Conference held in Draper, Virginia in member's home on Claytor Lake, New
off I-81 in western Virginia near Pulaski.
Back to NA Way of Life Site
Fire Bad II
June 11 to 13th, 2004
Dear Fellow Members,
We are having a ball at Draper on beautiful Claytor Lake, New River. Getting lots done and wonderous recovering addicts working well together doing God's Will. We are truly blessed.
Midnight to 4AM
Attendees: Bo S.; Danny G. & Jami G.
There were long discussions about the history of NA and the Baby Blue and the fact that Grateful Dave wasn’t just a cheap junkie making copies of the text for personal gain or use (previously thought by the uninformed). There was a lot of information sharing regarding the principles and the spoken missions versus the actions seen in reality. The pain of the past was shared and how this is now a time of healing, there is no solution in staying in the pain and the war, but working toward solutions and allowing others to do what they are doing at the same time is more productive.
We reviewed the 4 Stages of a Social Movement:
Zealot: Zealots are willing to work for free, they are committed and see the need. The leader is a zealot.
Popular: Once stage 1 passes, this stage has more people awakened to the need and aware that the solution is needed. The solution may be modified or replaced during this stage. Leader is a Reformer or a Prophet.
Formal: Once stage 2 passes, a bureau is formed with communication lines and a support structure established. Leader is a President.
Institutional: Once stage 3 passes, the original vigor is gone (the original problem is in large part addressed by this time). The leader is an Executive Director.
There was discussion on how we might want to include an essay on how we treat each other, including a paragraph or more from Bob Stone’s book – perhaps developing a chapter around this material. A lot of spirituality has to do with what we choose to represent us. We agreed not to use profanity in the Text (with the exception of "ass") as a spiritual principle. But we fail to honor each other for our service to each other. We treated Bob Stone terribly when he was leaving, not renewing his contract, not talking to him in the hallways, etc. We distance ourselves from people at the end of their service commitments instead of having them leave them with honor, respect or love. (See pg 84 in Tradition Wars)
The plan for tomorrow will be to review of some threads including the BOT Cease and Desist letter & 2 responses from the fellowship. Other material was reviewed, including some regarding spirituality and there was discussion about the common thread of light in most religions. Danny shared the story of his brother’s near death experience when he was six and how powerful it was to know that a child that young was not capable of making up stories about his experience but simply sharing what had happened to him. Seeing his grandfather who had died and being sent back to continue on – how amazing.
We talked about the NAWOL book and how it links each Step and Tradition with a spiritual principle. The Steps are How it Works, the Traditions are Why it Works and the Principles are When it Works. There was a review of the Limited Public Domain and that we might want to put an article in the book to explain to the groups how to print, bind, get good cost estimates from printers, etc. We envision a possible future where the book is committed to limited public domain and it’s reproduced by local members.
We talked about the timeframe for approval for the NAWOL which is more limited by getting a big enough conference together than by the work being done.
The final topic of the evening was the importance of praying and using 3x5 cards to document thoughts and remembrances and experiences. These can then be used to write eyewitness accounts of issues and our perspectives of these experiences and how we were affected by them. These can also be used during sessions so that ideas can be captured without interrupting the topic of the main working group.
Draper Literature Conference – Fire Bad II – Many thanks to Samantha and Brian YellowEyes:
Attendees: Bo S.; Brian YellowEyes; Danny G.; Jami G.
Announcements: Pontoon Ride is 1PM tomorrow, Fireworks are tomorrow after dark
Opened the meeting reading the first five pages (with specific emphasis on tradition #9).
Reviewed the meeting from last night and noted that this should be captured in the minutes.
Looked at the BOT Cease and Desist letter & 2 responses from the fellowship specifically and how this will be dropped into the book area as a thread along with other material we feel is pertinent to the book and then do the editing later.
NAWOL is done for all intents and purposes with a need for a Foundation conference to approve it. St. Charles, MO was an H&I Learning Day location and this might be a good fertile ground for membership with the MO Region’s dissatisfaction with the changes being made to the Text and such.
