Traditions War: a pathway to peace

Chapter 18 
Political Correctness

This is a new chapter. We are displaying it here from the Quest Forum where the pieces it is taken from were entered. Please enter more there if you wish to contribute, comment or otherwise participate.

In Loving Service,

Bo S. 

(reverse order - started 11.11.04 through 12.1.04 - Ed)

in the 2 forums where this thread is running i have seen some wonderfull posts in different threads that reference the political correctness topic. i am starting to see a vast subject wittled down to some very-to-the point ideas and i believe we are on our way to a strong collection for a chapter. with a little more work we might have something.

what are your thoughts on this.



have a great day in recovery.


Personal responsibility, applies to morality as well as spiritualality,

"In a justly ordered world were loss of equipoise would mean complete destruction; personal responsibility must be absolute," James Allen "As a Man Thinketh"

Morality for the fellowship would definetly be something I would hope each individual would find their own sense or concept of.I would also hope they would have a sponser that would lovingly yet sternly and affectivly encourage them to travel that path.

If a person is working steps it would be thought or hoped that they would grow towards and/or as in my case; start developing some morals and ethics[4th & 5th step],or living up to the ones theve fallen short on[6th & 7th step] and correct the mistakes along the way [8&9}wich would mean do that all the time[10]growth and maint. of spiritualy [11]and on and on.

If an individual is sincere they will surely grow towards the ideals they develop about moraliy.

Develop morals and ethics and have a path to walk that let's one apply spiritual principles to their life and the way they live it. Kinda sounds like "a spirtual awakening as the result of these steps." This is the kind of thing I try to get the people I work with to see. Since I've read what a lot of you have written I feel it un nessasary to say here.

If we as a fellowship start trying to teach morality [as Dennis just pointed out "strictly"] I believe we would be violating the trad. paticulrly 123&5

Who's goona be the ones to set the stadard? What am I considering to be moral that you wouldnt. Who are you to tell me what my morals shuold be ? Where would it become self rightous? Didn't the WSO think they new best for us.???They might well have thought they were teaching us morals..??

Maybe we already have the way. The path has already been laid out. Could it be that we all as members need to be about the path and the application of these principles thru the 12 steps and the adherance of the 12 traditoins by each group and on up thru the service structure.

I recall that the last words Dr. Bob said to Bill W before he died were "Bill keep it simple,let's not mess this thing up."

It is the people who are uninformed and/or as Bo wrote /paraphrase/ have thier own agendas [money' prop. pres.] That tend to make a bigger mess even tough thier motives are good. How about: Being real vs being pollitacally correct ,or maybe: The Dangers of being pollitically correct.,as Grover just spoke about as well as the stuff brouht up in the origanal post and some of the others.

I feel that sincerity and truth faceing are at the root of this thing called recovery.


Right here I would like to say I give props to all of you who are seeking truth.You help me stay the course !

Acceptance without willingness is useless.

If any of that made sense you might be an addict


lots of good thoughts to you all.Love ya, no matter//no matter //peace ------Eric A.


Political Correctness in nothing more than refusing to take a stand. Trying not to offend or fear of being alienated for ones beliefs.

The subject of spiritual or moral values is in conflict with PC. What will we have if we say it is all ok. I am seeing the effect of this attitude reflected in the news and in some family members. It causes me reflect on what kind of society we will have in 20 years. When a child of 4 can calls their dad a punk and beats on everyone around with out fear of reprisal. Because it is not PC to spank or correct the child in the parents eyes. When people in the line at the store attack, kick, curse or take from another because it is not PC to be kind and have manners. It is the culmination of the me society,. All about me. For me. About me. No morals, no spiritual center, no respect. 15 years ago I watched Bill B. leave a meeting in tears because of the disrespect of a newcomer. This guy said fuck the old-timers we don't need them. It is the essence of this attitude that is the problem. Because it was not PC to stomp the shit out of the boy, Bill was harmed, and the newcomer tore our area apart and later used.



i have been thinking a lot about the latest post from paul. i like the direction that he has taken this subject. i beleive that a comparison between spiritual principals and political correctness is the direction that would best illustate the thoughts and fellings this thread has moved in.

the whole question of what is morality for the fellowship is also something to be explored. my only thought against morality is that we do not impart a strict view that does not take into account a members personal opinion. i do not want to see forced morality. being a world wide fellowship, we as members come from a diverse set of societies, with member views shaped by the political, social, religious and/or secular climate we live in. i see this as a potential devisive wedge that could be exploited by the power structure to discredit our movement.

we have an oppertunity to to once again allow the members to shape the future of the fellowship with this. it is my hope that a combination of spiritual principals with a morality component based on belief in the power of the NA message and the primary purpose of NA versus the whole political correctness attitude can bring a much deeper commitment to the fellowship and the addict who still suffers for all of us, whether we are part of the movement or not.

this is not a position that i want imposed on any of you. it is just my opinion and i would hope we could have a lot more imput from all who are interested.



