104: Tradition 10 – Narcotics Anonymous Has No Opinion on Outside Issues; Hence the NA Name Ought Never be Drawn into Public Controversy (Sort Of)

The 10th tradition, Narcotics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the NA name ought never be drawn into public controversy, is under discussion in this episode. What does it mean we have no opinions? About nothing? That seems impossible. Why would tradition ten guide us away from having opinions about anything? Don’t we think we should have opinions about what treatment works if there is evidence to prove it so? Or at least have opinions about what treatment doesn’t work? In looking at the tenth tradition, we examine if there is any controversy about this idea of having opinions. Also, we mention that having opinions only stands at a fellowship, or program, level. Our members individually have lots of opinions and that’s okay. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

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Transcript

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of this is our two year anniversary and we still didn’t have cake wow amazing right didn’t realize that two years 104 episodes week after week after week we found a way around vacations and everything else uh so congratulations to us maybe if we do this for another 26 years we’ll have a strong following yeah but anyway a couple more years we’ll double recovery sort of i’m jason i am a guy still trying to understand what the hell the traditions are talking about and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re on tradition 10 which is uh tradition 10 narcotics anonymous well or whatever fill in your a fellowship has no opinion on outside issues hence the n a name will never be drawn into public controversy so this would be about three minutes long right perfect that’s just what we need this week um so has no opinion on outside issues i think that’s useful right we talk about the things that bring different organizations or companies down we look at our political climate now and how you know the chief executive officers of some companies can take their whole company’s stock share down just by sharing their beliefs and their opinions about the way things should go and the debate about should coca-cola be able to have an opinion about you know abortion or not or like what are they sharing on their social media right right and i think there’s a lot of discrepancies in what we believe right on one hand we’re like you know people these companies these actors and actresses these important famous people shouldn’t have a say right they should shut up and act they should shut up and play football and all that but at the same time they have a national stage to share an opinion and do they have a right to it and a right to do that and but either way their brand whether it’s an actor an actress a company their brand is affected by what they share right you might have people who say your beliefs don’t line up with mine i don’t like that you’re all for this particular belief and now i’m not going to use your product or support you anymore and i think for the a fellowships that helps to not have any of those opinions we don’t have to dissuade anyone from coming right nobody has to feel like oh i don’t know if i want to go there they believe in that [ _ ] over there like there’s none of that we don’t as a fellowship or program we have zero opinions on anything other than we hope our program helps you basically i guess right our primary purpose and that we come together to help any addict that’s seeking recovery in this way hopefully get it yeah yeah so what does the literature have to say about it uh so our basic text wasn’t overly enlightening it actually was fairly short and pretty straightforward it shared a lot about that we stick to what we know you know um in the another book we have it works out why it has a tradition section and in that i found a lot more stuff that gets a little more interesting not quite so boring that was like last month too yeah it’s very much like that the first part of that comes basically their introduction to what you were just talking about it says narcotics anonymous is a society of recovering addicts who help one another stay clean by applying certain principles certain spiritual principles our primary purpose as groups and as a fellowship is to offer that same help to any addict seeking recovery aside from that na has no opinion whatsoever hmm yeah i mean that sounds like it grabs something all right cool what else did it say so then it goes on to say but there are a great number of addiction related issues that others might expect a worldwide society of recovering addicts to take a position on what is na’s opinion we are sometimes asked on the addiction treatment industry on the 12-step fellowship the legalization of drugs addiction-related illnesses and all the rest our answer according to the 10th tradition is that our groups and our fellowship take no position pro or con in any issue except the n a program itself so you know basically what it means is you know telling people they should go to a treatment center they need to go to a 28 day program they need to go to a long day program you know a longer program they need to go inpatient outpatient iop whatever [ _ ] court says you know horses out back that’s what’s really going to get you clean right whether you should go to a halfway house or not you know or whether a three-quarter house is better than you know n a doesn’t have an opinion on any of that [ _ ] not good or bad whether it works whether you should whether you shouldn’t do it um that makes no difference to the quality or access or or opportunity that the program has to offer you i feel like that ties a lot into not endorsing or lending the n a name to related facilities or outside enterprises uh very similar idea right we don’t want to taint what we think or who wants to come to see us by what we believe works or doesn’t work is it really different than that i feel like the outside issues might go broader than just talking about endorsing or financing like a treatment center or something