nobody had x‑ray vision nobody knew, and as time grew up, but by this time you got all these camps and you got all these fucking warriors. I mean I have even had people come to me man and tell me that are going to the conference, I am a warrior. I mean they go I AM A WARRIOR; they ain’t going to get me man. (Laughter) I mean shit they are plotting and hatching their thing and got their seven people and calling in their vote. I mean shit man you would think we were Democrats and Republicans. Laughter) So now you got the most in sanest of the in sanest that absolved into the 80s with their squint eyes and their shields and their double swords and whole armies with them pervading in and they are all about, Hey man we are not going to let the east get us you know what I mean. Even more than that, we are going to whip the shit out of them old guys too. I am looking at that man, that is the time, and I said I am stepping back man I am going to take a 3D view of this. Because once again I am tuned in on hey man I think this is all about peace and care and love and not slaughtering your fellow cohorts. So obviously, we went through thing and wonder why we have a mess at the level at the WSO. Well the whole is there it will work. It will work if we as individuals go with love in our hearts, and that are willing to accept the group conscience that Bob alluded to. And forget all about hey we are going to fight this battle and we are going to fight that battle and we are going super impose our idea over your idea. Because you know this thing was really set up more or less to be like the old Indian council where everybody had a voice in it, you know what I mean. If we can do that and go forth in that framework and forgive those in the past that found it necessary for what reason whatever to deal in subterfuge and covertness and deception for their own purposes or to heal their own wounds or whatever it is. But to just go forth knowing hey that this fellowship was born up out of a fellowship of sick people and we have seen some of the pitfalls and each of us on an individual level refuse to be part of that again. You know one of the things I talked about a long time ago and probably should have done it because I can hear the voice ring in my ears and Bob told me well if that is what you think should be done why the hell don’t you do it? But I experienced in my own life and some other things a lot of gossip and everything like that. You know there was a time when none of this stuff, no Basic Text, no nothing just a little pamphlet, the pamphlet is what got me. I use to call it a hip pocket program but shit man there were only two or three NA meetings and if you wanted to go to a meeting everyday you had to (Tape 4)
The meat was there it was good enough, that and the pamphlet were good enough for me, but I also read that damn 12 and 12 and in there in that one place where it talks about gossip and things like that and character assassination. It refers to character assassination as a polite form of murder. Now those are heavy words folks, and you see the passing parade although there are thousands and thousands of us. We can walk into conventions and there is four or five thousand, we were at a convention a few weeks ago and there were probably four or five thousand people there you know. But you know what the rooms I have seen through the years that I have been around there are even more of us that did not make it in the passing parade. It starts with those funny little stories at Denny’s where we talk about each other. The people get their feelings hurt and then they do not come back and they go out to die, then we go to the Great War at the conference and we come back and tell these pitiful stories and the newcomer goes, shit. Then people get sued and they do whatever they want to do and law suits going on and the little lady from Florida says Jesus Christ what does the newcomer think about that. Isn’t that what I heard you say last night man. It is like what the hell do we have to offer man, I mean new people coming in and all they hear all this stuff and go boy. I mean all I know man when I got clean I was not ready for that. It is like I had a hard time man when the guy is telling me, one you are powerless your life is unmanageable and I thought like yeah but I can handle this. What do you mean my life is unmanageable I can go rob a liquor store, I can go hit somebody over the head I can do a lot of things. I mean I just had a hard time understanding the basic concepts of recovery. So you see I think the big lesson that we have to realize and we do not come to go to war with anybody. It says until we give up fighting everything and everybody. I do not want to fight today. I will stand up and say the truth, as I know it. The way you observe it, you may see it different. That is fine, but truth is truth from wherever I stand and if you do the same thing maybe you will be a survivor for as long as me, or Bob. I mean he still lights my candle I still look at him and go wow man the guy has been here forever. I hope I can make it forever, you know. So that is to me the big message out of the 70s. Forget going to war, forget trying to be manipulators and con artists and just be part of the goddamn fellowship and love. Because the basic job is done, all we got to do is kick back and do what we are supposed to do. That is very hard for addicts to do what they are supposed to do. I mean I did not do it all my life and all of a sudden, I am in a fellowship and suppose to do what I am supposed to do. But it is that simple is not it. That is what I said last night; the root of the problem is in simplicity, not in complicated things. Most of you know what bullshit is when you hear bullshit. You get a feeling when something is wrong. The guy is driving me from the airport and he goes yeah everything is going, but I knew something was wrong. Some little piece, something is out of kilter man. I mean it is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole you see. You measure all the distances and say well it should fit, except it does not fit. So it is incumbent upon each of us to practice our own principles. To become human beings of love in the spirit of God because that is what this program is all about. You cannot soft petal it we did not come here to learn how to be warriors. We did not come here to be corporate executives. We did not come here to learn anything except to experience because even this program is not a program of learning it is a thing of experiencing. Then we get up to the 12th Step and the 12th Step says having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps. Which means it is all about between one and eleven and we try to carry the message. It does not even say we did it says we just try. So you know at the level of these conferences and the level of these personal confrontations and trying to beat the system we are in error. At the level at what is happening here today our common welfare should come first. Our personal recovery depends on NA unity. Isn’t that why we are all here in this room today? That is why I came clear across the United States, because I felt that this was a message that needed to be carried. To me it is that simple, nine thousand goddamn pages of shit, you know what I did with all mines, and I threw it out because every time I read it, it made my head hurt. Now they invite me to go in, look at it again, and then send it to me from all over Gods creation. This paper, that paper, I look at it and go, oh God file X. Somebody says can I come over and talk to you about the things that came. There are some real researchers over in my area. I go sure you can come over. You want to come over and talk come on over and we will talk about it and then I start thinking where is my Tylenol, we are going to go through this shit one more time. So you know what, the man came. The man carried a dream. He born us, he brought us to maturity and he went away. From the very first day that the first meeting happened then the records came. Minutes from this meeting, minutes of that meeting, minutes of the conference and surely surely it is interesting to some people, but to most people it is dry and boring shit. I mean you can see at the convention five thousand people showed up, at the history thing, look around what representation for this mighty nation. There ain’t that many people that give a shit except at the level it goes out from here and we carry the story. Hey, man we cannot go out there and kill our brothers and sisters. I am a curious one. I like to read history books, I mean I remember when someone handed me years and years ago NA Comes of Age and I read it with all undue interest. Someday surely, we will have a book and probably will not be called NA Comes of Age, but then again do not be surprised if it is. See and there comes all the history. That is what all this stuff is about, it ain’t about the war, let us put it to rest man. We got a founder; we are stuck with him whether you liked him whether you did not like him. Personally, I loved the shit out of him. Somebody gave me a picture when he died, he came out here for a convention and I guess he is riding on a tugboat or ferry or something and he is leaning against the thing talking to some people and as the boat goes by somebody takes a picture of him as the thing sails by the Statue of Liberty. I went and got the son of bitches blown up this big and I hung it on my office wall. I look and talk to the old man all the time, you know well it is just a picture man but I like to think it is a spirit you know. Makes me feel good, makes me remember because he gave me such pearls of wisdom. I can remember one night being there and I had been out screaming in the street holding my nuts for some ungodly reason. Probably another broken relationship and somebody that I was sponsoring put me in the car and took me to Jimmy Kinnons house. He laid me up on the couch and yelled at me to shut up that there were other people living in this house. You know and I kept screaming so he, you have to know this guy man if you ever see a picture he had these ungodly hands. Probably from being, a roofer all big swollen funny fingers bony, and he starts beating on my chest and I thought God he is trying to kill me man he wants me to shut up so bad. It hurt man, oh God it hurt. Finally I shut my mouth and he looks me right in the eye and he said its all right Bill, it will be worse next time. (Laughter) With that I went (scream) and that was the last utterance for that time, and the next thing I know it was worse, but I did not have to go out in the streets and hold my nuts and scream at the moon, because I was afraid that, old man would beat the shit out of me again.
Anyway, you see there is some real seriousness about it. There is some humor about it. I am real happy to be here and share that part of the story. I hope it was meaningful to you. As far as the history and the archives, I have to hand that over with respect. He said two or three years to me it seemed like forever and I will bet you anything that if you go out and looked in his car I bet you are going to find a little box out there all stuffed with this shit. Garage full now right and Betty has a garage full. There is a whole room full over there, that book is going to come along and then the next book that is going to come along is going to be something like “The Jimmy I Knew”. Then there is going to be a historical thing about the history I mean it is just bound to come out, it cannot not come out and I think that maybe this is part of what this kind of thing is leading up to be. Because my eye, who the hell am I? I am just another member of Narcotics Anonymous. If you went back and rolled it back to the early 60s or something and you would have ask me how it was going to happen, I would have told them fuck I am going to write it the book. You know what I was seriously attempting to write the book. I had a thesaurus’s and the big book man and I was changing all the words. I said I am going to do it this way so they cannot call it plagiarism. But God it was a long, tedious, and gregarious job I was like already years into this and everybody grew up and beat me to it. So what did I know? Besides that when I read the shit that I wrote it did not make any since anyway because when you change those words like that and try to put it in context with other changed words it looks strange. So obviously, God was not ready for me to carry that part of the message man. So it is happening it is absolving the hurt feelings have to be let go. The attacking has to be let go. Whoever’s toes were stepped on in the past; hey of you hear them talk if it is the truth the truth will prevail. If it is caca hey, man let it go in one ear and out the other. It is no different than when you are sitting in a regular meeting and you hear people come into a meeting man and you hear them talking long caca. For those of you that may not have the Spanish influence that we have from LA. I mean shit, my sponsor told me hey you interpret everything by your understanding of the steps and that is valid. So you have to go, you have to go with what is in your heart, you have to go with what you know is right. You have to go with the truth and the knowledge there of. How do I know that Jimmy Kinnon’s inspired vision about maybe he read that article where the name Narcotic, but what it is man is like we is. We are an organization with a set of Traditions the other stuff was not related it is without our scope. We do not even have, at the level of our program; we do not even have any business paying attention to it at all because it diverts us from our primary purpose you see. So the old subterfuge, the covertness about it the people who have lead us to the point of having us look in the wrong direction you know what I mean. They had me going for it for a while. Then I said now wait a minute. Our program is a program, a set of principles written so simply that I can practice them in my life. That includes the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. My program doe not include anything that does not embrace the Twelve Traditions and if it gets to the point where it is happening at the WSO, fuck I will divorce them too man, you understand. The fellowship can boycott them, I am not calling for a boycott you understand, and no, I am not calling for a boycott. Right is right and I was apart of that mechanism for a lot of years. The general intent is all there in the guidelines, it is laid out to work properly, and we have to put or trust in our group conscience and let it be the way that it be. Then we also have to be smart enough to know that we can do anything we want to do, the people are trying to do except you have to do it in the right way. It is like Jimmy Kinnon told me years ago. He said, hey man you want to have a Tuesday night group you can print you own literature for the Tuesday night group if you want to do that. You can put approved Tuesday night meeting you know what I mean. Then if everybody wants to come and get some of that because they like it and it eventually finds it way to a floor. It may in fact eventually become approved NA material, but you don’t go and take something that is copyrighted and change it, because you might wind up in a legal difuelty, you know what I mean. Just alter it a little bit, change it a little bit, slap a new cover on it, we need more literature I mean that is not the end of it. Jesus Christ anybody ever pick up a Hazelden catalog lately. Christ it is a manuscript within itself. There is a need for more literature; we need our own Twelve Step Book you know. Obviously, we do not need a Bottles and Stools book but you know what is the matter with a snorting and joint book or something. You do not stick your finger up your ass with morphine suppositories or whatever it is man it is like we have a need for it you know. So if we put our attention to our needs other than trying to superimpose ourselves on each other and work in unity towards the betterment of the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. How can we not, not succeed? I am not saying anymore that Narcotics Anonymous is coming of age. I am saying that Narcotics Anonymous has come of age and it ain’t never going to be stopped so the time of the war has to be over, it just has to. It has to carry on a loving fellowship in the hand has to be there outstretched to the new person that comes in. For God sakes folks let do not grab them by the hand and take them into battle. Thank you. (Applause)
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 4
Montgomery History Convention 1991
Oh, God here we go again. My name is Betty, I am an addict, hi Betty. I do not know what I am going to say. I am not a speaker you know I do not, I just tell my experience as much as I can remember. How much can you tell at once standing up here? I was just told to talk about the World Service Office. I guess that I can tell you that I came into the program in 1971. Hi, Greg it has been a long time since we have talked. It is good seeing you here. You know we have all been through al lot of stuff. I started in 71 as I said and my first meeting was a woman’s NA meeting and I am very grateful for that. There were not too many meetings around and it was kind of neat last night we were sitting around talking about the different meeting and different people. It was neat to be able to laugh at some of the things that happened as before we could not laugh at some of it. I kind of feel like sometimes it is like we are walking on eggshells at times, well I can say to myself anyway.
I have to tell you my first response was that if I see some of these motherfuckers I am going to give them the knee you know. Well maybe some of you do not like it but I have to tell you and I just got through telling somebody that I am a cusser you know. I try not to and I have been in Maryland and I have been around people and when I was in Maryland I hardly cussed at all, here I go maybe it is kind of like getting it out right now. I guess it is that little voice in me saying I want things to be different you know I do not want it to be the way it has been going on.
Anyway, in 71 as if I say there were not very many meetings around and the person who 12 stepped me well he is dead now, was Jerry Kinnon and he was the father of my daughter. He made some contact with some women for me right away, which I am very grateful to him for that. I started going to meetings and getting involved and I just got through telling someone just a few minutes ago that I kind of had a hotline at the Solano Club also that all the addicts kind of hung out at. If an addict called down there, I worked there for a short time and if an addict called there, I referred them to NA. Later on, years later I found out that they use to call me NA Betty. You know I went out to some business meetings out on Crenshaw Blvd. I went to a few of them there and I tried working in the office and I think you remember Bob it was kind of hard to catch anybody; everybody was working to tell me what to do so that was very hard. What was that Bob what was that place called on Crenshaw Blvd. (it was called Crenshaw House) okay that was where a bunch of addicts were getting clean right.
Then I went to the valley and when I went to the valley, I went into the hospital there and with the understanding; I would be given no drugs. I had some things to work through in my life there. Therefore, I knew that my first I needed to make a contact with NA you know. The only one I could think of was my ex brother in law, which was Jimmy. I thought what he is going to say. I thought well I have to make my contact with NA no matter what so I called. He said I heard you were in the program and he said great what is it you need. I said I would like to talk to some women and I would like to get to some meetings. He said sure, I explained to him where I was at and he asked if I needed anything and of course, I said, cigarettes and he came out to see me and needless to say, we started talking. We never stopped talking from then on. I would listen to him and it was just like yeah, yeah God this man. I started going to different meetings around in the valley and I wound up moving to the valley. Jimmy and I kept going to meetings together and we also went to another place where the office was at. I had given a copy machine to the office that was gone, we looked around, and a lot of things were gone.
So it was decided to move the office over to Van Nuys. So it was up over the bail bonds place. Well the landlord was the bail bondsman you know and I feel like I am jumping skipping a lot of things. It was upstairs and we had to put money in the meter, and we had to remember to put money in the meter if we did not we would get tickets. We had a desk and a filing cabinet and an old beat up couch and one or two beat up chairs. We had a few boxes of literature and in the filing cabinet; there was not very many records in there. There were very few records in there. We had the phone and we kept trying to catch the person who was supposed to be in charge of the office at the time to pay the landlord. Trying to catch him when he had the checkbook was like you know he was busy doing something else. Here I am like, oh here he comes again and he wants his money and then to pay the utilities and we share the utilities with one of the other offices there and some of the offices were empty...You know our funds were really low, how low can you go. I do not know about you but facing a landlord sometimes is really hard and Jimmy was one of the first to go to the women’s meeting in that office. I would make phone calls and the girls came to the meeting and it was like we would be having a meeting there and we would be hearing people urinating underneath and they would be using and drinking and the girls would be scared because this is where they came to cop you know. This neighborhood was kind of scary, but all kinds of things happened in this office. It was decided to move the office back to Jimmy’s house and so and the desk went back to the person who donated it and so here was the filing cabinet and actually it was like a little box was all that was from those records and we had some literature. So it was moved to the house and I think in that time also you know I lived in Van Nuys and I remember Greg and Jimmy working on literature and every once in a while they would say listen to this, what does this sound like, does this sound right. I would say buy God these are big words, what are you guys doing do people understand these words. You know I felt very insecure at times and they said well maybe we need to simplify this a little bit more you know. When it came to the house, I need to tell you that Jimmy and I did not realize but we were living together, I get so embarrassed over this but it is the truth and you know I had my own place and he had his own place. I always lived upstairs in the apartment but it was always like he was walking up those stairs and down those stairs. Anyway at the office we had very little. He had much of what he had you know the ditto machine you know which I donated to the WSO I do not know if they know I gave it to someone. Someone has it in the fellowship and I donated some record players. I donated several things to the WSO. Anyway, this ditto machine I will never forget that it seemed like we were always typing and typing and I would be typing away and Jimmy would say, ok I need another one. I was looking at some of that that Bob brought and I thought that it was probably some of what was on that machine. We would go to trashcans and dig some boxes out for the industries you know they would put the boxes out. Or the grocery stores we would use some of their boxes. Also like the books, we sent out, we would use the grocery bags. We would turn them inside out and we would use those grocery bags. You know it was like it really started to grow. I moved in with Jimmy and you know it was like, it is hard for me to describe because I just do not talk that much about what went on. So you are going to hear a lot of “you knows” and uh uhgs. Many things went on then; much of what went on was kept from me I did not know. I just thought that everyone that came into the program, that everybody loved everybody you know. I baked like crazy at the house. I was always handing out cookies and God help you if you said no; I was going to have to find something to get in your stomach. I went to a lot of yard sales and picked up a lot of material. Really hit the jackpot at one place it was kind of sad but a woman’s husband had passed away. They had owned a stationary shop and so she donated and plus we paid her for some and gave her the receipt so she could have the write off for that. That added a lot and people donated tapes and I still have a box of tapes that has cowboy music on it. I have not figured out quite how to work that. I have been using things and trying how to copy over these cowboy music’s for these tapes. These tapes are somewhat old you know this cowboy music is probably a collectors item now. It just kept growing. It started like in a little room in the front on the side and it grew n to the kitchen we would be working in the kitchen and then in the laundry room. The ditto machine was in there, we had stacks of things in there. It went into our living room. It went into one, two, three, three bedrooms. We had things in the storage shed, we had things in our front porch stored and we had things up in the addict. In fact when Jimmy passed away, there are many things that even Greg and or Bob has not seen. There are many things he had up there from years ago. He kept everything believe me, he kept everything God you know and I stood right there when we took all these things down. I went through all these things, you know his kids and my kids were there and it was like a chain thing you know. And nothing went passed me without me looking at it to make sure that it was okay. I said this is the fellowship, or you know this is Jimmy’s or I want this. You know this is how it went on.
It grew very much, there was a lot of conflict, and there was, I could not believe that people came over to our house and we were friends, I thought we were friends. All of a sudden, it was like something is wrong here it was like this. I thought what is going on here this is suppose to be a fellowship of togetherness you know why is this happening. I could not understand you know what all was happening. I neglected to say that Jimmy and I got married in 1977. We went to some conventions and we went to the conference and we had it over at the college in North Hollywood, There started to be some rumors like this old man and things like that. There were many things that went on you know, there were things that it became were people were coming to our house and they came and they started to take some things. They came and took some things, you know they were taking some things out of the files and I mean it was really getting nasty. In the meantime, there were people trying to work in the office, you know, and we had the board going. There was it was like, Jimmy, Chuck Gates, Greg, Bob and I and these people are working there and they are saying how come Bob and Greg are not showing up and not doing some of this work here that we are doing. You know they are not being involved and you know Greg I believe you had moved up north by then you were gone. We would have the meeting and I don’t know if that is when you were in the hospital Bob or you I know you were not coming to all the meetings exactly. Therefore, we had this, so the three of us got together and decided that Greg and Bob were out of the office and all of a sudden we get Bob and Greg said no we are not out of the office and we demand a meeting. So we had a meeting and by that time there had people who were, giving you know so bad that it had been moved next door. So we had the meeting next door and the five of us sat there, six actually there was one other person there taking minutes down. Then we had this meeting and it kept going around and around, everybody felt that they were right, nobody changed you know it was just going on and on. In fact there is I don’t think you guys know but there are a few copies going on of that meeting , so anyway this meeting was taped. Finally, I do not remember what all I said; I said Hey this has been going on for so long I am sick and tired of this. We have been sitting here for a long time and nobody is agreeing with anybody lets have this vote and get it over with, this is ridiculous. So then, they were voted whatever and it. Then the people that were working in the office they became more active in the office. They became part of the board and it was really, we were all trying so hard to do what was right you know really trying to do what was right. There was more and more conflict and you know actually I think some of it like Bill said earlier. A lot of this started way back like Southern California (flip tape)
Personality and who is going to. Na was growing so much then and it became like a power struggle. It was as if all of a sudden, I know that Jimmy told me that he and Greg had sat down and talked about the getting the literature copyrighted. The office and everything and Greg said well with everything that is going on maybe we should put it in our name and keep it so that and Jimmy said no,no,no this belongs to the fellowship. Therefore, you know we were trying out different ways and with this power thing coming in and trying to figure out what is right and Jimmy always saying the same things over and over. I watched through the years when I was living there. I watched Bob come over and say well Jimmy did not this happen, you know well was not this. Remember Bob just before a convention or a conference you use to come over and say Well Jimmy, and Gene use to come over and he would say. So a lot of things happened during this, and with this power struggle a lot people were hurt very much and we got phone calls and things like the laughter and saying ha ha old man. It was not until just recently that I found out people had shot at our home and Jimmy had kept that quiet for me, but it put some pieces together for me from something that had happened that I remembered that time. I have not really stopped for me because it is still going on with my life yet. You know people are they still in fact, when Jimmy went to the 83 convention he said I had a beautiful time there. Honey you cannot believe what a beautiful time I had there. He said I wanted to go on to Pennsylvania so badly but I felt so ill I had to come home. He said but you know the damnedest thing happened he said as I am getting off the elevator somebody said to me you know you man you stole what was it ten thousand, whatever it was whatever the amount was from the office. I swear to God after all those years still you know what happened at that period was about the book when the book was being published. There was like a paper strike, remember there was a paper strike you know that was a hassle. Then we had this printer that we had for about two years you know and the sucker went bankrupt with our money and Jimmy got blamed for that you know. The rumors it is just like, you ever play telephone you know and it goes on and by time it gets to someone it is like. However, the person who told him that he had known him for years you know and it was like people who were around us for years it was a very hard time. Jimmy, they had I am bouncing but maybe you can figure out what I am trying to say. They had moved the office over to Vineland Blvd., Jimmy was trying his darndest, and everybody was fighting so much with one another and they making sure that there was no help in the office and all kinds of stuff. Oh God it was something by that time I had resigned you know my position and but I was still at the house I was still doing the typing. I was still answering the phone and you know it has never ended really. One day he came, you know he was excited he said there is going to be this man who is going to come in to the office, he is going to learn the ways, and maybe he can do something around here to get things together. I am to show him what is going on and maybe something will be happening. Well with this man came to the office and when Jimmy went to the office one morning and the door was locked and Jimmy was locked out. He came home, he cried, and I cried. I will try not to get into that. It really seemed like he started to go downhill then so more then you know. Jimmy had you know I think it was the later part of the 60s or the first part of the 70s. Then when they said he was not contagious, he slipped out a window and went to a meeting. You know people in the meeting were scared to go near him, they knew where he was from you know that he was in the hospital and they thought he was contagious. So he walked to a meeting, his ankles were all swollen, and he walked back to the meeting because nobody would drive him back. You know this was the fellowship and people were scared. However, you know people came to our home and I could go on and on of people turning on us, it was humongous you know. I feel that when that happened that is when he really started getting very ill that is when he really went downhill. He was like twenty years older than I you know and in his mind, he was so so young. He, this is hard, this is hard. It was as I talked earlier, Lois was my bridesmaid and Bob was Jimmy’s best man at our wedding. Anyway so he went through radiation treatments, I thought dieing, I saw this man suffer a lot was but God this man did not complain. I thought what this he does not complain is and he went through so much. I saw them do so much to them. You know people said he did not take any medication; well he did take medication at the end because both of his lungs were being eaten by cancer and when he was at home, I walked through giving him morphine. That was one of my drugs of choice when I was in the hospital but I did not think about that you know I thought about helping him and I was so scared. I remember thinking I am going to kill this man I keep forgetting to pull the plunger out you now I would have never made a good needle addict, because I just always stuck my but up in the air in the hospital so they did that. But I would forget to pull the needle out sometimes to make sure there was blood in it and I was scared I was going to kill him. I was scared that area that we lived in I did not want anyone to know that those drugs were there. Mainly people came over to the house people were told to stay away at different times when they did not need to stay away and it would have been so great to have the one addict talking to another addict to walk him through that, for us both actually for us both of us. However, some did not pay attention to him you know and they came over and some called and it came to a point where he went into the hospital but I will not through all that part with you. Except that people sent cards, we put the cards all over the wall you know, people could call, and he would say, he was still directing he would say make sure that. I would be making notes, for years, I would say I want to be somebody’s secretary I want to be Jimmy’s secretary. He would say make sure you call such and such, this card came in, you know, and such and such, I need paper. You know this man was dieing at any time he is near as anytime he could be gone. You know people would come in and stay with him to the point he was gone. They wrote in a few papers in a few papers that Jimmy a painter, he was a roofer he did do some painting but he was a roofer. I heard Bob say he was a heroin addict, who knows what he was he just did not come across and say what he did not get in to all of that all of that part. He got into the living part. He loved addicts and he wanted addicts to enjoy life. What was that, I ran across I got all kinds of garbage, listen to me I am calling it garbage. I call it garbage sometimes when I trip over the boxes but they were different things said and there are still different things said. I went to a convention a few weeks ago and someone called his wife by a different name, his wife was Agnes she was a beautiful woman. She was not an addict so she had a hard time sometimes understanding addicts but she was a nice woman and she helped some addicts. I am thinking of Alma, I love Alma in fact, I think this is part of the history. That Jimmy and Elma are sitting at Jimmy’s kitchen table and Alma saying what am I going to do about Bob, Bob cringes. Jimmy said start a program get some other women, get some other people involved and they talked about it and Alma got Naranon started, that is how Naranon got started. You know this man, it is impossible for me to stand here and tell you everything; I can tell you that I moved out of the house that we lived in. It was hard but it was a rough neighborhood and I was told that there was no place around that I could afford so I moved. I do not know if that was true or not but I moved, and then I moved again and moved out to the desert. Each time it seems like I keep finding all these changes going on and people I know what they are saying ”don’t pay attention to her and blah blah blah” and I get this wall like and I just think fuck um I belong in this program. I am an addict I will talk, I go to a newcomer I get phone calls and I talk to people on the phone and I walk up to a person. I love this program, I do not want to see it fall apart, and I think we do need some more checks and balances. For a couple of weeks I was in Washington and I wore this little top with an eagle on it. Jimmy always said if he came back he would come back as an eagle you know but I think about while I was there I got to see Congress in session. That was so fascinating to me it was just like wow. The guy who was talking was from California, he was trying to pass this bill, and they were all talking about addicts. I thought my God I walk in and , then I find out later on it is going to be life for a lot of the addicts for some of the things they have happening. That is frightening, that is very frightening, the next thing I know I am going to have to walk up and register that I am an addict. I am running across some of that as it is and some of the things that is happening in my life as it is and I am labeled, I am labeled that and I resent that.
