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Old 12-03-2008, 06:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Identity statement help/suggestions

I've been asked to help with a comment in my homegroup's Identity Statement to include a statement about time sharing.
Is there an NA 'authorized' statement I can use, or do I just write it to the best of my ability?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What is a "identity statement?"

If you're referring to the NA Clarity Statement, there's plenty of discussion on that topic here at SR and around the web. If I'm not mistaken, Clarity Statements are not Fellowship approved but often used by groups according to group conscience. Most that I've read are variations of an excerpt taken from NAWS Bulletin # 13:

Quote:
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.
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh man!! This is a REALLY HOT topic at another recovery site right now.
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Care to share where, Gmoney?
I may have not made clear the help I'm looking for.
We have a few members who, when given the opportunity to speak, will take up 15+ minutes and use all the time allotted for our meeting.
I'm looking for wording to place in our chairperson's 'direction sheet' (previously I referred to it as a 'Identity Statement') to give the chairperson a little clout when they have/need/should cut someone off.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This is an easy one. At our meeting we say, "The chair reserves the right to interrupt anyone who is straying from the topic or recovery or is taking up too much time." And we do interrupt people from time to time.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Our meetings range from fifteen to thirty-five people, on average. Most groups here, especially the ones who have meetings on the larger side, ask that "you keep your sharing brief so that everyone who needs to has an opportunity to share." My home group asks for no "double dipping" unless everyone has had a chance to share once. I've even heard of groups that use timers.

Bottom line, what does your group conscience decide as a guideline for sharing? Just say that, and I'm sure you'll be fine.

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Old 12-04-2008, 11:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh..now I get it!

Our meeting once used a timer as a reminder of our group's policy to be mindful that sharing includes sharing the time. When the chair reads their report they state that we suggest that each member limits their sharing to 5 minutes so that others can have the opportunity to share. When our meeting was large, the timer came in handy. Although we only had to cut someone off a couple of times, the timer reminds members of how long they've been sharing.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I too have been to meetings in San Diego where the chair person said please limit your sharing to 5 minutes so that everyone has an opportunity to share. Since learning that I rarely ramble longer than 5 minutes just out of respect for the meeting so that I don't think it is all about me.... :-)
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hello Archer,
The way we do it in my Home Group is:
right before the meeting topic begins chairperson reads "Let me remind you that we share experience, strengh, and hope, and that we also share time. Please try to limit your share to 5 minutes in order to give a chance for others to share. Chairperson has the right to interrupt any share to guarantee an atmosphere of recovery."
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You guys do know that governing is part of the disease not the wellness right?

Maybe a better approach would be to seek via prayer and discussion what spiritual principles could be practiced to help each outgrow the defects of character that stand in the way of your (individual and/or groups) unconditional acceptance of what God has in store for you, no?

Every new rule, control issue, or "suggestion" that gets implemented in a meeting’s format is a sure sign that groups (or its strong-willed members) are living in fear as compared to faith.

I suggest rereading the traditions portion of the program to find that governing and organizing the member is in opposition to NA’s principles of recovery. That free-will vetted through the group process is what cumulatively allows us to grow and that self-centered fear inhibits such spiritual growth.


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Old 01-08-2009, 08:22 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Although my thinking has done a 180 in NA about the need for a lot of the suggested "rules" that our very strong-willed secretary trys to impose on the group (and is usually voted down), this one about time-sharing still brings up some questions:

Fr'instance, sometimes people come into NA, who through no fault of their own, are afflicted with mental disorders that make them ramble on for the whole meeting, oblivious to the needs or discomfort of others, about any old thing that pops into their disturbed mind. If that was allowed to continue, week after week, taking up the entire time alloted for sharing each meeting, would the meeting ultimately survive, or would it fold due to increased non-attendance? I think it would fold.

Should we allow one person's personality or schizophrenic disorder to outweigh the needs of the group? How would the people possessing experience, strength and hope about recovery from addiction pass any of that on in the above described meeting? I don't think anyone can have any type of gathering without some rules, guidelines, or whatever you want to call them, "social strictures, if you must.

If you say, "no rules at all in NA", then should we allow physical threats to members, or even violence? What about breaking up the borrowed chairs in the church basement you meet at? Would you allow that in the spirit of group process? If we don't allow that, isn't that a rule? I'm not for over-governing. I also can't agree that "anything goes."

For example, at one meeting I used to attend, pets started being brought in for the duration. Some are allergic to pets, so they stopped going. For me, I can't be in a room full of smoke without being ill the next day, so I'm glad that smoking is now usually relegated to the outside the meeting. These are examples of rules that I think are necessary to keep us together, to meet all of our needs for safety.