like that but i don’t know i’m trying to think of something that doesn’t have to do with treatment centers or should drugs be legalized that we would actually have some sort of opinion about but i guess we don’t we don’t really say that other programs or methods of being clean don’t work it’s just not our way right or even things like harm reduction you know what i mean like there’s a big movement for harm reduction and needle exchange or needle programs and you know fentanyl test strips and giving you know aid to sex workers who are involved in addiction like the program of narcotics anonymous doesn’t have an opinion whether that’s good or bad it’s individual members might have opinions but the program itself doesn’t care about those things and that’s definitely something not to be mistaken about this is that the program itself correct does not have an opinion that does not mean that every [ _ ] member doesn’t have an opinion about it because they do and that does actually comes up a little bit later in some of this but right that the you know you can be a member of narcotics anonymous you know if you’re an addict and you’re here seeking recovery through you know then you are welcome and you have every opportunity that everyone else has and i guess right and i guess our own personal opinions would tie into next month’s tradition right so say we did we well we do we all have our own personal opinions and say we were really outspoken about that and people knew at the level of press radio and films that we were a member of this program our personal opinions could come across as the opinions of the program right it could be mistaken and so both of those tie in together well we keep the fact that we’re in this specific program quiet so that way we’re allowed to share our opinions and it doesn’t taint this specific program right and and i’ve learned for myself anyway that that’s how spiritual principles sort of work like they work together with each other none of them works in a vacuum by itself like they complement and build off each other and that old idea that like you know honesty alone can turn into almost beaut you know brutal honesty or or abuse if i’m just you know slamming you in the face with some truth with no like compassion or love or empathy behind it it doesn’t feel very good well yeah and if you think like okay if i was just open-minded and nothing else well now i might start believing all kinds of random crazy [ _ ] that people are telling me or try to believe too many different ways to do something and not be able to focus on one and so it’s like i need these other principles to tie in with that of like maybe steadfastness or consistency so i can be open-minded but i don’t have to you know start practicing some belief that really isn’t necessarily mine in my backyard just because i i heard it somewhere i’m right that’s interesting so spiritual principles don’t work alone is that a hard rule can we i mean i don’t think it’s a hard rule but i think in general in our literature there is somewhere in there where it says spiritual principles are never in conflict that you know that’s something that it says ooh we might have to argue that in our literature you know and find a conflict so again i can be honest but if i’m being loving caring and compassionate with my honesty you know versus like brutal honesty you know that’s an easy one to kind of see and i i think this goes back to when we were talking about um enabling you know i think that’s where that enabling idea comes in it’s like well you know if i’m just helping someone to get high for the sake of helping them to get high i don’t know that that’s in and of itself is a good thing right but if i’m trying to like love someone and and help them and i’m applying some of these other principles of discernment of like well no i’m not gonna you know put you in danger you know that’s you gotta try to balance those things out for yourself but just saying well i love you so i’m going to do whatever you need me to do to get high that there’s a you know you got to balance that out well and from the other side of that a little bit i think if i heard you correctly thinking back to the enabling episode it’s like i don’t think our goal is to say it’s about not enabling or enabling right it’s not i don’t think we want to come into it like oh am i enabling or am i not enabling which side of this fence do i stand on it’s more just about like what does this situation call for what’s good for me what best can i do to assist the other party and let me go from there it’s not just like this idea of like oh i need to be totally about their comfort or i need to be totally about tough love like neither of those is probably right i need to be somewhere in that that you know what buddhism would say the middle path of like well let me do what’s right for me and hopefully some things that are right for you and and hopefully that works right so now here’s where we start getting into we’ll venture into the little more controversial sides of this because believe it or not there are i guess a little bit more controversial sides of this and this will be a little more fun for some people so it says however even in explaining our own program in public we may find ourselves treading on controversial ground na’s views on total abstinence on the possibility of recovery in society without long-term institutionalization on the disease concept of addiction even our broad view on spirituality are not met with universal acceptance correct so you know na does take a opinion stance on some of these subjects you know we and that’s wrong to say they don’t have an opinion on it we so let’s take the the method the one where it comes up is you know the drug replacement therapy i think now they got there’s a new name for it now isn’t it it’s not medicated assisted treatment anymore but when it comes to to like that specifically like n a doesn’t have an opinion on whether you should or shouldn’t do that whether it’s good or bad whether it works or doesn’t work like it doesn’t have an opinion on that what narcotics anonymous opinion is that we read in our literature