You know it is so great seeing people here, I wish there were more here. It is so great to see people from California here. They need to get their ass out of California and mingle and get some of this straightened around. (Applause) So I hope from what comes from this. I hope it comes to the good that we do not turn around and do what we did before. Thank you very much. (Applause)
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 4B ‑ Fawn
Montgomery History Conference
Hi my name is Fawn and I am an addict, hi Fawn. Thank you Betty I really like what you had to say. Do you think I can bum a couple of cigarettes from people out there? I ran out and I have not had a chance to go and buy any. I have smoked so many cigarettes since I have been here. What is this, the 70s that we are talking about? Well that is what the agenda says. Well because I got here and surrendered to Narcotics Anonymous in 1978 in July and I had come back from a relapse. I had two and a half years before that and I had come through Cry Help when Bill Beck was the director. Back then this was a treatment center that housed about 60 people and they because NA the meeting were even though there were NA Meetings in the valley they were kind of not a lot of people at them so they did not want to unload us all on one suspecting NA Group. So they would send us to a lot to various meetings to AA and NA. I think there were like I do not know how many vans there were but they would divide us up. I very quickly through Bill Beck realize that the both fellowships were distinct and apart. I mean it was not very hard as sick as I was back then for me to realize that much. Even when I had 90 days the first time around and I took a chip at Radford I went up, Radford was this AA clubhouse up in North Hollywood. I went up to the podium and I said well I took my 90‑day chip in Narcotics Anonymous so I am taking my chip for AA. I mean that was just you know I never ever was a time in any of my recovery or since I stopped using thought that both fellowships were the same and I think I got that initially from Bill Beck.
When I got out, I went to those AA meetings because where I was living with my AA sponsor at the time. I went to those Radford Clubhouse meetings and I would go to some NA Meetings but mostly AA. You know something happened along the way, when I was in Cry Help I wrote inventory and I tried to listen but when I got out I just sort of never went forward with my recovery. Eventually I stopped going to meetings, I never felt real comfortable in AA. I was always afraid when those men would say gee you look so familiar. I was afraid that they had picked me up hitchhiking and I had turned a trick with them or something. I always thought they were old johns and so I was always afraid that I would be found out in those AA meetings. I was kind of hard for me to get honest. I never thought I could cuss or talk about my drug addiction or the things I had to do. I kind of felt ashamed so I very rarely did I speak at AA meetings. I quickly like a good addict I got a job and bought some clothes and you know got a normie boyfriend you know a non‑addict boyfriend. I was very needy and insecure at that time, it was a disastrous relationship, and I was in a lot of pain. One day I was sitting at this bar and this bartender said you look so miserable why don’t you have a drink. I said I do not drink in a really bad way but the thought popped into my mind, I am going to go home and smoke me a fucking joint you know and that is what I did. So I always had a reservation about drinking and smoking dope. I thought my problem was just narcotics and I did not see what the harm was. Well six months later I realized what the harm of that was and it really was not working. I was deathly afraid of going back out to the streets. So when I came back I went to that AA clubhouse and this old timer that was always around for I do not know how long who was standing by the coffee pot said hey what happened and I said I relapsed. He said well what happened and I said well I smoked some pot and I drank and he goes oh man that alcohol will kill you, the pot is okay even I smoke a few joints once in a while but that alcohol will kill you. Right then and there, I turned around and drove to the Survivors Club you know and I never went back to AA if I could help it, maybe once or twice. Something really interesting happened to me, you know I realized that I had always been afraid of addicts because they were my peers and I had to expose myself in Narcotics Anonymous. I could not hide out in NA you know I could not bullshit you people and I could not manipulate you people and I started to recover pretty fast. When I had about thirty days I went up on Mulholland Drive and you know I will never forget that turning point in my recovery. I just said okay God if you are really there I am going to turn it all over. I am going to cut loose the sugar daddy, I am going to cut loose the shoplifting I am going to cut loose the old man and everything. If you are really, there I am going to be okay and what they say is really true I am going to be okay. I was really scared after I did that because I thought am I really going to survive without my sugar daddy. You know I had that guy since I was fifteen and I was making such a measly salary. You know what things happened really fast you know I got involved in a relationship when I had about thirty days I met Douglas and he started to introduce me to all his friends. People who sort of scared me when I got clean the first time you know he would take me over to Greg’ house. He really loved Greg, they use to sit there and make the jewelry and they had these rocks, these rocks all kinds of rocks and crystals, those Labrador dogs and it was real comfy to go flop down on his couch. The real blessing the real healing part or the real that stuck with me for all these years was when he took me over to Jimmy Kinnon’s house and Betty’s house. I never really knew much about Jimmy I just sat there in the living room and I felt real safe I felt like I was at my grandparent’s house, right. Betty always had cookies, there was always coffee going, and Jimmy had a way when he talked to people in fact when they both talked to people. They never like shoved the steps and traditions in your face. First, they would just talk to me like I was a human being and made me feel at ease. They made me feel welcome and apart of, I felt that warmth, and it was just a magic feeling I had in that house. I started to change, I was not doing all of that dope fiendish bullshit anymore and I started to feel some self esteem come back and I started to like myself and some self‑respect came back for me. I noticed at that time that the phone was always ringing and there was, Jimmy and Betty were always busy with stuff, with letters and literature and you know the World Service.
The next thing I knew I was being told about Narcotics Anonymous and it was a fellowship that can stand on its own two feet. Back then that was sort of a pioneering notion even as, I mean it was back then even some of the trustees that we have today back then were telling me to go get your message in AA and then come back to NA and share it, that is the way it usually worked. So the idea of staying clean in one fellowship was something that was pretty revolutionary at that time. I decided if this fellowship really works, I am going to make a commitment to it, just like the God thing. Next thing I knew I was over at the office helping out typing or stapling. Everything was very; it was not automated by any means. Everything was done by hand like Betty was sharing about stapling by hand. Sometimes the only volunteers that they could get were second phase residents from Cry Help who would come over. Their sponsors would bring them over to the house to the house, we would all sit around, and maybe the project for the night was folding the IPs, putting the creases folding them in threes. The job tonight is dooping tapes; they use to have this nothing like the dooping you see at conventions. I mean this old fashioned machine that would make I don’t know, I don’t know one or two tapes at a time I am not sure I was never involved in the taping committee. There was like Chuck Gates and Tony D or I do not remember whom. But you know what it was really the most beautiful service in my whole life because everybody dug everybody you know. Nobody was doing anything for money or power or anything it was just gosh. Every time a letter would come in from out of state, it was like the biggest event you know it was like God a letter from wherever. I remember one time Jimmy gave me a letter from a person from North Dakota and he said why don’t you answer this letter. I said oh God what am I going to say? He did that a lot because I am starting to hear stories of other people now sharing about their times working in the office, that happened to them. We were okay doing the work but we did not want to be spokes people for the WSO. So we would write a letter and send them starter kits, and the typing back then was I felt like I was the relief typist for Betty when she would get too tired. Sometimes I would be typing and it was not the Seletric typewriter, it was the kind that had to have the little white piece of paper there and backup. So when you are typing it was in such a small little office and you had to concentrate to not make a mistake you know. So much was going on, Jimmy was always in and out of those files, and there was always a discussion going on in the living room. There was always a lot of business going on and you know I started to love going over there. It was a very special time for me I use to go over there a couple times a week, as much time as I could I would go over there.
You know one time later on in my recovery there was this girl sponsoring me and she was an addict but she got clean in AA and she worked at the same place I did. You know I really wanted to bring her over to our side and I knew if I could just get her to Jimmy’s house something would happen because I knew I could not talk that way. I knew that if he could touch her the way he had touched me then maybe she would come on over. So I finally got her to agree that she would come over to his house with me and I am real excited. It was at night so she said she only had two hours and Jimmy answered the door in his t‑shirt and the real big boxer shorts so right away it was ,oh dear you know I hope this is not. So we go in, he invited us in and hey, what you say, that is the way he use to always answer the door. We had some coffee and we sat around and I am waiting you know I am sitting there thinking ok Jimmy say something heavy you know, get this girl (laughter) and I am in the middle encouraging conversation you know and the next thing I know he is talking about Pennsylvania. I wish I could remember the city. It was either Philadelphia or Pittsburgh but when he emigrated over here from Scotland he his first home was somewhere in Pennsylvania and somehow he was talking about the old days of when he was living in the city. So I am thinking ok this is leading up to something you know and he started to go on about it was a story about how him and his friend were being chased by some thugs and these thugs chased them up some stairs, him and his buddy. They were at the top of the stairs and there was no place to go so I turned around and put up my fist and next thing I know is that the two hours is almost up and I am thinking Oh God he has not said anything. He has not said anything spiritual and she is never going to come back here. Finally my friend said well I have to go you know and Jimmy said well come back again. As we are walking out I am feeling soooo, you know I am just like, oh God, of shit, what a drag you know and we get into her car and I am in the passenger seat and she gets into the car and it was a full moon I will never forget it. She looked out, she put the key in, and she said, that man has such light. You know that is what Jimmy was about. He did not have to say anything you know you spent a little while with him and you were touched by him. The way that he shared, the way that he cared and his devotion to extending his hand out to everybody that came into his life. I was always very; I always admired his devotion, his never‑ending energy in that office. He rarely had any time for himself. We were always trying to get him to go to a meeting with us and he was always well you know I have to get this out or get that out. He rarely had very little time, him and Betty for themselves. Their house was like a 24‑hour place you know phones never stopped ringing, people never stopped knocking and I never saw them turn away anybody at that time anyway.
Anyway, you know I was not around here in the 50s and I was not around here in the 60s and for most of the 70s but it, I was not stupid and it did not take me long to realize. See I was also involved with area, San Fernando Valley area service and Southern California regional service. I could see a lot of the politicking and the division and a lot of this stemmed from things that happened a long long time ago. A lot of it stems from a man like Jimmy Kinnon telling a lot of people a long time ago what violations of the Traditions and people were got their feelings hurt. Most of us who get our feelings hurt do not like that and some of us do not know how to express ourselves and ask for clarification. So we run away like hurt animals and stew in a corner or wait to lash out like snakes or something and I think a lot of that happened. You know there was a lot of just from my personal observation there was a lot of division even between Northern and Southern California. The fellowships, it was always who is better than who are. The San Fernando Valley, it was our area. Our area was always having qualms with the Bay Area. The Bay Area being out by the beach, the Southern California region it was always the Northern California region. I mean it was always something, there were not a lot of people involved in service back then, and so a lot of people wore two, three, and four hats. You belonged to this committee, you belonged to that committee, you were on H&I, and you were a volunteer at the WSO. It was a lot of things and I think when some of these whatever position you held at the areas and regions and sub‑committees and then there was the Survivors Club you know you had the people who thought it should be and you had the people who thought it should not be. I mean it was always so many you know problems like that a lot of fighting. I mean when I cleaned up it was not unusual to hear that someone had kicked the shit out of somebody else after the Monday Night Meeting. I mean that was pretty so Danny T kicked the shit out of Tony D you know so what else is new, and somebody got shot in the Survivors Club. It was kind of, like what Bill was telling you this morning it was really insane. In San Fernando Valley, it had a couple of rehabs there, I don’t know. Is Pasadena apart of the valley, no not really, so it was just Cry Help. But there were a lot of penitentiary, a lot of the people who went through Cry Help had come from penitentiary so you had a lot of that dope fiend, criminal type attitudes people talking that. It was interesting, I dug it I was never that when I was using but you know it was ok I learned some new words and some new gestures. I got a good Camel habit from it. Anyway what I started to see happen was that NA started to grow and I do not know much about the BOT. I do know that Jimmy and Bill were members of the BOT for a long time. If I am not mistaken, I think back then you were lifetime members and they would trade around to see who was chairman for that year or whatever.
I have a lot of theories of what happened but one year in the Southern California Region they shot a letter off well I wrote it a letter off to the Bay Area saying if you are using AA literature in our NA meetings is a Tradition violation. The next month at that regional convention the Magdeleno’s showed up with their cronies and they were ready to kick Doug F ass because they thought that he wrote the letter. That was a lot of your bullshit right there. Unfortunately, it was very hard for people to talk civilly with one another there was always an atmosphere of like I am going to kick your ass or something. Anyway, Douglas worked at the office so I guess that was more fuel to add to the fire from the old Sylvia Magdeleno days I do not know. So now, they were going to get Jimmy K or something. Jimmy K never involved himself with the area and the region like that but he was always there to supply them literature when they could not get their shit together when they could not get their literature committee to get their literature for their own area. They would just say well let us just go to Jimmy’s house and get it. He would let them use the Xerox machine to Xerox their minutes or whatever.
Therefore, there was a lot of tension building and then I do not know sometimes I feel that when I look back at all of that, I feel like I witnessed a holocaust or something because it was ugly. It is very hard for me to share that part of our history because some of the people that did us the most harm were our friends. I can remember Christmas caroling with these people, I can remember fellowshipping with these people and going to their homes you know laughing at them at the Survivors Club, inviting them to share at the Cry Help marathon on New Years Eve. I was probably the only one in the valley that thought that the BOT really meant a shit. I can remember that I went to Jack Bernstein and I said hey I got a great idea for the marathon. I am going to have every BOT speak and you know nobody really thought at that time thought so what. It was a great marathon because you had your people who were trustees who had been clean for a long time there. You know I had enough respect for the BOT in that part of my recovery.
Somewhere a long the line there was a movement of the Basic Text came to be. It was a thing that had to come, it was needed. The only problem was that somewhere a long the lines some people who were highly respected in the Narcotics Anonymous chain started planting some seeds to people out in the east out in the Midwest about what Jimmy was doing, who he was, what his problems were. This was kind of, sort of a shock to us at the office because we would get it third hand, like what the hell is going on? Jimmy was never going to suspect his closest friends having anything to do with it and who would suspect anybody with any time clean to start doing that kind of stuff. So before you knew it we were like constantly defending the office. I will tell you that for as much work as had to be done it was a real hindrance to have to do that. When Betty spoke of the WSO board at that time the decision to elect a new board was based on the fact that the board was doing. The people in the office were doing so much of the work that maybe and we had to take such a defensive stand continually about what the office was doing that we decided fuck it. Let us just vote in a board and have it be all the volunteers you know it made sense to us. Then we know where all of us stand, we are all here for the same purpose. I do not know how that came about I forgot but I could probably dig it up but that is why the decision was made. We did not know where all the dissension and bullshit was coming from. We had some ideas but that is what we decided, that is what made the most sense. That really did not change anything of how the office was run. We all still did the same shit. We still are were expected to do exactly what we were doing before. (End of Tape 4)
I do not remember the exact; I do not know who was there. I remember Greg that you asked me, you said something about I guess you were concerned about the office being in Jimmy’s house. You said, maybe you should be the one to tell Jimmy you know. I remember thinking at that time because I was so in awe of you that you were a trustee. I thought that well maybe he has a point. I actually thought that, but then the second thought that came to my mind was why you did not do that, that was your sponsor. So, you know I did not understand what was going on at that time.
Anyway, the next thing that started to happen was that we started to receive. Like the feeling at the office was that oh okay, the fellowship wants the office out of Jimmy’s house. All right let us see if we can get an office close by if that is all they want you know let’s try it. We all talked about it but there were no funds for rent. Nobody ever thought out here, anywhere outside of California. Nobody stopped to think you know where is all this money coming from? Douglas at that time was the chairman of the Southern California region and there were only meetings at that time one a month or once every two months, I forget every two months right. Now what happened was we got wind of this about two months before the next coming up conference. The regional had already happened and so Douglas called up all the ASRs in the region on the phone. I was there, I heard it and there was nothing sneaky about it. It was even in the guidelines at that, time that emergency meetings, could be called for discussions could be over the phone. He called up every ASR and explained look at the World Conference we want to get the WSO into an office you know and we do not have any money to do it. It will most likely be an issue at the World Service Conference and so we need eight hundred dollars, that is what we needed for the rent the first and last or whatever, yes first and last. So ASR said yes every ASR and when the treasurer, I forget her name but she was from the Bay Area. When she was asked for the check, she said ok I will get it over to you tomorrow and she never came with the check. What she had done was gone to somebody I don’t know who and next thing you know I think it was Chuck Skinner and somebody else on the BOT start shooting messages to the entire fellowships by letter, do not send any more money to the WSO, without telling the WSO their intentions. This was this created a lot of disunity first of all it usurped the trustees stepped in and were trying to essentially do the job of the chairman of the Southern California Region. At that time, my feeling was that nobody ever had the balls to confront one another. It was always done behind everybody’s backs. We got into the office in the end anyway but the real intent of everything was to not get office out of Jimmy’s house but to get Jimmy out of the WSO. That was the real intent and that was realized at that year’s conference.
I watched you Greg. I am sorry; I watched how you used people on the east coast. You used Jim Miller, Joseph Procter and Bo Sewell to do your bidding. I do not know why you found it in your heart that, I do not know why you could not have gotten up to the podium and made those motions. But every time Chuck Gates said that motion is out of order and it will not be heard here, they would come running back to your table. You the great thinker and leader that you were would tell them how to reword that motion. I watched you, we were this far apart. You know how I know. Because at lunchtime when all those people went out to lunch Bill Beck and I went up to those tables and tore all your mother fucking notes up. You know because you came with a fucking strategy like you were out for blood, we saw these notes, and it was like a chess game. You had it all, it must have taken you months to figure how you were going to fuck this old man you know basically. So we went around very the dope fiends that we were, excuse me very much and we just took your notes and tore them up and I will admit to that and it felt good because to watch all of you to come back to your seats with your asses showing not knowing what to do. What am I going to do now we have to start all over? But you quickly reassembled and so at least we knew who the monster was by that time. I feel at that time that a lot of the RSRs coming in from the Midwest and the east coast and outside of California they were coming and they were witnessing something ugly and something untrue. You were hearing people air their dirty laundry from twenty years ago. You know I guess that is what I am doing today, I mean you guys wanted to hear that. I am glad that Bo and Greg finally showed up. Tell you the truth Bo, you know at all the conventions that I have run into you I have thought that it was very obvious that I did not want to talk to you and it has always made me uncomfortable when you keep trying to approach me. I have thought certainly by now you must know how I feel, so now that we are face to face and you know how I feel. Last night you guys missed something good because just about everybody in this room came up and talked about why they were here. You know I did not hear many people talking about you know they want to know what happened and they want to know why it should not happen again. You know these are some of the things you want to know.
