Narcotics Anonymous Way of Life

~ 2012 Form ~

Why It Works12 Traditions


"Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; 
we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films."

Spiritual integrity is at the heart of this Tradition. Anonymity rules out self-aggrandizement. In NA, we deal with energy and avoid areas of powerlessness. One of the major ways we stay within bounds is not to try to claim responsibility for other people, what they do or what they think. Standing out, alone and on our own, is necessary for us to carry out our Fifth Tradition and carry our message. When people think of NA, they think of recovering addicts who help one another. Any departure from this focus hurts our ability to carry our message. We applaud and enjoy our personal attributes as we grow through the 12 Steps. When in service to NA, we set aside our personal preferences in favor of group purpose and this Tradition enjoins us to keep this spirit alive.

We addicts at any point along life's way, have some things to learn. Staying on the subject is hard if not impossible for many of us, especially in early recovery. We may not expect to actually get better. Service workers who specialize in Public Information services, study guidelines developed by members within the Fellowship to pass along what has been learned about creating and maintaining a public presence without violating our Traditions. Please refer to public information guides to get what is most current and helpful at present.

To keep our program attractive, we avoid promotional images and postures that would suggest we were other than what we are: A program of recovering addicts who help one another to get help themselves. This is attractive to addicts seeking recovery who would be turned off by professional approaches or treatment programs that may not have worked in the past. While we find many of our members are better able to benefit from treatment due to the radical change recovery makes in a person, we have many members who have gotten clean and stayed clean on NA alone.

Promotion would be out of place for a program of recovery based on spiritual principles. Promotion implies the need to add value to a product or proposition with intent to sell or market. We try to be sensitive to prospective members who may still be in pain from having been promised help by some other organization or program and felt let down. We are what we are and we are grateful. Our recovery should speak for itself among addicts in pain from active addiction. Until an addict is awakened by their very own custom designed ‘pain’, they are notoriously unlikely to respond to any offer of help. So, promotion would not only not work, it would make real addicts think we were somehow insincere pretenders and therefore avoid us when they become serious about recovery. In this way, it would run people off who we should be welcoming. Terms like 'hype,' 'bill of goods,' and 'sensational' may help us understand this point.

The greatest treasure of all recovering persons is being able to live free of the labels of active addiction. We may break our own anonymity privately for any reason, yet we do not grant the right to do this to break the anonymity of any other person, even if they have reason to think it will be OK with us. In this world, we never know when our good-naturedness will cost someone their job or result in other problems that would not occur without our interference. We develop habits that allow us to live with other people without injuring or discomforting them.

Initial attraction to our Fellowship happens in many ways. The continued attraction that keeps us coming back may often stem from our honesty living the spiritual principles of our program in our daily lives. That is what continues to attract the still suffering addict to us: The fact we live in the spiritual solution and our willingness to share ourselves unconditionally.


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Reprinted from the 
Narcotics Anonymous Way of Life, 
Traditions War: a pathway to peace,
The Spirit of NA 
or NA Twenty Plus

being edited on this site.

Copyright © December 1998
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.