Category Archives: na world services

Your Reaching Out Subscription – April 2017 issue is online!


Thank you for your subscription to the eVersion of Reaching Out.  In our ongoing effort to improve your newsletter, we have pages in the newsletter that showcase H&I t-shirts and would love for you to send us yours to feature. We continue to look for H&I artwork; many of us are talented and we like to showcase members art.

In an effort to offer experience, strength, and hope to persons leaving from a correctional facility or from inpatient treatment, we are featuring a section “Transitioning to the Outside”. We hope this section helps members move successfully to NA meetings in your community. If you have experience to share on what you did to transition, please send it to You will be helping another addict.

Members are carrying the message to incarcerated addicts in Brazil, Japan, and throughout Latin America with local translations committees contributing through their efforts of translating Reaching Out that can found at Experience our strength and hope in several languages.

It is our pleasure to announce that the April 2017 issue is now online and can be viewed at  As soon as the next issue becomes available online, you will receive a similar notification.

Please note that if you would like to opt out of this mailing or have any questions you may reply back to this email.

Yours in fellowship,

NA World Services

Our Relationship to Alcoholics Anonymous


Some thoughts regarding our
relationship to Alcoholics Anonymous

This article was generated by the World Service Board of Trustees in November 1985 in response to the needs of the fellowship.  This bulletin was revised during the 1995-1996 conference year.

The question of just how Narcotics Anonymous relates to all other fellowships and organizations is one which may generate controversy within our fellowship.  In spite of the fact that we have a stated policy of “cooperation, not affiliation” with outside organizations confusion remains. One such sensitive issue involves our relationship to the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Letters have been received by the World Service Board of Trustees asking a variety of questions about this relationship.

Narcotics Anonymous is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.  Nearly every NA community in existence has leaned to some degree on AA in its formative stages.  Our relationship with that fellowship over the years has been very real and dynamic.  Our fellowship itself sprang from the turmoil within AA over what to do with the addicts knocking on its doors.  We will look at our roots for some perspective on our current relationship to AA.

Bill W, one of AA’s co-founders, often said that one of AA’s greatest strengths is its single-minded focus on one thing and one thing only.  By limiting its primary purpose to carrying the message to alcoholics, and avoiding all other activities, AA is able to do that one thing supremely well.  The atmosphere of identification is preserved by that purity of focus, and alcoholics get help.

From very early on, AA was confronted by a perplexing problem:  “What do we do with drug addicts?  We want to keep our focus on alcohol so the alcoholic hears the message, but these addicts come in here talking about drugs, inadvertently weakening our atmosphere of identification.”  The steps were written, the Big Book was written—what were they supposed to do, rewrite it all?  Allow the atmosphere of identification to get blurry so that no one got a clear sense of belonging?  Kick these dying people back out into the streets?  The problem must have been a tremendous one for them.

When they finally studied the problem carefully and took a stand in their literature, the solution they outlined possessed their characteristic common sense and wisdom.  They pledged their support in a spirit of “cooperation, not affiliation.”  This farsighted solution to a difficult concern paved the way for the development of the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship.

But still, the problem that they wished to avoid would have to be addressed by any group that tried to adapt AA’s program of recovery to drug addicts.  How do you achieve the atmosphere of identification so necessary for surrender and recovery if you let all different kinds of addicts in?  Can someone with a heroin problem relate to someone with an alcohol or marijuana or Valium problem?  How will you ever achieve the unity that the First Tradition says is necessary for recovery?  Our fellowship inherited a tough dilemma.

For some perspective on how we handled that dilemma, one more look at AA history is helpful.  Another thing Bill W. frequently wrote and spoke about was what he called the “tenstrike” of AA—the wording of the Third and Eleventh Steps.  The whole area of spirituality versus religion was  as perplexing for them as unity was for us.  Bill liked to recount that the simple addition of the words “as we understood Him” after the word “God” killed that controversy in one chop.  An issue that had the potential to divide and destroy AA was converted into the cornerstone of the program by that simple turn of phrase.

As the founders of Narcotics Anonymous adapted our steps, they came up with a “tenstrike” of perhaps equal importance.  Rather than converting the First Step in a natural, logical way (“we admitted that we were powerless over drugs…”), they made a radical change in that step.  They wrote, “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction…”  Drugs are a varied group of substances, the use of any of which is but a symptom of our disease.  When addicts gather and focus on drugs, they are usually focusing on their differences, because each of us used a different drug or combination of drugs.  The one thing that we all share is the disease of addiction.  With that single turn of a phrase, the foundation of the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship was laid.

Our First Step gives us one focus: our addiction.  The wording of Step One also takes the focus of our powerlessness off the symptom and places it on the disease itself.  The phrase “powerless over a drug” does not go far enough for most of us in recovery—the desire to use has been removed—but “powerless over our addiction” is as relevant to the oldtimer as it is to the newcomer.  Our addiction begins to resurface and cause unmanageability in our thoughts and feelings whenever we become complacent in our program of recovery.  This process has nothing to do with “drug of choice.”  We guard against the recurrence of our drug use by applying our spiritual principles, before a relapse.  Our First Step applies regardless of drug of choice and length of clean time.  With this “tenstrike” as its foundation, NA has begun to flourish as a major worldwide organization, clearly focusing on addiction..

