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27: Clarifying the Clarity Statement: Are You an Addict and Alcoholic? (Sort Of)
Welcome to Recovery (Sort Of), the podcast where we explore the winding paths of mental health recovery. Join us on a journey of self-discovery and growth, as we navigate the highs, lows, and unexpected detours of the recovery process. From managing anxiety and depression to coping with trauma and grief, each episode delves into real-life experiences, insights, and practical strategies for finding balance and healing.
Narcotics Anonymous has a clarity statement that asks people not to identify as “addicts and alcoholics” and believes to mention being “clean and sober” could cause confusion and blur the message of the NA program. Does language matter? Is one way of referring to yourself truly harmful? We explore how much this matters, if people from one program can share in another program, and debate if the clarity statement should be read in the beginning of meetings. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RecoverySortOf or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/recovery_sort_of/.
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4/19/20 Narcotics Anonymous has a clarity statement that asks people not to identify as “addicts and alcoholics” and believes to mention being “clean and sober” could cause confusion and blur the message of the NA program. Does language matter? Is one way of referring to yourself truly harmful? We explore how much this matters, if people from one program can share in another program, and debate if the clarity statement should be read in the beginning of meetings.
all right – started are we gonna try to do the clap thing give me one second I’m all my headphones okay that should be good all right you ready yeah one two three clap okay one two three huge delay there yeah I think I clap faster try it again come on we got to get this down we should we should count at the same time yeah okay one two three
hey I think you’re trying to wait till I move and that little bit of delay makes it weird that’s funny because over mine you’re going second oh yeah you’re good second I’m like re Go Go good right that’s what I’m thinking – that’s hilarious yeah I guess there is some weird amount of lag yeah whatever I guess that’s close enough hopefully we don’t need it like I said I it went well last week and I’m hoping we can just do that again cuz that was really nice and easy all right so we got the email from Selena we got a Twitter message from a guy we’ve got some questions in an email I think the questions an email should probably go last though if we’re gonna touch any of them that should be like after the main topic I think especially because the the Facebook post is going to take up some time already as it is just be okay so that was the one it was kind of about the topic from last week about the recap and it just had all that stuff on it I tagged you in it yesterday I think yes I remember reading some of it – the other day yeah it was all about tagging the speaker’s online and
shouldn’t take too too long but there was some interesting stuff couple interesting things in there maybe it really wasn’t anything all that interesting but just I think it’s good to acknowledge at least when people say something I don’t know if I was listening to something and they acknowledged me I’d feel cool about it yeah right oh yeah no I liked that too not that anybody’s listening but if they do and they hear their name they might listen again was that in a beam or recovery here for somebody eat egg that’s okay yeah I threw your name on the end of the post where it’s not it my notice Oh cuz I mean Jennifer nevermind let me get it I forget this is on hers every time that I I’m like I don’t see where I’m tagged
maybe that won’t be as long as I was thinking I’m still not fine why the hell is it not coming up in my notifications that’s okay I wish there was a way is there like a there’s no way to share a link to it that’s the problem if I go on that page and then just search for
there’s really a way to search for something on a page let me say I mean I can take it at the bottom of it I don’t know what’s damn it I remember reading it yeah I just tagged you yesterday or Friday I can’t remember which
Facebook sucks well list them but it’s not listing I’m in a date order it’s like what the notifications yeah no if I go back and look at oh yeah I hate when it does that I think there’s a way to change that yeah I don’t know how to do that though and it was in the beam or recovery wasn’t yeah [ __ ] why today
Facebook decides what I can and can’t see did you just tag me again no oh you over to [ __ ] what’s the name of that post I’d certainly heard of it so have you seen where people are tagging the speaker’s of their online meetings on Facebook okay there we go I don’t work okay
you got it yeah okay so I mean it’s just I saw yesterday I was like 57 comments damaged a lot there but really most of it is you know just back and forth with some people and some couple interesting takes on it from some of the guys down the bottom if their recent they’re probably the ones I didn’t read no I don’t think anything’s really on there they’re all from a couple of days yeah then I probably read early I don’t know what it takes to be an admin on this page these people seem important yeah no I know one of them she’s not all that important okay so we’ll start we’ll do the email we’ll do the Twitter message and then we’ll pop on this Facebook thing for a second and then get into the stuff sound good okay sounds good to me all right Oh stretch make sure my things still recording because it’s turned off looks like it is that’s good all right welcome back I’m Jason I’m a guy in short-term stuck in my bed and I’m Billy I’m also a person in long-term quarantine recovery I gotta find some new stuff to say there I’m running out welcome back to recovery sort of we wanted to definitely start out this week you know we we did our episode last week of course on whether it was okay to promote people’s names and we got a little bit of recap to do from that we also got a nice email from Selena and she talked about you know being thrown off because she couldn’t listen for a little while and then when she came back we had a new new theme music so I thought that was kind of funny ather off it made her think you know God was telling her that she wasn’t she had to go back out and run because she was healed so that was nice and then we got also another nice message there’s another podcast it’s brutally sober it’s interesting it’s just kind of a guy who’s you know I don’t know agitated annoyed with life a little bit as he’s you know progressing in recovery and and it’s pretty entertaining due to that fact but he was asking us what recovery podcast we like and of course when I say us I do mean me because I was the one talking to him but I really I did want to reach out to you Billy because I was like I don’t know I think we’ve had this conversation and I don’t really like most of the recovery podcasts that are the what you would call I guess the bigger name ones or the and it’s not that I don’t like them I think they’re doing a great job I’m glad they’re spreading the message of recovery to a lot of people I guess they just aren’t really my flavor or aren’t what I’m looking for when I listen a lot of them are like interviews of people and I just didn’t do it for me and so I had to conversation with him and told him you know there was a couple I liked and I mentioned oh my of course I appreciate the people we interact with on Twitter I think they’re fun and I like their podcasts but he already knows all of them but he paid us a nice compliment and said that he really felt like we were the people he listened to and got the most out of because he enjoyed our type of podcast and that’s not to say that we do it better than anybody else it’s just that he enjoys what we do and the conversations we have and so I appreciated that yeah me too and that’s you know again part of one to do this was to try to be something different when I listen to recovery podcasts it it almost felt like you know I don’t know I want to say something you could hear in a meeting or something that you could get by you know hearing a speaker and I didn’t I wasn’t looking for an alternative to go into meetings or an alternative to get you know information per se I wanted to do it as like a discussion well let’s talk about some of this stuff let’s see if we can open our mom and explore some of these topics a little more in depth you know and and not be afraid to sort of I don’t know be pigeonholed into one fellowship one point of view one limited way of looking at things and I think within our fellowships it’s not necessarily safe to do that you know unless you’re at someone’s house with a friend or you know sitting around a campfire or whatever you know within a meeting you’re not gonna have some of these discussions that we’ve had or talk about some of these topics so those were the kind of topics that I wanted to talk about were things that might be a little more either controversial or try to have a more open-minded approach to things or you know absolutely absolutely and I you know I want to theorize and and like you mentioned before pontificate on these until they’re dead gone we’ve dug up and they’re dead again and that’s just not what I’ve heard in other places so much there is like a al-anon podcast for whatever reason that it struck me as enjoyable that I used to listen to it I still do from time to time I’m called the recovery show which you know good name for a recovery show yeah so to get back to the Facebook post from last week we we did the the episode on you know people use in people’s names maybe their full names maybe tagged in their Facebook maybe even mentioning what you know why they’re famous and so I did not I did not use that person’s name in our in our episode title so I did not use them yeah we could’ve got some more listens right I thought about it so we posted it we got some other people’s opinions and people people were kind of in agreement for the most part but there was some different takes on it Caroline you know well Rachel had mentioned that she it was enjoying the the speakers but she missed the celebrity part at first and once you know she realized that that was in there she she agreed that that seemed a little little often and Caroline you know same thing that we felt like she had she had seen that kind of post and it just didn’t really sit very well with her and that’s kind of I think where we were at it was really less about is this okay or not even though that was the discussion and more about the fact that it just felt so so wrong Barry makes an interesting point he says if your concern is anonymity you give it up when you join social media as far as I can tell and he might have a point there what do you think about that well and I was just thinking to myself I would say that I would disagree with that I don’t give up my anonymity by joining social media you’ll see posts on my page about cover II topics or recovery things but I don’t specifically affiliate myself with any fellowship and you know I actively try not to if I do it’s certainly either an oversight or by mistake but I personally try very hard to keep my anonymity online again not for my sake I have no problem sharing about recovery or being in recovery or being a person that you know struggles with addiction it’s in respect for the traditions and respect for the fellowship that I try to keep my anonymity so I thought just because I’m on social media and a person that talks about recovery that I give up my anonymity well I wonder also and he’s from down near the Baltimore area and what I have seen happened down that way is people will join Facebook and there’s a lot of newer members down there and if you don’t have your Facebook privacy settings locked down like maybe you I don’t know maybe you don’t even realize you can lock them down where you get notified and have to approve when you get tagged in a post or something like people have taken pictures NA meetings events outside of meetings and just posted them and tagged