Keep It Green
Tradition Ten says NA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. That sounds pretty simple. Clarity and simplicity are the keys to our message right? Our literature says there two ways we find ourselves in public controversy: One, by taking a stand on our own opinion; two, by being drawn into it by others. There are many issues that help NA members stay clean but are controversial when it comes to public policy or social acceptance, total abstinence, drug replacement programs, personal anonymity, the disease concept of addiction, even our broad views of spirituality. We know NA works; thousands of recovering addicts all over the world prove it. There is really no need to take it personally; causing controversy inside or outside the rooms never helps. Our message speaks for itself. I believe NA is for all those who want it, not all those who need it. Our literature says unity, anonymity, and our primary purpose are ours alone. NA has only one message “An addict, any addict can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live.” NA has no opinion on outside issues. As members of NA we each have a right to our own opinion. Tradition Ten makes it clear that meetings are not the place to discuss some of our opinions. With clean time we develop morals, values, and beliefs to live by. Through the evaluation and reevaluation found in working the steps those things can change. We must make sure those things are not mistaken for the principles of NA. If we hear messages through other fellowships or institutions that we feel would be helpful in a NA meeting we must remember that our purpose is to share our experience, strength, and hope through the program of NA. Our literature says if we are having a problem that affects our ability to stay clean and grow spiritually it is not an outside issue, getting experience from other recovering addicts and a sponsor is a way to find out how to share about these things. Tradition ten says, as a fellowship we agree to take positions only on those ideas that have drawn us together.
Concept 10 states that “Any member of a service body can petition that body for the redress of a personal grievance, without fear of reprisal.” In our fellowship, the individual addict is valued and respected, and encouraged to speak their mind in Concept 9, and protected against any wrongful reaction for doing so in the 10th Concept. This 10th concept gives any addict the right to appeal decisions and ask for amends for any wrongs that may have been committed.
Before petitioning a service body for redress of a grievance, an addict should consider talking to his or her sponsor, working a mini 4rth step which includes his or her part in the situation, and praying for guidance and courage. This illustrates the importance that addicts work and live the steps and traditions, before moving on to the concepts. Otherwise, an addict would not have experience working the steps, which are necessary for this concept, in particular steps 4 and 11.
One can appeal to a subcommittee, or appeal to the overseers of that group, which for a subcommittee would be Area. The addict can write a letter, or use open forum to bring up a request that a decision be revisited, or that a wrong be redressed.
There is an example of this concept, in the literature. In the example an addict is slandered, which results in a vote against him holding a position. Upon learning of the slander, the addict talks to his sponsor, does a mini 4rth step which includes his part in the situation, and prays for guidance and courage from a higher power. Then the addict with guidance from his sponsor makes a decision to petition for redress.
An addict can go directly to a service group to ask for a redress, or go to the overseer of that service group. For example, an addict can go to a subcommittee, or to the overseer, which would be Area. In one of the examples in the literature, the addict goes directly to the subcommittee, and in the other example the addict goes to area, because the subcommittee chairperson was not cooperating.
This concept is an illustration of a group doing an 8th and 9th step. The same way that an individual makes amends, groups should consider making amends when it is requested they do so. We discussed how this concept in no way guarantees amends will be made, all it does is guarantee the right to request and be granted a redress and consideration of an issue.
This concept like all the concepts contains spiritual principles. In particular, there is the principle of patience. The addict practices patience, first talks to a sponsor, prays, and does an inventory, before going to a service board. The addict may also need a lot of courage, which is a spiritual principle, to ask that a wrong be redressed. Praying for courage is a part of step 11.