is that our program is a program of you know we don’t treat addiction with a drug you know but that’s weird right so i and i get it we don’t take a stance we we can say we don’t officially say that our way is right or that this way is better than another but really i mean you know the whole concept of action speak louder than words right by us saying this is our program and this is the way we work it we really are having an opinion about the way we think works i mean whether we want to say it’s our opinion whether we want to say it’s the right way if we thought it was the wrong way we wouldn’t do it if we thought there was more than one right way we might be accepting of all of them maybe i can kind of see a little bit that’s where the no opinion comes in is we don’t say this is the only way that works this is the best way that works we just say look here is a path that we have found that has worked for many of us and if you try this path it might just work for you too it’s available to all it’s free you know what i mean you can come in and do it but it’s like for me that the idea that i think of is it’s like you know the keto diet or the adkins diet and someone says hey this diet is great it can help you in all these ways and then someone comes in and goes well yeah that atkins diet is great but i’m gonna eat bread because i like bread so i’m gonna eat bread and then you go well the whole diet works on the premise that you don’t have all these carbs you know it it kind of works by not eating carbs that’s what makes it work and then you go yeah but i like bread and i can get healthy bread and you know what i mean there’s i’ll go with seven grain whole wheat bread that’s not bad for you you know like yeah yeah but it’s not the way that’s supposed to work but how many things do you try in your life that aren’t the best and you stick with them like you could say i have no opinion about how to get to work in the mornings like you could bicycle you could take a bus you could walk you could jog you could take a car but if i look at your life i’m gonna say well i obviously know the opinion billy holds he believes the car is the best way because that’s the way he takes every day right like if all these other ones were viable and and also just as good you would do some of them and you don’t for a reason right but i say the guy that rides a bike i don’t go well that guy’s dumb he rides a bike i’m like you don’t think that i wish what’s that you don’t think that when it’s snowing outside look at that idiot riding his bike there’s a lady that jogs every [ _ ] day i see her on my way to work every day when i take my kids to school and stuff and she’s out there in the rain and the snow and i’m like they got indoor treadmills i run on an indoor treadmill yeah but i don’t think any worse of her i’m like man she’s [ _ ] getting it like good for her that’s [ _ ] awesome like that’s she’s got a real [ _ ] commitment there like i can look at that and not have an opinion that she’s okay think about this one though right so we don’t have an opinion on whether medical assisted treatment medicine is medically assisted medicine assisted i don’t know whatever medical mats we don’t have an opinion on whether they are also a functional way so why couldn’t they also work our program while being on that why how would that so and now this gets into my opinion and that about me having an opinion comes a little later is i would consider working the program with someone who was on some sort of medicated assisted treatment in the right circumstance again that’s not a all for you know the flip side of that is i would be honest with them in saying that our program typically you know it’s for abstinence-based recovery we don’t treat addict you know the spiritual growth that you get requires a level of awareness that i think medicated assisted treatment numbs out and i’m not making a judgment on that person whether they should or shouldn’t stop i’m just saying as far as i know if it the way i know that it works it tells me it doesn’t necessarily work so i can’t say that you’re going to get the same thing that we promise because you’re doing something a little different well but even in your statement there the way that i understand that it works that way doesn’t that’s like the opinion that this way works and other ways don’t if you want this maybe you want something else i mean i guess for me i’m just thinking if we said the 12 steps work hey we kind of think maybe they work better when you’re completely abstinent but they work like this community this being around people living a different life this is good for people in general whether you are on mats or not the opinion become like if that’s our opinion that other ways can work and we believe that and our 12 steps are useful well we would let everyone come in and work our 12 steps and celebrate their own versions of clean time and it wouldn’t affect us at all but we don’t because our opinion is that this is the way that works and we’re not so sure if those ways do or not see and i think that’s sort of a that’s in my understanding that’s a little bit twisted we don’t have an opinion that this is the only way that works we say look this is what we’re doing and what we’re about and you know what i mean like you can do whatever you want over there i don’t have an opinion that any of the other a’s is better than the other or that celebrate recovery is somehow less than what i’m doing here like i is my personal belief is that people that can relate to that religious aspects to celebrate recovery can find spiritual growth and development and enlightenment and get anything that i’m getting here you can get there if you have a connection to jesus and you’re a christian like i don’t think that well they’re really missing something or there’s something less there or more here or there’s more there and less here like just my personal opinion is no that’s just a different path to the same goal they’ve just found a way that works for them that’s in alignment with their values and beliefs and spiritual structure and they get the support that they need and the reason it works the