Would this be the proper forum to propose an outline for a beginners meeting format to take newcomers through the steps and into service?
Sample from the first meeting:
Back to the Basic Text Beginners’’ Meetings Session #1- Step 1
This is the first meeting of four one hour session in which we hope to demystify the Twelve Steps and show you how simple this program truly is. Here you will learn the rewards of working the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous. We invite you upon to completion to come back for a couple months to strengthen your understanding and acceptance of this program.
It is important to remember that recovery is an ongoing process. We don’t just take the Steps once and then “rest on our laurels.” Keep in mind that, “addiction is a cunning enemy of life.” We must repeat the process again and again in order to keep in fit spiritual condition.
WELCOME to the first of the one hour NA Beginner’s Meetings. This is the beginning of a new life, the most important step in overcoming the, “seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”
Our names are__________ and ___________, and we are members of Narcotics Anonymous. It is a pleasure to play a part in this life-changing process- to watch people grow spiritually right before our eyes.
We will begin this session by reading a statement from the book Narcotics Anonymous:
“This volume is intended as a textbook for every addict seeking recovery. As addicts, we know the pain of addiction, but we also know the joy of recovery we have found in the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. We believe the time has come to share our recovery, in written form, with all who desire what we have found. Appropriately, this book is devoted to informing every addict:
JUST FOR TODAY, YOU NEVER HAVE TO USE AGAIN!”
The book we are reading from is NA’s textbook for recovery. This is the primary book we will use during these four sessions, with occasional references from other conference approved literature, or materials drawn from the common experience of our predecessors.
As the title of the book implies, we are an anonymous society. You can be sure we will protect your anonymity at all meetings of Narcotics Anonymous, and we ask for the same respect from you, keep who you see here and what you hear here in the confines of your own mind and heart.
The Basic Text was first published in 1982, after over 12 years of extensive review, editing, revision and analysis by working groups made up of the entire fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. You would have thought after all of that we would have gotten it right, but the first edition was out for only 4 months before the second edition was issued with changes. This was followed by the third edition less that a year later, which remained the same for several years. The writing of the fourth edition evoked so much controversy, that a large faction of the fellowship attempted to infringe on the copyright of our Basic Text, taking the controversy to the Supreme Court. The fourth edition was quickly followed by the fifth edition, which again lasted several years. An attempt was made in the 1990’s to remove all gender references to God from our text, which failed. Recently the sixth edition was released to wide approval from the Fellowship. In Narcotics Anonymous we believe in adapting to the needs of the still-suffering addict, these beginners sessions reflect that commitment. Just like our Basic Text, we are presenting our best efforts so far, feel free to change this format if you believe there is a better quote to reach the newcomer.
So we can complete each session within an hour and still have time for questions, we ask that you write down any questions you have and save them until the end of the evening presentation. We will answer questions at that time.
If you cannot find something we say in the Basic Text, consider it our point of view rather than fact. We will do our best to keep personal opinion out of these sessions. We are here to present the program of Narcotics Anonymous as put forward by the book, we are NOT here to present you with our interpretation of the Basic Text.
This is a meeting format adopted by this group to introduce the practice of the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous to newcomers and old-timers alike. The goal is to convey through the use of the Basic Text how simple and easy this program is to live on a daily basis. This is not designed as a substitute for the more comprehensive Step Working Guide based on the book, “It Works How and Why”. This is designed to give you a working knowledge of the steps in your personal life. You will get out of this practice as much as you put into it. With honesty, open-mindedness and willingness you will be well on your way.
In order for the process to work, newcomers need to be matched up with N.A. members who are willing to guide them through the four one-hour sessions. Newcomers do not attend beginners meetings alone. They are accompanied by their sponsor or sharing partners.
So that everyone can better understand what is expected of them, we are going to present some of the guidelines for the Beginner’s Meetings:
For the Newcomer:
- Your primary obligation is to attend all four sessions. If you need assistance with transportation, your sharing partner will help you make it to these sessions.
- We will read the appropriate parts of the “Basic Text” to you, specifically those passages that relate to taking the Twelve Steps. If you have brought a Basic Text with you and are able to follow along, please do so. We will announce each passage by page number and paragraph before reading it. If you don’t have a book, we ask that you participate by listening. We will guide you through all Twelve Steps, as written in the ‘Basic Text”. Please follow the instructions, as we read them to you, and you too will recover from addiction.
For the Sponsor or Sharing Partner:
- Your time commitment to the newcomer is approximately four weeks. After that, both of you will be expected to assist others through the Twelve Steps.
- During the next month, call or visit the newcomer frequently to offer encouragement and moral support.
- Attend the weekly Beginners’ Meetings with the newcomer.
- Offer to help the newcomer with the inventory. Keep in mind that the newcomer may not be able to do the inventory alone.
- Share your experience with the newcomer so he or she can see how two-way prayer is working in your life.
- Based on your personal experience, answer any questions the newcomer may have about the N.A. program or the NA way of life.