Political correctness definitely follows the herding instinct.

I think Bo's remark about morality goes back to my remark about spiritual principle. It also reinforces the same thing every one of us has said in almost every post in this thread. A person must be willing to think for themselves and reach their own conclusions.

We can not assume that every member has the moral fiber to think for themselves. It is obvious from the state of affairs many are quite comfortable having someone else think for them.

Perhaps many are nor aware of the need to think for themselves.

I am quite comfortable to let politicians do for the most part as they please and remain blissfully unaware of what is going on. I feel my efficacy in that regard is warranted. No matter how informed I may become, frustration just seems to be the result.

On the other hand when it comes to my recovery and this Fellowship I feel entirely different. My rewards are spiritual in nature and no matter what the result of the things that seem political in nature in our Fellowship my rewards are still the same.

They are rewards of the inside. Rewards of having known I took a moral stand and I am trying my best to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.

If I am working with men and women who I hope are also surrendered to the God of their understanding and doing their best to follow direction of their God to fulfill our Fifth Tradtion then that is much different to me than trying to work side by side with others who may have all kinds of mixed messages as to what our American Dream is in our political forum.

Yes, political correctness has inserted itself into our Fellowship.

I still assert we are a Fellowship built on spiritual principle and morality.

Perhaps a better title for this chapter might be Spiritual Principle vs Political Correctness or Morality vs Political Correctness.

The rewards of understanding the difference are very important. Some may be grateful for someone taking the time to point that out. Others may get angry at those who do. Still others may keep on baaing, grazing and going off the cliff without bothering to look.

Your Friend In Service



"If you donít know history, you donít know anything." Edward Johnson, 1990


"Iím not interested in the future. Iím interested in the future of the future." Robert Doniger, 1996




I was reading late last night and came across these quotes. They got me thinking about what the TWPP really is. A history book and roadmap to the future.

I was reminded of the quote, "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." This is so true in my personal recovery and in the history of NA. We see this happening regularly in the Fellowship. Worse yet is that so few know our fellowshipís history.

The future is also given short shrift by our inability to see the big picture, as a Fellowship, in the decisions we make in the present.

The TWPP is one of the things I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving, as I have had my eyes opened and my energy revived by the work.



When I took down the information on our main webpage about the Oklahoma Conference, I put up something that came to mind and seemed catchy. It is better to be informed than right. I think that was it.

Anyway, last night I had a sponsee of sixteen years or more come to dinner with his wife. We heard coyotes howling around 11:00 and when out by the draw to listen to them. It is a strange sound. Anyway, we had a great time and when I woke up around five thirty am, these words came to me.

An informed person can listen, discuss, assimilate new information and can put to work what they have learned and studied to better deal with things that come up in life.

A person who is merely right must assert themselves, appeal to authority figures, evade specific questions and regard those who have a different viewpoint as the enemy and restrict their associations for fear of changing their minds.

I think this comes close to why we are going to all the trouble to put the resources for understanding our history in a single volume. We don't want to tell people what to do or think - that would be unanonymous. But we sure want them to be able to get their facts straight!

In Loving Service,

Bo S.


I read the stuff about the oppinoins about the bullshit in the meetings and got off track,from the subject at hand, no one elses fault.Realizied this in the middle of writing so oh well my fuckup.

Still I have been watching,all my life,and even with renagades , you still have to go with the majority. Thats why I've allways been an Indepedent. Except ofcourse ,when drugs are involved lol.----later Eric A.


lots of good thoughts to you all.Love ya, no matter//no matter //peace ------Eric A.

Just got in from the desert. Heard something good on a tape. Political correstness is a substitute for morality. Thoughtful...



bo s.

I'm pretty impressed with your last couple of posts Dennis. They seem to be a truly objective and thoughtful means of just trying to say what is on your mind. I also like what Bob and Bo have said. I'm just one person here but I think these thoughts can be coherently woven toghether to make a good chapter.

I think we must all learn we are not here to alienate each other or put each other on the defensive. If we are to work together as a team we must get this stuff out of the way.