way that it works is because they have these shared values and beliefs and that to me is beautiful like that’s a great thing i’m glad they’re over there doing that but i shouldn’t i can’t go there or i don’t feel like i have a right to go there and be like well you guys would be great if you get rid of this [ _ ] jesus character because i don’t believe in him at all and i want what you have but i don’t want this jesus piece so you got to chuck that out like no i get that but it’s interesting what stuck out about your explanation was that you kept saying uh we don’t have an opinion and we don’t think you know all these other ways might work do them over there like to me that’s an opinion it’s like well your way might be fine but keep it the [ _ ] away from here right because this is our way and that to me i’m sold on the idea that it’s definitely an opinion it’s unstated we might not go around saying that ours is the best or that you can’t be a part of it but it’s an opinion this way works if you want to do it another way that’s fine but keep it the [ _ ] away from our way well that’s where i believe these traditions work together when we go back and build on each other we don’t say or i i should stop saying we my understanding of this is that you can come here all you want if you are on medicaid decision treatment welcome please come please be a part of what we have to offer but our experience and the way our program is is written and understood and the way we know that it works is through not treating addiction with a substance so you know that’s just not what we’re doing here we’re doing something a little bit different but you are welcome to come here you are welcome to share if a person comes in and smokes [ __ ] pot or does heroin and comes in every day and says man i relapsed again man i relapsed again man i relapsed again we don’t say well you’re not welcome here anymore you shouldn’t come back we say welcome keep coming back man keep keep working we appreciate you know or hopefully i mean hopefully i’m sure there’s some people that tell people not to but again we start with unity and then our primary purpose and that every addict is welcome here no matter what it doesn’t matter the status of what you’re doing yeah we say welcome come be a part of us we’ll also belittle you and tell you you’re not clean because you’re not by our definition but that’s where you’re ignoring the other traditions that we have that say we don’t do that well the traditions uh have no rules according to what we’ve understood so no they have spiritual principles that we’re supposed to be practicing in accordance with you know no matter how many spiritual principles i want to practice and and i don’t want to take us too far down this path before getting on to the next one but i guess for me my understanding is if we’re telling somebody they are not clean that’s going to keep them apart from us no matter how welcoming and how much we say welcome come be a part of us if we’re deciding what your clean time is or what it looks like or what factors go into whether you are or not that’s our opinion about what works best or what works for us and we’re not it’s an unstated opinion i mean it i get it’s not really an outside issue it’s kind of an inside issue but we’ve taken a stance on it with that memo about drugs used in replacement to treat drug addiction from the way we explained it even though i don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense looking at it a little more technically but that’s that’s where we went with it and so i those people who come in yeah welcome be a part of but we’re also gonna not let you practice these things that you believe in i mean so as i understand it i don’t believe it says you can’t like

nowhere in here does it say you can’t work steps if you’re using that’s not in any of our literature no it just says you’re not clean right so you’re dirty um i mean you dirty [ __ ] yeah welcome be a part of dirty right

well anybody can take it and there’s an actual it’s there’s another quote i was going to read in a little bit that sort of addresses that a little bit it’s like no matter how and i’ll read it but it’s like no matter how much you try to explain yourself in a kind and gentle and loving way people can take what you say and turn it into whatever they want and if i say look hey if you’re on medicaid assisted treatment [ _ ] good luck man i hope you get everything you want out of life i hope you find exactly what you want but what i’m doing over here i don’t know that i can offer you anything i really don’t i don’t i don’t know that i have the answers to your problem they can turn that into i think they’re [ _ ] bad because they’re using drugs maybe we should go to that quote because that’s interesting it’s not our fault if others misrepresent what we say as individuals we may avoid such complications before they arise simply by thinking carefully before we speak in public yeah i mean i think i think you’re right there there is an understanding that like there are people that cannot be pleased at times it feels that way at least for whatever reason whatever they’re going through like no matter how nicely calmly compassionately i try to explain my boundary whatever that may be they don’t hear it the way i intend it and they hear it in some malicious way but i also think that statement can be used very much like the idea of you know bill w saying i helped so many people but none of them stayed clean and i did so it must be working it’s very much like well it doesn’t i tried all the ways to say it nicely and nobody heard me well how much it also talks about it’s more important to understand than to be understood so maybe we shouldn’t run around saying some people are always going to take this the wrong way and [ _ ] it that means we get to do what we want and they’re just going to take it the wrong way maybe we need to work more on hearing their side out instead of worrying about our side and again that’s where we need to try to balance out these spiritual principles and make sure they’re working in alignment with each other if we start using spiritual prints i