people and I think you do open yourself up to being you know outed in a sense when you’re on social media moreso than if you weren’t at all and maybe cuz honestly I know a guy yeah well I know a guy who’s not on social media who’s still in pictures and and doesn’t get tagged but everybody knows who the hell he is and you know he’s still on Facebook community as being the guy who’s with us right and who doesn’t you know remember like I mean I remember being in jail and over the years I had been court-ordered to meetings and stuff and I had known some people that were in meetings and like I would out them in jail or remember that dude he’s secure there’s a name if I didn’t know nothing about you know and that was before social media so right when I talk about giving up my anonymity what I mean is you know I can only be responsible for my behavior and my part in things and you know whether I’d go to the extreme of acai if I was tagged in a picture or posts that outed my anonymity would I go untag myself because those are things you can do to I you can untag yourself or whatever um I don’t know that I would go to that extreme but I can only take responsibility for my actions if someone else does something against me I mean obviously gonna have a conversation with them about it but you can’t you know I’m saying only ever want to keep my anonymity then I can’t even go to regular meetings because somebody there is gonna see me that’s maybe not a regular member or this court-ordered or that you know is going for whatever reason that might tell a co-worker a friend oh yeah I saw that dude at the meeting you know right yeah it’s now gonna right I could have that just because we’re in social media means we have less respect or less expectation of privacy you know hmm that might be an interesting discussion for a day is there less expectation of privacy on social media well again a true education it’s all new so as experienced members who have trying to understand and apply some of these principles of anonymity again it’s not a point of trying to make other people do what we think they should do it’s about education and and just being an example of what you should do talking to people that I sponsor or people that want to talk about it hey maybe you shouldn’t be you know [ _ ] tagged in every NA event on your public page like maybe that’s not the best idea things like that we you know we learn by being the experience members or the the people that have practiced and shared our experience in those areas and I think and so the next comment Steven gets into a sort of similar idea that we are navigating these waters right now and going to use the experience we have and also our new conditions to come up with new experiences I believe what he’s getting at you know saying that the social media aspect of this has kind of been bubbling under the surface for for quite a while and he’s right about that I think you know kind of what we were just talking about people getting tagged in pictures and this that and the other and now with this new you know pretty much all online format it’s sort of bubbling up to like oh hey let’s figure out these new you know traditions or these new ways that we have to operate you know he’s asked in his first question was does your definition of a private page on Facebook constitute a promotion or a public announcement and I think that was kind of what you had mentioned last week about what you know and a statement on the matter was sort of if it is in a closed group it’s not a public announcement it’s but I think you said it was like a letter written to someone almost yeah that’s the way that it could be used for that if the security settings were locked down and and you know those kind of things yeah but and even in that though I think they were expressing that more in the idea of let’s say you had you’re trying to put on a convention or something and you wanted to have like a zoom meeting with the participants of the Convention Committee you know that you could secure and lock that stuff down in a way that didn’t make those kind of discussions public information that’s kind of what I took away from what we read last week is like you can have you know maybe conduct business meetings or maybe conduct correspondence or group conscience you know decisions in a closed format in a lockdown group you know that’s was the way I read that I gotcha I guess if you had closed Facebook group I don’t know that’s yeah it’s – it would be difficult you’d almost have to have like guidelines or some policies as a I guess an area who would administer the page in every area has a website that has a discussion board or a you know Facebook page for your area that controls you know who the members are or yeah yeah it’s it would take a lot more thinking than what I’ve put into it that’s right right and so I think when we go to the next one Edward seems a little frustrated with everything he said you know we don’t use last names and the anonymity is supposed to keep us equal no big shots no promotion but with the world doing it why not and and that’s why I you know I asked and I said well what do you mean is the world promoting and he mentioned that that’s what he feels like that’s what they do they’re supposed to do the group’s bidding but not anymore and it changed when they changed the name of the Committee on cooperation to promotion and basically ordered the area to do the same without any input from the group the more they promote the more literature they can print and sell around the world I know Edward is not alone in this sentiment or idea that all literature is about money I actually had a discussion not a huge discussion about this fact because I I don’t know that I care to discuss it too deeply but yes somebody was talking about the new tradition workbook and how good it was actually was J there was another guy named Jason and I was telling him that I just I was sort of in refusal to buy anymore literature like I I could read the literature I already have more and I don’t really need to spend more money and you know so I don’t know Edward seemed angry and and I think there’s or at least agitated or not happy with the changes maybe at our world level and you know I think plenty of people feel that way yeah and I and that’s how I’m assuming when he says they because there’s always this they in them the vagary that people throw around and sometimes when you ask well who is they or who are you know them I think he’s referring to the world board I would assume that’s what he’s talking about cranking out literature and trying to sell it yeah I belong to a few groups that dig into some of that stuff a little bit and I read it more for entertainment than anything else I tend to not put a ton of energy into it for myself mostly because I feel like you know my group meets every week and we have our meeting and we have the steps and we have the tradition so we have the basic texts and we have you know the literature that all the literature we ever need for a meeting and that even if you know the world service closed down next week because they’re financially broke we’d still show up there every week and have our meeting with the literature that we have and we’d be fine and I believe that’s the way the fellowship was designed and you know I know there’s a lot of other controversies of that stuff that I personally just don’t have an energy to get caught up in to a lot no no absolutely I’m with you I I kind of this is it almost exactly where I got to the other day when I was having this discussion it’s not so much that I don’t care what world service does but it’s more like what it seems is when they put out this new literature people seem to get new and fresh insights into their recovery from it right so it seems like it’s doing a positive in that sense and if I don’t want to buy it I don’t have to buy it and no matter what world service does right now they are not impeding on my ability to show up and help to still suffering addict now if they ever were to do something that held me up from doing that then I might need to think about starting a new fellowship or taking a trip back but it was it was very much in line with the the specialty meetings it was like I don’t see the harm in new literature even if I don’t want it I don’t have to buy it it seems like it’s doing some good stuff so I was happy for the I was happy for our podcast I felt like that led me to a very healthy decision on the matter yeah right yeah okay I was just gonna say I agree I think the same thing so RJ brought up our online meetings technically sanctioned NA meetings and so that started a little discussion you know my initial response was I don’t know about sanctioned but yes there there NA meetings like you know I’m pretty sure about that and then Jason this is where Jason did chimed in and asked what a sanctioned and a meeting was and I think he brings about a good point like we seem to have this service structure that believes NA meetings are only NA meetings once they get voted into an area and and that’s not my understanding I think a meeting is a meeting right like it doesn’t matter if the area votes it in or not maybe it’s not in that area at the area doesn’t vote it in but it’s still a meeting if people are meeting and following the the rules or the guidelines of the traditions right right any meeting can start and and we had talked a little bit about this there’s differences between an NA group and then in a meeting and you know digging into what those differences are how you interpret some of that stuff but then yeah an NA meeting is any I forget that I’m gonna say this generally but I believe it’s in the literature talks about a meeting is any gathering of two or more addicts you know spirit of recovery right so based on the 12 steps and 12 traditions you know that’s a meeting yeah we’re following that 12 steps 12 traditions you know it’s a meeting whether it’s on a schedule or listed somewhere publicly or you know however it’s how many to use the word promoted however it’s promoted doesn’t necessarily qualify it as sanctioned right right I it’s interesting we do you know there was a post a couple weeks back about something real similar if we could post you know what somebody was calling a renegade meeting on our our area and I’m like it’s not a renegade meeting like everyone’s welcome you know renegade meeting I get if you’re breaking some of the rules if you’re saying certain people aren’t welcome if you’re not following the guidelines if you’re not following certain traditions sure but this was just a meeting in somebody’s backyard that started because the church closed down and they were like oh you can’t post that on on our website I’m like why it’s a meeting right I don’t know I mean to be honest and I know you know in our area we’ve had some meetings that don’t allow certain people and stuff like that and to be frank I might make an argument that they shouldn’t be listed on a meeting schedule but I don’t know that I would actively try to shut them down you know what I mean like I still think they serve a purpose and if people were showing up there and getting the basic principles of recovery based off the steps and the traditions and let it happen I mean I’m not gonna support it you know even if I’m allowed to go I don’t know if I’m on the approved list to go or not you know I don’t know that I’m not anyway um but you know at the same time you know I don’t I don’t feel like it’s my right to go and try to shut them down or or close them yeah I don’t I don’t think I’m with you I don’t think we need to shut anything down like it may be a Trent and NA meeting but it’s still a meeting of people trying to have some recovery and do some positive stuff right even if they have some certain rules and regulations that don’t allow them to be part of the fellowship part of the program I don’t think they’re doing a bad thing right so yeah I don’t know that’s interesting so not to you know keep us moving along a little bit here last one I think Ted Ted was coming from a different stance he was coming from a more of an a a side of the street and he mentioned that’s not in line with traditions and he said again technically anyone claiming a