Jimmy Kinnon at one point, Betty was very right on about this I remember it. Jimmy Kinnon refused to believe that certain people he grew up with in Narcotics Anonymous would do this to him, would really and truly betray him like this. That is why Bill Beck taped that phone conversation you know and we had to take it back and let Jimmy listen to it and he was floored, he was hurt. The thing with the Basic Text you know I can kind of understand it you know, it was your baby. You know this was your baby your thing that you worked on. I know what it feels like to love something you know to hold onto it, because that is what I felt like about the office you know that was my, our baby. We thought we were doing what was best for the addict you know. We wanted to be apart of that just like you wanted to be apart of the Basic Text thing. The office never wanted to stop the Basic Text from coming around. You blindly side stepped the office; you refused to even acknowledge that the office even existed. The ways and means that you went about, the ways and means that this fellowship went about to throw this man out and lock him out of the office was disgraceful. I you know in 1982 I said fuck you California and I left. I left Douglas and that stinking state and I said I am never going to a conference again and I am never being of service in the structure until it is right. To me in my opinion it has only gotten worse because now what has happened is you are all sitting there saying what happened you know. Well you know what you assholes put those people in there you know I mean maybe not you per se but the people that represented you went out there. They were used and manipulated and what do they do now buy you a shrimp dinner, I mean you go out there now and you have the innocent RSRs that represent thousands of people, thousands of people and all they go by is the agenda. You go there and man, I know how these people are. I have worked with them and I do not have any respect for most of them. They do not intimidate me with their time you know I know what they do they lobby. They take these RSRs and they tell them how to vote, come on. You know what if we were really following what this fellowship wanted half this shit that comes on the floor would never come up our conferences would only last a day you know. Those are the issues in the fellowship they do not have anything to do with this other crap. The other thing that has been going on for years and years, why should a person who represents nobody get a vote you know that has never made since to me. What do they want to have now sixty‑five trustees? You know something else that the forefathers of our constitution wrote, they realized that power corrupts well I see how power has corrupted our fellowship. I see it happening today you know when I work with sponsee’s they do not know. I rarely tell them what I did, yeah I tell them that I knew Jimmy and Betty and Bill but I do not tell them about all that shit. I never tell them, you know how they hear it, when they hear me on a tape or they hear me at a convention they are floored because it is painful it is very painful. I pray man I cannot tell you how much fucking sage I lit and incense I burned and prayers I said. You know fuck it here it is. To me you know the founder of this program is Jimmy Kinnon and sometimes I think the reason, the reason it is so hard for some people in this fellowship to acknowledge that is because they do not want to be held accountable for their actions. If that means inventing up a new fucking history then that is the lengths they are willing to go to, then I say go home and clean house. That is what I did I resigned from this bullshit and if I had anything to do with it I am out of it. You know I am sorry this is not the way I planned it.
All I see now at the WSO is confusion and the thing of exclusion. I think all you know what they are collecting out there; they are not collecting the spiritual saints of our program. They are collecting the big thinkers the politicians you know. So when you go out there do not forget that you are representing your people you know your home group. Another thing that uses to be one of the sore points is a lot of addicts, I guess it is their tendency to think well if someone else will do it for us let them do it. That is why it took us so long to get a book, because shit we had an AA book, you know fuck it why fix it if something is working. One of the issues I saw becoming a problem was do not send an RSR with a vote of confidence. We are humans we are going to go there if you give us free rein to vote anyway we see fit. We are just going to be voting on everything. An RSRs purpose I believe is to represent the conscience of his people that he represents and that has been the falling away. NA worked better when we had nothing when we had no money, when we had nothing you know. I have seen how money, property, and prestige have continued to hurt people. I do not like these ideas about 12 concepts being handed down to me and taking my vote away, you know taking my voice away. It has gotten very smooth you know out there and to me what I see it is just a chipping away of taking away your voice. You can come up here with all your fine big words and stuff but to me that is all it is you just want to hold onto your power. I meant to really just get up here and talk about the Jimmy that I knew but there is so much information out there about that personally met the man and what he did for people. A lot of people got hurt, a lot of people got hurt. Back then when Southern California when all this shit was happening we could not go home after the conference and talk about all this shit because first of all who the hell would believe us you know. So we took it out on each other. We fought at home we yelled at each other in the car. I remember almost strangling Jerry Pulcarro one year you know because I was so upset. I invited my sponsor who was not involved in service Cathy to come to the conference and I said come on you would meet all of these people from out of state. You know she sat in the back and wept, she was disgusted you know. All I can tell you is maybe there are some pioneers sitting in this room tonight that can carry on the spirit of Narcotics Anonymous in the way that it was introduced to me along time ago. About helping one another about including all of us and how we are all important and how we all have something to offer one another. I just wish that here were more people here today and you know I use to hear the old saying that resentments will kill the addicts. No, they have not killed me, rejection will kill me but I have lived with this part in my recovery this whole time. I will be clean thirteen years in a couple of weeks and all this time this is the only area in my recovery that is not resolved, the only part. You know I think this fellowship owes an apology to the Kinnon Family. I think they owe an apology to a lot of people. I think they have to stand up if the want my respect they have to stand up and say some things. You know say what, I ask God for understanding but I am not hearing any. That is why I am here; I want some light shed for me. I love Narcotics Anonymous. I would not be here today if it were not for Narcotics Anonymous. Everything that is good in my life is a result of Narcotics Anonymous, my children, my husband, my home my friends, my clean time, my health, everything. I am not the same person as I was when I got here. Once upon a time I was taught we get involved in service to stay clean we are all replaceable you know so I just want to say that. Thanks for letting me share. (Applause)
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 5 Bob B.
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speaker: Bob B.
Thanks Fawn, I am excited let me take a deep breath here and relax for a second because I don’t even know most of this stuff and I got real excited so I imagine some of you guys are jumping around. In fact maybe we can have another moment of silence, everybody. Then let us get on with it. Bob you want to come up here and talk a little bit about the office too, yeah Bob we got lots of time. (Applause)
I got so involved with what Fawn was talking about that I had almost forgot there is a lot of things that go along with what she was talking about. Some things are out of sync in terms of time frame and that is okay too because I think they can be taken care of in terms of what times they happened and what order they happened in. I think we have to be responsible for about a lot of things we had to do at any given time. Sometimes we have to make hard fast decisions, not everybody is going to like it, and somebody is going to get hurt, me, you and everyone else here. We have to resolve that within ourselves in terms of hoping that we are doing our best that we know how to do at that particular time. It is unfortunate that there were feelings hurt. I think feelings were hurt probably on both sides, the ones that were perpetrating and the ones that were perpetrated against. I don’t like to make decisions, I don’t even like to be apart of them most of the time if I can just let it happen by itself by some osmosis or something I would probably let that take place. However, we are living in a real world and sometimes we have to take those risks about making those decisions that are unpopular. Somebody is not going to like it and that is the way things are. I wish the world was different but it is not and human nature is different and it is what it is.
During those growing years and I think one of the things that happened during those growing years. You are talking about yes we had great labors of love that went on that we could do voluntarily. As we grew we out grew the possibility of doing those things on a voluntary level. Yes, I was in agreement with one of the decisions that were made that was kind of very difficult. It was not made in terms of whipping nobody or forcing nobody. It was kind of a decision that was made that was thought was necessary for the time. Yes I was apart of that, that agreed at the time that Jimmy needed to step aside and let somebody be another office manager. As you so stated earlier he knew about it beforehand. The way it was done I probably did not agree with the way it was done. I was not apart of how it was done, I was in agreement that it should have been done, and it was. I do not know of any soft pleasant ways to say, to do things that are difficult. I do not know if I could have carried out the act myself, personally.
Greg and I our self were dismissed from the office board because we were so much involved with the BOT directly that they had or felt they had to make some of those decisions. Once again, we are talking about the relationship between the conference and the BOT or the people who thought they were in power or in power to do something. Sometime we felt that we were in power to do something because we had no other oppositions, nobody to tell us different. Even by the authority of Jimmy because he was apart of that same decision making policy for a lot of years himself along with us. There was nobody else to make those decisions. Sometimes we had to it upon ourselves only by the sake of what do we think is best for the fellowship as a whole. How do you think we should accomplish it? Set about the wheels in progress of doing it and taking the flack that came back from it. A part of the flack was disagreement not we took hey we remained a whipping boards for many years even we were not involved in the decision‑making. They did bring the conference along and the conference that came from across the nation. Hopefully you sent you best personnel to do that job to carry your thinking and your ideas from that particular area, region to participate in what happens in Narcotics Anonymous. Hoping you are getting your personnel selves out of the way and trying to work in terms of NA as a whole. Yes, we have a lot of strong personalities in Narcotics Anonymous. I mean we will fight for our right to be wrong. I guess it is rightly so in many ways as that is the reason you are there to deal with what comes before that particular conference and what was before the World Service Office. I do not agree that the WSO is no great power personally. There may be a lot of things that are happening at the WSO that I do not agree with. I am not apart of World service myself personally and everything that I do, I do on my own and I like it that way. It gives me some other latitudes and not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with anyone. It is called what Bob feels is purposeful for him and what I think is best for the job to be done. Hopefully the division, which we are talking about, is not irreparable. I think it is something that we have to learn how to come together even when we disagree. To find out that objective in which we are trying to achieve and find out how we can best implement whatever method in order to achieve that objective. The WSO yes if it, but hey we never had a WSO to go back to or have a history of.
We had to build from scratch and to make all the mistakes as necessary when you are trying to start a business. We have never been along this road before and I do not know nobody else that has been along this road the way that we have been along this road. This is all new it was all new territory. Jimmy in his wisdom was not an administrator in terms of running a business. He was a roofer. He had certain knowledgeable things of how to do things but that was not one of them. Business was not one of his hold cards. He even went to school to try and learn some things about some business things but he was not prepared for the momentously job that came about at the time of the publication of the Basic Text. It was almost overwhelming not only talking about dealing with the people that ran off, or went bankrupt on Narcotics Anonymous. It is part of the carry over of saying that the WSO of yesterday is the same WSO of today is not true either. It is a market ably different completely. I think that there are a whole number of things that we have to come to understand that was happening yesterday perhaps is not happening today hopefully. Hopefully, we have learned in our making of whatever mistakes we have made that there was some areas that needed to be taken care of. But it is incumbent upon you as a fellowship because they are doing the job very often, of what you tell them to do, to be involved in making those decisions. In other words you give them, the work to do hopefully you will let them do the work. Very often, I notice one thing there is a lot of interference. You give them a job and then you tell them how to do it. What is the use in giving them a job if you are going to tell them how to do it? Hopefully you will get someone in there that knows how to do it, because all those people are replaceable. We are all replaceable. Now if you think somebody in there is getting out of hand and got to much power, remove them. (Audience: How?) By whatever methods it takes to have somebody removed. Now if you are asking me how, I do not know how, right I cannot give you an answer but you have the power to do it the fellowship has the power to do that. Now you find out how. Do not leave it on me because that is what we have been doing before passing it off to somebody else. How we going to do that, you come over here and do it for me. No, you have to get involved in the process; you must get involved in the process. Sometimes we do not like to get involved in the process because we do not want to be unpopular either. We are going to get pointed at he said that. We do not like to be unpopular; we all want to be very popular. Some of us are going to have to stand our ground and be unpopular. Sorry that way it is, is the way it is, especially if you are standing in the position where I am standing in front of a podium telling you about certain things. At some point, I might be unpopular because I am going to say something perhaps that nobody do not like. Hey, it is ok, it is all right. I understand human nature and where it is coming from, but I think we have a meeting ground that we can all work together on. I have found that time and time again. If I have learned nothing more than that from Jimmy, I have learned that we could work together regardless of what this here head get off on tangents on that we can work together. We do that particular process on finding the common ground on which we can work together.
The office, the WSO you know even in its infancy was merely, started out more of a collecting place where people could meet, where we established an address and a Post Office box. Where we gathered the material that was, suppose to be sent out, this job becomes larger and larger and larger. I do not really believe that some people can really visualize the scope of world level organization. I think it is almost incomprehensible unless you go and sit down a day and see the operation of a world level organization. To know how much work is involved in operating a world level organization. We become very centralized and think that all that needs to be taken care is our immediate meeting place or area and we forget that this is a world organization. You understand a world organization that has many complexities and many molds of understanding that are not like ours that have to be dealt with. There are many tasks to be performed in the process of bringing it all together and carrying the message.
So until we can realize or visualize that concept of a world organization and that somebody is trying to put the pieces together and hold it together I think we are kind of short changed in understanding as to the work that needs to be done. I heard it said somebody was talking about going back to the volunteer system. I hope that you form your own individual volunteer system to take care of the works that need to be done in the immediate area. See because when you get so far a field of doing everybody else’s works that we do not take care of the work at home. One of my reasons for they say not being at world level in fact is at being at no level in terms of where there is any titles is the freedom which I have to do as I please in a sense of speaking. Not only that, the need for me to grow is the need for me not to have a title is to be just another member of Narcotics Anonymous. To see what job needs to be done and trying to be apart of that job that needs to be done. It simplifies it for me; it makes it very simple for me. I think one of the things about they say at the WSO you hear me talking about the early days you know that yes we had difficulties.
There was a lot of differences of opinion of who ran it or what or how. I think as I said my thinking then and had always been that Jimmy would always be a part of Narcotics Anonymous and never to not have a place at any given time. I keep hearing this thing We threw him out, yes they had changed the locks on the door, I was unaware of the changing of the lock on the door but that was done by the new manager that was not one of us in the sense of speaking that was done by the. For whatever reasons he must have thought that was the way to do things, I do not know, because I did not ask him I knew it was an event that occurred. It would not have been a way that I would have handled it but the event did occur, but he still had a place. Everybody that was on the BOT knew that he had a place in Narcotics Anonymous. The fact is they sat a place aside for him that he could put anything and do what he wants to at the office. So part of the idea that he had no place at Narcotics Anonymous, I do not know where that comes from. I know where it came from but I am not going to get into it I am not going to give no more copy on that. It occurred there were many bad feelings as were talked about earlier as a result of it. Part of the separation is still there a lot of the hurts is still there. It is unfortunate that they are, you know I wish that it could have been some very smooth way of dealing with it I do not know. That is past that is history that is history. So I think we can only go from today.
Today is a very historical moment in terms of we have been able to discuss what has been going on. Maybe to be able to come to a better understanding as to what transpired , because I think much of the attitudes and what I am hearing has been champion in this particular area, I do not know why. But we are still talking about that misinformation this morning. We have a lot of misinformation because sometimes we do not want to talk to our partner who has the information. Sometimes all it takes is the question, what happened, how did it happen, who said what. Sometimes we do not even ask the question because we want to conceive in our head that this is the way it happened, and this is the way it happened, and that is not the way it happened at all. But we get entrenched there, I do at many times and I have to get back to that place of keeping an open mind. Get back to that place of keeping your open mind, get back to that place of keeping your open mind, practicing these principles once again getting back to some basics because we are talking about recovery. I am not talking about service at all because the item I must do is recover from all these here character defects and shortcomings that I have. I am still in recovery although I might be in service I am in recovery and I hope I am always in the process of recovering. Because, I don’t know what I would do if I got well, see I know to many people that got well, and we have buried a few people who have gotten well, and I don’t want to be apart of that. See I am learning how to live today and I think one of the processes here in terms of saying dealing with offices and dealing with conference I think we have to get back to the people. The people are the one that represents it if you are not being represented then you need to get you somebody that will represent you, very simple. How did they get into office in the first place, you put them there. How do you get them out of office, you take them out same way and I realize we got some strong personalities and hopefully that we will learn in the process is that we do have a voice. Sometimes you must stand up, speak, and say what you must say. Sometimes you have to be unpopular in the process. Because the one that is going to best represent you may not be, the one that is loudest and they think they got the most power. You might have to watch that person over there thinking clearly making good decisions that might be the one you want up there to represent you the way you need to be represented. So we best have some choices in that area, mostly we have to be apart of that process. There is no place in Narcotics Anonymous where you cannot be effective in some way. I am glad it is that way. We all have some idea that someone up in some hierarchy is running things. Most of the things they are doing are things that you told them or gave them permission to do. By your representation, it may not be by word, but by your representation and what you thought was implied that you thought you wanted to have done. They are doing it to the best of their ability on all cases I know of they are doing it to the best of their ability. There are some mistakes made along the way. In none of these instances do I know anybody that had not made mistakes. That is the nature of the human nature; they will make mistakes if they are human. I know damn well if a computer makes mistakes, I know damn well people can.
So the office had been kind of a thorn in many people’s sides because that is where you get your information from. It is usually written so that it cannot be distorted by this is what you heard. See the rest of it you can pass off as this is what I heard, and so they are not responsible. Yes they are they are spreading bullshit, they are responsible. But you can always point at the WSO because they did not document it there and they sent you the paper. You got the paper right in front of you and they said so and so and so. It may be a response to something that you said but you got it documented so they become the target. They are very; the target is the WSO, right. Sometimes you do not want to say that the conference was involved because the conference usually tells the WSO what to do. You do not want to say that because they are your immediate peers, they surround you so you do not want to blame them. Therefore, you do not use them, because you can question them you do not want to talk to them so you focus on the WSO. The WSO is full of shit. If they are, you pumped them up.
Fawn: Just say it Betty
Betty: I would like to ask you a question. Is there trustees working in the WSO right now?
Bob: I do not think so
Room: musical chairs
Bob: No, what musical chairs, what trustee is working in office.
Betty: Are they involved in the conference, I mean are they ( ) checks and balances in there
Bob: They are part of the conference,
Betty: ( ) checks and balances in there
Bob: yes with the conference it is
Room: No not anymore
Bob: When did they change it?
Room: The bottom line is that there are more BOD represented, trustees and special workers who ( ) that counts
Bob: Well what I am saying is
Room: the people sitting in the house and in the gallery that don’t vote and BOD and trustees that do vote that their RSRs did not ( )
Bob: Well if that is the case then maybe you need to change your guidelines
Room: They do not follow guidelines that we approve, nothing
Bob: Wait, wait, wait a minute, who said they don’t?
Fawn: I have been on World Lit and I have seen
Bob: See you said World Lit; I am not on World Lit
Room: (everybody is talking at once)
(Somebody stepped to the mic) Excuse me; excuse me everybody hang on for a second now. Now before this gets to far out of hand everybody is going to get their chance and all the sides are going to be heard. Let us not try to get to defensive here and attack here and just try to come together and put it on the table. A lot of us here do not know nothing and we want to hear all of it in due time though and we cannot all hear it at the same time. Why don’t we allow the person who is sharing up here to finish sharing? We are going to have an agenda setting up kind of thing at nine o’clock and we can start maybe setting up a way that a lot of these things can be answered. We have the whole weekend we have the whole weekend. Let us let this thing take its course now and let everybody get their say.
Room: Why are we afraid of the (motion, emotion) there is nobody going to attack him, we are being spontaneous and sometimes
Podium: Unfortunately, nobody can hear everything though; we need to do it in an orderly fashion. There will be time for this. I am not the director of what is going on here (audience remarks) but I am chairing this meeting and it is in a format. If we could
Betty: Can we, I understood that when we came here we would be able to ask questions of the speaker, so if we raise our hands and ask questions is that allowed?
Podium: Is that ok
Bob: That is ok with me because I am not the authority of anything so you asking me once again as I said before you will are asking me questions that I am not an authority on. So I cannot give you a solid answer that you can bank on. I cannot give you that; I do not have that authority. Folks you are asking me questions that are not in my scope or realm of answering.
Room: Well you have been giving us a lesson on spiritual principles and what we were asking you is to tell us about what happened in the office in the 70s and you have not said a word about that.
Bob: Well that is what was happening in the office in the 70s up through the 80s.
Podium: Do you want to take questions?
Bob: Yes, I will take questions it is ok.
Podium: Ok Bob will just sort of point to people and we will ask questions in an orderly fashion. Is that ok with everybody?
Room: Do we need a microphone or
Bob: Well I will repeat your question if you will. Yes dear
Audience: When you made a statement, about we elect the RSRs ok, and we need to look at whom we are electing to send out to the conference to represent our conscience ok. When we do that and there are, motions passed and those RSRs come home and somewhere along the line in a few months, the rules get changed ok. Things start happening and the RSRs say that is not what happened that is not what got passed. I do not know where this piece of information came from but it has a WSO letterhead on it and the BOT signatures on it. How does that happen?
Bob: That is a good question that I cannot answer
Room: That is the point that I would like to bring up because I have participated and it is frustrating and spiritually corrupt you know. Let me ask you this. This is something else that comes to mind you were sharing about when the locks were changed and that the trustees is that correct voted on it
Bob: yes the conference and the trustees both
Audience: to ask Jimmy to resign or move aside and let some other manager gets in there and does the job done. Am I understanding you correctly? When those locks were changed and that mans life was devastated (flip tape) (new speaker)
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speaker; Bob B.
Room: It happened and it happened and I do not blame the man for not opening the door for one or two people that were the instruments of the coo because it was widely known who they were. Now maybe if some other people on the board had gone there but you know why that son of a bitch went there. He did not go there to carry any message. He went to that door to gloat and that is why he was not, because this is a man who opened the door for anybody at any time twenty‑four hours a day and I find it most unusual. But not really when you think of the implications there of that finally there were two people that he would not open the door for man. They fucking killed him, they aggravated his cancer and killed him and put him in the fucking grave.
Bob B. Next
They are in the minutes, in the minutes of the World Service Conference there is a BOT packet and I can not call the name right off. But it was six months after the event occurred with the locked door that in a resignation letter that the chairman of the BOD or the vice chair said I could not bring myself to tell Jimmy of any this or make an apology so therefore I resign. I have got that in my archives.
Bob B. Great it was Chuck, I know who it was it was Chuck Gates.
Room: Meaning we got everybody laying low here, we can’t be laying low.
Bob: Well that is what I am saying here we are talking about. Who is laying low I don’t know about anyone laying low.
Room: Did you do anything wrong then. That is what we want to hearm that is our history.
Bob S: No, I don’t feel I have done anything wrong no. That is what I have said I have done the things in the best interest of Narcotics Anonymous when I made my
Room. Can I ask my question please.
Podium: If you come up and give your name it would probably help a little better with the tapes. If you dont want to that is ok but if you don’t that is ok, just keep that in mind.
Lawrence: I am an addict named Lawrence, hi Lawrence. I have to remember that I am an addict and possibly that is what we should reflect on before we come up here. You know it seems like Jimmy was offered a kind of what ever you want to do kind of appeasement after the fact is that true
Bob: Before and after
Lawrence: it was before and after, it was before they locked him out. So he was offered after they locked he out and before ( Bob:Yes, both times) okay. Now Fawn mentioned that there was a masterminding going on is this true? Is that true Greg? (various room responses) Then my other thing I am going to make this real brief. With the present composition of the World Service Conference there is no way that an RSR any RSR is in power or engenders what we send them to represent. There is no way just with the composition of the RSRs can they carry a two‑thirds vote to get anything passed. Just with the nature of the way motions are inputted in to admend and they way they are sent back out a lot of the motions are substituted right there on the floor. I saw this just this year, I saw it. The conference procedure and the way just everything was violated you know and I was going to ask the RSR of Alaska you know right here how can the RSRs get anything passed with the present composition of the conference. There is no way we can be in power to get rid of Stu Tordman or to get rid of the people that are really starting all of this shit here. How could the WSO presently and the boards presently if they do not want to recognize it or deny it and then don’t really know nothing about it. Then the special workers we have don’t know shit about it either. So how can anything be engendered by the representative by the other fellowship with the present composition. It just cant happen, I mean yeah we might have to bear arms to get them out or something.