mean you can always take spiritual principles and use them to justify all kinds of stuff you know misbehavior and and selfish acts by saying they’re spiritual that doesn’t make them spiritual just because you can use that excuse but i also think to other you know aaa for example like they say we deal with alcohol we don’t really deal with drugs and and they’re struggling with their own it sounded like i don’t i’m not in that fellowship so i hate to speak out a line but when we spoke to louis and talked about some things with aa he expressed their internal controversy with having members come that were addicts you know and talking about addiction and how some older members didn’t like it and told them they weren’t supposed to and how they’re sort of going and i’m going to say starting their own meetings where they do talk about it but you know these things that’s the the thing is they don’t have easy issues it’s not clean cut and it is um i hate to use the word a little messy but it is a little messy you know it’s and hopefully we can have discussions or you know talk about these things in a loving caring and compassionate way so that we’re not hurting people so that we’re not disrespecting people or making them feel bad about their pathway of recovery you know i am of the opinion that addiction is such a broad and and varied you know thing in people’s lives it affects each individual in their own unique way and that recovery is the same way each person sort of finds hopefully a path that works for them that’s going to suit what their you know needs are and help them find what they’re looking for and i don’t hold the opinion that this you know what i do works for everyone and then if you just do what i do you’ll get what i get i used to believe that i don’t believe that anymore i believe you can do a hundred percent exactly what the [ _ ] i did and you get completely something different out of it right like i just don’t think that’s a thing this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voices hope and consider donating to our calls

i think this tradition was so much easier when our conflicts came into things like you know what sports team is the best in what sport is the best in the united states and and even what kind of treatment works best and do you need to spend time in a recovery house like it was so much easier to keep our mouths shut there i feel like this medical medication assisted treatment idea replacement drug replacement therapy like all these this has made it really really complicated to navigate where we need to go and what we’re going to look like in 20 years and and i i just think this is like a real practice of where we probably should have no hard rules like the traditions say there’s no real rules and we should tread lightly think carefully about what we want to say and what our ultimate goal is which is to help people and learn as we go like what is going to work for us and what’s not where do we really need to hold fast ideas just because we’ve had them forever and where do we need to start adjusting and to be honest those are what i’ll say are the current opinions of narcotics anonymous stated from our world service as what i would call a i don’t know collection collective conscience of our groups um none of that from the definition of clean to an opinion on maintenance programs like those things aren’t in our basic text and they don’t come up in our basic text or specifically in our literature that’s just the the understanding that we have now and maybe at some point things evolve but that’s where an attitude a spirit of again first tradition unity you know to other traditions you know our primary purpose like that’s where those things become critical to our guidelines not hard fast rules that this is the [ _ ] way it is that you need to be this way i mean our our fellowship doesn’t have an opinion on [ _ ] key tags and and celebrating anniversaries and all that that’s just [ _ ] that groups made up you know that’s not fellowship right i mean i can’t say it’s not fellowship stuff that’s not in our literature is part of there’s nothing you’re ever going to read in the basic texas and when you get 30 days you get an orange key tag like that’s just some [ _ ] we made up because we’re self-centered people and we want to feel important and maybe one rule this is my personal opinion that we need to start doing and i suck at this because i still use the word clean frequently because it’s what i you know grew up with so to speak but maybe we need to stop that [ _ ] clean thing because that is referring to other people as dirty right right and our fellowship does you know and i think all of them do like evolves and changes over time and just as you know again lewis mentioned back on that episode about hey you know how they’re going through a change like we can go through a change too you know we can evolve and grow in our beliefs and understanding of things and you know solely a a going to become n a and n a is going to become like m-a-t-a is that what’s going to happen like a-a’s total abstinence and then n a’s like who knows i mean you know that’s where a loving god as he expresses um our hiself and our group conscience comes into play you know we we apply these principles to the best that we can we try to not hold these hard fast you know beat you down opinions we try to stay open-minded willing to learn willing to grow practice principles to the best of our abilities and let that spirit lead us you know to where we’re going what what we’re doing and i don’t know what that means maybe that means we support a bunch of people forming a new fellowship is what happened with us through aaa i mean back in you know the 50s they didn’t evolve their fellowship they just helped some members you know jimmy k and some other members form a new fellowship and they were loving and supportive and caring in that endeavor and now we have what we have today which is narcotics anonymous with you know all these meetings and millions of members it’s hard to picture a a if it continues the way it is which i mean it’s more and more not just alcohol it’s hard to picture them