As any NA community matures in its understanding of its own principles (particularly Step One), an interesting fact emerges.  The AA perspective, with its alcohol-oriented language, and the NA approach, with its clear need to shift the focus away from specific drugs, don’t mix well.  When we try to mix them, we find that we have the same problem as AA had with us all along!  When our members identify as “addicts and alcoholics” or talk about “sobriety” and living “clean and sober,” the clarity of the NA message is blurred.  The implication in this language is that there are two diseases, that one drug is separate from another, so a separate set of terms is needed when discussing addiction.  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.

It has become clear that our common identification, our unity, and our full surrender as addicts depends on a clear understanding of our most fundamental principles:  We are powerless over a disease that gets progressively worse when we use any drug.  It does not matter what drug was at the center for us when we arrived.  Any drug we use will release our disease all over again.  We recover from the disease of addiction by applying our Twelve Steps.  Our steps are uniquely worded to carry this message clearly, so the rest of our language of recovery must be consistent with our steps.  We cannot mix these fundamental principles with those of our parent fellowship without crippling our own message.

Both fellowships have a Sixth Tradition for a reason: to keep each one from being diverted from its own primary purpose.  Because of the inherent need of a Twelve Step fellowship to focus on one thing and one thing only, so that it can do that one thing supremely well, each Twelve Step fellowship must stand alone, unaffiliated with everything else.  It is in our nature to be separate, to feel separate, and use a separate set of recovery terms, because we each have a separate, unique primary purpose.  The focus of AA is on the alcoholic, and we ought to respect that fellowship’s perfect right to adhere to its own traditions and protect its focus.  If we cannot use language consistent with that, we ought not go to their meetings and undermine that atmosphere.  In the same way, we NA members ought to respect our own primary purpose and identify ourselves at NA meetings simply as addicts, and share in a way that keeps our message clear.

A casual, cursory glance at AA’s success in delivering recovery to alcoholics over the years makes it abundantly clear that theirs is a successful program.  Their literature, their service structure, the quality of their members’ recovery, their sheer numbers, the respect they enjoy from society—these things speak for themselves.  Our members ought not embarrass us by adopting a “we’re better than them” posture.  That can only be counterproductive.

As a fellowship, we must continue to strive to move forward by not stubbornly clinging to one radical extreme or the other.  Our members who have been unintentionally blurring the NA message by using drug-specific language such as “sobriety,” “alcoholic,” “clean and sober,” “dope fiend,” etc., could help by identifying simply and clearly as addicts, and using the words “clean,” “clean time,” and “recovery,” which imply no particular substance.  We all could help by referring to only our own literature at meetings, thereby avoiding any implied endorsement or affiliation.  Our principles stand on their own.  For the sake of our development as a fellowship and the personal recovery of our members, our approach to the problem of addiction must shine through clearly in what we say and do at meetings.

Our members who have used these arguments to rationalize an anti-AA stand, thereby alienating many sorely needed stable members, would do well to re-evaluate and reconsider the effects of that kind of behavior.  Narcotics Anonymous is a spiritual fellowship.  Love, tolerance, patience, and cooperation are essential if we are to live our principles.

Let’s devote our energies to our personal spiritual development through our own Twelve Steps.  Let’s carry our own message clearly.  There’s a lot of work to be done, and we need each other if we are to be effective.  Let’s move forward in a spirit of NA unity.

 (Reprinted from Newsline Vol. 2, No. 6.)

NAWS Updates March 2017


We need your input and efforts.

  • If you have ever ordered literature from us we’d like to hear from you. Please fill out our very short customer survey by 31 March:
  • If you have any interest in helping put together service materials for either conventions and events ( or a local service toolbox (, email us to be part of those efforts.
  • We also have regular web meetings for members to talk about their efforts doing public relations service, H&I, inmate step writing, and service in rural or isolated places. See for more information.

In closing, we wanted to remind you that a special edition of Guiding Principles limited to 7,000 hand-numbered copies is now available for $30 from World Services. The standard paper and hardback versions are still for sale at $11. The 2017 JFT Calendar is now available at a reduced price of $7. For more info, visit

NA World Services

Mental Health/Mental Illness IP Project

The 2016  Conference Agenda Report included a survey to determine priorities for recovery literature. The topic that most regions prioritized for the next information pamphlet or booklet was “Mental Health.” That same Conference passed a motion, “ That the NA World Board develop a project plan which includes a budget and timeline to create an informational pamphlet specifically about mental illness and recovery for consideration at the 2018 World Service Conference.”

The Conference agreed to prioritize the topic mental health/mental illness and collect input from the Fellowship over the course of this cycle about the focus and content of the piece. Your input will help shape a project plan which will be included in the 2018 Conference Approval Track material and voted on at WSC 2018.

The deadline for input is March 15, 2017 so hurry!

Please click the link to open the online survey or download a file to print. Please discuss at your homegroup or service committees.