Podium: Excuse me, excuse me if we can do this in an orderly fashion it would be more responsible for us
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 5B Greg P, Bill B, Bo S
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speakers; Greg P, Bill B, Bo S
My name is Greg and I am an addict, hi Greg. The question was, was there a master plan. There was not a master plan for me. Today’s workshops has dredged up a lot of pain for me too because I do not see myself as Judas. I love Jimmy more than any other human being before or since. I am sorry that we were passed the 70s because this was on the 70s and what the pain is in the ‘90s, the ‘70s were a wonderful time by and large. In ‘79, we began having problems. A lot of that had to do with some of the stuff that Fawn talked about. One of the things that she did not mention was the attempts to change “Another Look” and the impact that, that had and the divisiveness that had. I am going to talk about the 70s from my perspective. I came in 1970 and the people I looked up to were people like Bob and Bill and Mel and a bunch of other people. I learned from them and they taught me how to live. We ran together and we were a family. It was a wonderful time and there were a lot of wonderful firsts in the 70s. There has been a lot of the divisiveness brought up that happened in ‘80, ‘81, ‘82, ‘83, and ‘84, that did not happen in the ‘70s. The ‘70s were pretty much a joyous time in Narcotics Anonymous. They began with some tension between Northern and Southern California that is true but out of that grew a lot of unity. Bill you can remember a meeting we all had in San Luis Obispo at Bib’s house. When some of those hatches were set aside. Betty was there to I believe. There was a time when I think Bob, Jimmy and I rode up to Northern California in ’73 to San Francisco to try to heal some of those wounds and there was some tremendous healing. The ‘70s were a special time, they were a time when we began to really grow, where fellowships started and stuck for the first time. I have a stack of documentation, when I do history I try not to put a lot of opinion into it I try to stick with the documentation. I did not bring any of it with me because this is about feeling now. I found something in Narcotics Anonymous that changed me. I came here and I found a new life and I found it in parking lots and I got it talking to Bob and I got it talking to Jack Whaley and I got it talking to Karen Craft and Cliff and all those folks that were so ,and Pepe, so important. Many of whom are dead today. Perhaps personally after about 1972 I learned everything or virtually everything I know about Narcotics Anonymous from Jimmy and there were some wonderful things.
One of the things that have been talked about some is the division between the BOT and the WSO. The WSO was originally formed had a BOD of six people. The BOD included Jimmy, Betty, Bob, myself, Don Keith and one other person who was it, Bill. Of those six, four were trustees. There was no separation, there was no separation at all because there were only a handful of people doing this stuff and the communication was easy. The mid ‘70s were a magic time. We started getting some things in I have a Twelve Steps as practiced by one member that came form Northern California which was really a peace pipe in my opinion which was an offering following all the controversy that was involved with the plagiarized. This is Narcotics Anonymous Book that was published. All that anger and all that fear and all that paranoia and all that myth information and mis‑communication. The mid ‘70s saw a time when we really tried to heal that and the service structure that we know today grew directly out of an attempt to heal the wounds between Northern and Southern California. It was written in the later part of 1975 following that meeting between about 60 people getting together in the middle of California. The first WSC was held in 1976 part of that the BOT made all the service decisions and business decisions for Narcotics Anonymous. There was the Parent General Service Organization, which it was started, in the mid 60s. The BOT had been started before or pretty much the same time and that was the decision making process for Narcotics Anonymous. The board implemented what the Parent General Service Organization (PGSO) recommended. That changed in 1976 and as soon as the change started taking place, it started being tampered with, the relationship between the board and the office. In 1979, the relationship between the board and the office changed radically when the blue service manual was adopted. That was the same period of time that “Another Look” and some of the other IPs were attacked. We also moved out of California. We had a growing series of World Conventions that were wonderful and a lot of the growth that has come to Narcotics Anonymous can be related directly to the World Conventions that were held in Houston, Wichita and Atlanta in 78, 79 and 80. We started getting groups and fellowships going. The fellowship here in Pennsylvania started in the early 70s. The fellowships Georgia started in the 70s, Florida, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio and on and on and on. NA really got going in the 70s and the 70s was a joyous time, but it brought our pain with them.
I was not involved in a lot of things that happened in California after 1979 when I left and moved away. I was not involved in the day had I remember that meeting that several people have referred to. All I knew is that I got a registered letter saying that you will be removed in a meeting in 48 hours. That is all I knew and I said no I would drive down 700 miles. That was the first I had heard about it. I was also told that that was because I was trying to get Jimmy out of the office. I was also told that if I were ever seen again someone would kill me. In addition, the pain, I have a lot of pain to from that time period too around 1980. We all have a lot of pain from that time and maybe this is about healing some of that pain. Some of my pain stems from the rejection of the man I love the most because of misinformation from our friends. That is where some of my pain comes from. Some of my pain comes from a dream that he and I shared. The inability we had to communicate that a simple service system. Some of that pain comes from the death of dreams. I know that is where all of our pain comes from whether that is the pain that you guys shared the pain that Bob has the pain that many people have. The death of dreams.
You know someone said about service about everybody has made mistakes; hell at worst my service has been self‑serving egotistical expression of my disease. At best, it has been a form of worship, it has been both, and I do not know anybody who can say anything different about their service. I was elected my first trusted servant position at the Monday Night Moorepark Group in December 1970. I was elected GSR and I could not take the position because I did not have 90 days clean. Service taught me about life and I got feeling good. One of the things that has carried me through some of the difficult times has been the knowledge that the people that I have disagreed with and the people that have disagreed with me all care deeply about Narcotics Anonymous. One of the people that was involved in the office in the early days there are lots of , what about Maury W, what about Bibs W, what about the folks that were really instrumental in the early 70s, 1972 when we first opened the office right after the first World Convention. The moves the office went from Crenshaw Blvd. to Highland down to MPP . Was it down to MPP or Suicide Prevention, Suicide Prevention? Then picking up the pieces and moving it to Van Nuys Blvd to the Bail Bondsman and having a third of all the files and other things disappear in the process. Nobody knew where they were and having, stepping in to that a year or two later with three months worth of unpaid bills and a nonfunctioning office. That office above the bail bondsman I think Bill helped us get that in fact he may have been paying the bills part of the time, particularly when the office did not have any money. I mean our big budget in those days was fifty dollars for the month or twenty‑five dollars for the month.
I had the opportunity to begin traveling. I agree that traveling is what bridges the gaps in the 70s. I was here in Pennsylvania in 1978 and I was in Kansas in 1978. I was in Atlanta in 77 no the beginning of 1978. I was in Chicago and attended their only meeting on one trip that I went out. I do business trips for the company that I work for and every time they would buy an airplane ticket, I found out for very little money I could buy a triangle flight and I could stop and see someone who had been writing the office and give them a little personal touch. Let them know that we are real people, that were the joy, and the 70s were a joy for me. The pain everyone is talking about is 80s pain mostly maybe it has roots long before. The two greatest pains in my life in Narcotics Anonymous have been the rejection of my sponsor when Phil and I went twice to try to talk to him in 1981 long before any of this came down and the failure of the service structure. To meet the vision that we all sat in that kitchen and shared for months. Was there a conspiracy against Jimmy Kinnon? I cannot speak for anybody but me. All I ever wanted to see Jimmy do was to be free to do the things he wanted to do. To write down history, to be in touch with the armed services. I certainly did not want to see him packing the boxes and burning himself up, that is true. I get a lot of credit for masterminding a conspiracy. I would not have masterminded anything. I mean most of you at one time or another, I will get to you Bill, most of you at one time or another has called me to ask me if I could help you rite a motion or how you should deal with a problem. It was not any different in the early 80s than it is today. I still believe that being a trusted is to be of service and to help people when they ask. I never intentionally did anything to harm my sponsor. I know I hurt him but I intentionally ever did anything to harm him. That is maybe part of the air clearing. Narcotics Anonymous though is more important than any of us. We have a Tradition that says principles before personalities and that are my personality and your personality. There was a time when Jimmy single handedly kept Narcotics Anonymous together. It was a round 1960, it is well documented. It is documented in Bob’s story. It is documented in tapes by Jack Whaley and Chuck Skinner. They would go out to the meeting in Moorepark, there would be Jimmy, two loaded addicts, and the next week there would be Jimmy and two other. He single handedly kept Narcotics Anonymous alive. I also know that Jimmy felt very strongly about Narcotics Anonymous should never have a founder. He felt very strongly about Narcotics Anonymous starting as a group effort as a group not as an individual. He use to say things like we should never have any big shots in NA, no big mamas or big daddy’s whatever the quote is. I do not know what the resolution is. I know that there are lots and lots of documentation. God I know when I left to go to Oregon I turned over virtually all my papers to the office, all the tapes that I had made because I use to do a lot of that reel to reel taping with Jimmy. The meetings we had on Crenshaw, the step study meetings wonderful times. I think maybe what happened and if I can add, anything to the perspective just from my perspective is as the lines of communication began to dissolve in the service structure we began to distrust again. We began to fear again and we began to lash out again. As it grew and as we could not communicate, we lost the simplicity of the individual person contact. Sometimes I think Jimmy’s greatest contribution was being on the end of the phone for hundreds and thousands of people.
I mean I do not know what happened in the fifties. I read the minutes and there was a committee of six when we started and by the end of the year, they had all resigned and there were other people in there. Sounds like familiar to me. I do not know about the sixties I was not there but I know some things stuck. I know the literature the way we know it pretty much and the white book that was set in the sixties. I know that we published newsletters and did a lot of things in the sixties. Bill and Bob can answer those questions. The 70s were a time of spreading of Narcotics Anonymous. In addition, the beginning of fellowships in the United States and foreign countries. Most of them died out but some of them stuck. I know that I was privileged to be apart of that. I know that there are a lot of people here that I love that were privileged to be a part of that. Bill you had a question for me.
Bill: I mean I heard you say that you learned everything that you got from Jimmy and you were on the fucking inner circle man. You were a brother you know you were right there. During all this period of growth as things started to come alive over here in the south and on the east coast and those people were a long ways away. Somebody was telling these people out here that there was a senile old man working in the fucking office that did not have his shit together. Now I do not know who that person was but I do know that there was a hell of a lot of phone calls from Oregon to everywhere down there. It may or may not have been you, you know your right you were on the inner circle you were close. If I could pray I would pray that it was not you man but my inner feelings say that for one reason or another some misinformation some how some way got planted firmly on this coast. This information then began to become relayed to the trustees. Bob was a traveler with his RV and so was Chuck Skinner. They began to go out and the messages were coming back. I went over to that office and I did not see any senile old man or anybody that was ineffective. I saw a shit pile of work that one man could not do it by himself and a bunch of goddamned volunteers that would not come forth to do it. So I am highly offended at the ideology from anybody in this fellowship be it from the BOT to the WSO that they could have possibly drawn a conclusion that here was an ineffective person man. I mean there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. I think that they just need to own up hey man a mistake was made I am sorry, we helped drive a nail in an old man’s coffin. Some fucking rumors did some irreparable harm I would like to see it stop right here and now. I love you like a brother, I have known you for years like I know Bob. It is like hey man the man is a founder.
You were not here earlier when we talked all that shit about the guys from the Salvation Army and the Addicts Anonymous and Tender Loving Care. It is all beyond us; it is all out of the realm of our Traditions. They played no part in our frickin history. There may have been some ideology out there before. There was only one founder, he called the goddamn group together, and from there on there was a Narcotics Anonymous. It is like man this whole thing blows me away. Now we can I said it earlier, we can get on with our business and capsulate our history and write a book but let us bury the shit man. The old man is dead, he ain’t coming back and it hurts like a son of a bitch you know what I mean. I think there was a Judas and hope it was not you but you are the only one that can own up to that and say, yea or nay, you know. I don’t know, I really don’t know I got no facts or figures I got no proof I only got a feeling in my goddamn gut and I have stood corrected many times in this program. Nobody will be happier than me to say I am sorry if I am casting an expursion in a wrong direction. But I want this thing to be dead once and for all I want us to be unified once and for all. This man I have had to go to his house for help the first time I learned about meditating I seen him sit up in his bed in the morning when I was sleeping there cause it was saving my life and I seen this guy sit up in his bed and start saying prayers. I went shit them people really do that you know man I could not believe it. I mean it has got to stop now man, and everybody has done a lot of good hard work.
Speaker: Bo S
My name is Bo and I am an addict, hi Bo. Yeah I checked with Bob before getting up here. Before I even say this I want to say that I as a human being I have suffered. I have been suicidal in recovery I have been like sabotaged and stabbed in the back and many other places in funny ways. Just on, the technical, cold blooded, intellectual side you know it is real interesting how the disease puts us at odds with one another and the simple solution is always so illusive. There has got to be a plot a general thing a mastermind because we cannot accept how fucked up we are when shit happens. Then we have got this awesome force out there that could not kill us one way and we imagined it has gone away just because we stopped doing chemicals. I think that the disease of addiction gets away with a hell of a lot in our recoveries. I know that the disease of addiction gets away with a hell of a lot in our service structure and in any of the efforts that we do to help one another.
In this particular case the reason I went to Bob was because I don’t want share somebody’s personal conference but then I have since remembered that it was shared also at the WSC but I do not think that it was understood in context or particularly believed or seen that as absolutely true or relevant. What actually happened that may shed some light and I will share this in hopes that it sheds some light that if there was any mastermind involved it was this simple. The fact that it is already known to you maybe go away and pray that through with Gods help or something and try to reach some level of acceptance or simplicity. Of course said Bo had some other things that Bro is trying to but in and say but I am not going to let him do it.
The way I understood it from my sponsor before Bob Barrett who is now my sponsor is that Chuck Skinner went out and spent a lot of time with Jimmy one day and they had talks about many things, which was not unusual. The book came up and Jimmy said I am president of NA and the book will be done when I say it is done. I did not know about this until years and years and years later. Maybe pieces of this I knew then but so this really upset Chuck Skinner, he was not happy. In fact, he was in such a rage that he left the house and stayed away and would not call would not visit would not nothing for at least two weeks. At the end of two weeks, he went back by and hopefully removes this thorn from his side and laughs it off. As I understand it with several meals, a trip in the airplane and a lot of good fellowship all day. At the end of the day, he somehow asked a similar question and Jimmy’s response was identical. The phone calls through the entire existing fellowship started that day. Now I was in Atlanta and received one of those phone calls and I think I heard that they were going out before I received one because I was walking in the Highland Club in North Atlanta that was then on the corner of North Highland and Virginia Avenue. I remember the way I remember hearing that Kennedy was shot because I was driving up Eleventh Street in Atlanta towards old Baker Audio and I can remember the time and getting some tears in the eye. I remember hearing that these calls were going out and I can remember the parking lot and what I saw the same fucking way. I got the same fucking tears in my eyes except more because I realize something really heavy perhaps unavoidable but however it may have been was going on and that our world would never again be the same. You know just for what it is worth who here bleeds alone.
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 6A
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speakers; Question and Answers
I am Mickey and I am an addict, hi Mickey. I feel like something needs to happen all the time in my addiction. I am hearing all the answers and nobody is really stating the fucking question. What was the reason in the back rooms, on the conference and the BOD office that made the decision, we are going to fire Jimmy and hire another officer. What was the problem? Obviously the office grew a lot, obviously their were problems with the book, there was problems with printing. What was the specific reason that everybody said it was time to get a new office manager? We have heard how it happened, we have heard the dirt we have heard the pain. I even heard somebody made a decision I want to hear why. Why did we change officers?
Speaker: Bo S
I am still Bo and still an addict. Because I mean we, no it was not that we were going to get money it is because a lot of us just completely mixed ourselves out of that category. To where a person of integrity would not be such an issue at least on scores like that at later dates because we did what we did out of love and devotion. We exploded, we went from you know like when I met Jim Miller for instance there were maybe none or perhaps four meetings in the state of Ohio a year later there were 40 a year later there were 80 and a year later 120. I mean you know rooms this size you know we are starting with five meetings in the main city in a state. Five members there and then there would be five meetings in that town and then that neighborhood. I mean it was just exploding and there was like terrific energy ok. It is like I have not heard anyone else bring it out. I think Greg touched on it but it is like it is an honor to carry a hundred pounds for NA, it is still an honor. At about four thousand pounds it is no longer funny and stuff like that was happening to people and some of the people in this room were carrying loads like that with Gods help. You know God three thousand nine hundred ninety eight pounds and I will carry two, but some how we got through there and stayed clean you know. Maybe not totally sane but fairly clean. Jimmy had, well it is not like it was unprecedented historically. Winston Churchill did a lot for England and what does the British Government do, the immediately boot him out or they can say he has done his wartime and we will give him a rest.
Room: What is the answer to the question? What is the official reason?
Bob: Let me let me state this here
Bo: The growth of the office
Bob: There were a number of comments. No, no, no wait a minute I think that the question arose that the things that were happening at the office and the speed in which they were happening it was difficult for them to be responsive. We are talking about the volunteers getting the stuff out. We are talking about the contract being made with this person that went bankrupt. There were number of those particular types of issues, management issues that came up, that brought about the question of whether we needed new management at that time. That is what brought the question up. There were a number of incidents that leaned in the direction of perhaps maybe we need some new management somebody who would have some management skills that come out of the professional management of dealing with those types of things.
Room: What incidents?
Bob: Well we are talking about the money issue that went down between the printer and that was one of the big issues because that was a holler from all over the country.
Room: What was the issue?
Bob: The money
Bill B: Listen; let me respond to something that he was laying the ground, Bo Sewell right. You said that, well unfortunately I remember you. Not with fond memories. It is because of the kind of thing that you just did about relating of a bogus message about now maybe just maybe Chuck Skinner called you up and said that. However, I know about that meeting and I do know that myself and some other people went
Bo: Hey, I did not say “maybe” motherfucker, I said that
Bill B: Ok in English, do not call me (end of tape) was to have the fellowship write the book. For you to stand here and cast those expursions makes you so low you could walk under a goddamned ant.
Bo S: I am under whelmed
Bill: You may be under whelmed, but like I said that has always been my opinion of you anyway because you got caught in the trap with these people feeding you bologna way down when and coming with your little trunk of information you know what I mean, which is fine I don’t deny that. I think that it is great that this cause was in on the process of writing the book. The book is beautiful man, but you stand up like if it was not you that lied then I am here to say that goddamn Chuck Skinner lied because that was not Jimmy Kinnon’s style. I know about the meeting that brought him over to the house and left him. And in no way would Jimmy Kinnon ever say that he was the president of Narcotics Anonymous. Even Greg Pierce said that. I mean that is the most ludicrous fucking thing I have ever heard in my whole goddamn life. So now, these people are asking valid questions about what happened. These people are asking bonified questions about what did the man do that was so bad that they had to do this. Somebody came up here I don’t know who it was and whispered in my ear and said, what do you they were saying he was so incompetent let him do what he wants to do. I mean hey man bullshit is bullshit and this is where it should end in this conference. If you have played, a part in that bullshit then let it stop here. Somebody told me which made me very skeptical and that is how come I was willing to come over here is that all this stuff was about getting information so that you make a book on the history and become a profiteer on it. Now I do not know if that is true. You understand but it is highly suspicious.
Bo: (laughing) If I died today, I would go to a paupers grave that is what an excellent profiteer I am
Bill: Ok me too, so let us hope that is wrong you understand but there are lots of things that just need to be let
Bo: The attack factor is what galls me because I have given my life to NA too
Bill: All right and I know you have been around
Bob: To answer that man’s question here. There were a number of things that opened the discussion or that were brought before the floor of the events that were taking place. One of the things was the loss of the ten thousand dollars because the fellow went bankrupt. There were a couple of other incidents that I cannot recall right off hand about trying to get the material out to the fellowship that were crying out there saying that the office was not moving fast enough and we talked about volunteers. Hey, they could not get enough volunteers and they had to take care of the business that needed to be taken care of.
Room: Hey, the ten thousand dollars that disappeared was because of Chuck Gates man. Chuck Gates and goddamn Phil Perez took the money over
Bob: I do not think that there was no argument of how it was done. It was not the case of how it was done or who done it.
Room: Then why blame it on Jimmy man?
Bob: I said it was not the case of how or who done it. It was the case that they felt at that time that they needed somebody to manage the affairs of the office, period. I had nothing to do if it was Jimmy or Fawn or you or anybody else. They felt that somebody was needed in there that had some business experience to run the office, period.
Room: ( ) Terry, Bob Stone
Bob: I said but whom they chose is whom they chose, I did not choose them
Room: Who chose them, who chose them?
Room: It was Chuck Gates buddy so that they could steal some more money
I am Jim an addict, hi Jim. This, yeah I will go up there. We have got to stop hurting each other; we got to stop hurting each other. Just a few minutes ago I heard an emotional thing happen where someone who the last time I saw them was as diametrically opposed I thought to me in service to the concepts I have learned in service about service as anyone possibly could be. Someone that I was convinced was part of a plot, part of a plot to ruin Narcotics Anonymous, as I understood it. I knew that in my heart because people I trusted told me, I think or lead me to believe or maybe it was my addiction but I heard that person just state more clearly than anyone in the last year, exactly what is wrong with NA service today and what needs to be done about it. I do not know what happened, I do not know but I believe that the reason that Jimmy Kinnon lost the job as manager of the office was that it took him a year from the time that the book was approved to get it out. I believe that that is the real reason. I do not know the personalities and stuff. I mean I know the personalities but I do not know what happened in California at that time. Jimmy Kinnon was a human being and we must not take that away from Jimmy. I do not think we need to, I am not going to. You know I called him on the phone and was one of the many hundreds of thousands of people who learned about Narcotics Anonymous and about particularly the 12 Traditions because there was not anybody else to teach about love, and me about that care and concern. He gave me my first opportunity to do the one thing that has defined me as a human being in recovery, which is to write and be published, he gave that to me. Whenever I had a question, he was there to answer it. When I became part of what I thought what I was sure was the realization of his dreams, the writing of the Basic Text and personally asked him to send information and participate he started to shut me off, honest he did. The last time I saw him I came to the office and he would not speak to me, he would not speak to me. He was a human being he made errors just like we all have made errors. He hurt other people just like we all hurt him. But he was a human being an addict in recovery and I do not think, I honestly do not believe that we killed him, this fellowship or its services. We sure did him a disservice and we sure owe him amends. Honesty is part of that that he was a human being that he hurt people that loved him, looked to him for leadership, and rejected them. That he did more unselfish service by the hour maybe than anyone ever in Narcotics Anonymous. I believe that is true. I do not know I do not know what the answer to your question is but I believe it is real simple like a lot of things are real simple. I think there are two things that I got to say up here. We have got to quit hurting each other; we have to quit hurting each other quick attacking each other. I was not any part of any master plan or plot and I do not believe I was manipulated. Maybe I was I am pretty naive I am a country boy. But I do not believe that I was manipulated and I do not believe I was part of a master plan or plot. I love Jimmy Kinnon desperately, he would not speak to me, and I do not know if you were there or not. I do not know if Betty was there or not. It does not make any difference it is my truth and he is a human being and probably that probably the reason and I am sure that there was a lot of personal stuff between him and the printer. Whatever went on there that he was trying to help another human being is probably a big part of why the book was not published for a year. Because that was the kind, he was, that was the kind of human being he was but it did not get published for the year. The fellowship and its services all of us no matter who we are let that thing happen. I believe that the pain that caused, the pain that was caused to him is not about me pointing my finger at you or you pointing your finger at me. I believe that I only have one enemy and that is the disease of addiction and I believe that I only have got one adversary and that denial of that addiction. I think that is all that there is.
Room: Thanks for sharing Jim.
My name is Betty, I am an addict, hi Betty. I do not know he said something about the book getting out and it took Jimmy a year you know. I remember when the book was coming out we had a hell of a time getting all the stories together and everything that was suppose to be you know. They kept saying get that book out, get that book out and we kept saying keep sending us all the material. We do not have all this material. How can we get it out if you do not send us the rest of the material and you know it takes time to do something like that? Then naturally, this seems to be a real thing that people keep talking about. Bo you have got a look on your face that I swear to God you better grow up a little bit, you really better grow up a little bit. You are like a little kid right now, unwind.