We can work to set goals and parameters for our work and look over one anothers shoulder and let each other know if we feel we are getting close to the boundaries of those parameters or going in the opposite direction of our goals. I think several of us must agree a mistake is being made before we decide a mistake is being made.

If we as adults choose to work on a long term project together then we must be willing to accept constuctive criticism from one another.

Our collective talents as they develop are probably very great. Equal to any great writer of the day. By ourselves we might not be much but this is a we thing.

I have some more thoughts along these lines but I really must go for now.

Paul M.

when i undertook the writing of this subject, i used as motivation the idea that all addicts should be able to make informed decisions based on the spiritual principals of NA. what i have seen and heard of coming from the WSO and the fallout of that is and will remain wrong to me until there is a change back to how the fellowship used to make desisions. as such i do not judge anyone or their views on this subject eric.

I do not feel i am talking to individuals when i write what i write. i am talking to the overall fellowship mentality that has developed due to the PC nature of the WSO. please do not feel judged eric, as i am trying to point out what i see as my truth, no one else's. my hope for this is not to have the writing become chapter 18 as much as to create a dialog that allows the goals of the movement to gain widespread recognition.



I remember the the 1st stirrings of hope coming from the experience strength and hope of addicts shared without regard to the judgments of hear an addict speak passionatly about the degredations of their disease,the miracle of recovery,and the day to day footwork of honesty openmindedness and willingness reached the last part of me that almost dared to believe in something again.some of those addicts were colorfull,or difficult,or just plain strange,but their heartfelt,genuine sharing led me to believe that if i just didnt use and kept it real,things might change.i was desperate enough to keep coming to mtgs regardless of how i felt about myself or what i imagined people might think of me.i remember hearing "your a member when you say you are" and thinking...the bastards cant throw me out,doesnt matter if no one approves of me,im staying.i was allowed to recover by addicts who valued honesty over i gained some clean time,the temptation to compromise that primitive honesty by imitating what i thought others would approve of became an issue.i told my sponsor that i wanted to get involved with regional service,we talked a bit about my motivations for wanting to go from no service to regional service.ego,prestige and artificial belonging were the motivating factors.never one to mince words,he told me"son,if you think your a big shot in na,your king shit of turd island,and youve missed the whole point."he suggested i reach out to the folks at my home group that looked the most desperate,the newcomer that made folks feel uncomfortable(people like me!!!)later he suggested i make coffee so i would be in place for those newcomers before and after the mtgs.i have that as my foundation for service,so when ive served as a gsr,or mtg secretary or subcommittee chair its still about honesty and the newcomer.political correctness is about not believing in the personal truth of recovery,its a conformist action to protect oneself from the journey of self discovery.its a monkey see monkey do charade of the true process of recovery where difficult truths are arrived at and shared with each other.thats very uncomfortable stuff for corparate na,its messy,and impossible to control.but its real,and the sterile groupspeak message of the me too crowd will never be sufficient to invite an addict to live.political correctness is a hollow hope,its a message without spirit.


as long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would choke us to death...all will be swell