Project Survey:
Online – English | Spanish
PDF –  English | Spanish
Word – English | Spanish

Survey For the Daily Meditation Book Project

We [NAWS] included a literature survey in the 2016 Conference Agenda Report so that members could express their ideas for what are the next literature priorities in NA. In the book-length category, there were two different options for a daily meditation book—a daily meditation book featuring a spiritual principle a day and a daily meditation book based on Living Clean. Both options were highly rated on the survey and we are collecting input from the Fellowship to help develop the focus of the book so that we can frame a project plan for consideration at the 2018 World Service Conference.

Please click the link to open the online survey or download a file to print. Please discuss at your homegroup or service committees.

Please complete your input by 1 June 2017

Project Survey:
Online – English | Spanish
PDF – English | Spanish
Word – English | Spanish

NAWS Web Meetings

NAWS Web Meetings

Web meetings are a great way to gather information and share experiences on service related topics. Some of the topics are ongoing discussions, and others are new as we attempt to put together new tools for the Fellowship. Below are more details.

Public Relations web meetings are a gathering of area & regional PR trusted servants who share their experiences and challenges with PR service; topics are identified by PR trusted servants. Write to for more information.

Inmate Step Writing web meetings offer support for those service committees who offer this service. Write to for more information.

H&I web meetings welcome individuals and trusted servants interested in discussing issues around H&I service. Write to for more information.

Conventions and Events: In support of developing tools, we are gathering information and collecting best practices for conducting conventions and events. Experienced members needed, all are welcome. See for more information.

Local Service web meetings focus on gathering best practices to begin putting together a local service toolbox. The first focus will be consensus-based decision making. See for more information.

Rural Service web meetings are intended for those serving in places where meetings are far apart or population is sparse. Come join us and share your experiences with others who can relate. Write to for more information. Click here to watch previous meetings and access more materials related to rural service.

NAWS Update February 2017

Hello everyone,

We’re writing to let you know about some changes in our accounting system.

Contribution Portal

We have launched a new contribution portal. Over the past few years, some of you have asked for a history of personal and group/service committee contributions. This new portal will allow contributors to see their past contributions dating back to June 2015, and keep track of any new ones going forward. As always, all personal data will be held securely by the payment gateway, to ensure the privacy of financial information. For questions regarding the portal or about contributions in general, please email You can access the new portal here

Literature Customer Survey

As part of an evaluation of our literature distribution system, we are collecting feedback from members, groups, areas, regions, and offices that have ordered literature from NA World Services. Please take a moment to answer some simple questions which will assist us in this effort. We have created an online survey and you can access it at We are asking for your responses by 31 March 2017.

Product Update

We also wanted to let you know that the special edition of Guiding Principles is now available for $30. The edition is limited to 7,000 hand-numbered copies, and includes full-color chapter starts, a textured, shimmering cover, and a coordinating bookmark.

The regular edition Guiding Principles continues to be available in both hardcover and softcover for $11.

The February 2017 Product Newsflash (click here to view it) also shows the 2017 calendars which we have discounted.

Please feel free to pass on any of this information.

Thank you

The NA Way Magazine, January 2017

Welcome to the January 2017 electronic NA Way Magazine,

NA’s worldwide recovery journal.In this issue

Electronic Enhancements

  • Cover Poster (click the cover)
  • MZSS Share the Miracle Workshop Personal Writing Excerpts (click box on page 2)
  • #weareeverywhere photo collage (pages 10-11)
  • An odyssey of unmanageability (click box on page 7 to read the entire story)
  • Links throughout, including links to many area, regional, and zonal forum websites

Don’t Miss

Contribute a story, artwork, photo, or other material!

Visit or email us at

Your electronic version of The NA Way Magazine is provided in PDF format, which allows you to view the magazine as it appears in print form (plus it’s in color instead of black and white). PDF files are large, so you may want to download it to your local hard drive and then open the file. To unsubscribe please click here.

Update from NA World Services


Greetings from NA World Services,

We have a few announcements to share with you all.

Guiding Principles: NA’s new book, Guiding Principles: The Spirit of Our Traditions is available for purchase for $11 in hardcover (item 1201) or softcover (item 1202). You can order the book through our online shopping cart We are working on a special edition and will send more details about that in November.

Literature Projects: We have also posted questions that will help us frame project plans for two pieces of literature—an IP on recovery and mental health/mental illness and a meditation book Interested members can log on and share their thoughts any time before 1 June 2017.

PR Pamphlet: We have just published a pamphlet for use in public relations service work titled Narcotics Anonymous and Persons Receiving Medication-Assisted Treatment. This pamphlet is intended for professionals who prescribe medication to treat drug addiction. We have posted it online at and, by the end of November, copies will be available for order from NA World Services as well.

Issue Discussion Topics: The Issue Discussion Topics for the cycle are: Introduction to Guiding Principles, Atmosphere of Recovery in Service, and Applying Our Principles to Technology and Social Media. Workshop outlines, PowerPoints, and handouts for the IDTs are all posted at If you put on a workshop locally, don’t forget to send us the input. The input helps us better understand local needs and concerns. We summarize what we’ve heard in the Conference Report each cycle.