Bo would like a group of people to review the NAWOL online and then he would be willing to put out a 2004 edition. Maybe 2 dozen people having done the review would be good. Bo will request online that a General Edit be done – Download from the web, review the piece, make edits and send them in to Bo. If needed, we will schedule a conference to review and add these changes.
Momentum idea from YellowEyes is that the attraction to get involved will begin when the word spreads that this is being done by, say Chicago. With true naysayers, we can tell them that this is crap and they should ignore it. Why try to change their opinion? These books are sponsored by the NA Foundation Groups. Can we talk about these books freely at any NA meetings? The best way to share from the book is to take the information from the book to the meeting without taking the book. Get the word out. Our goal is for the fellowship to approve, print and distribute this book, not NAWS. We can attract folks by sharing the information and then directing folks after the meeting to the site or the book if there is hot interest. Our job is to put ground under the feet of people like us.
We’re almost to the point of getting shirts or bumper stickers. T_shirts (there was a thread on this online with some great ideas) and bumper stickers could be printed and sold at cost to the groups and then sold for a profit to cover the costs of printing.
Another idea is to create pamphlets of the chapters, which can be printed. There is a WordPerfect 9.0, which has the capability to create booklets with a stroke of two keys. We’ll have the ability to read the smaller part of the text for mass distribution of the more popular information they want to read.
Another thing that can be added are stories like Chester’s story. And we need to bring beautiful stories like this in to show the reality of our fellowship and touch our members lives. It shows great courage and faith to give this to the fellowship and it brings us all to new levels in our recovery when we read things like this. The realness, with it’s typo’s and truth, gives it such validity. And the story is not over – more will be revealed.
There was a discussion of NAWS, specifically how the message from them is to spread the NA message to all countries and yet their actions recently were to ask India to take down their website because it included material from Narcotics Anonymous. The wonderful thing about this action was that the India site that is there now is more appealing aesthetically & the addicts responsible for it were very accommodating. The bottom line was that the best action is to leave them to their business in the mental plane and stay on the spiritual plane of doing what is being done here. The support for members that went to the India site made the difference to them. NA Foundation’s support made a difference to them.
Fire Bad (David H.’s writing) needs to be included as a thread in these minutes:
You may have heard of the much_vaunted "4th Step" of WSC and WSO in the past three years. This largely grew out of the above problems. Yet the results of that inventory are still much in doubt. Corporate mentality still seems to rule at the world level. The only reason It Works came out at all is because the window was reopened for a short while on group_conscienced literature to let it happen.
But people like Bo are not being asked to come back and restore the process. Rather, an atmosphere of distrust and polarization has still remained regarding all this stuff; I see no immediate solution, as both sides are absolutely convinced that they are right.
A few years ago, Bo S. and a few trusted friends decided that it was time for a new group_conscience process, to be called "the NA Way of Life." It was meant to be a broad view of the culture of recovery that develops in the lives of members as they spend many years living clean. He composed an outline, and did some writing himself; but then he turned to the workshop process. Getting "just folks," regular members, to participate in the work, he held various workshops around the country to encourage the same spark of contribution and collective creation that had led to the BT.
People who have participated in these workshops describe it as a wonderful opportunity to share the miracle that has transformed their lives. They also are amazed to see the group_conscience process in action; it works.
In the mood of distrust that has gone on ever since Jimmy K was locked out of the WSO, it is hard for some members to believe that some people serve in an independent role, not because that would be their first preference but because that is the only way they can serve. Bo S. is not trying to lead a coup, and I am confident that neither was Dave. They were trying to light a spark, and Frankenstein's monster could only respond, "Fire bad."
We also need to work to write a booklet about the NA Foundation Group. Steve S. may be instrumental in this effort. Danny will be in contact with him about this.
Comments from the peanut gallery: NA is a set of spiritual principles and the group – all else is not NA. The NA fellowship is not NA – it is a society or group who use NA to recover.
We downloaded TWPP to start work and closed with a reading for the day.
Attendees: Bo S.; Brian YellowEyes; Danny G.; Jami G., Amber B.