There were a lot of stuff going on you know that a lot of people did not know about, that were not there you know that were not there in the office. There is a lot of stuff that we are not talking about that has not even been brought out yet. You know Jim said don’t talk fingers and etc. but when he was standing up there he was still pointing fingers as he was talking so you know I can remember some things too. You know I just got a call from my daughter and I have to call her and I have to go potty you know so I think for me I am going to take a break. Thank you.
Room: Thanks Betty
I am Lawrence and I am an addict, hi Lawrence. You know I am not here to advocate for nobody I am not here to defend anybody or become anybody’s lawyer, maybe I need on right now. I know that there is another, I cannot pronounce the word maybe somebody could help me, animosity with the fact that you know Bo became the first literature chair. Now I have canvassed some people, being out in California I have been able to canvas some people with double‑digit recovery or whatever you call it out there. I know that there was a lot of opposition to Bo becoming literature chair. I went over to the west coast and east coast things or whatever it is. I can mention some names because they told me and I asked them if I could. That is Tony D., Chuck Gates I am not talking about Tony Daddio I am talking about Tony D. from California and I forgot the other guys name. They were very much in support of Greg Pierce becoming literature chair. I just want to know if any of the bullshit coming out about Bo has anything to do with that and also is this the reason why you have distanced yourself so much from Bo because of that shit. That is my question.
Bo: I am really sort of confused by that you know Greg and I have always stayed close.
(?????) My answer to that part of the question because he directed a part of that question at me was that it was my feeling that Greg was giving up information to you and I don’t even know who the hell you are but you were sticking your finger out at me ( ). I do not even recall you from jack shit man. It is like I do not even know who you are, that was my end that was my part of the thing it did not have anything to do with who was writing the book. It had to do with they were attacking and there was rumors going on that were that they wanted to ( ) the office and take it over to some place else. So obviously, there were going to be a few feelings about that so that is what that part was.
Greg P: I will answer that with more than the No I answered it with. I do not think Bo and I are as close as we once were. I do not think that has anything to do with literature. If there is anything that separated us it was spending a year and a half as business partners, trying to make a business that was not supporting one family to support two families. Some of you have been in that experience has had similar experiences. I can remember one time and I will tell a tale that I got so pissed of at Bo I told him that if I had my gun I would put you out of your misery. That became a thing but that has nothing to do with that, it was a thing for me to remember that. A couple things have been mentioned. Jim mentioned about the publication of the Basic Text. You know there is one thing that has not been mentioned. I started doing travel and one of the trips I made was to the 79 World Convention in Atlanta and one the year before that in Houston and the year after that the 81 convention in Wichita. To be a representative of the office because that is what people saw me as during those years meant you took a lot of heat. Same as when you are involved in World Services means today. If you are out and about, you take a lot of heat, because there was a lot of frustration about it taking 6 to 9 months to get white booklets. I am repeating things that I have heard, I have no data on this but people came to me and said, “how come I sent an order in four times and have never gotten it”? They may have moved and not sent an address I know that happened a lot. There were a lot of frustrations with services with in the fellowship and nobody has mentioned that. There is also the issue of the changes of the First Edition of the Basic Text, which Jimmy may or may not have had anything to do with. I have no idea I was not around. But those are two issues that happened that I believe contributed as well as the length of publications and the funds. Perhaps my role, the funny part with the whole idea. I think my role was more of peacekeeper trying to cool heads than it was to instigate. I do not know I can remember calls I have had from various people. From Bo and Jim saying wait a second, wait a second stick to the principles, stick to what the program talks about. I can remember calls I have had with several others that went the same way. I think that is what we need to remember to, this is about principles. Those are two more issues that I think people were upset about, right or wrong. I do not know what the truth behind those is. I have a white booklet there that was one of the emergency photocopy white booklets with the oversized cover. From 1978, you could not order white booklets for nine months in 1978. The only people who got white booklets because of a paper strike and because of our printer were new groups and we made them up by hand. We photo copied the inside and print the outside and the outside was not trimmed the same as the inside. For nine months you could not order literature I know that I have one of them right there. Some of those frustrations contributed.
Podium: We have a couple of choices here. This meeting can go as long as 5:30 I know everybody is starting to get tired and stuff and we can kind of pick this up later if everybody is getting to tired or we can continue on. It is up to you all.
I am glad that you decided to go a little longer because I really wanted an answer to my question not get in line again at 6:30. I” sorry, I am Ray and I am an addict. I am sorry for not saying my name is Ray I am not sorry that I am an addict. This is the first opportunity at this convention that I have had to discuss there are certain events that have been chronicled and talked about and written about but apparently some of the people that were actually there are here now. I have a question about the removal of the four sentences from the original Basic Text. I would like to know under what principle under what guidance the BOT at that time used to in their own words on letterhead stationary from the WSO delete those four sentences because they thought they were quote “inappropriate”. I would like to understand how that idea that they had the right to do that and I am not questioning that right at this time. I am only saying that I would like to know under what guidelines they conceive for themselves that they could take that action. I would also like to know at that time when there was a change from this apparently mostly volunteer service structure loosely organized apparently in combination with the Basic Text arrival new concept of WSO was formulated, was it , I guess and somehow a person named Bob Stone was hired. Was this a professional decision? Where did Bob Stone come from? What were the arrangements at that time? How did we find Bob Stone or how did Bob Stone find our WSO? How was the decision made to choose him among other professionals to work this business? I would like to know about these business items. How we, how this came about. Apparently, at these early times, these times a decision was made to begin to exact a 400% profit on the Basic Text. I have a lot of things I have been told about this profit, why that was done or how but I would like to hear how that was arranged.
I also want to say on a personal note since I want to get this. I went to my sponsors house with six months clean and he was the only who I talked to. He was the only one and I did not talk to him a lot either. I did get so I started to go by his house. I went by there one day, they were having this horrendous fight, they fell down the stairs, she started throwing oilcans at him, and he smacked the shit out of her right into the ground. The kids his two little girls were standing in the window screaming “Mommy, Daddy”. It was a very ugly scene and I drove away and was like devastated because he was the only guy I talked to. He was my sponsor and I supposedly picked him because he had what I wanted and I very much did not want to have an old lady throwing oil cans at me so that I would smack her so that my kids would scream from the window. This was too ugly for me. I went to a friend of mine who went to bed to early at eight or nine o’clock to be my sponsor and he said to me “You go to a vegetable stand to get melons, and one day you go and the melons are not good. You don’t give up melons, you go to another stand”. (Laughter) I am very happy to be here today to understand that there are a great many vegetable stands in the room and that I am definitely going to have the opportunity to sample several of them. That people with ten years and fifteen years and twenty years sometimes wander in the same clay that my feet stomp in. Thank you very much and please answer my questions.
Podium...Hold on a minute Greg. This time is basically allotted for the 70s and we are kind of like strolling into the 80s.
Greg before you answer my name is Frankie D I am an addict, hi Frankie. I am from Massachusetts and I am the ASR for the Boston northwest area. When I first came in to Narcotics Anonymous, I had a sponsor and I would go to him and ask him a question and he use to give me a that kind of stuff you need to know basis, and you do not need to know at this time. I am feeling that here, I am real angry, and I am fucking pissed. A lot of questions have been asked this gentleman asked, a lot of questions have been asked. I have not heard one answer. If I were a newcomer, I would be out getting high right now. I want some answers. I came here for answers. Let us stop playing games. Everybody is so evasive. Please do me another favor, when you come to the mic identify yourself so I know who you are? Maybe even tell me what state you are from so I can maybe even guess where you are involved in this. I am real confused. I am more confused than I was before. I came here with misinformation, now I do not even have misinformation I do not have any information.
Room: Fawn: Go back to the WSC meeting minutes at that time period and it will show you. You will see the names and the motions one after the other and you will see it. Now somebody was telling me earlier that if you call the WSO today and ask for copies of those meeting minutes that you cannot get them. To is outrageous to me that you cannot get them. That is in the archives and everyone should get a copy of that here. You will see for yourself who made the motions. How bam, bam, bam if one did not get passed another one was brought up. You will see the names. It was very precise.
Greg P: I will try to answer concisely a question first of all about the changes in the language of the Basic Text. Your question was what the motivation was, what was the rational behind making those changes. I do not know what the rational was. I did not initiate those changes. I wrote the lines the way they were initially, I do not agree with the changes. I will tell you the process that happened. Each member of the BOT received a phone call. We were given three options, print with the two changes, stop print, or print as approved. The vote I believe and someone be able to correct me, was five to print the changes, 2 stop print and 2 print with the way it was approved. It was based on that vote of the BOT plus the concurrence of the WSO that the changes were made. I do not know who initiated it. I do not know where the idea to change those two lines came from, whether it came from the BOT or the WSO I do not know.
Room: What two lines are you talking about Greg the 4th and 9th?
Greg: The fourth and ninth Tradition
Room: Chairman of the BOT. No, it was the president was not it. Wasn’t it Chuck Gates that espoused to make the changes? I have some documentation.
Bob: Well if he has the documentation, then maybe it is.
Greg: I have no idea. I do not know. I was not in California at that time and I was not privy to those discussions. I do not know that this was ever discussed in a BOT meeting per se. I know we were asked on a call, not on a conference call, and what we felt about that, that is all I can tell you. The second question was that.
Ray: I want to know about Bob Stone and how we found him or how he found us.
Greg: Bill tells me the Bob was originally a friend of Chuck Gates. Bob had served as the parliamentarian for the WSC for three years or was it two, either two or three years prior to the conference deciding he should be the manager.
Room: Do you know what a parliamentarian is?
His role in the conference prior to him being made director of the office was to give advice on parliamentary matters. As a professional
Ray: Can you tell us how they found him and why they decided to get a non‑addict involved in the conference to discuss parliamentary procedures?
Greg: I believe the BOD of the office brought him in didn’t they. Yep
Room: That is a bonified question and I know where you are coming from, but like Greg said, he was a professional just like you would go out. You would not necessarily go and hire a printer that was in the program. So he was just a professional to tell people say that they were making their motions right you know in order to keep things flowing. He was an advice person he did not have anything but when he became part of the WSO you know it blew my mind because he was kind of a shady character.
Bob: I think what we understood when you are talking about hiring professionals to do a job. He also had a background in business. He came from a business background in the first place, that is where he came from, and I think everyone was aware of where he came from not just being a parliamentarian.
Room: Did he get hired to be a parliamentarian? Was he paid for that, being a parliamentarian?
Bob: Yes he was. I think he was. No, it is not a fulltime position; it is only for the conference.
Podium: Hold on, hold on if you want to come and ask a question will you please come up to the mic. I know in your case it is OK. We are not getting any of this and everyone is yelling it.
Ray: Did Bob Stone then from parliamentarian get a job in the office prior to becoming director.
Ray: So the first full time job he got with the WSO was as director. He was hired prior to Jimmy Kinnon.
Bob: true, he and Jimmy had worked very close, Jimmy knew where he worked previous to that, and he had had some interaction before.
Greg: Let me address this just a second Bob. The conference made a decision to hire Bob Stone as the director of the WSO. It was not the office hiring the conference selected Bob Stone.
Ray: It wasn’t the BOD of the WSO?
Greg: No, it was the WSC.
Tom: I am a recovering addict named Tom, hi Tom. I have been standing here for a little while now so I think I will just jump in because what I have to say is pretty short and pretty sweet. It was, there is a man in this room one night told me I was not feeling real terrific at the time. He said that if you want to do something you want to get. I had remembered I ask him, how do you remember all these things that went on all these years ago. He told me to pray to be an instrument. Since that time, I have done that. It is started me writing things. What I have come up here about was that it is almost dinnertime and I see a lot, I see. I came to the conference; I am making copies that are how I am contributing. What I came in here, I was in here for fifteen or twenty minutes and I feel it in my guts the things that are going back and forth. Granted maybe they need to be done but to remember why we are here and through going through the documents I see a lot of things that are missing. I would ask that the people who have the stuff that went back and forth between the service boards and committees that are stamped on there “not for distribution” which too me most of the time that nobody that is not anybody gets to see. Those things should come out and some of the things but I wish and I do not like speaking when persons are not in the room. Betty I think it was shared that there is a whole lot of stuff that is not ready to come out or may or may not be ready to come out. How are we ever going to get anywhere, but please and I asked this when I get up to this mic yesterday I stood up there yesterday. I said please do not break off into factions so that we can line up against each another. Otherwise, we are wasting our time and I came here out of love and the things that I saw. I tried to ignore the shit that went on and for me that is okay and to take the recovery and the growth I can get from all these different people. Please do not forget why we are here, and try to be apart of the fucking solution. Thanks.
Lawrence: I am Lawrence and I am an addict, hi Lawrence. I do not want to forget that either. Who made the decision to first of all to fire Jimmy. Before he even went to the conference, it seems like there was a lot of underhanded stuff that went down. Who made the decision to say well Jimmy you can do whatever you want? Maybe Bob or Bo or the people that was behind the scenes.
Bob: I do believe that it was kind of more like general discussion to include Jimmy in anything that happened in Narcotics Anonymous, that would relieve him from a position of having the labor at what he was doing. I am talking about the labor in terms of having to stuff envelopes if he did not want to. If he wanted to go and write he could, he did not have to answer the phone for everybody. If there were, some business transactions to be made somebody could take care of them without him having to be involved in it. All of these particulars are a part of the factors in terms of the decision‑making at that particular time. Whether it was right or wrong is not the issue, I believe you ask why was the decision made. I believe that is basically why the decision was made.
Fawn: I have an answer to that question real quick. In 1983, Rose from Florida made the motion on the conference floor that Jimmy Kinnon be fired as the manager of the WSO and the conference the motion passed.
Lawrence: So it was not even a so‑called conference action to even delegate that responsibility to Jimmy as to whatever you want to do, yes or no?
Bob: I think it was drafted by the conference, yes.
Lawrence: Then my follow up stuff is there were more changes mad in the Basic Text than just the fourth and the ninth. I know Greg was privy to being exposed to that kind of stuff. I mean there has been some really radical conceptual changes made out of the Basic Text from what the Third Edition Revised was to even what the Third Edition was even to what the Second Edition was to what we have right now, which is a big intellectual piece of work as far as I am concerned. I know Greg you were exposed to that and if you can help me with that.
Bob: Yes, that was made in the 80s so we are not going to get off into it. That what he said does not get off into it because those were some other conditions and a lot of it came from somewhere else.
Podium: I think what he is trying to say is that we are going to get into a long discussion about the book and all the changes and that is coming up obviously. This is not the time with fifteen minutes left.
Lawrence: Is there documentation Bob of the conference action in reference to telling Jimmy that he could do whatever you want to do.
Bob: That was a letter drafted and the letter was suppose to be available
Lawrence: Do you have it?
Bob; What do I need it for, it was not addressed to me
Lawrence: I would like to have it
Bob: You can have it if you can find it.
Room: I got a copy Lawrence. Not with me but I got it
Bob: He got a copy, so it is available. You need to ask the question of who got it you know. I do not want one.
Judy: Hi I am Judy and I am an addict, hi Judy. I would like to say that it is really interesting for me to be here, really fascinating and only through seeing the kind of things that go on in my own area I am from Rochester, New York. Only through seeing those things go on can I have any kind of understanding of what is going on here today as we go back and try to look at what happened in the 70s. I can understand there is a lot of emotions and a lot of hostility and part of me wants to say well let us just forget about it and try to move on. Another part of me says I really want to know and I think in terms of healing just moving on does not make since. One thing that I have heard here but have not heard much about is exactly how was the decision made. As I understand it, Bob Stone became the director of the WSO. Jimmy was locked out and did not know about it ahead of time. How was it that that decision was made, that nobody informed Jimmy. I would like to know exactly how that came about and I would also like to say just one more thing. Being here and listening to people talk about Jimmy, and I have heard somebody else who knows Jimmy personally, who knew Jimmy personally. It is really important for me personally. To hear about what the person was like that he was not dehuman of course but that he did touch many lives and he touched people when he spoke to him. I find that very important and I am glad that people are here talking about that. In terms of being a founder of NA there is certainly no doubt in my mind from the people I have talked to in NA who have been around that he was the person from which NA started. Indeed, it obviously has moved from him to a we thing you know and I think that is beautiful but I think it is real important that we recognize what he has done for this fellowship. I would like that question answered in terms of how that decision was made that Jimmy would no longer be the director of the office and that he was not told. Just how did those incidents come about?
Carl: I am an addict my name is Carl, hi Carl. The 70s, where I was at in the 70s was single substance sober. By the end of that year’s I had eight years in another program
In addition, I did not see change. One of the reasons I have spent a lot of time in this effort was that I did not know if I wanted to stay here. Because I was watching what our old timers were doing to our old timers and I did not see the that I hope to see. I saw the camps against the camps and the bad mouths for the bad mouths. If that was, my due here as it had been somewhere else for almost fifteen years it did not make since to continue. So a lot of what we have done and what you have seen in the last two or three hours (flip Tape). That sort of progress, that sort of growth and change is going to get us past where we have been stuck. I might be able to stay here. I have thought for a long time that maybe that effort needed to go somewhere else. Yep I could go to the meetings and I could go to H&I and do a little service work and I will do something else and find that spiritual growth that I am not finding in Narcotics Anonymous. Because Betty cannot talk to Greg but I saw her today, turn around and say would you come up and share and I almost fall out of my chair. I watched Bill turn to Greg and I know how angry you have been here with Greg ( ). That sort of change and that sort of growth is something that I have been seeking for a couple of years here and I have not felt it. But I see it today in forum like this. We started to get all wrapped up all of this stuff into the 80s but we did not invite those people because we ain’t got enough strength to handle those people. We cannot deal with those personalities yet. There is enough alienation between this group and that group that you cannot even picture. But if this group pulls together the diversity of the individual characters involved today pulls together, it will be a piece of cake. If they can draw that unity and put those differences aside. You heard about misinformation gosh there has been people “oh well he stole fifteen thousand dollars” that has been so widespread and it was the bankruptcy of a printer. The fellowship does not know about it so it is bullshit and somebody gets stuck in the ass for it over and over and over again for eight years. It is time to end that shit. Maybe we can stop some of that through some of our communication. We have got a chance to grow and change. I got a chance to stay here. I got a chance to be apart of something and know when my fifteen and twenty years comes in this fellowship there is still growth available for me because I saw the people before me do it. I was not seeing that happen and I will do whatever the fuck it takes to keep it growing. Keep doing that. There are still some heads‑bumping fine we have got a couple more days keep doing it. Thanks.
Speaker: Bill Beck
Well as you know, I am Bill Beck and I am still an addict. I would like to respond to what this young lady said because it is a valid question. Something was going through my mind about Jimmy that I was getting the idea that maybe you people were getting the idea that this man was a controlling man. You have to understand that nobody wanted anymore than he did for the WSO to grow up and function as an entity had being approached in a proper way when the fellowship was ready with the money. Nobody would have been happier to relinquish the job because he was not getting any pay or any big pay for this. I mean this was a humble man who had no money and did not give a shit about the money aspect of it all. The other thing that everybody is forgetting because they are trying to lay shit on him and you have to remember at this time the WSO already was formed and had a board of directors and Jimmy Kinnon only functioned as one of those BOD and as the office manager as an employee. So anybody who was responsible for the running of that office was the BOD and not Jimmy Kinnon. It pissed me off when two lame brains went with ten thousand dollars, and then the goddamn board and as a matter of fact I almost got into a fistfight with Chuck Gates over it because I was telling him you son of a bitch you got a job and Phil what is his name. You people work that is ten thousand I mean it was the first time. Bob is talking about we never had any money and suddenly there is ten thousand dollars. I am saying hey man this guy is a successful real estate man and the other guy has a job and is driving a new car why the hell could not they pay that money back? Now you want to talk about misdirection, it was not Mr. Kinnon it was the friggin board and I was a member of that board. I was a member of that board. It irked me then and it irks me now I still think they should have to pay that money back. Then again, they said we feel sorry for them the printer moved you know. So a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about somebody that was supposedly right. Hey this is the guy that put the whole thing together right. This is the guy who talked to you for hours on the phone at a time. Was he senile was he ineffective, hell no man. It is like Fawn said you got people here that are trying to cover up. They are still trying to cover up their goddamn guilt. You heard it, it was going along real smoothly earlier and then all of a sudden man people are still trying to cover it over man instead of saying hey ok the war is over the old man is absolved. We made a mistake he is our founder now let us move on with the history. They want to beat a dead duck. I do not know, it blows me away this kind of mentality we have you know. For God sakes understand that the man did not run anything poorly, haphazardly or we would not be where we are today. Now some power hungry greedy people that went to war did some very uncool things. Earlier I talked about the thing of the factions coming together with their shield and their sword. That is the big mistake of NA. What the guy said that talked in front of me that is it. It is that simple that is all the healing does, you know what I mean. Bo Sewell called me a name and I called him a name and fuck it that is the end of it you know what I mean. (Applause)
Podium: I want to thank everybody for sharing and I want to close this meeting now.
Jim: Can I just have a second? My name is Jim and I am an addict, hi Jim. The reason that I wanted to end this session with just one more thing. I guess I am going to hammer on Jimmy being a human being. I love Jimmy and I was not nearly as close to him as the other people but I loved him. I also sat in his house and watched him because of the physical things that were happening with him change his mood just a little bit from time to time while I was sitting there in his house and he was talking to me about having people
Betty: I resent him talking about Jimmy like this when Jimmy is not here to defend himself
Jim: Well I am sorry that you resent it. I am sharing my observation when I was sitting in your house while Jimmy was talking about having connections in my state. I loved him and I cared about him but I do not think it is doing him a service or us a service to make him into a demigod he was human being and a wonderful human being. You know what else at the 83 WSC there two things that the conference saw were. The one was, well I do not know there were probably a lot of things. The two things that come to my mind now, the one was the changes to the Basic Text from the way it was approved that was attributed to Jimmy. Perhaps it had nothing to do with Jimmy but it was attributed to him and that is how the conference felt and how people saw it. I was one of those people. The other thing was tat there was a study done. It was about the blue service manual and part of the finding of that study was that the blue service manual was not published the way it was approved by the conference. That study was distributed to everybody. I do not want to be unpopular but perhaps that is to be my role. I think it is good for us to understand what the conference saw and what was going on at the time when the motion was made and the conference made the decision.
A couple years later Joseph called me and he said after Stone had done one of the things Stone did in his letters you know that we went from the frying pan to the fire and we made a mistake.
Room: Can I ask you a question. It seems like you are pissed off because he rejected you right.
Room: I mean these were your words and because you were hurt and your were rejected you think this guy should be banished to hell.
Jim: I was hurt because of his rejection but I am not pissed off. No, I think this man should be celebrated just as the man was. To give him this status of demigod
Fawn: Who is doing that? Who said that? We just give credit where credit is due.
Jim: To say that he did not make errors.
Fawn: Give credit where credit is due.
Room: Who said that, everybody knows he made mistakes.
Jim: Ok, if you are not to call him founder.
Fawn: Because he was
Jim: I do not believe he wanted that and I do not think you guys think he wanted that. I do not think the minutes from the meeting or the experience that has been shared with me from the people that he sponsored or the experience that I had with him I do not believe we are doing the man a service by forcing that role on him.
Fawn: He is on a tape at the New York World Convention if you listen to it.
Jim: He is on the tape at the New York World Convention sharing that he is a member of another fellowship too. Is that not right.
Room: He is the person that called the first meeting together. Now if that is not what a founder is then I will kiss your ass right here in front of everybody man. You are a stupid motherfucker.
Podium: This is a real good time to get some food and meditation possibly, close this thing, and get on with it. I would like to thank everybody who shared. Don’t everybody leave we got a nice way of closing this thing.