a membership on social media with their actual name and likeness visible is also not following traditions and then he said or more specifically how AAA has interpreted traditions as applied to modern technology and so that got into a really interesting discussion about the spirit of the traditions and a lot of what we talked about last week and and breaking anonymity at the public level and I don’t know I thought it was just super interesting to talk with some people and get some different perspectives as always I appreciate everybody’s input you know even when it doesn’t change my mind about where I stand it makes me question where I stand enough that I know I stay in there for a reason and not just you know because somebody told it to me ten years ago yeah that’s one of the great benefits I’ve gained from recovery and I still struggle with it at times but you know I always felt like I needed to be right and I needed to have all the answers and if anyone questioned my opinion or the way I thought about things you know that that was somehow a challenge to you know me and I’ve thank God grown in that area where people can have differences of opinion we can talk about something and you can see it a different way and I don’t a feel the need to cram my opinion down your throat to make you see it my way and B I don’t necessarily need to change my opinion or feel wrong because someone else disagrees or sees things a different way you know it’s a great blessing of recovery really yeah it’s it’s super cool it really is and I remember the first time somebody told me the whole concept of it’s more important to understand than to be understood and I just thought that was such a mind-blowing concept at like because my program only talks about me right I’m the one that needs to change to change anything in my life in my program so I don’t need to force other people to understand me I just need to do my best to understand other people to the best of my ability like whether they understand me or not it’s really none of my goddamn business yeah and there’s a freedom that comes with that like I get the freedom now to kind of just say what I feel like I need to say if I’m engaged in those conversations and then walk away and and let it go I don’t have to fester it in my head and hang on to it or develop these resentments over some conversation that you know turn into an argument you you know like those things are a great freedom to be able to have no absolutely absolutely I’m with you so before we get into our topic today one last final thought the the pandemic going on globally that has everyone stuck at home that I swore would allow everyone to listen to podcasts has actually it seems limited podcast listener ship and I can understand why like I thought it would do one thing and now I’m stuck at home with my kids with not much time to myself to listen to things such as podcasts or audiobooks or anything so I get it for me they are much better listen to while driving or doing a task away from my home but even with that going one and with listenership down across the board of of podcasts we have hit 2,000 listens and I just thought I would like to acknowledge that with you and right that’s cool you know and so now we got a text message this week from a friend of ours Carolyn and she asked about the clarity statement so you know na has a clarity statement AAA has a pamphlet I guess that is similar that talks about how they can only help the alcoholic and and not the drug addict and we have a clarity statement and so she asked about the clarity statement saying clean and sober getting speakers from another fellowship to chair a meeting in this fellowship blurring the lines between fellowships and so that left us with a topic and I kinda at first I sort of brushed it off slightly cuz I I just didn’t feel like it was gonna be I didn’t feel like there was much to debate about it like in my mind you can’t get a speaker from another fellowship that doesn’t make any sense at all and so I was like I don’t know what the debate will be but she apparently just had to leave a home group of hers you know that she had forever because they decided you could do that and I thought wow people really so okay let me let me get real clear there’s small meetings then where I come from near Baltimore that have like the same four people Adam every week nobody else ever really goes and they’re there old-time you know crossover guys who got clean when you had to do both fellowships because there wasn’t enough meetings in either fellowship to make it or at least there wasn’t enough in ours and so they kind of blur the lines incredibly and and you know do whatever they want and and I’ve never really cared because nobody else ever goes to the meeting because we all know that that’s what that means it’s the blurry lines meeting of na but I didn’t think this happened all over the place or that it happened in places where people were I don’t know more more practicing recovery I guess so I I didn’t think it was much of a thing but apparently it is and so that’s where I think we’re at today the clarity statement how we feel about the clarity statement what it really means I talked to you about the clarity statement before and you know you were not a big fan of it at that point in time so what’s up clarity statement where should we start reading it first there yeah so yeah I’m not a big fan of the clarity statement either of course like most things I used to be in the beginning it was like yeah it’s great we got to rein people in we got a you know uniformity you know all that stuff we all got a view things from this narrow line if we want to keep it safe and all that and now I’m sort of the other way I’m like who gives a [ _ ] what people call themselves I mean depending on what part of the country you’re in and I think traveling and life experience has shown me we’ve travelled to some areas that are similar to what you’re talking about where there are not enough recovering people to support almost one fellowship let alone two I mean we spent some time out in Utah and you know there were very few AAA meetings there were no other fellowship meetings at all like none at all we actually why we were in that area started in in a meeting and to get to any other fellowship meeting was like a two-hour drive in one direction to get to the closest city to have you know what I would call you know sanctioned you know so you know yeah it’s easy to make some of these glorious claims about how we identify ourselves and what we call ourselves and where our speakers come from when you’re in a city with thousands of people and hundreds of meetings but that is not everyone’s experience in this country let alone in other countries when I’m talking about other countries where you may have these issues but just within this country that’s not of reality for some people right now I think you make an incredible point that all these arguments that I’ve had I’ve had with people near in around Baltimore City or at least you know even Cecil County we’re not a huge area but we’re right between Baltimore and Philly and so there is a lot of a lot of places you could go for meetings if you need it – it’s pretty thriving around here and I have definitely not gotten the perspective of the person in small town Wisconsin or you know middle of nowhere Wyoming on this topic and I imagine they’re there take a foot a or AAA or any recovery looks like is much much different than the you know whatever 600 or so meetings the Baltimore area has each week yeah and I think you’re right maybe a step back a minute and say maybe we should explain or maybe read the clarity statement but yeah so within these fellowships for people that aren’t really intimately familiar with the different fellowships you know AAA came along and they identified you know the alcoholic as being a really sort of specific individual that struggles with alcohol and that they didn’t feel like their fellowship at the time and even now is open to drug addicts or people with other addiction issues and so they really try to keep their focus specifically on alcohol and alcohol addiction and then so as in na they’ve come up with a similar principle philosophy I guess you would call it that you know we are specifically focused around addiction um and even though we want to use a gem this is where I’ll go do a little bashing we want to use the term addiction but then within our fellowship we really limit it to drug addiction because we don’t want you to come in and talk about a lot of your other addictions a lot of people feel like that’s an outside issue but we want to capture that word addiction and take ownership of that but then not really be open to all addicts of all kinds at all times so that’s my little bit of you know bashing there but then we have our clarity statement do you have it upper I do but why don’t we take our little break for the voices out real quick and then we’ll come right back
oh right welcome back and so yeah here’s the clarity statement that we have somehow come up with it’s mostly taken out of a bulletin I believe and it says we are presented with a dilemma when NA members identify themselves as addicts and alcoholics or talk about living clean and sober the clarity of the NA message is blurred to speak in this manner or suggests that there are two diseases that one drug is somehow separate from the rest requiring special recognition Narcotics Anonymous makes no distinction between drugs our identification as addicts is all-inclusive which allows us to concentrate on our similarities not our differences
I mean look a lot of times what I’ve heard is read in a meeting before I’ve really done a whole lot of looking into it I I do get it I do get where it would be confusing to say I’m clean and sober right that that says that I’m two different things and I could possibly be one and not the other at different points in time it says that you know if I’m an addict and alcoholic that I I two different problems right that I could be working on one and not the other I I remember and I don’t know maybe this truly has happened maybe it hasn’t I remember early on when I had kind of the the NA policeman as my sponsor he would talk about how people in AAA would stop drinking but they were still snorting coke every weekend or something like I don’t even know if that really you know that to me embodies the whole concept of addiction and alcoholism as two separate entities and if you say I’m an addict which is all inclusive for all mind and mood altering chemicals there you’re really being redundant like should I say I struggle with addiction alcoholism cocaine addiction heroin addiction you know marijuana addiction like do I need to list all of them each time I don’t know so it makes sense I guess is what I’m getting at the clarity statement does make sense that it’s does not make sense to do that to call yourself those things so just to give a little bit of history aware these these bulletins come from these service bulletins they come from our world Board of Trustees it’s a letter or you know whatever bulletin written by them I have heard and I don’t know how true this is but the consensus of conversation is that particular statement was indicative of basically one primary member on the board at the time that that was written and that you know that is not like fellowship approved literature it’s never been put out for review and input it’s never been put out as a piece of formal literature that’s supposed to be available to groups whether at the level of service or within home groups so it really is just the opinion of the board of trustees at the time so it is definitely not the expressed conscience of the NA fellowship so you know whether groups can decide that that’s in their conscience I don’t know that I’m with here but I’m with it it’s like me and you putting out bulletins all right all right we decide that this is the way we look at this and we think and that’s what groups do within their thing all the time so where it comes into relevance for again my home group is you know is that is that a violation of any kind of traditions to read it is it a violation of any kind of traditions if people identify themselves