I appreciate the enthusiasim and insights of all the post's on this subject.I was under the impresion that the phrase "work the stps or die mother fucker" was a staement used to voice ones own personal convictions.I always thought that when people said that thay ment that's what they personaly had to do.I understood that conviction,for that was the attitude I adopted in order to begin recovery.---Contrary to the basic text.I did come here to change my life.-------The first couple times I said it was to stop useing,because I didnt trust any of you enough to tell you the truth, that I was scared and diidnt know how to live hell I didn't even know I was scared an old timer had to piont it out The last time I came to the rooms it was to change my life,stop useing was a given.See it's not politicaly correct to say that, I,almost allways get chastized if I say that in a meeting, bet a few of you if you read that cringed.----Oh yes and it's politicaly correct in NA to say that the AA book caterd to a symptom of addiction< and not the exact nature of when in all actuality the AA book is what NA had to begin with if it was good enuogh for JIMMY K.and I had an NA sponser in 94"who had 30 something years who taught steps out of the AA book.We both used the clear cut directions. The statement that the AA book does not deal with the exact nature of addiction is foolish, misinformed and usually made by people who by there own prejudice are unwilling to really investagate what they are talking about and I guess it must give some small feeling of smug superiority - I dont remember ever hearing or reading about prejudice,close mindedness,or self rightuosness being a spiritual principle. I did read a quote by herbert spencer that said ---"there is a principle wich is bar against all information, wich is proof against all arguments and wich cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is---- contempt prior to investigation "----Just so you know I dont talk about AA in NA ---- Yes, we speak of spiritual principles.---I get alot of people that come to me,that have been in and out some for years.They have all the answers,know everything about recovery and cant stay clean!Why is that.They have been told by well intentioned memebers "stay on the first step for a year" What the fuck is that???? Whole gruop apluades for the relapser [God Bles them] picking up there 40th white key tag; pat'em on the ass and say oh it's alright.When did it become "allright"to get high in NA ???? OK keep comin back OK how about keep comin back and don't frickin use in between call me heres my number. Get their number,I call alot of new comers if they have a phone.Most arent going to call you,their to scared. Yes "empathy becomes a healing therapy for all addicted people."we do recover. It is politically correct in NA to say "well I was clean for 8 yrs relapsed and used for 5 yrs and now Ive been clean for 3 yrs so I really have 16 yrs of recovery"---I dont know who taught them to add! Yes clean time doesnt equal recovery but it's kind of part of the deal dont ya think?-----and on and on it goes----So when do we stop turning our back to the truth in the guise of love, compasion and tolerance.-----When does empathy become apathy !!???.--------As said earlier I dont need to be screaming at people,and everything is a fine line when working with addicts, -----but come on if all I do is go to meetings and nuthin else the only thing I get is bad breath from to much coffee and a flat ass from hard chairs!!!!--------So how about the old Alanon saying 'if it is to be; let it begin with me" Yes thay got it from somewhere but we got "just for today" from Alanon.How about sponsership instead of lordship like Bo wrote "it takes time to explain to the newcommer"but people dont want to take the time; just tell them to go to 90 in 90 and stay on the first step bla bla bla and then you dont have to explain any thing I thought sponsership was an obligation.-----Since words carry the power to kill I must be always cheking my motives with God and with sponser.--------At the same time I will call people on it and I will call bullshit, bulshit and I do speak about and direcly address 13 step and other issues,it doesnt make me popular but at least I dont walkaway ashamed of myself for participation and aproval by default,because I was to fucking spiritual and had to much "humility" to say anything about at the risk of,prestige.I dont remember a spiritual princple of being chickenshit.Walking the spirit path is not about being chickenshit. ----------and how do I put paragrghs on this thing,thanks,for listening, Eric A


lots of good thoughts to you all.Love ya, no matter//no matter //peace ------Eric A.


from new webster's dictionary 1997 edition.

1) political---adj---of or pertaining to politics

2) politic---adj---shrewdly judicious in support of an aim

3) correct---v.t.---to put right//to remove faults from//to admonish, reprove//to adjust


from marrriam-webster dictionary 1990 edition

1) political correctness---n---conformity to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities should be eliminated.

the case for breaking the bounds of political correctness has its roots in the study of the above definitions. we as a fellowship have fallen into the trap of allowing a select few in power to dictate how the vast majority are to conduct ourselves. the part of the definition that most applies is from the practices that have been eliminated. the political sensibilities of the power structure are always offended when strong members with a desire for full participation voice their opinions and demand full participation rights.

the power structure that has evolved in NA has a strong incentive to push political correctness for they know that the less there is of a free and open exchange of ideas the more chances they have to remain in power. the power structure is able to manipulate the fellowship by keeping it uninformed of its true desires. they will put out bulletins that are self serving. they will control the agenda at the WSC. they will allow their CAR motions to have a full intent attached to it but not a motion from a region. They will have literature published that the entire fellowship has not seen less heard much about. They will conduct secret meetings that affect the fellowship as a whole. They expect no one to question anything they do. To do so would be wrong as they know what is best.

the question then is, "how do we take the political correctness out of the fellowship?"

we do this, by this work and the voice of its collective writers, being broadcast over as wide an area as possible. we shed light on the power structure by getting the word out that there is another view. we stress that there are loyal NA members who have a different opinion. these members must be allowed to be heard. we continue to publish new and exciting literature for the newcomer. we continue to make the literature accessible to the fellowship at cost or only slightly above cost. we never let someoneís political sensibilities be what defines how we share, what we share, where we share. the true history of NA, which means all of the history of NA, good and bad must be know throughout the fellowship.

for the fellowship to grow and prosper all members are entitled to a fellowship where all ideas are heard. all members must have a voice that is strong in the selection of our leaders. these leaders must allow all opinions to be heard and to matter. political correctness and the damage it has done must be eliminated or the fellowship will continue to suffer the consequences and addicts will continue to die needlessly.