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 7
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speaker: Bob B
Speaker: Bob B.
My name is Bob and I am an addict. We like to call people by nicknames. Sometimes I like to be called Bob, sometimes I want to be called Robert depending on what setting I am in. I do not know if that changes me, but that is just me. I want to just for the hell of it and for history sake and just because I like to do shit like this anyhow. I want to take a group conscience, okay. How many people in this room want to use Basic Text Second Edition? How many hands we got (counting). How many want to use Basic Fifth Edition? That is half‑and‑half divided. What about Third Edition Revised? See the thing about it we would probably have to go and vote on the Second or Third Edition Revised because those are the ones that got the most votes.
Room: What about the original, the Grey Book or the Sixth.
Bob: No, see we are only going to use two. We are not going to go through, see we can play that little game of manipulation once again. We are voting on two books. We tried three just for the hell of it. We are talking about how group conscience comes about. About the use of material in a meeting or use of material anytime. Now Third Edition Revised probably got a greater amount of votes than either of the other two. Now is that acceptable as a group conscience? If that is the decision of the group conscience then what happened to the other people that descended? They should we did not say that they would, they should that is all I want to know. You see where we get the conflict because they cannot be accepted because I did not vote the way that you voted. Isn’t it ridiculous how hard we try to hold onto the something, our past or whatever and to make change. We still struggle at it. We need to learn how to be beyond dope fiending. Recovering addicts is beyond dope fiending. (Applause) It is a hell of a concept.
That was just kind of an example of my name is Bob and I am an addict and I came in with many misgivings in terms of from where I came. I came into the doors of Narcotics Anonymous for all the wrong reasons. I came to the doors of Narcotics Anonymous because I someway got the impression that you were going to make it ok for me, you were going to fix it for me. As long as I suffered under that premise that you were going to fix it for me I stayed sick. That is all that Narcotics Anonymous would tell me was “keep coming back”. I understand why they told me to keep coming back because somewhere along the way if I stay long enough and become accepting and I become willing for change something will take place. Something will happen that I like. Now most of us would like to think as I use to think that I love myself. I use to stand in the mirror and admire me constantly. I do not know about you but I had to convince me that I was ok for a lot of years. Very often how I did that was to stand in front of the mirror, you sure look cool baby, all right. I thought it was all an outside job. How well do I look to you? Perhaps I did not look as good as I thought I did when I was in the mirror, but I was presentable. I put it that way because I believe I was presentable because I fooled a lot of people that I was ok. I have a long history of drug addiction and a long history of all the madness that goes along with drug addiction. I am not even going off into it because I think all of you have arrived here with some of the same or similar stories are the only reason you are here. I cannot think of you being in Allentown this Friday night listening to me and being here all day listening to all that went on without having been some of those places, with all the madness that goes with it.
I use to think that I had been a dope fiend for twenty years and then when I got honest about it, it was about fourteen or fifteen years. I would like to tell you all the penitentiary time I did and I got out and said I oh nine or ten years that spent half my life in penitentiary. It narrowed down to about five or six years. Now these are revelations to me because I had been espousing who I was and what I had done for years. I was so convinced that it happened and that was the time frame that it happened and that is how it happened. I think we come here hopefully if you come here beaten enough ready to live and ready to survive your own insanity. Then we become teachable. That is what my experience has been. Not that we do not learn something along the way because some of the things I learned when I was coming through the doors of Narcotics Anonymous before I cleaned up. I came to Narcotics Anonymous in 1959 that did not mean I came to get clean. I came here to appease somebody else and I got tired of listening to their mouth about whatever was going on. The only way I could stay in that household was to go to those meetings that I did not believe were happening a bunch of lames were out there talking about some shit talking about recovery. I was going to give them the benefit my worldly travel and great knowledge about drug addiction and show them and tell them how it was suppose to be done. I do not know where I got all this great knowledge from, but if you had of asked me I had answers for questions never asked. That is the way I came to Narcotics Anonymous. I had running off at the mouth and I found as long as I was talking I did not have to listen. So I had done a lot of talking. Who got a question, Bob got a question. Who got a problem, Bob got a problem. I found out as long as I was talking I did not have to listen to the solution. But with some of the things that would happen, I would listen to the steps when they were read. Fact is I gave them the benefit of how my reading ability was by reading the steps for them. I did not think they could read to swell. People use to haultily try to read the steps and I could read them with a little class a little finesse even you know, emphasize. I use to think that was a process of doing the steps was by reading the steps. So I did not have much success in doing the steps. I had none. Then I was going to do it my way. See I was going to eliminate a few steps shift a few periods and commas and make it like I wanted to hear it, like I wanted to hear it. They may have written it that way but this is the way I hear it. My head heard it differently and as long as my head heard it differently, I had difficulty in doing what they were suggesting that I do. Even from the first step, the step of surrender when they are talking about addiction. How can I talk about addiction or come to understand about addiction if I know nothing about addiction? First, I must in order to get past the first step I have to learn about the problem of addiction, as I am the addict. I understood and came to understand that it had very little to do about the chemical I used. It had something to do about my actions and the way I lived and the way I perceived things to be which were unreal.
I lived in fantasyland. I spent a lifetime of living in fantasyland. Because I thought that where you were suppose to do, they told me I was suppose to dream, and a dreamer I was. You know I had done a lot of dreaming and it this fantasy trip I always kind of perceived myself as being somewhere else, doing something else with somebody else at all times. I was never satisfied with where I was at any given time. I do not care what was happening even if I was having a good time I could have a better time over there. If I had enough substance here well I could have some more. See the name of my disease is called more. Whatever it is give me some more, now just because I removed the drugs does not mean I removed the disease. The disease is always encompassing me, involving me, the whole totality of me. I must come to understand the problem of addiction, In order to understand the first step. Now that does not mean I have to stall and stop there and tell you what I am working on that first step, that I am trying to find out what addiction is about. I think that is something that is revealed to you over a period. Now I know some of you come in here and get it real quick. You come in here and read the steps and you got it, I got it shit. I usually find out you do not have it, sorry because this is a learning process. This is an experiencing process that goes on in recovery.
When I got back to Narcotics Anonymous when I did not want to die because the police were trying to shoot me, I made a decision not only to surrender of this way, I made an internal decision that I better try something before I die. I had been to the doors of Narcotics Anonymous and they told me what was going to happen to me. Everything they told me was going to happen was happening or had happened. So I am standing at the thresholds of dieing because that was all I had left or living and finding some method of recovery. I came to some kind of an idea as to maybe these steps would work if I worked them, because they told me that is what was suppose to happen. Now I walked back to the doors of Narcotics Anonymous hopefully that you was going to work them for me. In some ways, I kind of gave Jimmy at that time permission to work the steps for me. Fix it for me Jimmy, shit. We use to spend great hours in his car or wherever I wanted him to fix the things that were going wrong in my life. I wanted him to get the parole officer off my ass. I wanted him to get my old lady to quit fussing, fighting, and goings on, get me a car and I needed a job and la, de da de da. What do you do Jimmy? He said work the steps. First, you have to understand what the steps are all about and I did not know a whole lot of people about working the steps. They say work it as you best understand it at this particular point. You will find out time and time again you will work the steps and work the steps and it will be unending that you will be working the steps. That is part of the process.
So I started doing the things that I did not believe were going to work. I had total resistance that the steps were going to work for me. Because, you did not understand my case was different and I could enumerate the number of things that happened in my life from childhood molestation, I had been in combat and had gotten run over hills and dales and I had been kicked in the ass and kicked in the head and I had been down the road to hell. According to all case histories I was suppose to be a dope fiend anyhow. I was black, I was from a broken family, poor family, on the wrong side of the tracks and I had been kicked around the world. All cases that I had read about black and brown is suppose to be if they fit those categories they were suppose to be an addict. All the conditions were prime conditions to be an addict and I wore that like a badge of courage. If anybody would ask me I was yes, I am a dope fiend because. I used that one a long time. I carried that around for a long time you know like I had a prescription for being a dope fiend. If somebody would ask me, I would lay the prescription on them. See that is the reason I am a dope fiend, society had been fucking with me too long. This is the reason I am a dope fiend and I want you to take pity on me, and I want you to help me out. What I want you to help me out are to remain dope fiend. I had no experience of recovery and that was kind of a difficult place to envision, recovery with nothing, talking about nothing. I had found out that I could fix how I felt by wiping out the feelings. If I started feeling things I knew what to do with it, I would fix that mother. I thought that was a good position to be in, absent of feelings was a good position to be in. I thought I functioned quite well with the absence of feelings.
Probably the drug of choice at the time was heroin because I could function to some degree and knew what was going on and you could not tell me I did not have it together. I just had greater difficulty maintaining that habit because the progression of the disease is such a nature it always gets worse and I knew nothing about the progression of the disease. I was experiencing the progression of the disease but I did not know about the progression of the disease. So in doing these here steps it became very difficult because people had to explain to me that the steps would work regardless of what I thought about them. They had to make comparisons like the steps work like castor oil Bob. You do not have to believe in it. Take a dose and wait a reasonable amount of time and you get a result. Or they here is the recipe Bob, or here is the formula for recovery. The 12 Steps is an exacting formula that will work regardless of what you think about it. That is all you have to do is put the ingredients in there and it will work, and it worked. Now if you are a keen dope fiend like me you have preconceived idea that you can short cut. Have you ever been a cook, a little less sugar or little less salt of a little less flour? Nine times out of ten, you are going to get a mess. If you follow the formula or follow the recipe, you get a good result, nine times out of ten. They had to explain it to me time and time again. Bob this is how it works and I was always going to show them why it did not work that way. I was always disproving everything. I questioned everything.
I have no problem with people asking all these questions today because that was me. I questioned everything and I was going to tell you why. I am not going to run that one by you because I do not know how you will feel about that religious thing see because some people get touchy in that area. I had no religious leanings so to speak and anyhow and I use to question what you believed and I could prove what you thought you believed exist did not anyhow. I always became argumentative in terms of getting something to throw you off track. It seemed to be one of those character defects I used for a lifetime; I used it with Mom you know. I would set up a situation to make her wrong and I spent a lifetime of trying to make you wrong. Sometimes it exploded on me, so what you know. If it worked one, time good enough for me. The other fifty times it did not work, hey fuck it. I spent a lifetime disproving every thing; there was no God, what God. Shit, I seen people dead lying out in a ditches around where I came from, I mean stacks of them. One thing I can remember very vividly in combat is stacks of bodies. I do not know why the stacks of bodies stick with me all the time because that is death you know. It did not stop me from using. Maybe that is how I survived because I was using, I do not know. I carried a lot of guilt away from that because all of my partners got shot up and I did not get shot up. I do not know maybe because I was in the right place or the wrong place I do not know. But I carried a lot of guilt maybe I was hiding behind something I do not know what I was doing. I survived and I felt guilty about surviving. I carried that around a long time and these kinds of things haunt you. Even today I don’t know what that represents, dead bodies stacks of dead bodies. I am not talking about one dead body I am talking stacks of dead bodies that stays with me very vividly and I do not know what it is about. That is one of the bugaboos that I would put to sleep when I started feeling or it haunted me I would fix it, shit I would fix it. It did not bother me then you know I got my head hit; nothing bothered me, earthquakes and all don’t bother me. I fixed it for a lot of years.
I started working these steps in here and I got to this here step talking about God and spirituality. I knew nothing about spirituality or that which they talk about. I knew nothing about God really. I kind of had some kind of idea that there might be something out there that existed that put it all together and held it all together, nature, man on the wind. My second sponsor was agnostic. He did not believe that there was a God but did not believe there was not one. We could understand that because I did not have any experience, God experience at least I did not think I had any God experience. As I look back at it in retrospect, I had a lot of God experience. My very survival was from a God experience and I was clean three or four years and I had to go back to jail in order to have a God experience. That is how I had to have mine, very therapeutic as far as I am concerned. I had the experience of God working in my life, I understand the working of God in my life, and I came to understand how God works for me. My God of my understanding. I had been giving it lip service you know I would breeze by it and read it somewhere. I would give it lip service you know because they told me that is what you are supposed to do. But it took me three or four years of being clean and carrying the message and ranting and raving about Narcotics Anonymous. You know I would get up there and evangelize and apostlize and preach and save a few souls and bless people and sprinkle some water on them and comeback lets do it again you know. Shit but I had no God experience and I came to understand that I had many God experiences. I just did not recognize a God experience I had no recognition.
Spiritual experiences along the same line, I had many spiritual experiences. My very survival had been a spiritual experience in itself because I almost died a couple of times. I said almost right there on that edge I do not know if you know about that critical edge. See I had OD’ed a few times and I had been at that critical edge. I know about that experience of just right there on the tilt and to return from that piece of being to say” hey that was some good shit give me some more”. That is insanity, that is insanity. I came to understand what they were talking about because I had some God experiences. Through circumstances that prevailed at that time it that put some people together in my life that I did not know where they came from or whence they had been. But they came in my behalf and they did some things that were not done normally. The next thing I am out walking the streets again wondering what happened and how did that happen? For it was only a God experience that could put that together. I needed that in order to have that experience of God working in my life. I came to understand about turning it over to God because God had been running it all the time. Learned about the power of prayer through part of the same process. Most of us here in this room tonight are here due to somebody else’s prayer. It was not yours, somebody else prayed for you. You moms, your sisters, brother, man I was sure praying for you, their prayer was answered. Then I worry about, get to the power of prayer, and found out that I had prayers answered, I started begging for shit, (Laughter) and I started getting things. I got very sincere, found out that God worked and that prayer worked oh yeah we had a good thing going. You give me two of these and five of the other I would be ok. Please God give it to me. I needed three old ladies so he gave me five, all right. I had to pray to God to take them away, drove me crazy on the brinks of insanity practicing my addiction one more time and it was not chemical. I got me a money jones going, I found out oh God I need to make some more money. He gave me a couple of jobs. I had an 8 to 5 I had on from five on and made meetings in between. I kept a pocket full of money. My old lady says, you got that roll n your pocket for, why you carrying that money around. I said I gave you the payroll baby, shit this is my money, wake me up at two o’clock in the morning to go make some money. It was not meeting time and I would go out and make some money between meetings. I would leave a meeting and go paint a house or something, make some money and I got to running behind money. What I am trying to convey here is one thing that I chased many things that I enjoyed chasing. I prayed for many things and very often had to pray to have them removed, because they were not for me. I could not handle them and did not know what to do with them.
When I had money, I bought toys. We all like toys, huh. All I needed was one car so I had four or five cars sitting outside, and the old lady did not even drive. (Laughter) Cars sitting outside got cars baby shit. When I bought one camera I bought five, they were all different and I can tell you justifiably why I needed them five cameras. I needed one 35 with a long range on it, one with a short range and la, de, da, de,da. I need one a give it to you now and one to give to you later. I had cameras all over the place and like to went bankrupt trying to get the film processed.(Laughter) Now I got to take care of all these toys too. Have to watch over them because somebody will walk off with them. You do not know where to lay them or whether to take them or what. You can go crazy about that. I use to arrive at a convention with three or four cameras hanging off my neck and they were like what is that. Oh, that is a long range, that is a short range, and this is for this. Sometimes I forget I have a camera today, but not then. I was caught up in a power play. I know all of you people love power. If you are an addict you do, we love power, love to be in charge, take charge Charlie. You can do it I know you can. As long as you say yes I can do it, go ahead somebody will let you do it and they will load you up. So when you get into this position of power you get to play the same game you know. The same game I played before you know you carry it to the enth degree. It was not just good that I was chairing this over here; I wanted to chair that over there and chair that over there. So when you came and ask me what are you doing well I can say I am chairing this over here and taking care of this and I am taking care of that.
When are you taking care of home, huh? That is what my old lady asked me, you are off on all these ventures doing all this good shit. When are you going to do something at home? I thought that was great. How could she be complaining, what is she complaining about. Ain’t I clean, I am clean ain’t I. Shit, I am doing all this; I am saving all these addicts out here. Doing all these noble and great things but the home life is going to hell. Half the most of the time I am not even there. I don’t have time to be petting mama all the time like lay down and lets take care of it and get it over with, period. It is not time talking about playing the other little game of saying take me out, show me a good time, and take me to dinner. I was fortunate in some ways because she was involved in a thing called Nar‑Anon and when she got involved in Nar‑Anon very often we would go to the same place to have meetings so we would travel together. I thought that was enough togetherness. We would sleep together every night, we ride to meetings right, and we would go shopping together right. That is not togetherness folks I am sorry.
I come to find that out but it is all in the process. I did not know that going in because I had not had that experience. Very often, they would talk about rehabilitate. I do not know anything about rehabilitate. I am a never been, what am I going to rehabilitate to a never been? It is all a learning process to me I do not know anything about no rehabilitate. I do not think I want to rehabilitate back to the army or the penitentiary or none of them places. So I am having to learn. I am having to learn how to be a husband and a father and a this and that and a provider and to be a human being. How to go to a job from eight to five, stay there, and do the work. That is all a learning process for me because I have never been there.
That is why I am always amazed to see people have a job when they get here. Back when I do not know if addiction was different or something. When we came to meetings, we did not have nothing. I mean stripped of everything I mean old cheap watches we did not have them because we had conned some old lady to three dollars for them it was gone, it was gone. Not even a decent pair of shoes because if we could pawn them we would get rid of those too. We would come to a meeting in our stocking feet if that were necessary. No such thing we say we use to arrive at meetings and talk about looking tacky. We will give us a hot second out of the pan, we started arriving at meetings in Stacy Adams and Hickey Freeman suits, and a Dobbs cocked sideways talking shit. We used to think it was necessary to dress up the outside to make us feel better to look to you like we were doing OK that is the way we use to come to meetings. We got to the place where we had a few days clean and found out how we could have enough money to go down and get a suit out of the pawn shop. Or go buy one and get you some shoes and shine them up and go to a meeting and stand back and tell them, well I am sure doing good. Life is so beautiful. That is kind of like what I had done for years. I thought if the outside looked good, I thought that the inside was ok. I come to find out that I had been doing a repetition of the same thing for a lifetime. Ever since I was a little kid, I went through school polishing an apple. I call it polishing the apple because that was always a pretense of making the outside look good. I went into the military polishing the brass because I know if the outside looked good, it was all ok. Along with that, I went to the penitentiary as long as you keep your shit out of the way and do your time, same thing you are doing good.
So I had a lot of bad habit patterns a whole lot of bad thinking and I had a whole lot of experiencing to do that I had never experienced and it was all a growing process. Now my examples became you and my questions very often became I would come to you and ask you how you did it or how to do it. I found out that question was a very good instrument. There are no foolish questions you might get a lot of crazy answers. Hopefully the reason you are asking the question is that you do not know, watch whom you are asking the question because I was a great one to give you an answer regardless of what the question was. So watch whom you go and ask a question. Hopefully that person is doing something that you need to know how they are doing it. If you would have asked me, I would have led down a primrose path to hell. If you did not see me doing it I was still trying to tell you how it was done. That is the thing that has happened here. The process of growing up in recovery is a process.
Now many of you have had the experience of being responsible and grown and taking care of thing. I am not one of those fortunate people who have had those experiences, so all my growing up has been a process of learning. I came to Narcotics Anonymous wit a few skills. Not many just a few though, because most of my skills came from the repetition of doing something over a period of time, long periods of time. In the military I did crew serve weapons instructions and all this kind of stuff so I knew how to talk amongst people you know. Hey, I could do that and I knew how to organize things so I became kind of a natural at that. I know how to repair cars and had been at a number of schools doing that, so I had some skills and in the process. I had repetitiously done some things that I could do. Although I had to learn how to work because it was not the case of me saying, fixing one object in the industry at large or the field at large. There are a lot of jobs to be done and they want you to do it in a certain way, not Bob’s way. See Bob always had a way too, and once again I thought out in the industry you just polish it up and it looks good and it was ok. I come to find out that is not what they want. That was a revelation you know he said, you do good work you just do not do enough of it. I was stunned because I sat out there and polished those mothers up good, and check it out again, tighten up those nuts and check it out again and check it out again. They were like no,no,no,no all this polishing and inspecting you should have had ten units out. I just could not understand why that was not acceptable. In fact, I almost was fired in the process. I said ok how do you want things done and he said, you do good work but why do you have to stand there and admire it all day? That is the nature of the addict that is the nature of me. I spent a lot of time polishing up you know always shiny and I am still out there wiping on that mother. Habits are hard to break, see because I spent a lifetime out there polishing the apple for the teacher, polishing the brass for them other people you know, or standing tall in those other funny places because I thought if you put on a good front that was it. Very often you find it very difficult even in the hospices of being clean and in recovery doing service we do the same thing. We wanted to polish it up and make it look good. We wanted to show to our fellows that we know what it is all about, and very often, when you show them you know what it is all about they give you some more to take care of. Since you are so sharp here is, some more and we are gluttons for punishment and will take on more than we can handle. We do not know when to cut it off and say no and we use all the right reasons not to say no. Another addict may be sick and I cannot do that but your baby may be sick also and you better take care of that also. Now which are your priorities your baby or that addict that is coming to your door asking how come nothing is going on. You had better learn what the priorities are. It is the learning that is the process. We spend a lot of time running up and down the road trying to save many addicts. I guess we carry the messages during the early days of Narcotics Anonymous. Collectively we would go together. We spent much time together and became very intimate in our relationships. One of the things that I probably miss most now is that intimacy that we had in our relationships in the early days. We went and done things together. We had meals in each other’s houses at any given time, we slept over a lot of times, we went to picnics, showers and weddings and wherever and 12th step calls. Whatever we went together, we made sure that we stayed at least in telephone contact with our fellows. We were concerned that they make it and we go out of our ways in that concern to try to help them along in whatever way we could. Sometimes the overload could get off into the thing of save bodies. We want to bless people we want to become saviors and we want to evangelize and give this program away. Don’t you know all these addicts out here are suffering and not realize that you are the addict that is suffering? We have deluded ourselves that somebody else is suffering and at some point in getting clean or in your clean time in your recovery, you would probably have to give up some of those loads that you have taken on and get back to the very basics of recovery.
One of the great things that has happened in Narcotics Anonymous, we have a lot of people that are capable of doing the work, a lot of people. I still have a responsibility and I cannot give that responsibility to somebody else. I must stay involved, very basically I must stay involved. If I do not my head seems to turn off and tell me a lot of crazy shit that I got it together, that I know what I am doing and I know how to do it. I stopped doing some of things that are very necessary for me to remain recovered. A couple of ago (flip tape)
We can be, we can get ourselves very sick in recovery. We come to find out something about some of these underlying things of our growing up because once you get to a certain amount of doing, in doing your inventory and giving it up. You have discoveries and discover your shortcomings and the discoveries of character defects that we are not able to take care of in these rooms. Does it amaze you, we come to find out we are sick cookies and very often need some additional help. On a number of occasions, I went and got some additional help. I had to be pointed in new directions that I seemed to be blinded by when I was amongst you. One of the other things that did occur at this particular time was, my recovery I think our health have to be very attentive to these things we tend to ignore. One of these things is our health and you will find out many things that come up while you are clean that you do not know what to do about. Do you take the medication the doctor gives you and give yourself the permission and say the doctor gave it to me and pat yourself on the back, or suffer it out and be the martyr. Oh I can take it, cut it open doc I can take it I am a dope fiend. I cannot take any of that medicine because I am a dope fiend. We must learn how to deal with those particular areas in our living. If I have had major surgery, I had other conditions that I had to go to the hospital and put myself under a doctor’s care. I had to let you know what my condition was so that you could come and monitor me, come and check on me because I know what something induced in my body sometimes what my head will tell me. I give myself permission; the doctor said it was ok. I have seen to many people leave here because they would not tell their doctors or would not tell their fellows what was happening. These are things we have to learn here, not something that we know when we come in and you will hear many things and many ideas thrown around as you have today. You will hear many ideas being thrown around that has no value that really have no value. The reason I say has no value is because very often, we will come in here and the fight of the day was fighting the last two or three years ago battle. The battle was resolved ten years ago and they are still fighting the same battle. The yays and nays have been said already, been prayed over, blessed and everything and have been n operation and we are still fighting the same battle, is not that something. Why are we wasting all that time? It is the nature of the beast were afraid to let it go; do not want to let it go.