as addicts and alcoholics do we have some responsibility to do anything about that if people do those things and of course for me it all comes back to intention and I think absolutely not like what do I care what people call themselves um we depending on what area of the country live in they call different things you know they use different language for different things anyway you know in some areas of the country they call it soda in other areas they call it pop you know and you know so words like that when you get into clean or clean and sober or sober you know your understanding or general understanding of that word can be different depending on which geographic area you come from a bigger bit of mine has to do with a lot of people that come out of treatment centers or that are coming in new into the recovery community maybe they’ve been through treatment through a local health department or a private you know rehabilitation center they aren’t very good at explaining to people these little nuance a [ _ ] things that matter so you know they’re in this rehab and they’re told they go to these alcohol meetings this day and these drug meetings that day and you know they’re told in the you know scientific literature there’s a lot of different names for you know opioid use disorder I mean it’s it’s singled out you know just an opioids is its own addiction you might have an issue with gambling you might have an issue with sex you might have this you know error it different struggles that you have with addiction and in treatment centers or jail or you know these rehabs they don’t explain all these little dumb nuance II think so brand-new people come out and identify themselves some way and we start telling them they’re wrong you know it’s it’s very off-putting to me yeah I mean so I can kind of understand it so I remember reading and this was quite a while back and I don’t remember the exact language of any of it but there’s the a a pamphlet that talks about why they can’t help us you know or they can’t help drug addicts per se and and so I was kind of offended when I first read it I was like these jerks they’re only worried about themselves right like of course they’re excluding us all the more reason to hate them and then I read it and I was like this pamphlet makes absolute golden logical sense if you go into if you could walk into a a a meeting and refer to yourself as an addict you know I’m an addict named Jason I’m an addict named Billy and then they don’t say anything about it and that’s okay and then you know the next meeting a couple other people who feel more like addicts and alcoholics start calling themselves that and then at some point in time in the future an alcoholic a guy who’s only ever drank alcohol is going to walk into a meeting of AAA and is going to hear a bunch of people refer to themselves as addicts and talk about being clean and talk about you know maybe using drugs in ways that aren’t drinking alcohol at your local bar and he’s not gonna be able to identify and he’s not gonna get to help he needs he’s never gonna hit another meeting because he didn’t hear what he came to hear which was people like him and so it made a lot of sense why they say hey we’re sober here we’re alcoholics only we can’t help other people beyond that this is our primary purpose and if we try to help too many people with too much stuff even though our program probably could because of the 12 steps work for everything if we were to try to do that we will lose the member we were here we started to serve and so I really understood that principle of it is that you know they have a primary purpose and so do we and so I get where the clarity statement comes from that if we start to lose or confuse how we call ourselves we can confuse the message to some extent yeah but you’re so that’s similar to saying if we have let me back up for a minute okay so yes I think that happens people identify themselves as addicts and alcoholics really talk about just alcohol or whatever like it happens I have yet to be in a meeting where that is and I’ve been to meetings all over the country including meetings where they only have you know very limited meetings and I’ve never been in a eating where all everyone talks about is alcohol and identifies themselves as alcoholics and you know it’s like we we worry so much about this extreme case that our message of Narcotics Anonymous is going to be totally blurred within a meeting that we don’t look at you know the potential negative impact of the way that that can isolate or exclude people you know and and I guess what I mean is as experienced members I am NOT going to go into a meeting anywhere ever and identify myself as an addict and alcoholic or talk about living clean and sober or any of those things and it doesn’t matter if they read the clarity statement or not like I understand the program of Narcotics Anonymous now that I’ve been around a while I have been to again to areas where they only have AAA meetings when I go to those meetings I have so this will get sort of more I think into the heart of this discussion yeah so when I I have been to AAA meetings because again we’ve been in areas where that’s the only meetings that they are am I not supposed to [ _ ] say anything because I’m a member of Alcoholics Anonymous am I not allowed to share my experience strength and hope in my process of 12-step recovery because it’s only ever been based on the Narcotics Anonymous program I mean I’ve been in these rooms so when I have been to meetings I can tell you I have shared I can tell you that I as much as I understand to the depth that I understand that language I try to identify and use the correct verbage as far as calling myself an alcoholic and talk about being sober I’m sure I messed it up at times because it’s just so foreign to me to identify in a different way but I try to follow those things what does that really mean that all my experience with the 12 steps is irrelevant because I don’t have experience with that specific fellowship and so this is where it’s interesting uh am i learning their message you know I don’t know I don’t know are you like I so okay so far you know just tried to lay out and get across is that I do understand the logic behind the clarity statement like I do get that we could confuse it and my argument for why you have never encountered a meeting where they only talked about alcohol is because we have a clarity statement their job no I don’t know uh yeah I got very pig in this area there are a few meetings they read it but not a lot I guess for me I just get the point right I get the point that that it does sound like there’s two different problems when our belief is that there is one problem and so I get why it doesn’t make sense being in the online community it’s much more freely they say what the [ _ ] ever they don’t really care for the most part they’re clean and sober and and I will quickly identify as clean and sober and not give a [ _ ] because I am both of those things even if they are separate which I don’t think they are but but I still AM if you want to call them separate uh I think it’s just kind of catchy to say honestly clean and sober sounds thank you got a ring to it so I went to an al-anon fellowship for a while I went to some of their meetings and I personally loved it I highly identify with a lot of what they talk about here’s the problem I don’t necessarily have an alcoholic I don’t have a qualifying alcoholic I have some some you know what I would call para alcoholics people with all the same characteristics and personality traits and disorders but not the alcohol and so I never chose to share at those meetings as much as I got out of them I chose to avoid sharing because I sort a question do I qualify to be here to some extent I don’t know III I did so when I get a speaker for an NA meeting I expect them to share their experience strength and hope in working the NA program and so even if they worked the 12 steps and had a great understanding and could respect my programs you know wording ah if they’re from a different fellowship I kind of feel like that they don’t have experience working to any program they don’t have experience to share about how the NA program worked for them and so that’s where I get a little confused is is that okay I mean it’s probably a great 12-step message if they’ve worked at 12 steps but is it okay because it’s not their experience with the program on people are attending so maybe you would
well let me say this question first we see all the time in meetings where people identify themselves as you know I’m a crackhead you know my drug of choice was this my you know when I was using you know I used this drug or in that way or whatever I mean I guess I would say what’s the difference again no so to speak to that what I didn’t realize about this clarity statement and in reading the bulletin which is let me not get more than 13 yeah yeah their purpose wasn’t just
right right so I think what they’re saying is all of these manifestations of referring to ourself as something other than just addicts any time we make it drug specific we do blur the message if you go into a meeting and everybody shares about their heroin use and you smoke crack you’re not gonna compare in possibly I mean you could it could be a very similar feeling that you can compare into but early on I didn’t compare so much to the feeling I don’t think I compared to what I heard like the message itself and so I needed to hear similar type stories now granted the the type of addict I was I guess almost any story hit some part of my story because I did a whole lot of different things at different points but yeah they’re saying don’t feel any specific language and so for me this ties in to you know all inclusive I don’t like when people refer to themselves as anything other than just an addict right I’ve heard I’m a recovering addict name this and then yeah well now the new program is grateful recovering addicts of human garbage can you know all these different manifestations of introducing ourselves when really if I got two days clean oh [ _ ] am i as good as him am i a recovering addict or am I just an addict like we’re all supposed to be equal I’m just an addict named Jason I’m not a grateful recovering addict I’m not a human garbage can I’m not a dope fiend named Jason I’m just an addict named Jason right so yeah I would argue I would agree with your statement yes they all matter we should just all be addicts okay and then so what happens for or or how would you think of people that maybe go to both fellowships or go to more than one fellowship maybe they have sponsors from you know I mean we know people I know people that go to three different fellowships I have three different sponsors are they qualified to share yeah no I think I think you’re right I’ve heard the longest time I was against the whole going to both fellowships and when I say both of course I mean the big two I said that’s a terrible idea you want to go and become accountable and recognizable in one I’ve definitely changed my opinion on that you do whatever works for you I think you get one sponsor I don’t care how many fellowships you’re in personally I think one sponsor is probably what you need to work with that being said I had two sponsors for a period of time in two different fellowships but I was only working with one at a time I guess but yeah what if you what if you love the the AAA meetings in your area but you know you’re an addict and so you have an na sponsor and you work any steps but you just hit the AAA meetings like that right blurs the [ _ ] out of the line what program are you working really like what care what you know please you know absolutely yeah so I think some of these things we get you know to again drawing these lines and and it gets back to a lot of these other discussions we have like it’s great that we can sort of set I’m gonna call it set up set a bar try to set a general standard for things but but when we try to do this you know these are the rules and we’re gonna enforce them and we’re gonna become the you know and a police like I think that stuff gets really dangerous and not necessarily for us it gets dangerous for you know newcomers