The important thing for those who are not familiar with the term 'political correctness' is that it is not only deceptive and not true, it is something fabricated by a controlling group of a few administrators who take it on themselves to make rules - and reality - for others. It is deadening the the spirit. Spirited members come to be seen as threats to the status quo, as indeed they are, and should be! We have come a long ways in NA and I vividly recall saying, "You can't do that, it violates the trust bond with the people who built the Fellowship." The reaction was anything but spiritual. Because they were not there and knew nothing of the trust bonds I spoke of, they reacted as if I were making it up. Members used to strut around WSO when they found a found a typo in the original Basic Text, unaware that any typos were generated by WSO is retyping the manuscript since the Lit Committee did not proof the type setting process. When you go from a volunteer system to a paid staff, you get some 'funny' shifts of emphasis. What is important changes. No longer is it important that the writing reflect the true experience of recovery in NA. It becomes, "Who gets the credit? How will this affect my standing or that of my department."

Political correctness is a term made up to describe the 'official position' of bureaucrats trying the manage the thinking of a population. It is right up there with ethnic cleansing for murder of an ethnic population. Cleansing sounds better than stabbing, shooting and blowing up. Correctness sounds better than lying, cheating or massaging the truth.

In Loving and Grateful Service,

Bo S. - 30 years clean and 60 years young


In my many years of experience the only ego God has directed me to deflate has been my own. I am grateful to Him for that.

The members in this Fellowship I have accepted guidance from in that area have first displayed humility and understanding in their own lives.

One of my friends I accept direction from tells me his idea of heaven is to perpetually be able to sit and visit with his friends. You might easily understand why he is a good friend. He enjoys my company and I enjoy his. When he gives me guidance he walks beside me. He does not stand behind me and shove or stand in front and pull.

He treats me as an equal. I treat him and all my friends the same way.

I regard everyone here I share with as my equal. When I forget that there are spiritual and emotional consequences I must pay.

Some folks on the other hand seem to thrive on being intimidated and shouted at by strangers. Millions flock every Sunday to be edified, chastised and fortified by a single man in a pulpit. This seems to have worked for the multitudes for ages. Personally, I donít want anyone telling me their foregone conclusions are the one and only truth.

Admonishing me not to bother thinking for myself they have done that for me.

Many of these shouters of the gospel try to push, pull and cajole the masses up the spiritual road of selflessness and ego-deflation without realizing they themselves are caught in the addiction of fundamentalism.

The paradox of this situation is that no man can teach the selflessness of ego deflation while practicing the very essence of egocentricity.

My own ever growing understanding of ego deflation is this. I must allow another person their own joy of self discovery. The way and means I choose to pass on information or experience is crucial if I am to remain as selfless as I possibly can be.

For instance if a first grade teacher were to walk into a room and say two plus two is four and will always be four you bunch of little uneducated twerps, that teacher would have failed her task miserably. The joy is in the journey of learning the process and realizing you have the talent to learn the process. As a personal choice if I am not willing to be a part of the entire process then I just donít say anything at all.

As for violating our Twelfth Tradition and expecting deferential treatment for any reason whatsoever, count me out. If I ever had reason to correct someone in a meeting for their form of sharing and another member corrected me for doing so I would defend my position with integrity or defer to their point of view. My length of time in the program has nothing to do with my spiritual condition for any particular twenty-four hour period.

I have seen men with 25 years on the brink of suicide. I have seen men and women with many years relapse and die. H-O-W means the same thing today as it did the first day I walked in the door.

Being politically correct implies transience. I go to bed one night and the members of a certain race want to be called one thing. When I wake up they prefer to be called another.

I blink my eyes and the members of the same sex are allowed to be legally married.

Personally I could care less about that stuff. These are the whims of society.

We are a Society or Fellowship of a spiritual nature. Our Steps are based on spiritual principles that are the same now as they were when man took his first breath and will remain the same until he takes his last.

I however, am not twenty-three anymore I am fifty. I do not run around shouting profanities in reference to The Steps and Traditions I have come to love and revere.

Here in Knoxville we still make sure our troublemakers get a sponsor and we allow the sponsor time to work with the new member. We call our members down only on the rarest of occasions. For the most part we once again rely on the memberís sponsor that needs correcting to do the correcting.

As for sexual promiscuity in this area I would be a poor judge. I have been in the same relationship for the last fifteen years. I do not have to concern myself with loneliness or desire. I wouldnít want to stand in judgment of another memberís behavior in this regard.

Our memberís behavior does seem to be circumspect. Although I also try to distance from gossip, so thereís really no telling whatís going on around here. I would hope human nature is taking its course with marginal integrity.