becoming basically n a with different literature without at some point they’re not being uh somebody that says well why are these two separate programs they’re the same [ _ ] thing like i just can’t picture that so i don’t know if we combine or if we do something different like we’re like i don’t know it’s just weird yeah it’s again it’s it’s the autonomy of things you know it’s the autonomy of life people just are different we’re just different yeah and what works for some doesn’t work for others and what you know weird opinions or weird connections we make yeah it’s just it’s so random almost what else did the uh tradition say that was important tradition 10 restricts n a as a fellowship from stating opinions on outside issues however it places no restrictions on the individual member in narcotics anonymous we believe strongly in personal freedom so freedom speech right so what again what i take from that is me as an individual member if someone comes in that’s on a maintenance program and they say hey i’m on suboxone and it doesn’t alter my mood or mind and i want to get a 30 day key tag that i congratulations tell them like hey i i think you’re clean some other people might not some you may find some conflict that’s an individual’s opinion you know and that the fellowship as a whole doesn’t hold an opinion on that i mean that’s my understanding of that that could be complete i’m sure someone else would argue that we do have an opinion on that but oh there’s a pamphlet i mean or whatever whatever that thing was right and as an individual member like i might have a controversial opinion like hey i don’t know i’d be willing to try to work steps with you i don’t know what’s going to happen i can’t you know i don’t [ _ ] promise you anything but sure you want to try it i’m game you know what the [ _ ] you know i dig it i’m going to start telling everybody i’m not going to use the word clean but i’m like yeah yeah you’re recovering buddy maybe we should change the key tag language um and it does give a little bit of an out and i won’t read specific uh quotes from it but it does at the end of that go into saying that basically anything that affects your personal recovery is um room for discussion in a meeting that as an individual member you know i guess you’re free to talk about any of these things but being aware that when you go in and state these controversial opinions that you should really be considering that first tradition of unity when you do that you shouldn’t be going in you know sort of with this divide and conquer or proving that you’re right you want to come into it with a spirit of unity it’s maybe i can give an opinion that helps bring us together not push people apart or make people choose sides that see i always think of that line as justifying like if we want to talk about the treatment center we went to and how it affected our life or we want to talk about the recovery house we live in and how it affects our life and pet peeve of my own when people use the disclaimer at the beginning of their share hey so i went to treatment and i did a recovery house but not everybody has to do that that annoys a piss out of me i’m like you’re just sharing your experience you don’t have to qualify that it’s okay to do that like if it affected your recovery that’s fine so weirdly enough i actually thought the opposite now because i do some h i work where we go into outside facilities and share meetings and i thought man we need to change when we start every meeting and say we just need to let you know this is each member’s individual experience this does not reflect the views of narcotics anonymous as a whole so stories may differ yes experiences may differ like i now was like oh my gosh we need to be given this disclaimer and every time we go into a facility yeah i just i feel like everybody says that now and i’m just like we we get it like nobody’s saying because you did it that’s the way it has to go i i mean you share about the way your drug use look like and i don’t think that that disqualifies me from being in here because mine look different like i just don’t understand why we feel so necessary to disclaim that every time i’m like oh just get over it yes share whatever now that’s totally different than the time i asked in the circle at the end of the meeting to pray for the troops in iraq or something that had nothing to do with my recovery right like maybe that doesn’t belong in in the meetings i’m stuck on these key tags i’m wondering like we need to change the language on them instead of clean and serene they need to say something else like recovering and happy or recovering and peaceful or something like take clean off of there right i know nothing rhymes with recovery but i i’ve said a bunch like i understand why we do key tags and anniversaries and all that but i i i’m not a fan of it just in in my again my personal opinion is like you could do away with all that [ _ ] it really doesn’t matter because i got out of celebrating this year i know it’s and i people my predecessors have always sort of talked me into it and said that’s what you’re supposed to do and you know so i do it but i’m not convinced that it’s right i mean i feel like nowadays so many people have substantial amounts of time and that putting these numbers on people it’s almost like you walk in with a different color badge or something and put you into a weird category i mean sometimes i walk into meetings and i don’t know anyone in the meeting and i feel as [ _ ] awkward and alone and out of sorts as i felt when i walked in the first time and it’s not that i don’t feel like i earned my seat or whatever the [ _ ] you want to say but i can feel just like a i mean i am a brand new person i am a newcomer in that meeting in that environment i know none of those people i don’t know the culture usually i can fill it out and fit in you know somewhat quickly but there are times where i have that feeling of loneliness and isolation have been so overwhelming that soon as the meeting left i [ _ ] left right yeah i i’ve always told people they had to celebrate it was a thing and you got to it’s your responsibility