or pushing people away or really you know violating the spirit of what we’re doing here you know it’s that any addict can find recovery here does that mean if you’re only an alcoholic you shouldn’t come here no not at all come please you know we want addicts to come and get what they need here and people that only have a problem with alcohol can come here and find what they need and to me personally I don’t give a [ _ ] what you call yourself call yourself whatever you want just keep coming let me help you you know if I become your sponsor we’ll work on that [ _ ] we’ll fix it over some time we’ll get it straight now but again that’s in this area where we have lots of meetings from different fellowships and lots of options I mean when we were out in Utah and it’s on Tuesday you know you’re going to the a a fellowship and then Wednesday or Thursday you’re going to the NA meeting and that’s all the [ _ ] meetings you’re getting to you know you couldn’t find an na sponsor my wife and I were the only NA people that had only na experience no one else they were like wow that’s amazing like you guys really just got all your recovery and na that you know out there that was just totally foreign and no one even understood how that could happen oh my god where’s this said I feel like I’ll be a king out there yeah you know so there was a lot of blurred lines and a lot of blurred message and you know truthfully so just to share a little bit about like yesterday a spent the day around the house doing some things and I started since we were kind of talking a little bit about this earlier in the week I started listening to some some history stuff and was listening to Jimmy Kay who is the one of the founding members of Narcotics Anonymous started back in 1953 and he was sharing some history and stuff and so he came out to a world convention I don’t remember exactly what year it was it was in New York but he was sharing at the world convention and as a founder of Narcotics Anonymous like he came out and identified himself as an addict and alcoholic at the world convention and then went on to say that he was a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous and now you know and also proud member of now Narcotics Anonymous and at the time it’s because you know Narcotics Anonymous was still fairly new it was still you know gaining it’s sort of legs or roots or whatever you want to call it and that you know he his experience with the 12 steps and the traditions and the fellowship all came from you know Alcoholics Anonymous and for him it was done in an incredibly grateful and respectful way he he paid homage to you know the people from AAA that helped start na and you know them allowing us to adapt and and you know take the traditions and the steps to form this new fellowship and you know their help in doing those things so again I I don’t quite understand it just feels like there’s animosity in that clarity statement to me maybe I’m reading a little deeper into it and it’s intention but it feels like there’s animosity that’s interesting because in the in the bulletin itself it really goes into talk about how people are using the stance of you know keeping to n a specific language to hateful and AAA and The Bulletin talks about how that’s not the point of it but that’s not the purpose of it please stop doing that that like we should we should not be hating on AAA like we need everybody in the spirit of recovery to move forward to help as many people as possible and so I don’t know I felt like the bullets in clarified pretty specifically that that was people should need to stop doing that kind of stuff with it but it is important and so one of the one of the quotes I did pull out quotes like this always make me question myself it says at first glance this seems minor but our experience clearly shows that the full impact of the NA message is crippled by this subtle semantic confusion and so when it tells me that like hey it’s possible at first glance you’re not gonna think this is a big deal but we’re telling you from our experience that we found that it was I say well [ _ ] Here I am sitting here thinking it’s not a big deal are they talking to me like did they see me coming right like so I I’ve tried to pull back and really look into I’m like is this a bigger deal than I think it is I I don’t know and I I agree with what we’ve said today like I agree that it shouldn’t be of utmost importance but I also think it’s kind of serious to some extent maybe not serious like we should bash people and kick them out of our meetings obviously but okay so let me say this I was in a home group and this was years back and a friend of mine Bobby I love her to death still talked to her today even though we don’t live anywhere near each other anymore we had the the good old saying if you have any drugs or paraphernalia please take it outside and bury it before it buries you or take it outside and get rid of it before you you know trash it or stash it and come back in or whatever we said about it at that time and I made a motion and group conscience to remove that from our prologue I said this is stupid I’ve been here years nobody ever takes their [ _ ] outside it comes back yeah I wouldn’t I surely would not take my I’d you know I just doesn’t make any sense why do we read this okay and her response was we read it because if we’re serious about our recovery she’s like it doesn’t matter if people actually do it or not the point is we’re letting people know that the matters to us and we’re serious about it and uh that stuck with me for I don’t know Christ probably 13 years now since she said it and I’m like it makes sense it doesn’t really matter what the reaction is or if people follow it it’s not harmful to read it to let people know that we are serious like this matters to us and so from that standpoint I say is it harmful to read the clarity statement and let people know that like this is what we’re hoping for we’re hoping to only identify as addicts here because that’s what we want to let people know is that we’re not drug specific we’ll help anybody that struggles with any drug problem so I would say I guess in a day and age of over sensitivity and you know this total trying to never offend anybody probably I would say yes that I think it can be maybe not offensive but it can be confusing and a little off-putting to again to people coming out of treatment who have been in treatment and are all proud of you know I got 30 days you know drug and alcohol free or you know I’m an addict and alcoholic cuz I drink and do drugs like they don’t understand these like weird new on see things that we as experienced members you know feel so righteous to defend you know like they don’t get any of that [ _ ] like any you know the truth is in my first 30 60 or 90 days I don’t know that any of that mattered I didn’t have a [ _ ] working knowledge or understanding of the steps in the traditions anyway so you know as I work and gain this understanding and knowledge of the traditions and of the steps I incorporate them into my life and then those words go away on their own like I don’t need someone to tell me how to identify I don’t need to to tell someone you know how they need to think and how they need to you know see themselves I guess so yeah I’d say it can be I guess I’m looking at it from the perspective of anything that I can do to make people feel welcome and encouraged to come and invite them to come just sit down feel at home here give us a shot you know take this opportunity to give yourself a break you know like I want it to be inviting and welcoming and warm and encouraging of people to come back and I don’t want to create an atmosphere where it feels like well we only want you if you’re gonna call yourself this we only want you if your problem is this we only want to hear from you if you identify this way like I don’t like that attitude so I I’m just thinking here and I’m pretty sure I can’t be totally certain cuz I forget a lot of [ _ ] but I’m pretty sure that I while I’ve heard this statement read many many times at meetings I have never seen anyone because it never fails as soon as you read it somebody doesn’t follow it during that meeting I have never heard anyone cut off possibly but I’ve never heard anybody cut off right I’ve never heard anybody I’ve never heard a secretary or a home group ever stand up and say hey we read the clarity statement we don’t [ _ ] do that here like you don’t don’t share anymore or nobody ever stopped anybody and corrected them so it’s like I feel like we’ve read this and probably most people aren’t [ _ ] listening anyway cuz you know it’s that’s text in time while we’re reading our-our prologue stuff but I feel like we read it to tell people we’re serious and we’re welcoming in the fact that we don’t shut people down we allow them to share and then hopefully you know an experienced member after the meeting is saying hey I heard you share you know and then maybe getting into the point of why we don’t do that at some point in time in their future conversation but exactly my point is I’ve never heard anybody shut down but I’ve definitely heard people cross share at them you know after they shared kind of cross sharing how you know in this fellowship we have one disease and we you know one fellowship for one problem whatever the [ _ ] those stupid sayings are that we like to stay when we’re trying to correct people in our nice subtle unsubtle way right and I’ve heard exactly what you just said is some experienced member coming up to some [ _ ] newcomer after the meeting to correct them on what they did wrong in the meeting and both of those things I think are equally off-putting if you’re not that [ _ ] person sponsor and you’re not they’re not asking for your opinion I don’t know that it’s needed well and that’s why I worded it the way I did like I would hope you would just go up and start conversation and recognize that they’re a newer member and they don’t understand the tradition yet and then at some point in time maybe later that night if you take them to a diner and you’re having a good talk maybe three weeks from now if you’re still talking to them at some point in time in your future of your conversation yes yeah that’s kind of why I said it that way I don’t think you should just run up and be like hey this is why you don’t do that [ _ ] well I occurred that defeating someone goes up you know we don’t identify here there’s another fellowship if you want to identify yourself as that and I mean I’ve seen those things happen like say no meeting in like a cross share or after a meeting someone come up to someone and say we don’t do that here at this fellowship you know this is the way we do it and to me both of those are equally off-putting it is very different if you’re you know you’ve developed a rapport relationship with somebody and over time these ideas get talked about or expressed that’s though yeah you bring up an interesting point or at least it brings up an interesting point in my head when we talked about special interest meetings you said there wasn’t the problem with the meetings themselves and if people were you know perverting them and telling other members they couldn’t come because of their their you know sex or gender that was on the members problem that wasn’t a problem with the special interest meetings themselves and so that would tell me that there’s not really a problem with the clarity statement being read itself it’s just the members perverting it to cross share or correct people after the meeting it’s not that like because we read the clarity statement that’s the problem the problem is more and how the people are perverting the statement well I would I mean I guess I would agree yeah it’s the people’s interpretation of that clarity statement that creates the problem it’s not the statement in and of itself unless like say you can make the argument that the whole statement itself is a violation of our traditions but if you go on line enough you’ll feel there’s a bunch of people that feel that it is for different reasons that they feel like that clarity statement is actually a violation of our traditions but you know I don’t know that I necessarily agree with all that but