I do know my sponsor and I have started a new FG meeting, hosted workshops together, co-hosted a literature conference, attended an out of state service workshop, hit a couple hundred meetings and are planning another conference. This is just in the last year.

He has been asked to speak at a history conference in Texas and I have been asked to expound upon our Ninth Tradition here at the largest group in our area.

I am the GSR of my group and am active with my H&I committee. I am the co- panel leader of a recently started jail meeting in a county adjacent to mine.

Iím not saying all this to brag on myself. I say this to make a point. I am the best member of NA that I know how to be. I am a serious and informed member of this Fellowship.

I want to do my best to lead by example. I can not browbeat or guilt trip another person into loving this Fellowship the way I do. I cannot encourage another suffering addict to share the joy of a relationship with a loving God and be of service to his fellow by behaving in an immature and arrogant fashion. I must behave in a confident but humble way. I must be a man of conviction with a sense of direction.

I have that conviction, I have that direction. Let the mendacity of the past speak for itself.

Let the current errors be as they may. Each of us as convicted members has the opportunity to practice to our best ability the timeless spiritual principles that made our recovery possible. We can choose to pass it along or not pass it along to another suffering addict. The closer my walk with the God of my understanding the better job I will do in sharing the message. A simple attitude of equality and humility is of the utmost importance in doing this. This is the heart and the spirit of our Twelfth Tradition.


Paul M.

ok,here we go,a differing opinion,lets see if open mindedness is a concept or a reality.up front,let me state clearly that ego deflation is absolutly nescessary to the creating the enviorment that the seed of recovery can be planted in.untill and unless that catastrophic rejection of self will occurs,recovery will be a battle,not a surrender.heres where my perspective begins to divert....when i came to na in 87,i heard 2 distinct messages in the rooms,one was a belligerent work the steps or die motherfucker...the other was work the steps and live,you dont have to life up till na was based on a concept of power.i was stronger than some folks,weaker than a interactions with others depended on where i decided they were on the food chain.when i saw addicts acting like feudal lords over "their meetings","their sponsees"...i recognized the dynamics of that same food chain.the disease of addiction is sufficient to to the task of destroying the ego,when i limped into na,i was near dead,spiritually,emotionally and physically.i didnt need to have my ass kicked,i needed to be healed.truth be told,my time in na has revealed to me that kicking ass for their own good is usually justified bullying,originating from fear,based on a belief that the higher power doesnt know what its doing.any other addict that i meet on my path of recovery is invited to be there by a higher matter what na credentials they have,length of time,circle of friends ect,can elevate them from the position of fellow traveller.all addicts are of equal status,from newcomer to gods most holy sharing experience strength and hope with newcomers is much different than shoving an ego laden message down the throat of a critically ill newcomer.responsible,caring,spiritually awakened addicts do in fact wrestle with the denial and self centerdness of newcomers,but we are only assisting the work of a higher power,its not an invitation to lord our recovery over is an emergency room,not a locker room.the message that saved my life(both physical and spiritual)was that none of the steps were designed to hurt me,i had already done that to myself.the country club mentality of some members of na is harmfull to the message of this healing program.some sponsorship families have a self appointed vip status,but to me it looks like some combination of ancestor worship and elitism.recovery has been a personal journey with hp guiding,it is a journey shared with many,but controlled by none but hp.looking forward to any views on this subject,i am open to more being revealed...bob j


as long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would choke us to death...all will be swell



Amen brothers, Amen. So true, so true!----keep keepin on!-----I thought I was, for the most part, alone in those views till I found you.Thanks for helping me not feel like the lone stranger anymore!!!!!!---Peace, Strength to do Right and Sanity to you all !!!---Eric A



There was a good reason for putting people in their place, and there still is: ego deflation. I actually help someone by confronting their bullshit. Sometimes the only way to get through to some of the ignorant and dense sobs who walk through the doors and think they have game or can run a game in the rooms ... is to give it to them raw. Ego deflation.

Now I see newcomers get encouraged to chair meetings and become leaders and trusted servants before they could possibly have proven they have earned our trust and respect. I see newcomers get long-winded in meetings and too few seem to understand why this can actually harm the newcomer.

Some bleeding deacons as the old AAers called them might come in behind me and undermine and contradict something I said in order to help a new person get humble. A few years back at a saturday noon JFT meditation meeting a couple of men with 7 or so years went to whining about their problems right after we read a meditation that had nothing to do with dumping. I stepped in and basically told them to grow the fuck up, and that what they were talking about had nothing to do with the topic of the meditation, or recovery for that matter. The balance of the meeting consisted of big mouthed, big assed, big egoed women sharing that I was wrong because they could share about anything affecting their recovery.