your duty blah blah blah blah blah and yeah i i was able to grab my key tag at a meeting that wasn’t my home group because i happened to be sharing there on my clean date and uh almost forgot to grab it like that just wasn’t even really thinking about it then remembered right at the time like it is september 12th and then uh just never mention it to the home group and don’t feel pressured and i feel fine with it happy anniversary was that 18 18. i thought you had 18 anyway 18 years but yeah long time yeah it is it is but i i didn’t feel any kind of way about not thinking about the day about not celebrating don’t and really this is what it came down to like i’ve always looked at meetings in baltimore where i was right a ton of people ton of new people maybe they’ll benefit from your anniversary story blah blah blah blah up here i was gonna share for the same five people that heard it last year and it’s like i why i’ve been here every week they’ve heard me share about everything that’s happened in my life for the last year they heard my story last year like i just don’t feel like it’s relevant at all i couldn’t see any purpose last year you talked me into the purpose of introducing myself to my new home group okay i bought that but now i was like for [ _ ] what what am i gonna run my mouth for there’s no purpose here my only i guess rebuttal to that would be we show up and it’s you know whatever the the god’s purpose idea like i show up at my home group every week and most weeks there’s only three of us there because i don’t know when the new person’s going to show up you know what i mean i and i don’t know and i can predict and plan and theorize who’s going to be there what’s going to happen and talk myself out of going and then last week i went and it was me another home group member with substantial time that’s usually there and like eight other people that were six months or less you know which is really weird because then like me and the other guy with 20 some years had been in the home group forever or like outnumbered with all new people but it was you know it was interesting and it’s like i have to remind myself like oh yeah that’s why we show up here every week and some weeks none of those people show up and there’s been quite a few weeks recently where it’s been two or three of us that stand outside in the parking lot and [ _ ] and hang out for a little while just to see if someone else shows up and we’re gonna have a meeting right but it’s like i do the footwork because i don’t know when you know whatever for lack of a better word god’s work is gonna take place you know that would be my only argument is that’s part of our culture so that’s what you’re supposed to do because you don’t know who’s going to show up that week or benefit from what you have to say well they would have benefited from what the rest of the group had to say if they showed up so and they didn’t touch what’s going to happen no matter what can’t fork god’s will all powerful yeah i don’t know what else is a tradition to anything else interesting uh that was it for the most part i mean i think most of the the controversy around some of the internal uh opinions are what causes this one in particular to be interesting but you know we have a reading that we read at the end of our uh traditions you know in in a lot of meetings and it says you know the traditions protect us from the internal and external forces that could destroy us and i think that’s because you know we if we take each one of these by itself and then try to beat people over the head with it and ignore the other principles that should be working in alignment with it we can justify all kinds of [ _ ] you know you know i was sitting over here thinking you were talking about there’s no rules about key tags this that any other and i was like yeah i’m gonna support anybody who wants to get one i don’t care if you’re on a replacement therapy or anything like that sure get a goddamn key tag you got 30 days off of whatever drug that was causing your life misery that’s awesome i’m with it and now i’m wondering if maybe i don’t need to go the other route because the tags do technically say clean clean serene on them right so maybe i just need to boycott and stop getting tags myself right like if i want to make the argument that nicotine and caffeine are you know disputable about whether they’re clean or not since we’re going to dispute whether things are clean or not maybe i just shouldn’t get one maybe i don’t want to buy into the idea of being clean or anything i just want to say i’m in recovery and i’ve been here this many years but i don’t want to subscribe to this clean theory like i don’t like it right and we had a meeting it was quite controversial in this area where we had a meeting that had opened in a methadone clinic they had wanted to have meetings there and so we had a narcotics anonymous meeting that met in the methadone clinic and there were some people that definitely thought that there was some conflict of interest and how are you going to do that and what about key tags and there was frequently people on maintenance that were getting key tags and so a lot of people had a lot of opinions about that which is where at the time i said well my solution would be just don’t you know and i wasn’t in the home group so my [ _ ] opinion didn’t matter anyway but my opinion you know to one of the home group members was the will just because he was conflicted he was a home group member there and people were getting key tags right after they shared about being on maintenance and he was like i know that’s not right and according to us they’re not clean and you know he’s not wrong i mean that’s what it says in our literature and he’s in a weird place of how do you manage that as a home group member he thought it was important that the meeting be there because then they’re still getting the message that you know an abstinence-based recovery program was available and that if you didn’t want to be on maintenance you didn’t have to be like those sorts of things and so my thing was well just don’t give out key tags just stop doing it right you don’t