that argument is out there I could point you to some pages if you want to go read boring nonsense but I already disagree it’s it’s definitely the interpretation and how that stuff is applied but it’s like if you read that as a statement in a meeting you know it’s almost like you’re applying that that is the viewpoint of the fellowship as a whole like that that’s the way that our fellowship looks at this and I don’t know that that’s necessarily true I don’t know I’d have to say this almost it feels a little like in one situation you’re expecting people to apply it right I don’t know that’s just felt a little backwards to me I would say I agree it’s not conference approved literature right like I don’t think we all voted on saying and it’s okay but because no homegroups prologue is conference approved either and they can say whatever the hell they want that would that would to me state that it’s not against traditions I don’t want to spend too much time worrying about the special interest meetings discussion yeah yeah and I would say again for me most of the time I don’t look at things as black or white or this is this way and this needs to be applied in this way all the time I’m gonna dig myself out of this hold it okay because again it occurs back to intention and the intention becomes what do I think is the action that’s gonna cause the least amount of harm or how can I go through with with offending the least amount of people or harming the least amount of people or you know not being so self-righteous on rules to where I have you know create a rule and then I have to stick with this rule even if it’s gonna cause harm to someone else so you know how I apply these principles in my life a lot of times one of the very high values that I put on there is is this offensive is this harmful is it off-putting to people like if it is I need to tread lightly before I proceed doesn’t mean I’m gonna immediately throw it out the window because sometimes there are some things that I need to say to people that might be a little bit offensive you know but I’m gonna tread a little more lightly into that area and like say when we read a statement like the clarity statement in the beginning of a meeting and I’m not even saying that meetings don’t have the autonomy to do that I mean I guess you can you can read whatever you want to read in the beginning of your meeting you don’t have to read anything if you don’t want to read anything you can show up and say this is an NA meeting we talked about recovery for the 12 steps of meetings open if you want you know and I mean there’s no guidelines to any of this format or any of that stuff obviously we’ve sort of have a format that everybody sort of follows like say in my home group we’ve struck some of that out the window partially for the sake of just chucking it out the window to be like we don’t have to do with the [ _ ] the rest of you people do we can do whatever we want so we don’t read the traditions you know I don’t know why that might god it originally started out with we only read like two of the readings and so other ones keep getting added back in overtime I don’t know why but we used to only read who is an addict and why are we here and as all we would read and then we would get into the meeting and the the consensus back then was you know as people come around and and they keep coming back you know they’ll begin to understand you know what the program is and the traditions and all that stuff we can get into all the nuance a [ _ ] later you know right now like if you’re a new person and you’re here welcome this is what we do here we’re here to help people with addiction problem all this other [ _ ] doesn’t matter don’t worry about what work you got to do and [ _ ] get sponsor and reading all these books and [ _ ] understanding all these traditions like none of that matters right now right now just stop using drugs just come in show up and let us help you and you know that’s that’s what we’re here for and so I think as we add these more readings and a little more rules and we start putting these conditions on it oh and by the way don’t call yourself an alcoholic because then you’re violating our traditions and don’t talk about being clean and sober because that’s a little confusing like wait what so I’m totally in agreement with less readings the better at the beginning of the meeting so thank God for that I as soon as your home group cuts out more of them I might come back but I will say I don’t know I think I think you’re treading on something here about not being offensive I agree not being offensive and I don’t personally think I don’t personally think reading the clarity statement in the before the meeting or during the beginning of the meeting is offensive in itself right I think some of the other ways you mentioned people letting people know that they didn’t listen to it that’s pretty offensive the cross-sharing the pull of people up after the meeting could be you know abrasive and not welcoming but I don’t think the statement read in itself I think that’s it’s a clarifying statement like this is what we do here right what about the meeting that says if you’ve used today please refrain from sharing because I hear that in quite a few meetings and I definitely believe it’s a useful clarification of we don’t want you to confuse our message while you’re high that’s gonna offend some people too but it’s still necessary to be read because it’s part of what maybe it’s not necessary but it’s still something I believe it’s useful to be read because it’s it’s a clarity of our program in our message like that words your thoughts on that take that out – yeah I would get rid of that – we’ve had it happen we had just a few weeks ago we had a guy come into our home group and talk all about methadone for [ _ ] ten minutes you know and awkward and weird you know cuz we don’t you know that’s not what we do here I know there’s anything uh we had talked about it afterwards and you know we were gonna try to talk to it like if they came back and you know we would try to talk to him maybe before the meeting or maybe cuz it wasn’t like he hung out with everybody afterwards anyway came in during the meeting shared what he had to share about being on his you know maintenance program and how great it was going for his life and all this other stuff and then he left you know right after the meeting and so you know and it was awkward took us all aback you know none of us were not used to that hearing that a lot and so the next week you know a lot of us home group members get there early we kind of were all there we kind of talked about it we said hey you know this came up this guy said he’s coming back you know what do we [ _ ] want to do about that do we want to like shut him down do we want to not shut him down do we want to you know whatever and my opinion was you know what let’s just see if he keeps coming back and then if he keeps coming back we’ll have a conversation before the meeting or after the meeting or or whatever but uh he never came back you know so it worked itself out in to use you know the common in God’s time it worked itself out and we didn’t have to act but it wasn’t that we weren’t gonna address it but at the same time you know to me like it’s more important that we encourage that person to keep coming back to get the message of what Narcotics Anonymous said it Narcotics Anonymous is and it’s more important that we be welcoming and open to the addict who’s suffering you know than it is to drill home what the point of our program is you know to someone that’s moved uh and so I guess for me I would have to you know lovingly disagree on this one for sure and and maybe in the atmosphere of your home group where there’s eight to ten guys you guys all have some years and some time in the program and you’re more seasoned to members and you all know that that’s not what the NA program is about maybe it doesn’t do that much harm in your meeting coming from some of the meetings I come from in the Baltimore area where it’s full of recovery houses you have forty five people in the meeting that have less than six month are barely any understanding of Na or what the rules are or how we stay clean or how any of it works somebody being allowed to share about that for 10 minutes of the meeting could send 5 to 10 of those people out the door with the understanding of damn maybe maybe methadone is alright and you still get to stay clean like and I don’t know right I don’t I know I knew way less about na when I first got here than I do now so looking for my perspective now I say that’s crazy nobody would believe that but early on if that’s what I heard at my first meeting or two I might have thought that was okay and so I would say that person needs to be lovingly shut down immediately right and I think there are ways to compassionately and kindly and welcoming Li set boundaries it’s kind of like the whole concept of how your kids will actually love you more if you set rules and boundaries for them then they will if you don’t because they love that kind of safety right it’s the same thing when I lovingly set a boundary I’m actually inviting more connection with that person than I would be if I let them do the wrong thing or the thing that’s contrary to being helpful and so I would I would disagree I would say we run more the risk of having newer members at least in particular meetings where it’s a high volume of new members frequently you’re running the risk of people going out and dying with misinformation more than you are the risk of offending one person and so that I don’t know I don’t know I definitely think I have a different stance on that so in general then do you feel like what one person may or may not share during a meeting can I guess contradict over power over run whatever the general consensus of the meeting is like I mean our home group obviously doesn’t share that point of view it’s not like five members of the home group share that or non members of the home group for that matter or that we exclude readings that make that point I mean and I guess where I’m going with that is we’re all kinds of people come in and say all kinds of [ _ ] all the time about what they read in the Bible and what they read out of this book and that for and you know how they apply this step in their life which you know in my opinion is totally [ _ ] wrong you know they’re making amends before they’ve even done an eighth step or ninth step you know with a sponsor and they’re making amends to their [ _ ] dying grandmother in some terrible way you know like we hear all of those things so like I guess you know to me it’s like yeah people say terrible [ _ ] in meetings all the time Oh and so yes we as experienced members and again we as a home group I’ll justify by saying we didn’t think it was okay we weren’t like oh this is fine like everybody was kind of like whoa wait a minute you know what I mean like it just it doesn’t happen here a lot so we were called a little bit off guard and I wasn’t actually there so I only got time to be a week I wasn’t there so I didn’t hear exactly what this person said I got the sort of cliff notes but then they appointed me to be the one to try to talk to him later so they’re like if they show up this week you got to try to talk to the because I guess they figured I would probably be someone who could try to do it in a loving and caring way but the truth is if I was there I would not have shut them down they wouldn’t share whenever they were gonna share and then I might have shared afterwards if I hadn’t shared already and said you know my sorta I hate to say cross sharing but my you know try to correct let’s try to [ _ ] correct this back to what Narcotics Anonymous is about not just someone’s vague opinions on what they think recovery is but again you know we get all kinds of bad information in meetings all the time we have people call identify themselves there’s all kinds of things all the time and and I don’t think understanding the program or having things like the clarity statement like the truth is the wording of the clarity statement I agree with everything that it says a hundred percent I also would say that if I am on a service for word or if I