Minutes were reviewed by the group from the previous session. Discussion began about whether the NAWOL should be a group by group decision on whether they want to read the material. We need to think about this as a policy and how it should be approached. It was noted that there were posts on this on the Debate site.
The plan was set to hit the real work of pulling threads into the book after the meeting this evening.
There was a reading of the "Fire Bad" writing from the TWPP (pg 51). Discussion was that many left the structure in 19XX because of the feeling of being ‘not a part of" any longer. There became a "selection process" that the organization began to use to draw in members that were useful. And many of the people who were "no longer wanted" left after the Cease and Desist letter or through other feelings of no longer being able to work within the service structure. This process of the writing of literature in the NA Foundation Group work is allowing people to once again be involved in their fellowship in ways that they haven’t been able to for some time.
This second generation of writers is proving that we can write our own literature. We have proven ourselves to be able to withstand the test of time, even when some of our leaders have relapsed, even when we have faced adversity, we continue.
Some of us, when becoming disenfranchised, decided not to leave. We had a set a readings at home, a set of literature at home and decided that, even if World closed tomorrow, we’d keep having meetings. We we’re not going to stop. Some left, a few stayed. We are now seeing many members returning and we need to welcome them back with open arms.
The amazing thing is that the pain that many felt through their recovery process in the Tradition Wars was in many ways more intense than that felt in active addition. Here we came into recovery, learned to trust and then many felt we were betrayed by the very fellowship, which had saved our lives. Specifically, the betrayal consisted of the Fourth Edition (1988), the Baby Blue (including the Cease and Desist order) and changes to the service structure in the 1990’s. The Pheonix being our symbol on the cover of TWPP is so wonderful as we are being reborn from the fire.
10:40 PM – 3 AM
Attendees: Bo S.; Brian YellowEyes; Danny G.; Jami G., Amber B.; Ronnie S. & Karen S.
The original letter written by Middlebrook was not as threatening and the WB indicated that this company was their employee and the letter should be toughened up. There was a huge amount of propaganda regarding the issue spread through the fellowship and this book is being written to write the real story and dispell the myths.
We suffer from a major health problem. Addiction disguises it self as many things but it is mostly social ineptitude _ clumsiness with over and under reaction. Part of the material covered in NAWOL is problems of plenty. We thought others had gone before us and made safe the NA Way. We were wrong. Now we’re working to safeguard the path so that everyone will be aware of the issues. The Conference Leadership is smug and arrogant that we’re a bunch of fools. (*See below.)
The transition from a spiritual to a financial bureaucracy, the problems began. Bo’s research into creating bureau’s found there are only so many ways to create them. Fledgling corporation’s seek to establish their level of support initially – financially. In bureau’s of a financial nature, individual opinion is sacrificed in favor of efficiency. The goal of a business is to make money. In a spiritual or religious bureau, the efficiency is forsaken for the sake of individual opinions. This is because the individual is important. In NA, a lot of us are crazy! Here’s the overview. We succeeded in bringing in about 250K crazies by 1980’s. The efforts on the text were successful. 20 in 1970 to 200 in 1975 and thousands overnight. Stone took a lot of fire because he was the office manager. But he was surrounded by the loonies speaking into his ears for their own prestige. And he probably had his own issues. But he liked seeing the addicts recovering. Fools rushed in where angels fear to tread and the insanity began.
With the people who came in, there were people familiar with business, unions & big newspapers, and they took over the business. They saw the spiritual aspects taking place in the fellowship and didn’t understand it. They saw the lack of organization in the business and made attempts to organize it. They took the artists out of it and made it a business to keep it running efficiently as a well_oiled organization. In order to do so, they disempowered the fellowship, took away their votes and created a superboard to make the office more streamlined. While the Baby Blue was in court, and the fellowship had faith that the judge would rule in our favor (which he did) and that the WSO would follow through with the actions ordered by the court (which they did not), the Office continued to take more and more power over our trademarks and name.
At this point they are running the Conference as they convinced us that we didn’t need to do that anymore. With regard to the Conference being smug about their power, it was interesting to note the comment made recently by a NAWS employee that "we’ve been proactive in implementing the new structure". This was in reference to the changes that were being changed in the structure due to the "expected" motion proposed by the WB that would be passed at the Conference.