That meeting wasn't my home group and maybe it was merely a drama and trauma dump session, maybe it still is. Point is a couple of the women who came in behind me and controverted what I shared to the men had substantial clean time, and in the old days, out of respect for my time, they would have reinforced what I said, or said nothing. Hell, even 2 and 3 year wonders have the gall to come in behind old timers and tell the old timer he or she is wrong these days.

Lack of ego deflation, obedience, discipline, and respect is hurting the fellowship. Course I'm way way past having any of the nonsense affect what I do or say. I figure if my motives are right, any barriers will be removed by who's in charge.



Hey Scotty I am still alive just way to busy working 3 jobs and getting ready to go to school the 29th so I can get a better job. I still view the post I am always checkin even if I don't post hehehe.



Ronald R.

A person's true character is revealed by what they do when no one is watching...




itis great to see you post.

yes i do rember when they use to say work the steps or die mother fucker.

i remember being told sit down shut the hell up and they also i nrew nothing about staying clean and living the na way of life.Yes i do agree

we need to remember the old school .


in loving fellowship




Dennis, reading your post was like walking down memory lane. I only have almost 16 years clean but remember a lot of what you spoke about. I still say "Work the steps or die motherfucker." I say it in memory of an addict friend who used to say it a lot and is no longer here in body so I say it to keep his spirit alive in our home group.

I remember being told "Sit down and shut the fuck up" they were right I knew jack about staying clean, they knew how to stay clean so I trusted them to show me how. I say to hell with being PC so I still say the old clichťs and if they donít like it better pissed off then pissed on I always say.

If some of us that do remember what it was like don't keep those old school values alive they will surely DIE!!!



Ronald R.



Dennis I like what you have here.You are well informed on this. I read a couple of times and let it set in before I posted,I,ll have to read more of the TWPP because I was reading and re reading carefully to make sure I had context.I'm find context of paramount importence.I'm getting more informed daily and would like to disscus with you later.As for as I can see I'm defnitly am with you as for as your common sense and practical statements.----Peace----Eric A.


lots of good thoughts to you all.Love ya, no matter//no matter //peace ------Eric A.


Political Correctness. What is it and how does it affect Narcotics Anonymous? Should it be a part of the discussion? Is it a myth or reality?

Over the course of time, the Fellowship of NA has seen many changes. We started out as a small but committed group of addicts who could not find freedom in other places. We were told we could not share about our drug use. We were thought of as unsavory characters that would always end up in prison. We had to deal with laws that in part made meeting openly together a crime. We were looked down upon. Out of this adversity arose an idea that there could be a place for addicts to come together to help one another. That idea was Narcotics Anonymous. In 1953 our Fellowship as we do not know it today was born.

In the early years of NA we had very little to work with other than bits and pieces of literature cobbled together from various parts of the country. We relied upon literature from another fellowship. It was of a specific nature that catered to a symptom of addiction. It did not deal with the nature of addiction. As such, it was inadequate for our needs as addicts. On the other hand our early members were real adamant about living a certain way. Recovery meant abstinence from all drugs. One drug was no different from another. We suffered from the disease of addiction and we could not expect to recover if we did not give up all drugs. Not only was this expected of members, it was driven home time and time again by the desire of our founders for NA to be a refuge where safety was paramount. Once you got to NA it was made clear that using was frowned upon. No drugs or paraphernalia was to be brought to meetings. We were to start to live as productive members of society, even if that just meant we would not be a risk to others at a meeting.

Working the steps was a matter of life or death. Work the steps or die was to be heard many a time. 12 Step calls were done on a regular basis. 2 or more addicts carrying the message to our most needy members was a staple of the Fellowship. This still happens today but not with much emphasis. We have ceded this function to Detox and Treatment Centers. It just is not convenient for most members to take time out of their day to carry the message outside the rooms. Or so it is said.

The Traditions were what kept the Fellowship alive in our founderís mind. He knew that NA would not survive without a strict adherence to the Traditions. If Jimmy K. were alive today, would he recognize his Fellowship? I think not. He may see glimpses in places that adhere to the old ways, and he might recognize some familiar faces, grown older and more weathered. But the Fellowship he helped start would not be what he saw in the majority of the world today.