am involved in a service committee like an H and I person or you know taking meetings into fellowship you know into outside Institute Asians that that is critically important for that role of service for Narcotics Anonymous you know what I mean like if I’m taking a meeting into a jail or into a rehab I want to make sure that my speakers are very clear about what the Narcotics Anonymous program is what our Fellowship is what we represent you know because that’s the role of that but in a general open meeting that’s open to people that aren’t even identifying themselves as alcoholics I mean that’s yeah aren’t even identifying themselves per se I don’t know that stressing that point is the most important thing I mean I just think that’s a that’s a there’s a better way to address those issues than to you know put it into the format of a meeting or to make it you know our job as a home group to police language yeah I had so many thoughts I was thinking I had to laugh in there I just got this really awful picture of how people were making amends to their dead grandmothers and I will I will spare you all what I was thinking for sure it was pretty gross so yeah I don’t I don’t know I know in my own home group we read you know if you were on a maintenance program or abused today welcome we appreciate that you’re here we love it we welcome you with open arms but we ask that you not you know you refrain from sharing today and if you do share and one of the first things you say is I used today in some way shape or form we will ask you to stop like that’s just part of our rules and I think at that home group where there is 55 people every week and you know most most have less than six months and there’s probably on any given week 15 members I’ve never seen before which means they’ve come around in the last six days I think it’s our responsibility to just do that yeah I don’t I agree people shared nonsense all the time but it’s not I don’t maybe it is life-threatening I don’t know it doesn’t seem as life-threatening nonsense like these people could go out after the meeting tonight and decide that they can get on maintenance tomorrow so let me use one more time like to me that seems pretty immediate and urgent if you’re making amends to Grandma’s in the wrong way that might that might bring you some shame and guilt that makes you want to use one day but it doesn’t seem as urgent and I guess I guess that’s like really warping like we have a very clear definition of what clean is well seemingly clear it really isn’t that clear in the long run but it seems clear early on see I’m putting my pinkie cuz I got a point to make exactly about that just I think it’s important to you know that we follow but whatever guidelines our home group has established and that went to me is an important one in an area where you’re constantly dealing with new people who could be confused about that right in your home group it’s probably not that big of a deal I don’t think anybody’s going to be confused about you know what na means about being clean and what the requirements for membership are or what they need to do to you know keep thriving in their life at my old home group I think that was an important thing and people did need to be shut down yeah and that’s what’s really awesome about the autonomy of the program and see that’s exactly why I think the less you know quote-unquote rules and the less guidelines and the less structure we put try to put on these things as a fellowship the better the home groups you know and the individual groups get to decide how they can best serve their immediate community based on you know their experience and like say in the case of something like you know getting back to the clarity statement I mean in an area like say out and you know [ _ ] nowhere in the middle of Utah we’ve had the same experience in Arizona we had the same experience up in Montana up in the mountains in Montana was the same like there wasn’t enough multiple fellowships and you couldn’t go to all these places like in those areas a clarity statement really could go out the window because you know they don’t have the amount of resources that we have in other areas so I think when we get into trying to adopt some of these principles or policies you know and like to push them out on this fellowship as a whole mentality and get away from basically just the guidelines of the traditions you know we start getting into some really hairy areas okay no and and I I could totally understand that so just some kind of wrap-up questions is it okay for a a to have the belief you should not share or not call yourself an addict not share about drugs is it okay for them to believe that is right for their meetings do you think that’s cool for them but not for us I guess is what I’m asking oh no if I mean I don’t so here so I guess I’ll answer your question this way when I go to any other outside fellowship I try to respect their traditions and identify myself as the way that they want me to with that being said if I went in and called myself an addict or alcoholic or accidentally call myself an addict or accidentally said cleanness in a sober and some [ _ ] came up and yelled at me I would not feel like he was representative of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous as I know it or of I dunno you know again not as close around here but in other areas I have been you know closer with people in Alcoholics Anonymous who have an experience you know in that fellowship that view a lot of that a different way so if I saw someone policing that in the way that I see if police in na that guy’s an [ __ ] but I answered your question but yes well my understanding has always been that if you start talking in the majority and I this could be a very wrong misunderstanding but my understanding was in the majority of AAA meetings if you started talking about drugs they just stopped you right in the middle of the beating they cut you off and said this I mean that’s not in my experience and I’ve been – I won’t say a lot of AAA meetings but I’ve been to at least a couple dozen and no one’s ever shut me down for using the wrong language and again I try not to but I have and I’ve never been in a meeting where I have heard someone who’s a you know alcoholic and addict be shut down so something I’ve seen but I don’t have that much experience in that fellowship either I mean I would bet a hundred percent it happens I’m just I’m curious if if a new person who had trouble with drugs other than alcohol walked into a AAA meeting because that’s what they found whatever and started sharing about their drug use is it okay would you think of the okay a for a a as a fellowship to believe they should not be talking there because that has nothing to do with alcoholism so I’ve talked to some people that are I would say in that position and at least one guy in particular who I do know quite well because he and and he’s an interesting example because here’s a guy who he has a lot of time now I still keep in touch with him vaguely for the longest time he went to both fellowships went to AAA and to here not to NA shouldn’t say here you went to AAA na na and at times people had asked him to go share as part of an H and I you know service to go into to speak it rehabs on behalf of Narcotics Anonymous and I didn’t feel like that was right I felt like that wasn’t you know he was going to both fellowships and he has a very what I would call a mixed message if you’re getting into the languaging of it um that he has a very mixed message and that I don’t think that he should be speaking in that capacity as a member of Narcotics Anonymous you know what I mean like it it seemed very blurred now I will tell you what anyway knowing that guy he was a member of my home group for a long time and has really good recovery Mena’s message is great hurt him share it’s a great message that’s why people would ask them to go into treatment because he has this great strong powerful message um but he had explained to me almost similar to what we had talked about earlier what happened to him was he went there for a lot of time identified his drug problem and identified all that and then just got hooked in with some people that helped him adjust the way that he looked at that adjust the way that he uses language and then encouraged him to come to na for his drug problem you know which is why he went to both for a long time he went to a a for what you know for because he liked the meetings now in his version the program was the same take out those words you know what I mean like that he looked at the AAA program as being all-encompassing that it did focus on all these other areas but you identified it a certain way and applied it in the meeting in that way for the unity aspect but that those principles were you know in all areas of your life that the you didn’t just apply them to just alcohol that that program applied to all areas of your life you know their 12-step is the same as ours you know having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps we try to carry this message to addicts and practice these principles in all areas of our affairs so why they identify and this is you know I’m paraphrasing here but why they identify you know alcohol specific in the first step for the sake of their meetings in their fellowship you can take those same principles and apply them in all areas of your life to a drug problem to a gambling problem to a sex addiction problem and get the same outcome um but he was encouraged to go to different fellowship so he identified as an alcoholic and clean or I guess sober in those meetings and identified another way when he came to our meetings and you know I don’t know like say it worked for him I love the guy he’s got a great message he’s still someone I see periodically I keep in touch with you know and I think he kept a lot of people with that experience I think it’s definitely area specific – I’ve heard that like the bel-air area is pretty Universal where you know more people who use drugs do go to AAA but then there’s some other areas like probably the Baltimore area where they’re pretty thorough and this is what you need to talk about if you’re in here because this is our problem I don’t know I’m still I can’t say I’m completely sold I get being compassionate and understanding the people I can’t say I’m completely sold or not finding this to be important I think if a alcoholic walked into an AAA meeting where everyone only talked about drug use and they didn’t find the help they needed because they compared out because of that I would think AAA had failed its purpose and so I would say it’s important for these fellowships to kind of have specific language for their fellowship that you know hits the person that needs it that they can compare in but I do understand you know some of your points today too so back to Caroline’s question what about if you’re super respectful you follow whatever Fellowship’s language you know you’re going into can you share in another fellowships meeting now I would say just to clarify like I’m not talking about walking in I’ve been to you know an AAA anniversary where I showed in popped up I might have shared for a couple minutes did my best like you said to respect their language and and you know what they’re talking about there I’m talking about probably being like the lead speaker for the meeting um I personally wouldn’t do it you know if it was me but again I don’t know I mean even now like was that the guy that I referred to earlier was that you know wrong to ask him to go into a recovery place as a representative of a fellowship he wasn’t solely committed to I don’t know he’s got a great message if he encouraged people to come to meetings and get clean in that treatment center then more power to him I mean I think in in his case I would say he did less harm than good so you know who am I to judge but I wouldn’t go to another fellowship and be a speaker in that sense I would decline I mean I would denna just say like I don’t feel like I have the experience to come adequately represent your group no I would agree if somebody like from AAA asked me to share a specifically a a meeting I would definitely have to decline because I don’t have that experience but I’m curious when you talk about this guy if he was doing both fellowships why do you feel like his message was would have been unclear like he was an na member right well so he had when he came to the NA fellowship I think he had six or seven years in the other fellowship and had only been coming to our meeting for a shorter amount of time