If you hire mercenaries to fight your wars, they come home and take over your country. We need to think of this as happening all over the country. The bait_and_switch of the "world inventory" allowed them to distract us with the "inventory" while they were taking care of making changes that were needed to overtake the copyrights. What the fellowship did in the lack of world services was to rely on themselves. This taught us that we need only ourselves. We can live without a world service office but the service office does not survive without us.
Many of the people who are at the office these days have been shown the "way of the office" or "sold on the NAWS mission" and have bought the bill of goods. We all want to fit in and we all want to be accepted. But some have awakened to the reality of the disillusionment. And then they move on.
The costs of the mailings numbers need to be verified. The original letter not being harsh enough is heresay.
Work started on where to put in the Cease & Desist letter – we had discussed about putting in Changes – Chapter 15. However, there was also talk of putting it into Chapter 9 on the Baby Blue. There was discussion about how the WSO never fulfilled the works ordered by Judge Pollack – refer to the text box prior to the Bob Stone section of Chapter 9. We will put it between Bob Stone and Grateful Dave in Chapter 9.
Bo began to review how the rapid expansion of the fellowship and the increase in fund flow to the office occurred. This was like a huge rocket ride. This picking up of the pieces is being done in a calm. We want to see if there is any flaw. The belief is that this is going to flow as it should. The focus will be first on the approval of the NAWOL and then on the TWPP and taking it to that level. We know NAWS keeps tabs on what is going on but that they are naïve enough to believe that we are no threat to them. By the time the awareness of the popularity of this movement is truly realized, the train will have left the station. Every day there are people who are joining on the forum and posting messages or history or questions or even arguments. That means we are growing. There is no promotion, this is attraction. We’re addicts and we want to know MORE. So we find this information on the web and we read it. (Bo is delighted.)
Bo told his "little old lady" story. The Vietnam War was going on (circa ’72) and there was a march in Atlanta (last march before the end of the war). There was a little old lady down there, about 80 or so, said, "Yes, I was a suffragette". She had been very active in American politics. She told a story about how everyone thinks the President is the powerful one but that is not true. The president is a pawn to the powerful lobbies and if he doesn’t do what he’s told, they get rid of him or shoot him. If you want to do anything, do it in the periphery, where it won’t be noticed but it will spread unopposed until everyone is aware of it and it will then change the center.
Grover brought up doing a presentation of our history and saving it to a CD.
Jodi’s stuff has been added as Chapter 15 _ Changes. Disenfranchised was read by Amber to the group and it confirmed that the Knoxville update was current as Chapter 14. The Cease and Desist letter has also been added to Jodi’s chapter as a reference in the chapter. Many changes were added to Chapter 9 (Amber was concerned about who would be making the preamble for the C&D letter). Changes were attempted to Chapter 11 but these will be added tomorrow (oops, later today!).
Upon finding the comparison of the grey form to the 5th edition, it was asked if we wanted to include all that material in our book for fellowship review. An initial review showed it to be somewhat "clumsy" to use Bo’s word but Amber’s suggestion to use a paragraph or two from the comparison would be interesting to include.
It was asked if there is anything that we do not have that might be available on other websites like MWBR.net/NArchive. That would take a review of the information.
Danny will make a report from Providence, RI in September, 1997 where the WSC Resolutions were rolled out. Also he will work on reports for his visit to WSO in 1997 (when the pink slips came out) and a comparison of that to the recent NAWS visit in 2004. Observations will be made on the WSO recruiting techniques. He will also capture what he can recall from the WSO presentation in Denver, CO in 1994 (?) concerning price changes at the WSO.
Typos may make translation difficult – this is something we may need to have concern for as we proceed. In some of our writings, these may help make things more real or "who we are" but they also need to be considered from this aspect.
Another item for consideration is that each generation has a different approach to what we are doing in our recovery. This is affected by the culture we are raised in, the technology available, the experience of the generation. Whether this is something to be of consideration in our writings – or even if it can be and, if so, how, then we need to think about it.