I am glad that I was here today. I came with somewhat of an open mind and that has not always been the case because I usually came with hidden agendas on occasion myself. But I tried to keep an open mind as to what was going to transpire and how it was going to come about and how could I be of some service, some help by being here. Hopefully I can lend some enlightenment or direction on what is going on here. That is if I have it, I do not know I do not have all the answers there. I think some people are a little uptight sometimes because somebody does not have the answer. I am sorry, I have not become a computer head yet and I do not know if I want to be. I got enough extraneous bullshit up here anyhow that I need to get rid of, but I do not need to retain it or get rid of it in that sense.
I know this can be a growing period and I hope that one of the things that will happen here that we have grown just a little bit before we leave. That we leave our misgivings and our hard feelings and all those things leave it here do not take it with you. If you have to get somebody over in a corner to exercise to throw it up to throw, it away to get rid of it don’t carry it with you. Those things eat holes in us. Those things that I carried around that had no meaning and I was upset have no meaning. The only person that causes me pain is me because the other person usually does not know what is going on. I hope this is not and exercise in futility in which we are I do not believe that it is you know because the things I have heard expressed here today were real feelings. Regardless if it had nothing to do with right or wrong they were real, they were feelings, they were right. What ever they may have been but I think we must look at the things that we do and see if they are still in the vein of remaining that addict that we are, remaining that active part of our addiction still raising its head and presenting itself. We must look at ourselves, because very often when I am looking at you and blaming you or criticizing you or doing these things is only a reflection of what I do not feel good about me. Isn’t that something, amazing? When you start pointing your finger and blaming and talking about a mother around here, you had better go look in the mirror, you had better go look in the mirror. You are talking about spiritual axioms. Start understanding what spiritual axioms is all about and you might be presenting what you think to someone else is presenting it right back to you. It is all a learning process. It is a very slow process also. Do not expect too much from you neither should you expect too much from me. Regardless of how long I may have been around here I still have shortcomings, I still have character defects, and I am still in the process of recovering. I am in the process of recovering I am not well. Sorry folks this is the best it gets, this is all that I am. I am what I am but I am a much better person than what I was when I got here. Today I am the best person I have ever been. I know that, I do not know if you know that. To some I just might be another asshole you know and that is ok. That is not really important as much as it is important how I feel about me today. I am feeling good about me most of the time I am feeling good about you. We are where we are. I have been around along time as I said before as fact is it been around how they say too long. I have been around here almost 30 years, as a matter of fact next month I will be celebrating 30 years. (Applause)
One thing about it like not other people in many ways, I came in to Narcotics Anonymous. I came in to Narcotics Anonymous, I did not come by way of China to get to Narcotics Anonymous and I have remained in Narcotics Anonymous. I will say that I have not been to some of those other meetings but my devotion and my work and the things that I do is in Narcotics Anonymous. This is where I work, this is where I do things and this is where I stay. I do not need to go anywhere else, the formula is here. We have the recipe we have the formula, we have the know how and all the representations of how to do it. Why do I need to go somewhere, I do not need to go nowhere. I do not care is we fight and we fuss and we go on that is what we do. We are not well we are still in recovery or in some state of recovery and hope; we remain that way for a lifetime. Thank you. (Applause)
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 8A
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speaker: Bo S., Grateful Dave, Grover,
As we notice this afternoon there are a lot of agendas that were brought here by a lot of people. We have a lot of material to cover, but there is a real necessity indicated by some individuals to continue on with some of the violence you saw this afternoon. To some degree we need to find out where we limit that and how much stuff we can cover and how much ability we have to cover some of the topics that many seem so interested in. Our current agenda shows a time slot this morning for book history and NA Way magazine history. Both of those have been done in the past in workshops in the literature movement, and entertaining and informative. What kind of time frame do we need to move around to cover those topics for your interest? What the hell are we going to do in this conference, we talked about is this a working conference?
We are going to write some NA history we are going to collect what we have already done. We have already started some transcribing and we are going to form a committee from the people that are here and we are going to find people that are willing to take part in that committee. What do you want to do? Do we have another bitch session with a lot of MF‑ing and SOB‑ing not real productive, it got to a lot of hard feelings, and a lot of people who have not talked are talking? There is a lot of skepticism about what was said and where it goes from here. We can get stuck in that but I hope we do not. Grover has come up from Alabama and it is something we want. There was a report yesterday on Alabama’s’ history collection and where they are at and what their process has done. He gave me some more information and there was some talk that maybe we need to meld the variety of history collection into one. I mean what do you want to do. We can yell and scream at each other for another day but I do not think that is going to take us anywhere. I tried to say something about that this morning that if we are truly here to collect history and we attempt to enter into the age without more individuals here that have the answers that many are seeking then all we are doing is splashing and making waves creating hurt feelings one more time. Then we are not getting the truth and we are not collecting anything but the venom that is really destroying us. As we came along in this history especially here and in Allentown, I have seen the miracle of individuals coming and not realizing how honest they could be here and that is ok. I have watched them carry that miracle forward over this last year and it has been a real benefit to my recovery to watch that growth. I am tired of all the pain; I am tired of getting shot in the back and all the name throwing, all the misinformation. That was brought up quite a few times this afternoon and if we wandering into the 80’s without more of the individual ( ). Then we are more than likely not going to create not a whole picture and accurate picture and we will not have anything more than some more misinformation because we will not have those individuals to deal with. What do you want to do, do you want to start up the meeting.
Speaker: Bo S
My name is Bo and I am an addict, hi Bo. I want to get some kind of progress report of how close we are of having some kind of a basic document for this work. So that various people who have been around and paid a price through their commitment and involvement can review the document so that if they find inaccuracies they can bring it up in a methodical open manner. In addition, that the main document is kept in the hands of the members of the NA Fellowship and it is like a Para‑structural, extra‑structural you know but not a structural function of World Services in other words. Maybe a function of something some of us are calling the NA Society. Just something that we do to clean our own house and wash our own laundry and get the record sort of straight and lay down some kind of track for those to come. In the direction of a document for instance at a history workshop at the east coast or at the Ocean City thing last year, not this year but last. Like Doug’s letter that puts me down you know but I can live with that, but his letter could be like one chapter in that and that can be just like a sample for those that were around you know and what do they have to say about it. Then there are other people who write other things and you could get a central document together that way. Then in time you know just sort of like just have, open get together is like this and let that work eventually lead to something accurate, pretty available, pretty stable and pretty up front. You know I like a fight just as good as anyone else but there has been a lot of people die you know and we can outgrow the barriers that the disease has erected between us.
I was curious Carl and the reason I jumped for the microphone is can we have a progress report. I mean I have been on the edge of this work and I have known about this work but I do not know exactly where this work is at today. Could we get something in the form of a progress report before we start forecasting what are possible, thanks?
Thanks Bo. One of the things that are behind us obviously is to continue ( ). Last year we received letters from ( ) Alabama, maybe Grover will come up and cover that. What we have sitting back there in the archives room right now is probably outside of the additional list that ( ) provided us with and that is in collection of what is available. It is the Ivy land work in 83 had been pulled, gone, and disappeared for a long time. About three months ago I received a copy and ( ) was surprised to find it existed. It covers in 83 a subcommittee that was begun to collect state histories. There are about 14 states in that 83 history. Obviously, the 83 does not cover today. So this weekend and in our effort for this we received input from London from Johnny and Dudley on London’s history and Australian history. ( ). I just went through Grover’s file and I think Chattanooga, a Chattanooga history and continuing to look for those pieces that have already been done. A lot of our experiences have been difficulty‑requesting things from files. (Person did not have the mic and was unable to hear the message clearly, believe it was Carl)
Speaker: Grateful Dave
I am Grateful Dave and I am an addict, hi Dave. Yeah we have been trying to put together this history for a long time. I remember Grover and I in 1988 got the convention committee for the volunteer region to agree Neal Maxey and a couple other people to agree to allow us to put on a history workshop and when we got there, the plug was pulled on us. Billy whose home group is hosting this put his name on the line for about thirteen thousand dollars here. People that we know you know sponsees of people that we know have been running around telling that the thing had been cancelled. That is right, that is right that is exactly what happened. You know there are a lot of people that have put their heart and soul into getting even this far with it. If we want to talk about what we need to do is you know to me it is like a lot of the stuff, all this pain and all this stuff is just shit you know. Yeah and it was important to every individual. Every individual felt their pain and it was important to them but in terms of what we need to do and where we need to go from here today the only purpose for shit is fertilizer. That is the only thing that you can make out of it so I was hoping that we could all take our shits here and get it on tape. See because if it is not on tapes, see we got tapes, tapes, archives, and paper but without a computer scanner and document reader to organize this stuff, we need a document reader. We need people like Fawn that can type a hundred words a minute to get and to enter the stuff into computers. We need Rachel back there transcribing the tapes that is what we need. We need to start working and start writing you know. If we are going to move on from here and start tomorrow by compiling hard copy that can be, hard copy and soft copy in terms of discs that can be taken and given to people all over the country for nothing. I mean we can set the entire written history of Narcotics Anonymous and this spoken history of Narcotics Anonymous in a 60 disc set and make it available for anyone. But it is going to take work. It is not going to take wishing, talking, and la‑d‑da‑di‑da‑ing. We are all, you know we have all had problems; I have had problems with the service structure. There seems to be a universal agreement here today that you know if you do not like what they are doing remove them. Who is going to remove them? We are going to remove them. Where do we go from here? Do we go to hell in that hand basket, in that withering you know unspiritual thing we call World Service today or do we create some viable alternatives and work along a parallel track and maybe some of the good stuff that was then can be brought in with some of the new experimental stuff. You know at some point down the road we come together with that. You know I spent a lot of years running up and down the road in California talking to people and over here and over there and I just wanted to you know. I have stayed away from this microphone all weekend long you know because I do not have any creditability because I am the one that is out to destroy Narcotics Anonymous. Every one of you that has a t‑shirt of NA or a piece of jewelry with NA on it or every convention that has made twenty‑six thousand dollars. Nobody sued them for trademark and copyright infringements and the profiteering and shit has to stop, but they will sue somebody for carrying the message. Everything that we are doing in Narcotics Anonymous today in my opinion is upside down from what Jimmy Kinnon founded this fellowship to be. I have listened to tapes from all of the people from Frank from all the way up in Northern California and down and Jimmy you know. We have to look to something. Jimmy was the glue that held this fellowship together. None of the people that are into this thing that we have been talking about today dared to walk up to the man who wiped their nose and wipe their ass and tell him this vile shit to his face. So we are right we have got things to do, but see that is reality. I did some fucked up things in recovery to man. I did not know that the book was going to be right, wrong or indifferent but it was better than being paralyzed. That paralyzing fear, that helpless, hopeless what am I going to do and who is going to do it. Are you going to do it, are you going to do it? I finally said I know how to wake them up, I know how to do it and all I have to do is find the personal gumption and the commitment to do something. I have a tenth step and so I have been spending my life going up in front of microphones like this and not only breaking new ground in my personal recovery but admitting I am wrong in a lot of cases. I have been wrong, I do not do everything right but I do something. If we are to sit in the chairs like bumps on a log and wish and hope and dream that, somebody else is going to come up with some magic formula to do it for us it is never going to happen. It is through our inability to accept personal responsibility we were creating our own problems. We are the architects of our own adversity. We argue for our limitations and they will be ours forever. There is no limitation to the Steps and Traditions and the spirit that Narcotics Anonymous was founded in. We can do better; you know we can do better. Of course, I do not have any creditability you know because I am out to destroy Narcotics Anonymous. I tell you what, Jimmy and Betty and Douglas and Fawn and other people are not the only people who have been shot at and had death threats in this fellowship. That is ugly and I have had those things happen to me too for trying to carry the message. You can complain about the way I did it, but none of you did it. None of you got off your duffs and did anything. So I mean gee I am sorry that I did not do it just perfectly but I was seeking help for years trying to get people to help. Lets do this lets talk about this, lets unify and lets ask these serious tough questions. The service structure works great if you want to have a dance at the National Guard Armory. Nobody is going to, but God forbid that you ask for an outside audit. Oh well you are causing disunity and you know and nobody wants to deal with reality that is a fact of our disease. Euphoria clean like is the same type of euphoria we sought out there using man and it is just as dangerous in here as it was out there. Oh, everything is fine, everything is ok. When you hear that shit people saying my life is great in meetings, I guarantee you that in three months they ain’t going to be there, everything is fine. It is not fine; we have a disease that is out to kill us. It is out to deny our us our history. It is out to deny us our dignity personally and in groups. If we are going to do something each and every person in this room must do physically do something. Whether it be give money so that we can hire a transcriber, give money to this committee so that Billy does not loose his house because he is sued because of shit that our World Service. I mean to me World Service has become irrelevant. The only thing left today is that World Service can tell us that will touch our gut is the international issues. We have to take this international thing and we have to spread this message internationally. If we would just give them the literature and allow them to do their own service in their own way in their own country there would be no international issue fellows. Here you take the literature and come back when you translate it. We will check out and work out the little bugs and that is it that is it, no international issue. It is a sham it is a bright shiny thing that they use to keep you on a string. We have got to go somewhere from here because just like it says in the second tradition the self seeking soon find they are on the outside causing dissention and eventually disaster for them selves. Some will change and become role models for others to follow. We need to change. There are people in this room tonight that need to change, me included. Our attitudes about others you know the petulant childlike things that we hang on to. You know we need to do some thing with it, maybe work the steps you know. People with all this time holding on to all this shit it is to me , you know I don’t have no time and some people say I have no recovery but it is not a good example. You know I am supposed to follow this. I am supposed to accept that with 15, 20, and 30 fucking years that this is what I am going to be like, that is frightening. Therefore, you know the truth is very uncomfortable a lot of times you know. I stood up here, everybody was screaming and yelling, you know, I turn around, and I want to scream and yell a little bit too. You know I got aids and I wanted to fucking wire myself up with dynamite, walk up that World Service Office, and pull the cord man. I had that worked out in my head in a number of ways and I was so close to doing it, but I had to look at my own personal spiritual growth and see what I could live with. It does not do me any good to sidle up to you and say well you know back in 32 I was wrong because it does not do any good for anybody else. It makes me feel better you know that I worked half a program, but I do not get out in public and tell people where my shortcomings are. Hey you here is my shortcomings and I was wrong back in 32 and I owe the fellowship an amends. So if what I have done in like the Baby Blue thing, if I have hurt anybody then I owe you an amends. I am trying to stand up here tonight and show you what it is like to work the steps. So when you get up to the microphone you can say hey you know back in 32 this is what I did and how I did it, see and this was what was wrong and I apologize and my behavior in the future will reflect that. So far today I have not heard that being done and what I was trying to say when I stood up here and hollered fuck you was that none of us have including myself have not done something that was not totally horrendous in service in Narcotics Anonymous. I heard people walk up to it, we had it right here. Yes there was a conspiracy, yes there was. The reason that nobody wants to admit that there was is because everybody was dooped and nobody likes to sit here and stand up here at the microphone and say I was dooped. You know I was manipulated and was not astute enough to know it. So I mean you know my life depends on being able to get up here at any time in front of thousands of people at any time and work these principles in all my affairs, in all my affairs for you. That is called carrying the message. I can stand up here and tell you I was wrong and you can know that it is ok to be wrong. That it is all right, nobody wants to throw you away, nobody wants to run anyone out of here. But we do need to be honest and to heal. I do not want to have any more death threats. You know in terms of strictly academic stuff it is going to take working your fingers to the bone. We have all the information, we have all the insinuations we have everything that we need. Betty has all kind of stuff and if she can at some point find it in her heart to trust God and allow us to have copies of these things. Then we can finally put all that academic stuff together. You know we have got it, we have everything we need in Narcotics Anonymous everything, the steps the traditions and each other. My life is here because of you, thank you Alma and I want to thank you people that did the things that you did you know. I have had a few people thank me for opening some eyes, getting people to look at things. A lot of people do not agree and that is ok.
I just want to share one little thing about personal recovery, my personal recovery. I was a chump for everyone. I was like a jailhouse punk with my ass up in the air, everybody fucked me, and that is what my life was. I thought if you would allow me to sit in a room and shoot dope with you, you could pat me on the back for thirty seconds and rip me off for the next thirty years. I was so desperate to be loved, that is I have learned in personal recovery that anybody who manipulates me into doing anything has no respect for me so I am going to loose whatever I was after to begin with. If I am seeking your approval and I need your love to validate my existence then I am doing the same shit I was doing out there on the street. So those are the things in recovery that I am not proud of. Am I proud of putting together the information in the Fourth Edition, yes? Am I proud of working for the disapproval of It Works How and Why, yes I am proud of that. Am I proud that my home group had enough gumption to print a book to give to addicts; yes, I am proud of that? Those are the things that I am proud of that today. The freedom that the steps and the traditions have given me, because the closer I get to God the less important the mass is because they ain’t going there. The mass is not going, it is like lets talk about God and we all go to sleep you know. I am tired; I mean soul sick tired I have had a formal service position since I was three days clean. You know what there is no service structure because there is no group conscience. It is an empty shell and you can doubt that but that is what has brought us to this point. That is what has brought us here tonight, is that emptiness. The death of a dream somebody said. We all got to take a look at ourselves. My archives are being donated to this group that puts this on, everything. I got shit six file cabinets full of stuff. I am doing what I can; I have been working on this for years. (Applause)
I apologize for not being here yesterday I did not think I was going to be able to be here at all. It is a truly a grace of spirit that got me here today. I am Grover and I am an addict, hey Grover. Hey family I am real grateful to be here today. Since I missed yesterday what I want to do is try to do is give you a little quick as possible summation of what is happening in Alabama. This thing started almost three years ago that Dave was talking about. A few addicts in Smyrna Georgia in a spare bedroom talking about those who worked on the history of the Basic Text. Bo was having a really hard time getting people to help him to write and get together the main energy in spiritual views that it took to get the Basic Text written. Trying to get them together to write something so that addicts out here could know their legacy because it was not being done through our present service structure. Due to the frustration of trying to get it done through that and the previous works went about trying to do this on his own and I will say with no improper intention because I know Bo. So you can have it out of love and service. Some of us got together and talked about well you know Memphis is coming up. The Tennessee State Convention and Memphis was a center of help for a lot of work, spirit, and love that went into the Basic Text. Why don’t we try to do something around here? It kind of grew into more than just a book and it kind of grew way past that. You know it kind of got to, we got to talking about a meeting is no different, a group or area or region or a fellowship is no different that an individual. Groups have personalities, regions have personalities and we all have to grow. We all go through change, we all have personalities, and we all need to work the Steps and Traditions or we die. When we have to see the importance well most of us were involved in some active service and feeling like this is a bunch of shit, we keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results and it is not happening. So out of the frustration we said, well can we write a text and I brought the original minutes. We started as an ADHOC Committee of the Alabama, Northwest Florida Regional Lit. Committee. Our proposal was to find out if there was enough support in this fellowship to work on a history project. After numerous phone bills and a lot of driving and talking, we found out that maybe the time was right. Maybe it is time that we took in ( ) of the fellowship and quit repeating the same insane behavior of the past.
Therefore, we made this proposal to our region and we became an ADHOC Committee of our region. That is reflected in our minutes of 88 and was approved unanimously and I think before the year was out or as the year turned, we were a standing regional committee. We started working toward putting on this celebration. Our intentions were to bring our archives and fellowship together to try to get facts based on physical evidence because we believe that is what our history is. It is not just hear say or word of mouth it is what can we substantiate with written papers. We thought the best way to do that was to celebrate our history on what we found to be Narcotics Anonymous as we saw it which is August 17 as reflected in the minutes from the first meeting where they said this is Narcotics Anonymous and this is how we are going to operate. So we said this is the day we are going to hold this celebration until we get this deal done.
We immediately started catching flack because some of us that have been out in this committee believe in service and ( ) and those that were willing to go through the flack seem fit to do what we do. We kind of tear each other apart and there has been a lot of misinformation and trying to do something productive in this fellowship you know that the disease does not want you to do anything. You know it finds the ways and means to try to stop you and have to have the energy and perseverance to see it through or else give up. We had our celebration and as you know, the Baby Blue was a hot topic. We tried to focus the energy on the literature years. You know we felt like when this fellowship started growing ( ) the Basic Text workshops started happening around the country. There was a lot of love and selfless service that went into that you know with no thought of a profit or gain by a few individuals. It was done for the good of the addict that was still suffering to keep them from dieing, to put a book in their hands. We really felt like this would be a good place to start and use it as a barometer for the fellowship, to see if the fellowship was willing to support a work. We knew that it was not going to be a one or two year deal that this was going to be a long‑term commitment. However, I am not going to say all of it but a good portion of the time that was taken out of it was the needed discussion of the Baby Blue Text. We did get a lot of good arguments; I think I have three portable file folders and one cardboard box full of archives. We now have all of that sorted, collated labeled. We do not have the internet and database. I think we have one hundred eleven entries into the d‑base. We have the starting of a handbook. What we have come up with over that weekend, I think our weekend was 99% successful. I only talked to three people that felt like they had been hurt or injured. Through that ( ) and two of those were not even there. However, some real neat things happened you know we saw some people that had not talked in years sit down and talk. We felt like a healing had started taking place. We started working on the handbook. I believe that in the Basic Text it talks about if the committee does not have some sort of ( ). So I feel like the first thing is planning to work and working to plan and kind of answer part of those questions. What I feel like we need to do personally is we need to plan the work and I think finishing the handbook is the place to start. We sent a revision ( ) as I understood from Scotty Allen out there because they took the handbook and in the process of forming a committee. Scotty ( ) a large package and they have lots of stuff, lots of really good stuff and I think that is a real good place to start.
The Handbook so far has the literature prayer on the first page and we start out with the lack of history is the way the disease ( ). The purpose of this is ( ). I hope that in this weekend that we could set aside some time, come together, and review this. The people in Alabama who have really put their hearts into this came up with the money to send us up here and it was a pretty good bit of money to try to lend a hand to this fellowship and say to these people we want to work with you. You know lets come together and do what we can do to get this deal done. Lets not ( ) lets not spin our wheels, let go forward. That is where we are at.