you know if you’re really not involved with our service structure or haven’t formally worked in a 12 steps with an na sponsor you know are you really and of course we have all those people do that anyway I guess you know we have people go speak in facilities that probably haven’t even finished the first three steps but you know criteria that I have you know whatever deemed what qualifies someone to be a speaker for you know if I was a panel leader for a hni commitment that’s backfired on me too so I don’t know I had a guy with 20 sub years who had worked you know the steps a couple times over and I took him into a facility and man he dropped so many f-bombs and his language was terrible and he thought the ton about using and it just it took me aback because I had an expectation you know without being really clear upfront anyway hey I drop a lot of f-bombs I think that’s spiritual yeah facility not to I definitely you know that goes back to like if somebody calls me and says hey can you come share my meeting you know it’s a it’s a meeting where we don’t use profanity I probably say well why the [ _ ] you asking me okay that’s part of our story and again I don’t necessarily disagree with the spirit or the intention of the clarity statement I think if that was you know written in a book somewhere it’s and you know that the fellowship had some review and input on that whole idea and concept like you can make that a whole chapter in a [ _ ] piece of literature or a pamphlet and I personally would like to see it reviewed and input by the fellowship as a whole to get a more spiritual and what I feel like is spiritual and loving approach to it but I just don’t know that again I’m for less rules less guidelines less you know let’s get everybody into line so that we’re all you know I don’t think that the fellowship works that way I think it works best when it’s left open and free and with the general structure of the twelve traditions and I don’t know that anything I feel like the points that people make to stress the need for the clarity statement are debatable you know it’s not like a clear-cut like if you call yourself an alcoholic you’re in clear violation of tradition one like I don’t think so I don’t see it that way at all you know so I would say no yeah I’m with I would say I I would not think it’s okay to have a speaker from a different program in my program right that’s my that’s my take on it I don’t think that’s okay they don’t have experience with working my program and that’s the point of what you’re sharing as far as I understand it now having said that I have heard people in home groups throughout the years of mine that you know we’ve gotten a speaker and the speaker gets up in shares and has not worked a step and has like four months clean and there’s a [ _ ] tragic mess yeah what I have rather heard a speaker from another fellowship who could disguise their language absolute way better than that my life and so I guess what I would say is if you have the ability and the practice and you can share so that I would never know you were from another fellowship [ _ ] it do it yeah that’s uh you know that’s kind of how I look at it too and again most of this I apply to myself more than I ever look at it as how I’m going to enforce it but if I were gonna say I was gonna you know enforce this my homegroups not a speaker meeting but even if it was you know I don’t know that I would ever have a speaker that was from another fellowship and I would probably I mean just me personally would probably even struggle a little bit with someone that I knew went to multiple fellowships I mean that’s just me and listen to me yeah and and I mean it would again it would be situational it wouldn’t be you know if you ever went to any other elegy to be cancerous I mean I wouldn’t approach it like that but I would say if you had ten years in another fellowship and you’ve been in this fellowship for let’s say a year or two years or three years but you didn’t have an na sponsor or you hadn’t worked any steps or you hadn’t really done any service in na I mean again how well could you carry a message of Narcotics Anonymous as a speaker representing Narcotics Anonymous I swear to god I never understand what the hell you’re gonna say I never know where you’re coming you spent this whole podcast telling me how inclusive and open we should be with these other things and then I don’t know I feel like that guy’s a memory said he’s a member he’s been coming for a year [ _ ] it he’s a member like I I would never discourage him from coming to my home group from sharing in my home group but I’ve asked him to be a speaker you know what I mean I would I mean I would encourage people that are using if you’re [ _ ] high keep coming man come every week come [ _ ] high come drunk I don’t care I’ll sit next to you it will [ _ ] chat it up while you’re drunk I’ll make fun of you that’s fine keep coming up did have a good time I want you to be here you deserve to be here you go here but I’m not gonna ask you to sit at the [ _ ] table and share your experience with me cuz I don’t need that experience you know what I mean right so I think we have to you know has a fellowship I want our fellowship to be encouraging and open I want when we have events I would encourage you to come Vince I’ll come to then a picnic come to the [ _ ] na softball come to all the NA stuff you don’t have to be clean you don’t have to have a sponsor you don’t have to work steps come to this stuff you know see what we’re about get a taste of what this thing of recovery is um but I don’t think because I encourage people to come or I think they should come that they are a representative of the fellowship if that means super interesting super interesting so are there pure alcoholics anymore is that still a really a thing like I feel like almost every alcoholic I know did a pill here there or engaged in something I guess maybe not all of them and that’s like saying are there any real drug addicts you know like as as when we identify ourselves as so and I had hinted on this a little bit earlier but it’s like in na we do the little you know back and forth like we want to say our identification as addicts is all-inclusive but we don’t really encourage people to come in and talk about their sex addiction you know I’ve heard people get sort of shut down for sharing about you know even smoking sex addiction gambling you know any of these outside things you know are considered outside issues for Narcotics Anonymous and those aren’t what we’re here for we have a very clear you know we don’t like to say that our fellowship is specifically about drug addiction but we are specifically about drug addiction that’s what we are identification is addicts is not all inclusive it’s all inclusive as long as you’re a drug addict you know that’s that’s the truth of it you know I think it needs to be yeah and I do too and I don’t see a problem with that I think but let’s own that [ _ ] let’s oh okay you know let’s not act like we’re one on one hand one fellowship said [ _ ] for all diseases and all stuff but then well yeah but you can’t share them out your other diseases in here you got to keep that [ _ ] out you know no let’s you know we are about and I and again I think just like the alcoholics I think that’s what keeps us on point we [ _ ] identify we are about drug or the same week Narcotics Anonymous is about you know addiction to drugs and mind-altering you know substances and if we get off of that we lose our point of focus we lose our unity we lose our identification you know as a fellowship so I guess this leads me to the question since there’s so much debate about this would we be better served by a one-world recovery program would that be more useful and and get rid of all these issues we’re talking about with recovery language and what you can and can’t say or would that be more harmful in the sense that people who wanted to get a day clean off of drugs wouldn’t hear what they needed to hear in every meeting um I don’t know that one would be more harmful I just don’t so this gets sort of back to something we had talked about the way it texted back and forth a little bit about when we’re talking about this subject so whether the program is a success or not we had kind of talked back and forth about if someone relapses does that mean the program doesn’t work and that sort of thing and my idea of recovery is I have nothing against every 12-step non 12-step non abstinence based whatever kind of recovery programs are out there to me personally the more the better we can have an a a we can have a CDA we can have an SLA we can have a you know whatever every a there is under the Sun the more the better because to me you’re casting a broader net and you’re gonna get more people engaged in the process of recovery at a place that they can identify so would it hurt to have a one attak recovery fellowship I don’t think so I think it would be great I probably stay where I’m at you know because I’m happy and I’m getting my needs met but I would encourage and support and help you know encourage people that I thought could benefit from that to go there and I think it would be incredibly useful all right I don’t know that I got any more I definitely think we’ve we’ve done my job of beating this one digging it up beating it a couple more times you got anything else you want to input into it no I think I’m good like say I’m I hate that clarity statement being ready I’m gonna always be in a group where we say less readings less rules let’s you know let’s I
readings I’m for Less readings you want to read uh you know what is na and why are we here beautiful that sounds great that explains enough of it to get us to you know the point but I’m not in any way against the clarity statement I don’t think it in itself is offensive or rude I think it’s just a statement of clarity and I don’t think it s I don’t think it’s offensive by itself right some of the actions people have I mean that’s like saying the Bible isn’t really offensive but people do a whole lot of cruddy [ _ ] in the name of the Bible right like that doesn’t mean we should get rid of the Bible I feel the same way about the clarity statement if your group wants to read it [ _ ] it read it like it does explain something it might not be taken too hard or used like people are definitely gonna call themselves addicts and alcoholics and you’re meeting and clean it sober but [ __ ] it read is anyway yeah that’s what I’ll do from now on if they read the clarity statement I’m an addict and alcohol for fun now I in and of itself is offensive I actually agree with the the the verbage of it is correct I agree with all that I just it’s the spirit of it or the way that it seems to get interpreted it bugs me so that’s not really really so that’s a I think I’m just gonna correct people who like live by the clarity statement every time they call themselves dope beans and crackheads from now on a big whoa you are also wrong my friend let me reach in this clarity statement right include the part where it talks about dope fiends from the bullet because they yeah that’s all right well I guess that’s all we got for today I hope everybody has a good week and we will see you again next week
- 54: Narcan and The Right To Breath (Sort Of)
- 60: The State of Addiction Treatment – What We Need To Do Differently (Sort Of)
- 36: All Paths Recovery – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)
- 35: We Were Entirely Ready to Talk About Step 6 Some More (Sort Of)
- 51: Step Ten – Continued to Take Personal Inventory and When We Were Wrong Promptly Admitted It (Sort Of)
- 39: Sponsorship – What Is It, Why Do We Need It, and How Does It Work? (Sort Of)
2 responses to “27: Clarifying the Clarity Statement: Are You an Addict and Alcoholic? (Sort Of)”
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