Bo S. - Cleveland, GA
Brian YellowEyes - Draper, VA
Ronnie & Karen S. - Pulaski, VA
Amber B. - Lynchburg, VA
Danny & Jami G. - Indianapolis, Indiana
Attendees: Bo S.; Brian YellowEyes; Danny G.; Jami G., Amber B.; Ronnie S.; Karen S.; Vill P.; Landon W., Mike G.; Saby M.; Chris M.
We talked today about the importance of the newcomers present today who help assure that we keep on track and spiritually pure. It was verified that no one was opposed to any photos or video being taken _ this is history taking place. We are all here by our choice and not by accident. There is a concept of creating a list of 52 points to cover. There is a great gift in that we are caring listeners. And in this effort we are trying to tell both sides of the story. We are not about trying to kill the money making ability of NAWS _ we are happy they are taking care of the business end of the work. But we are about carrying the message.
Why are we here?
It's great that we have continued with fellowship created literature _ by us, about us. This effort involves people with all amounts of clean time but we all feel like we belong. It is bothersome that we are doing work in the groups to carry the message but that NAWS is making money off of our program. We need to take back our fellowship because we have been pulled out of the process. This is a great way to grow. The thing that interested some of us is that the NAWOL is a part of our recovery. The business side isn't important to some of us, the caring and sharing is where it's at. We enjoy being a part of and if we can be of help in any small way, it will be great. Some of us have known about this for a long time and some are new. Some of us are the disenfrachised. Being a part of this process has brought us back into recovery more fully. This material is available to us all now _ to read and gain knowledge and grow from. Some remember being involved in the literature writing process from the past, before it changed, and how that made us feel productive. This is doing that again. Some of us are here because of others we have known who were affected by the past history but we see the hope for the future. We see the vision for the present that we are creating our literature and carrying our message with this work. We are glad to be here to be involved because it is a blessing. Some are here by accident _ running across it online and getting more involved in curiousity. To have this experience is awesome! The fact that we don't know about the history and all that happened and learning it now is disturbing. Lawsuits threatened against members for copying our literature and trying to carry the message so that addicts don't die _ what bullshit! Some are doing this to help assure that those disenfranchised who have not yet returned can find their way back and so that we do not make the same mistakes in our pathway again. We are all a part of this process and supplying something to making it happen. Some of us come here to learn more than what we knew before we arrived. And to make the NA Way safe from here on forward for those coming.
We all represent thousands of addicts here today. There are thousands of redneck truckdrivers and students from foreign countries in NA. The disease would like us to believe that we had a good fellowship before the 80's when everything got screwed up at the office but that isn't true. The people out there are good people and they are doing what they believe to be the best thing for the fellowship but they are also trying to run a business. What we have lost is the listening to the individual aspect but here we have that again. By sharing this information, membership in the tribe includes knowing that we have warriors and heroines and bloody battles and that makes your membership mean more. When you understand our history, you know more about who we are. The changes that we go through in recovery require that we need different things as we move along in our recovery. By sharing about these things that we need, we can be prepared for the things that come down the pike in our recovery.
Bo talked about the court case and being called into Federal Court and having to break his anonymity there which was disturbing. Judge Pollack told us that he didn't understand us but that we had come upon a solution and that we had become divided and been drawn away from our primary purpose. He ordered us to resolve our differences and, if needed, to regard him as the enemy. This TWPP is the healing document that will give people a chance to read the history and work through their feelings about it in peace.
9PM _ 4AM:
Attendees: Bo S.; Brian YellowEyes; Danny G.; Jami G., Amber B.; Ronnie S.; Karen S.; Vill P.; Landon W., Mike G.; Saby M.; Chris M.; Bryce A.; Bill L.