have to that’s not anything that’s just a thing that groups do that’s group autonomy you don’t have to give out key tags you don’t have to celebrate anniversaries you don’t have to read any of those [ _ ] readings if you don’t want you can open the meeting and go hey this is a narcotics anonymous meeting my name is billy i’m an addict sure about where you’re at what you’re doing anything that reflects your recovery meeting’s open and look your home group uh just knowing what i know about it if you went in and said guys i’m really wondering if we should give out key tags anymore i’m sure there’d be some sarcastic jokes there’d probably be a lot of dark humor but there could probably be like an open discussion about is that a thing do we want to stop doing that i’m just picturing walking into my home group and saying that idea and the pushback or the just complete closed-mindedness to the concept of not having key tags at our meeting and why i’m like i just can’t i and and all my home groups really and a lot of times that pushback would have been me like what the [ _ ] are you talking about not have key tags here what do you mean not have an introduction and a prologue before we start our meeting gotta read every one of these not opening with a prayer are you [ _ ] kidding me and like it’s crazy how quickly we buy into these ideas and you’re right like none of them [ _ ] matter we could open and be like hey my nickname jason what do you all got on your minds yeah like that could literally be it and we can have a meeting yeah i mean it says we are not interested in what or you know how much you used who your connections were what you have done in the past only what you want to do about your problem and how we can help if i ever start another group we are not going to have key tags we’re not going to have a prologue we’re not going to do readings we’re not going to do announcements and it’s almost i mean it’s almost fun just to do as i say as an experiment but just to let people know like hey this is like the spirit behind a lot of these traditions isn’t a guidelines for rules to lay out you know this is the way it needs to be is actually quite the opposite it’s a way to protect our anonymity you know what i mean to protect the openness and the the freedoms that we’re supposed to be able to have here hey man you’re struggling with addiction you got a [ _ ] drug problem you want some help man we’re here for you check this out you know yeah but i feel like it would be a novelty like everybody would want to come visit that meeting once like oh my god it’s the meeting that doesn’t do anything nobody want to be a home group nobody would ever come cake oh no we definitely have cake yeah [ _ ] cake every week yeah whether it’s starbucks coffee there you go cake and starbucks that’s the only [ _ ] traditions we found well we can’t have coffee because that’s using so no but we’re not we don’t care about using we’re not talking we’re talking about being in recovery not clean [ _ ] that clean that’s awesome yeah we’re going to do that we’re going to [ _ ] with people god now i want to do it just to [ _ ] with people well that’s the bad spirit and that’s i know but it would be so fun to argue with people when they came in we don’t want to be disunity and it does say in here like you know it gets after in it works out why they have the spiritual principles of each tradition and it says the the foundation of this one is unity the the spirit of it is to bring people together we’re not trying to push people out or separate people or make people not feel welcome right you know the spirit of it is to be like hey man it doesn’t like you said it doesn’t matter what treatment center you were in if you went to treatment what drug you did how much you used you know none of that [ _ ] matters what matters is you’re here today what do you want to do how we can help we are almost done with traditions there’s only two more we’re gonna muscle through this [ _ ] what are we gonna do next year we’re gonna do a spiritual principle each month we could i was thinking of like picking the spiritual principle out of each step that went with the month and going with that so like honesty i think we did honesty we could do honesty again in january and then open-mindedness for step two in february yeah i don’t know i had to come up with a new person come back through the steps again oh yeah i know i don’t know that there’s anybody i want on here every month i don’t know you got anything else maybe an aaa person talking about the aaa steps we could do that in one episode we just talk about it be all done one through twelve oh look you’re recovered can’t be lewis or one of those modern aaa people we need an old tire like 30 years hardcore a.a look in one hour you’re totally recovered we worked all the steps with you it’s gonna be an interesting episode actually i wish it brings my own to work that steps with us in an hour like can we go through all 12 steps in an hour huh that quick i doubt it i’ve actually heard of n a workshops where you can go work the steps all 12 of them at a workshop in a day huh that was n a i bet you they had pizza all in a workshop pizza break in the day right it was like each step like gives you like 20 minutes it’s a break for an hour and then another i’m going to send her by there when they’re like can you sponsor me i’ll be like just go to the workshop you don’t need me great i don’t know i guess this is our short tradition you gotta have a [ _ ] sponsor to work steps once a month or whatever he can it’s it’s informal and implied in nature we don’t have sponsors that’s just made up it’s all made up the whole [ _ ] world’s made up it’s all a joke yeah i don’t know is this our shortest episode we’ve ever done i don’t know how long is it like 52 minutes right now but i probably got to cut like five of that out oh yeah we had a pause yeah that can be our shortest episode [ __ ] it all right tradition 10 go work it and don’t have opinions of the fellowship in the world but feel free to have all the opinions you want because i sure do and stay safe

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