The things that happened after last years conference is misinformation, the lies. I call them lies because I ( ) the facts on paper. (Flip tape)
I do not have to fight, some of us that were to stubborn to say fuck it have persisted, and we mustarded through until region before last. We went through another vote and were voted in I mean but they tried to shut the committee down a few people and the region voted to support the committee you know to continue to support the committee. It still did not rest, I think somebody was talking about ( ) surrender to group conscience. Well the surrender did not take place and still has not taken place. The region before last I went in as a chair and usually at ( ) region we will sit there for two hours and take the shit and try to present the facts in a spiritual manner and present all the paperwork so that everybody can see what is happening and it usually takes care of itself. Well I personally am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I mean stop paying to feel bad four or five years ago. I do not feel like I have to pay to feel bad any more. I take money from my family to drive to an RSC to feel bad and there is no since in that. I called the ASR’s and the supporters who is together outside during the break and I ask them I said look I am tired and I have surrendered what do you all want to do. In addition, we voted which most of the ASR’s are members of the committee and had worked real hard ( ) and get this thing done said well we will just be a multi‑area committee. Well I went back in and asked for the floor and we had a substantial amount of money in the account and said you have our money, we wish you good luck, adios and turned around and walked out. That is where it is at. We are supported by three areas; our region is probably in the midst of splitting. One of the areas walked in at the last RSA and said we invite all other areas that believe in service to join us we are leaving, and they left. Some other areas right now are in the process of going back and trying to get a conscience on forming a new region. That is kind of bringing you up to date on what is happening in Alabama, it ain’t been no fun and it ain’t been no picnic and it has been ( ) but we have all stuck together and we have a all grown a lot a whole lot.
I made a few little notes while we were talking. I think what we have to do is one is to get the handbook, we need a handbook. We need some way to plan the work. You know we can talk about it all we want to but until we get it on paper, we have got no plan, so let us plan the work. After we get the work plan and start working and start doing the work. Let us go down a,b,c,d, and get it done. Second thing I think we need to do under that plan is to establish a database. I have one set up on my computer and if I had had more time, I would have brought it up here. There are a data base files and tapes to the archives that we house. Somehow over the next months to go through and delegate some of these responsibilities to people to sort these files out and get people to go through and label all of these files that we have and hopefully lets all come together in August in Montgomery and lets get together on the computers. If you got a computer bring it and we will transfer the d‑base to your computer, get a couple people working on it, and then merge it together into one file. Let’s find out what all we do have as far as archives go. Then lets be able to spread that out to everybody that is working on this ( ) and say this is what we got so far. Let us get all the pertinent material that we need ok. Let us have the facts based on physical evidence. Then we need an outline for the text. That was discussed the last working weekend we had in Montgomery. It was talked about down there and I hope we will enter into some discussion before this weekend is out. Maybe about the preface dealing with things prior to Addicts Anonymous, Synonnom and NA of New York that was not part of the Traditions. I think Danny Carlson founded that ( ). A lot of other organizations that popped up and tried to help addicts died out due to no Traditions and baselines, a singular personality you know. I think that as you look through the records you will find that is what happened, a dominant personality and finally folding so there is nothing substantial there. I think that that will show us that our Traditions are vitally important to our well‑being. If we are going to live and live free, we are going to have to follow our Traditions. Therefore, I think maybe if we can consider that as a preface. Then we are getting in the first half of the book as some light easy reading. Something that is light, something that catches your eye, something that keeps your attention that is not ( ) but tells a story and to go through that part from what we agreed to do is from the formation in ‘53 was up to 1989 ( ) and lets cut it off. Let us work on that and get that done.
Then the last half of the book, lets take all these records that we got and lets go through the chronology of areas and regions and lets start at A and go to Z from areas and regions both nationally and internationally and put down the mundane material and the statistics. This is when we started, this was the first meeting. I mean make it enjoyable to read but get the statistics down and keep it short so we don’t have a book as long as this table you know. We can get this information in there and people will see how that transpired. The pains we are not have the book with out the pain this stuff is going to have to be talked about. I do not give a fuck how many people saw it, everybody saw it different. You know it is going to have to be got out and it is going to have to get out on the table. If we are going to do history, we are going to have to do it justice and we are going to have to become impartial. We are going to have to check our personalities at the door you know. This serviceites, and Jimmyites and World Serviceites and I am not saying this in disrespect but we have camps that we follow and if we are going to right a history book we are going to have be partial and be fair to all sides. This fellowship is split and I truly believe if we don’t do some healing in the next ten years then we may see some ( ) in the fellowship because we just can’t do it. I truly believe that if we can gather the faith and tenacity as a fellowship, look inside ourselves, and do an inventory then we can produce the fifth step and see our character defects and our shortcomings. I hope that then we can make the changes.
I really do not believe we are ever going to do a history if we focus off writing the history. If we focus on changing World Service right now today then that is what we need to go do. If that is where your heart is at and that is what you need to do then that is where you need to go. If you want to change your area or region, you need to go do that. If you want to work on history then lets work on history. We helped our committee in Alabama and took a position on the Blue Book that was an outside issue. It did not follow in the scope of what we were trying to do and we will get to it in that part of our history when we get to it. Now of course we are gathering the paperwork. All the paperwork we can gather we can stick back in boxes and when we get to that year and we will process that information, but you know, that is not where we are at. You know if we loose our focus then we are going to get lost in our dust. So let us maintain our focus and write our history. I think these things are going to have to be got out. The pain is going to have to come out. I heard a lot of people angry today and I heard a lot of shit and again I think I saw the ( ) being broke and some of the puss coming out and maybe we can get down to the real sore you know. Maybe we can get down to some healing between the individuals and I think that is important too. I think even if we never got a history book wrote if some peoples lives get mended through the process then it has all been worthwhile. What is our focus here anyway, to carry the message to the addict that still suffers and we got a lot of suffering addicts here in this room. There is a whole lot of suffering addicts that are out there that refuse to go to these rooms and I think they are waiting for the NA Fellowship to be extended back out there. There is a lot of misinformation still going on where Dave shared that this thing was said that this thing cancelled ( ) I got a real disturbing call a few weeks ago from the admissions and service office about our history thing. I do not think our disease wants us to get this thing done.
I know there has been a lot of misinformation spread and the only way I know how to combat this information is with factual information. Show up at your meetings and if you have a committee get the minutes out and ( ) as many people as possible and make the records open, be friendly. We can take a ball bat and beat people over the heads and all we are going to do is make worse enemies of them but if we keep quit pushing against them they are going to fall flat on their ass( ) if you have to. I can say that but I cannot practice it all the time. I am trying to, to get a little better at the surrender. I do not believe we have to fight today for anything I really do not. I believe if we surrender and it is the spirits will then it will get done ( ). Getting the articles out writing articles to local newsletters or writing articles to wherever you want to write articles to about what is really going on with history and your participation and whether you are for it or against it. Getting your minutes out and getting the meeting information out, when you are having your meeting. I think one thing we need to identify is all the history committees that are going on and someway get ourselves together. You know we have this one in Pennsylvania, I know there is one in Alabama, and I heard there is one I was not able to be a part of in Ohio. I do not know if it is a standing committee or not if it is, we need to be in touch. The one that is starting in California and Scott will be in touch and he can send us a tape from the workshop. Let us share tapes from our workshops. Hopefully before this weekend is done. We have a program set and that is plan to be there in August and Bill ( ) plans on being there and Father Dan Eagan who is going to share some on pre NA History. I hope you are able to welcome Nanda today and our program chair is going to give us some pre NA History and then Father Eagan is going to give us some on New York NA. We thought that was important because it was called NA in public but yet it was never part of this fellowship and we thought it was ( ) so he is going to come share some of that. We are going to try and cover the early years from the 50’s on. I hope maybe we can get Bob there and I hope all of y’all will take a flyer and fill out a registration. It is ten bucks and calls, make motel rooms, and come down there. Let us set this up. If we are going to work on the handbook there is nothing to say we cannot loose a few hours sleep and sit up and start working on the handbook. That is what we did down there in Alabama you know sat up most of the night until about 4 o’clock. We can go over the handbook and work on it or if files need to be collated you know lets collate some files, label some files. It is mundane work it is boring, as hell but it needs to be done. We need to go through and check all the records and make sure they are in the right files. You know tat is something that is going to have to be done. We got enough people that we can break of into five or six working groups. A couple people could work on the handbook and a couple people could work on files, a few people could work on the outline. You know then tomorrow night we could swap up and another group take the outline that had the files and try to get some kind of eclectic conscience. On Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon on what we got where we are going I can carry that back to Alabama and we can set our agenda to meet our needs down there and let’s get together and work on it. I think what we need to do from there is start planning working weekends, and not put our expectations to high. We are not going to be able to do it every three months or every four months but let’s try to set some reasonable time frame that we can financially afford to get together and get together and move it around and go in different states where it will be accessible to all.
The other thing I think that is real important is funding. I know that we are not into profiteering but the reality is we have to have money to make this thing go. I do not think we have to have a million dollars or eight‑hundred something thousand that has been spent on “It Work, How and Why” today. I do not think it will take near that much to get this done. I think a lot of us that have computers and are willing to make those available to this fellowship. I have a copy machine in my living room and as long as we supply the toner and paper then we can get this shit done. You know we can make personal sacrifices that people made during the Basic Text and we can get it done. I think that once discussion about forming and overall committee you know to organize it. If nothing else to organize our efforts and to have some sort of outreach to other committees and other countries that have, you know that are just starting their history. Some that are not very old and can tap into their history while it is fresh and into their archives. Some sort of central ( ) system. I really do not believe that all the files need to be in one place at any one time because I thought some of the anger that was going on in Alabama that people would show up at my house and try to take our archives. I kind of thought that but they never did yet. That was one of the fears of the committee. They tried to take our archives verbally, it was defeated on the floor, and the archives are in our possession and those areas that supported it. That is who you people have brought your archives to Alabama and shared them with us donated them to that committee and that committee is functioning. T‑shirt and coffee mug sales you know if some of y’all feel like it you could take some back to your area a few of them and want to help funding then we can set up some kind of fund club system. Maybe with what we generate if we can pull this out this one here so that it is money making proposing hopefully we can at least break even. Maybe some of those funds can go into help other areas, groups or regions to have host a history celebration or to set up a working weekend to get the copiers, to secure the location get the pencils, paper to get it done. I know our committee is willing to do that we are not having to mess with all the bullshit anymore. We are not having to fight. Well I am sure that if we can come up with some kind of agreement here tonight or this weekend that we will carry that back and try to set up some kind of a fund club that will work for everybody. Because I believe that ( ) supportive of its members. I do not believe that we need, I do not believe that our pyramids can hurt, we ( ) working for World services. I think we are working for the members you know that is where I ( ). Our committees feel the same way. You know we are going to take care of what we need to take care of regardless. I think there is a way we can work together, get some funds together, and get you going and us members of our committee and theirs to communicate with each other. Funding is a definite issue that has to be addressed and we need some kind of proposal ( ). That is kind of I know it took a while but I appreciate your ( ) well that is kind of where we are at, well that is exactly where we are at. It is important and we are either willing to write the history or we are not. So hope we can work something out this weekend and that you all will come to Alabama. There are plenty of pre‑registrations forms. I think it is ten bucks and fifteen for the banquet and I hope you will come to Montgomery. I hope we can set up some sort of additional agenda to actually start doing more work. I hope we are going to do some work here tonight which I think that is what we are doing or fixing to do and carry that on through the weekend and carry that off to Montgomery. Thank you. (Applause)
Montgomery Transcripts Tape 8B
Montgomery History Conference 1991
Speaker: Bo S., Grateful Dave, Grover,
Some of the things that we have done in the past is especially in the last few months with other issues is to look at what happens when we come with so many different agendas to accomplish a task. We saw a variety of those agendas. One of the things that in these movements that have never been successful throughout history is to have a ( ) and to have a (( )). That point of having the book to start with for our compilation very important. We have something and we have something to rely on. I hope that do not have to go too far away from the agenda that we are trying to talk about. I hope that we are looking for progress and I hope that when we get to the microphone that is what we are talking about. Your enthusiasm, your hopes, your dreams of the change. It is time to stop shooting and time to patch those holes. It is time to learn from our experiences.
I am Lawrence and I am an addict, hi Lawrence. I have some questions and I have some comments. First of all my first question is to somebody who is experienced in committee style of you know writing a book. That is probably a lot of people here that are familiar with that kind of style. My question is to Bo having as to you know having gotten some information you asked for. I have a two‑part question. My first part of the question is, in your experience how long do you think that this will take to happen to bring it to a reality. The second part was, what was the second part, the second part was what length would the book be? Will it necessitate more than one book, the size of the book?
Speaker: Bo S
My name is Bo and I am an addict, hi Bo. I think probably something in the area of 280 to 320 pages would be enough with appendixes because you do not want to blow every body minds and put them to sleep and beat the hell out of them head wise. In the process of doing this work, you are going to be collecting material and that material which is the evidence. The back‑up material for the book is called the basis and the basis may be yea long regardless of what your final book length is. I think Tom may have some ideas of some of the writing realities that are out there. I have been in the back trying to think of what useful suggestion because I am not really too Pollyanna I mean I do wear a lot of suits in service but you know I am really pretty brass tacks. I think it is if we could adapt to general policy that when it comes to problem areas we have a general tendency to say yeah blah blah happened, here is how we survived it clean, and this is what happened, this is how we survived it. How about those many many areas where nothing bad happened you know everything went off great and miracles took place. I remember the first East Coast Convention. They set up for a hundred‑twenty‑five people and one hundred‑ninety people showed up. How about that thing out west where that guy got to be treasurer with region and literally lifted a two thousand dollar donation from somebody’s estate that had died not knowing that our Traditions do not allow us to accept donations like that. Therefore, this character gets in the middle this little dope addict right, swipes the two grand and spends it. Finally the estate contacts the region and says, well not to be pushy or anything but our donation of tow thousand dollars was never acknowledged and we want to be certain you received it. Well the region had never received it but based on that they did the homework and found the guy that had stole it. He naturally had wasted it right and the region itself had paid it back to keep our honor actually. I think that is powerful, there are a lot of stories, I was listening to a couple of members share earlier, and without having a particular opinion on it yeah some people steal money from NA. Which if we are around and enjoying the common welfare that we are enjoying we must have more givers than we have takers. I do not think it is fair for all the takers to get all of the press. I think there are a lot of givers and that should be in there. Some of our miracles and how we have survived our problems and what can we pass on to others to make their way easier. In addition, to share out some of our successes too because we have obviously had a lot of successes in the last 10 or 15 years to keep growing. I mean I am convinced that there is a section of the fellowship living the clean life tonight they are not to sure about California and this conference. They are probably to bust twelve stepping some son of a bitch you know who is probably just trying to stay clean on a daily basis. I am glad we are here but you know I am glad I know they are there too, because they are our real force. We are just praying to be instrumental in dealing with something and it would have been nice if it could have been dealt with a while ago but I will just be glad if we get to deal with it anytime including today. He says how long would it take. I do not think you want to; it is as if how long will it take you to build a house. I mean you could take centuries I understand that in Europe some of the cathedrals were built literally over one hundred year periods and greater. I think if we can get this game plan this kind of handbook kind of ironed out then we can collect basic information from say at least an invitation to each and every region. How many regions are there out there today fifty or sixty what is it seventy something. Well if we got three pages of each of the seventy regions what is your book length. Maybe it would have to be separated. Maybe it would have to be a general history and then another per region type history. See never loose that basis and when we were working on the Basic Text I know that by our open ( ) policy which I embrace in this literature work in as much as this is literature I am all for an open ( ) policy. Meaning I fully expect people to participate in this work with one day clean, with a week clean with a year, ten years and more clean. I know that we preserve the basis behind the Basic Text with the idea that later it could be gone through. Well that time has never yet come, but you are collecting your basis for this book in the room across the way there. That will always be a useful resource if you keep the files open, if you do not let someone at a future date lock them up and take them away from you. I would say no more than a year and a half or two years because what you have to do is go for the moment before the politicians show up. Right now, the stage is a little bit clear; because those people are really good at what they do they really work hard at it. Thanks
One last question. I would like to volunteer my computer and my other question was what kind of a there has to be more than a trivial mention. There has to be sort of a dedicated devotion to Jimmy Kinnon, you know. I do not know if that has to be a separate book in itself I am not trying to open up any cans here I am just think we need to look at things realistically. Is the committee of 16 or of 6 how are we going to include all of that. I think Jimmy Kinnon should get his due one way or another. I am done
I am Grover and still an addict. I really feel one of the ways that can be addressed is through the outline. We set the outline of how we are going to do that and what is going to be in the preface and where we are going to start. One of these mental plaques I have in my head is Jimmy sitting in a meeting and seeing how he considered it and turned away in disgust. What I really feel like is what our committee wants to do is we want to interview Betty one on one. We want to sit down with her and talk about those early years that we shared with her and her perspective first hand and we want to get those ( ). You know if you are willing to sit down in the future ( ). That would be totally up to you. We want all the facts and part of our history will be Jimmy the single guiding force at first, but if there were two or three then those two or three that got together then it needs to be factual. Now let us interview those people and that is it. I think that can be best done one on one in an interview than it can in front of a mic because we loose the personal touch in front of the mic in front of everybody. If you are at home burning a candle you know close you can sit there, tell, and share what happened. I know I can share better with my sponsor that way than I do trying to share with a number of people. So if we can share as individuals maybe we can do some of this stuff one on one and before anything gets printed that deals with any individuals I think that those individuals need to be able to read that and say what is true. I really feel like if we are going to write about Jimmy and Betty is his wife and needs to have an input about into what is written to make sure that it is not bias or one sided. I think that she better than anybody can give that because she was the one closest to him. That is just me talking and I think through our committee that is one of the things Bill Brooks the way we remember him talked about trying to get money together to fly out to California to sit down ( )... Maybe we can do that in Montgomery, sit down one on one and talk about it. That is what I want to do. I work construction and go to different states and different towns and I carry my pen and pencil with me and try to find people that were there in the beginning of their area and try to sit down and interview those people. I try to write that stuff down and that is something you can all do to when you are in your area. I do not that is a question that we can definitively answer right now at this time I think that has to be part of the plan.
A book about Jimmy and then there is probably that clear definition that there is probably a need for both. Our learning experiences that addicts can write once again after being told for so long that they could not will give us the skills and the talents to do justice to both projects. Probably a separation is necessary.
I am an addict named Lou, hi Lou. I had a couple of questions or thought. Yeah what I said is I do not think we need to go out of our way in any form of looking in the outline. History is history, Jimmy Kinnon played a large part in the history, that is there, and history will fulfill itself and take up a large part of the work.
A lot of the concerns that came in my head as you were giving your report Grover and that I heard Bo speak on when he was up here were that the politicians do move in you know. It comes quick and it comes as in anywhere else in service in this fellowship that I have ever seen you know with a lot of pride, image and ego. When you get into that power, property and prestige such as that, I think as you talked about it has happened in the NW Florida‑Alabama region or Alabama‑NW Florida I do not want to put Florida out front (laughter). It is something that I have had a little bit of experience with in Florida and south Florida becoming a region. Efforts that are being done in service there such as our Spring Break Convenference where the powers that be in the Florida Region, which was where it started you, know were not too pleased with the idea of open forums and all sides being presented. They went out of there way trying to kill the convenference but when it went off and was a success were very glad to take that check and deposit it in the bank and try to kill us again the second year. You know I have not figured that one out. I think as you see you are already sinking down from a regional ADHOC into a multi‑ area thing. It is more than Alabama –Northwest Florida obviously. We have this going on here and we have the history to some extent in Florida at Spring Breaks, in Ohio. We need to set up some sort of committee or conference to deal with this. I would really hate to see this be, because I know this is going to come, rallied against by the politicians and all those that hate to see all sides presented. Anything you know besides theirs is heiracy and then snaps back for the coughers. Because when you do deal, with them, you do start dealing with closing down of committees, you do deal with closing down of information, and it is once again taking away from the fellowship, which is where it started and whose history it is. I think we need to know who is doing it. You know you are talking bout setting up fund flows and they are dearly needed to complete a project like this. I think what you are talking about setting up the guidebook for this we also need to set up , God I almost hate to say it, “Fellowship Literature Committee” but so be it. You know in some form the FLC should come about and do this in a structured manner so Alabama‑Northwest Florida does not snap it back, so a multi area thing does not snap it back. So that you are not at the whims of whomever who ever can jump up and down the loudest at a few area services where it stays open to the fellowship the way we know literature can be written and has proven to be before. I think these things need to be definitely and delineated. That you speak to your ideas as to how that will happen.
Speaker: Well I am Grover and still an addict and I feel like with working on the handbook and the discussion here earlier about forming a committee. I think those things can be and would be discussed and worked out. You know I think that is what we are doing. I do not think we have shrunk as a committee. I think if anything if walking out of the RSC has enlarged the committee. At out last meeting we had grown substantially basically because of people that had been involved before that quit coming were tired of the fighting and bickering. When we surrendered the committee grew you know and those areas that are supporting the committee are the areas that have supported the committee from the beginning. I believe as long as we stay in the framework of the Traditions then the rest will take care of itself. Some politicians and hecklers may come for awhile but if we stay focused and we have a plan and stay on track then it is not going to be any different than what the people went through writing the Basic Text, “you can’t fucking write, you will use, you know”. “You can’t do that you are going to die”, you know I do not know how many times those people heard that, addicts cannot write, especially southern addicts you know. (Laughter) Addicts have tenacity about them that we are not going to let go. I do not know about this literature process you know I really do not. I have a lot of mixed feelings. I feel like we need to remain within the service structure but yet I do not want to be apart of. I do not believe that World Services dictates to me what to write and when to write it. I am not working for World Services. I believe the way I understood our literature process is that it came from groups, areas, and members and regions and then it went out, you know after we had some sort of manuscript then we moved it on. I do not see why they are even, for me it is an outside issue. You know because this is some thing our areas are doing and if it is some thing that we do collectively as committees and we form a committee to oversee this then it is some thing we are doing as a multi‑group, area regional whatever you want to call it. We are doing it as members of Narcotics Anonymous and we have no opinion on what they say or do. I am not working for them and I do not think you all are working for them. Maybe by the time this thing is published we will have a new literature process and you know in operation, and maybe we will not. I am not going to expound on where it might go because just as soon as I do they will take that for fact and run with it. You know “well he said this and this is what they are going to do”. Well fuck I do not know what we are going to do you know. We are going to live just for today that is what we are going to do. We are going to write and we are going to try not to keep all our files in one location. We are going to have some sort of means set up so that if some thing folds somewhere it is going to go to the remaining committee. I believe that Larry has told me in the past that there was work that was done and the committees folded up. I believe last year when we talked on the phone that there were some and they do not know where the records went. What I see here and what I have seen in Alabama you know this is Pennsylvania second and this will be our second and Ohio’s first and California out there where Scott and them are getting fired up. You know we are growing. This started three years ago in a back room, it has already grown into two years of active committees putting on celebrations or trying to do something positive towards history, and we are growing. Therefore, I think a lot of the frustrated people are going to come forward and addicts are willing and able to write. I do not believe my literature has to be written by a professional that is going to tell me what addiction is about. Our book touches us because addicts wrote it. That is why each one of us can pick it up and feel some thing when we read it. Therefore, I do not know where we are going to go and I am not going to worry about it what the process is and where we are going to go with it
hits in 2004!
Reprinted from the
N.A. FELLOWSHIP USE ONLY
Copyright © December 2001
Victor Hugo Sewell, Jr.
NA Foundation Group
6685 Bobby John Road Atlanta, GA 30349 USA
All rights reserved. This draft may be copied by members of Narcotics Anonymous for the purpose of writing input for future drafts, enhancing the recovery of NA members and for the general welfare of the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship as a whole. The use of an individual name is simply a registration requirement of the Library of Congress and not a departure from the spirit or letter of the Pledge, Preface or Introduction of this book. Any reproduction by individuals or organizations outside the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous is prohibited. Any reproduction of this document for personal or corporate monetary gain is prohibited.
Last update January 12, 2006