I guess the problems started around the same time as the Basic Text was being high jacked. At that time several members were putting the finishing touches on our text by way of the World Literature Committee. We all know the story of what happened next. It has been covered quite well in several places. What also happened to Narcotic Anonymous that does not get enough publicity is that Political Correctness entered into the Fellowship. This conclusion is reached by examining the after affects of the rise to power of the WSO.

Prior to the Basic Text controversy, the Fellowship was run through the Groups and committed members who had a desire to carry the message, our primary purpose. After the Basic Text and Literature Review process was taken away from us, several assumptions were formed by those in positions of power. One assumption was that no member could speak out against the power structure formulating within the WSO, let alone a large vocal protesting body of addicts. The ability and right to question decisions we had always made ourselves but had no voice in now was taken away from us and became the standard from which the power structure grew. This became the new corporate policy. You will not question us and if you do we will brand you with a label to make you stand out as what is wrong with the Fellowship. Trouble makers, wieners, purists, and The Vocal Minority. All terms used to stop the questioning and scare those who would not stand up. Scare tactics, innuendo, lies, manipulation, fear, and illegal business practices became the coin of the realm for the power structure to control the Fellowship. This started the Fellowship down the path to Political Correctness that is helping to keep the addict who still suffers out there.

How many times have we seen members who had an idea to help the Fellowship progress beat down by other members who did not want to see waves made? How long has it been since Groups banded together to fight for the right to self govern? How many times has an addict been told it is ok to keep on using after picking up yet another Welcome Chip? When was the last time someone shared in a meeting that newcomers needed to sit down and shut up and listen? When was the last time a speaker got fired up at a convention about how the 13th step kills? Can you remember the last time you heard "Work the Steps or die, M*****F****R!" in a meeting? These things do not seem to happen anymore for the most part.

Another area where Political Correctness has hurt the Fellowship is around a lack of knowledge of the true meaning of the 7th Tradition. We use dances, picnics, and Unity Days to support our areas. We do this because we do not hold Groups accountable financially for the Service bodies they have formed in their name. We have become complacent in demanding that we support ourselves and let events do the work the Groups should be doing themselves. Anyone who questions this is out of touch with the reality of the world we live in. That reality was brought on by an attitude of laziness which gets itís most glaring example from the bottom of the pyramid that is the NA Service structure. When the WSO sells our Literature for their support, anyone paying attention realizes that they do not or will not live by the 7th Tradition and so the example is set. Yet to question this is just not done and has somehow been manifested as wrong because the Super Board and the Office must know what they are doing and we should be grateful they are doing it for us. All of those people have time in recovery and would never hurt the Fellowship or act in an unspiritual way.

The Unity called for in the 1st Tradition has been another casualty of Political Correctness. It used to be the responsibility of each addict to take under his or her wing newcomers and start the education process of NA. The dos and doníts of the Fellowship were explained. Clarity of the message of NA recovery was taught. Behavior that was deemed inappropriate by the groups was pointed out. Service work at its most basic levels, such as meeting greeter or butt can monitor was usually not up for debate. You just were told to do it as service helps keep you clean. The women were told to stay with the women and the men were told to stay with the men. Members with time were severely admonished about leaving the cute newcomers alone so they could recover in peace. How we dressed, drove our cars, conducted ourselves in the parking lot, and what was expected of us when we went out for food after a meeting was part of the education process. Step work was encouraged as soon as we were able to focus enough to put pen to paper. In short we were all in this together.

Somewhere along the way all of this stopped being important to most. An anything goes mentality arose. The 3rd Tradition became fragmented to only read from the first line. There is more to membership than just a desire to stop using. With membership comes responsibility. But it has become the norm to leave that out. We are told not to offend anyone by calling them on anything. The unity called for in the 1st Tradition is lost, they say, when we point out anything to anyone that used to be considered bad for the addict and bad for the Fellowship.

The attitude of everyone for themselves has taken deep root in the Fellowship due to the example set, which became the way we do things, by the WSO all those years ago. An unintended consequence yet something that has built over the years. It happened slowly over the years and most did not notice. But examine these examples and others you can think of and draw your own conclusions. This is not meant to be another conspiracy theory but a view of how things that do not seem to be related when taken together add up to another reason to take back the Fellowship to the Groups and members. A large percentage of our Fellowship has never known what this Fellowship was like before the taking of the Basic Text by the WSO. The old ways live in memory by a dwindling few. The Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous is at stake and must be returned to itís rightful owners, us.




Submitted as a starting point for your contemplation, disection and debate. It is now yours and no longer belongs to me.






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Reprinted from the 
Traditions War: a pathway to peace
2003 Form

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