Narcotics Anonymous Way of Life

~ 2012 Form ~

Why It Works12 Traditions


"An NA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the NA name to any related facility 
or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary purpose."

Our principles help us avoid certain problems by giving us guidance where we may not see the possibility that we might be making an error. We addicts are so good at getting caught up in our undertakings, we can glide right past the barriers normal folk would be able to see. The reason we don't allow conflict of interest to enter into the picture is because we can justify anything. We can put the making of money beyond the feelings and emotional needs of our Fellowship Members need to be involved and feel the weight of responsibility. Responsibility keeps us spiritually fit as a fellowship. Without this reality, we would weaken into flabby complacency. Our responses to cries for help would wane into ineffectuality.

The insidious nature of our disease makes us abnormally susceptible to distraction. The NA Society stabilizes the Fellowship by ongoing associations going back to the roots of NA. We can slip out of a prearranged direction of effort into a justified detour with the best of excuses. diversion from our primary purpose is similar to what we as members go through in our daily fight for recovery. We all know about drifting into concerns, worries and preoccupations that threaten our recovery. This leaves no time for meetings, Twelve Step work or interactive recovery with other addicts. Only our strong desire keeps us focused on recovery.

We cannot move in two directions at once. A spiritual fellowship sets spiritual goals. If we were to set worldly goals, we would quickly become worldly and the spiritual would seem inconsequential and impractical. Anyone who has been around the Fellowship will sooner or later come up against a situation in conflict with spiritual reality. It is hard for most people to realize the nature of spirituality is more real than worldly concerns. we learn to choose the spiritual as the eternal, lasting reality over the transient apparent reality that looks so good to begin with and caves in under the pressure or time and events. This is a metaphor for all spiritual growth.

The insidious nature of our disease makes us very vulnerable to the disasters that can occur when we stray from the Sixth Tradition. We are addicts and therefore suffer from low self-esteem and have fragile egos to begin with. Therefore we are easily corrupted by the temptations of property and prestige and can soon forget about the danger of placing personalities before principles.

The insidious nature of addiction allows us to rationalize all sorts of behavior, such as endorsements of outside enterprises. Since some of these enterprises may actually help us reach the still suffering addict, they are sometimes considered in line with the 12tgh Step of carrying the Na message. This is a trap. If people were rescued by a military group, part of the rescue is letting them return to their homes and not live in a prison camp.

Doctors can help identify other problems we may have. One doctor has spoken, "Addicts do not necessarily have any other primary illness requiring treatment of any sort." We don't take drugs just because doctors tell us to do so. It is our life at stake and many doctors are not informed about addiction. Be careful!

Our inherent self-centeredness can make us easy prey for the notoriety that comes with doing endorsements. This is why the 7th Tradition was written and is so very important. It protects us and NA as a whole from ourselves.

After finding recovery and practicing a spiritual way of life, we begin to search out fellow addicts who are like us. It is a sense of trust that is allowed to transform us into productive members of society. The world might be a more loving and caring place if the population was made up solely of recovering addicts. There would be more honesty and compassion but unfortunately that is not reality. recovery is about dealing with reality. Many would take advantage of trusting addicts surrendered and preoccupied with working their Steps. A negative account of an affiliation with an outside enterprise could destroy years of the kind of credibility we try to achieve. Much of society still thinks of addiction as amoral delinquency instead of a disease.

The clear, pure message of NA is an antidote to addiction. The disease tries to dilute this message. When a group endorses another 12 step fellowship or treatment center, it is giving praise to the disease. It is saying in effect that NA alone cannot work, that we must also go somewhere else. This can really put us behind an eight ball if we happen to work in a treatment center. It keeps many addicts from making that final commitment to work the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of NA. This can be deadly to some suffering addicts. NA is the only program of recovery that works for us. If we are curious or have an opportunity, we can take our program with us into any area of life or learning.

The disease of addiction is progressive. as our recovery progresses, so does our disease. When we compromise our Sixth tradition "one time," we lose our integrity as a Fellowship. When we become involved with selling our name, we must begin to pay the price for selling our dreams. We are all capable of living in our active disease. we must not allow money, property or prestige to enable us to take the focus off our primary purpose.

Service work is a privilege and an honor. we must not allow ourselves to become involved in service work for profit. It may seem more desirable to collect money that to sit up with a newcomer, but when the newcomers are ignored, we die. Nothing in NA except NA. We carry our message, not force our opinion. We surrender to our purpose knowing that we respect our Fellowship and that we respect ourselves. Compromises extract a toll from our lives we might not be willing to pay if we could see how much, and how often, we are charged.


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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.