[A new addition to our group was Bryce from New Jersey. The story of his journey to our conference and arrival here in this little corner of the world at this perfect moment in time is amazing. He happened to be in the area travelling and wanted to get to a meeting (where our folks happened to be attending). After the meeting, someone approached him and asked if he wanted to join us. When YellowEyes tried to kidnap him, he explained that he had choices. When we explained what we were doing, he said that, "Yes, he'd read the NAWOL and he'd love to be involved with what we are doing." He was standing next to Bo and Amber indicated that he was _ his response, with complete "don't pull my leg" look, "Are you serious?" Upon arrival at the conference, he was able to explain that he has had questions about what the exact nature of the purpose for this book TWPP is and we were able to talk with him about what we are doing and get his input on what is going on with the project. None of us are here by accident…]
So now we've got folks from all over, representing. We've got hillbilly, redneck truckers, redneck indians, a hillbilly Hindi, a Laotian, those who will not be labeled, flatlanders, a hostage (not) from New Jersey, black, white, rich, poor, newcomer, oldtimer. All are accounted for and present in mind, body and spirit. We are going to change gears a bit and discuss the NAWOL. With Amber reading her commentary, we can listen and let her know if this is good or full of shit and then decide to implement or leave out. Amber noted that: When a writer writes, he writes for himself and when an editor edits, he edits for others understanding. So that is her intention with the changes that she's made.
We began the review doing a line by line review and quickly decided that a paragraph by paragraph review with each marking the words or grammer changes we felt necessary, going back to review them as a group for consideration at the end of reading each paragraph. We got through the first five paragraphs of Chapter 4 NAWOL.
Due to the hour, several members had to leave but they were very glad to have participated and left smiling and happy. Work continued after a short hug break. We managed to increase our pace and completed work on about 40% of the chapter. Again, due to the hour, several members had to leave. After a short hug break, Bo described the process of a Memphis flow reading where a large group reads through making marks in the material. Then there is a break and during a discussion, the only changes discussed are the marks made. Following that, the full review is done which is similar to what we are doing tonight. By the time of the full review, you've heard the material audio and then visually walked through it reviewing the marks. This is the third review in the process.
There was a short diversion to the discussion of the brain and our thinking patterns. We may want to think about putting additional information into NAWOL, i.e., on dual_diagnosis, by drawing in the threads. We talked about how depression is important to talk about in our recovery when we suffer from it _ just like for my diabetes, I need to take my medicine, I need to do so for my depression. We also want to include information on the sociopaths who choose to come to our program who are not necessarily addicts who need to be here but their mental illness draws them to us _ loonies attract loonies.
It was put out on the website a short time ago to find topics and pull together the threads of information and link them together. The addict here who tried to do this explained the process as going to the Library of Congress looking for a book that he can't recall the name of but it begins with the word "The"! It's overwhelming! There was talk of how recovery requires us to be balanced to work it well and some are of us need to have drugs to keep us balanced. In the old days, this was feared of being addressed and currently there is still stigma with mental illness. This makes it hard to address because of our mindset about "being crazy not being ok". The problem with addicts is that we can't take drugs "as prescribed". If we are prescribed medication to take by a medical doctor who understands who we are and what our medical condition is, then to not take them is to self_medicate.
Review of the chapter was begun again. One of the members asked for the definition of "in time clean" and it was concluded by consensus that this was to remain included in the paragraph as "needlessly odd".
Due to this change in our conference work focus, Bo will be putting up the expanded chapters of TWPP and ask that the members review the material and smooth it up. Note that we need to check Chapter 11 and that it is added correctly.
We finalized the chapter review!! It's awesome, guys! PA (Princess Amber) came prepared with all her changes!!
We had a most successful conference. We've got some changes to TWPP with chapters 9 and 11 and addition of Chapter 15, including the C&D letter. And we also reviewed Chapter 4 for NAWOL.
Reprinted from the
N.A. FELLOWSHIP USE ONLY
Copyright © December 1998
Victor Hugo Sewell, Jr.
NA Foundation Group
6685 Bobby John Road Atlanta, GA 30349 USA
All rights reserved. This draft may be copied by members of Narcotics Anonymous for the purpose of writing input for future drafts, enhancing the recovery of NA members and for the general welfare of the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship as a whole. The use of an individual name is simply a registration requirement of the Library of Congress and not a departure from the spirit or letter of the Pledge, Preface or Introduction of this book. Any reproduction by individuals or organizations outside the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous is prohibited. Any reproduction of this document for personal or corporate monetary gain is prohibited.