I like the saying "Your rights end where my nose begins." In other words, if your habits and behavior aren't messing up the meeting for others, then we shouldn't try to make rules about it. I'm totally against people getting involved in telling members not to get up, or to text during meetings. How does that disturb anyone but the texter (and that's their decision/problem if they miss the message)?

I also now disagree with rules against bringing children to open meetings. As long as they don't disturb the meeting, they should be free, and welcomed, to come along.

NA meetings are autonomous. They can make their own guidelines based on their own conscience. Nowhere in the literature does it say "anything goes" unless I missed something.

Just something to consider, just my opinion, not meant to offend, but merely to provoke thought and hopefully, intelligent discussion.

Love,
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kj3880 View Post
Although my thinking has done a 180 in NA about the need for a lot of the suggested "rules" that our very strong-willed secretary trys to impose on the group (and is usually voted down), this one about time-sharing still brings up some questions:

Fr'instance, sometimes people come into NA, who through no fault of their own, are afflicted with mental disorders that make them ramble on for the whole meeting, oblivious to the needs or discomfort of others, about any old thing that pops into their disturbed mind. If that was allowed to continue, week after week, taking up the entire time alloted for sharing each meeting, would the meeting ultimately survive, or would it fold due to increased non-attendance? I think it would fold.

Should we allow one person's personality or schizophrenic disorder to outweigh the needs of the group? How would the people possessing experience, strength and hope about recovery from addiction pass any of that on in the above described meeting? I don't think anyone can have any type of gathering without some rules, guidelines, or whatever you want to call them, "social strictures, if you must.

If you say, "no rules at all in NA", then should we allow physical threats to members, or even violence? What about breaking up the borrowed chairs in the church basement you meet at? Would you allow that in the spirit of group process? If we don't allow that, isn't that a rule? I'm not for over-governing. I also can't agree that "anything goes."

For example, at one meeting I used to attend, pets started being brought in for the duration. Some are allergic to pets, so they stopped going. For me, I can't be in a room full of smoke without being ill the next day, so I'm glad that smoking is now usually relegated to the outside the meeting. These are examples of rules that I think are necessary to keep us together, to meet all of our needs for safety.

I like the saying "Your rights end where my nose begins." In other words, if your habits and behavior aren't messing up the meeting for others, then we shouldn't try to make rules about it. I'm totally against people getting involved in telling members not to get up, or to text during meetings. How does that disturb anyone but the texter (and that's their decision/problem if they miss the message)?

I also now disagree with rules against bringing children to open meetings. As long as they don't disturb the meeting, they should be free, and welcomed, to come along.

NA meetings are autonomous. They can make their own guidelines based on their own conscience. Nowhere in the literature does it say "anything goes" unless I missed something.

Just something to consider, just my opinion, not meant to offend, but merely to provoke thought and hopefully, intelligent discussion.

Love,
KJ
Very good points, I love it when the discussion gets into critical thinking rather than defensive attacks.

I've been through almost all of these before and too was confused in the interim. I went back to the books and this is what I found:

First off, there's no need to recertify the laws of the land through the group conscience. Hence physical violence, smoking, pets, property damage that are already included in the laws or mores of the community or facility usually need not be reemphasized - these are not issues governed by NA but ones upheld in trust by the servants as a member of the community if need be.

Secondly, though a group conscience is bound by the spiritual nature of our traditions a group opinion is not. Any individual is welcomed to hint that the person sharing has gone on too long - i.e. cut them off or point at the clock. If it were to bother you, share about it and continue to make it a topic at each meeting until the behavior stops or people get right with it.

And finally, an introspective view might also be in order as was suggested in my earlier posts. Maybe the message that needs to be carried is that this is a group that espouses the spirit of love and tolerance of all members no matter what issues they come with, not merely that of the person sharing, but that of how we REACT to the person's share.

I have found that in almost every meeting I attend regularly and continue to share these principles that there is little to no problems rising rooted in impatience and intolerance. I refer to one of the most irreverent old-timer members in one of these groups as our "principle teacher of patience and tolerance" ... he turns red and grins and the rest of the group roars in laughter. See, it's all in how we address the problems.

I hope this helps.

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Old 01-08-2009, 09:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Yes, we have an old-timer who routinely shares that he hopes that no newcomer joins "his homegroup" because he likes it small and intimate, and newcomers "relapse too much."
I was very taken aback at this at first, until I shared about how I have hope for all newcomers and that I want to welcome anyone to join. Then, magically, it didn't bother me at all. I'd said my piece, and it brought me peace...funny.

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Old 01-08-2009, 01:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Every new rule, control issue, or "suggestion" that gets implemented in a meeting’s format is a sure sign that groups (or its strong-willed members) are living in fear as compared to faith.
:wtf2 Yeah...okay.

What's that old saying? "Faith without works...."
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