Should Our Area Split?

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The following is submitted by the Oasis of Hope home group.

~ NaNewsIndy

Motion: To research the feasibility of splitting up the Central Indiana Area of Narcotics Anonymous.
Intent: There is clear disunity within our Area. By splitting up, we will become more unified.
But Why Divide???

“Our common welfare should come first. Personal recovery depends on NA Unity.” 1st Tradition. “The unity underlying our common welfare requires personal commitment and responsible action.” IWH&W, Pg. 93.

• At this writing our Regional Convention ISNAC is lost to Merrillville for at least the next five (5) years. The largest area in the region can no longer host a convention that started right here in Indianapolis. A clear sign of complacency, indignance and lack of unity.
• The Area is too large. We have 109 groups on the current meeting directory. 10 groups go over the Steps, Traditions, or concepts. 47 groups read some type of our literature, and the remaining 52 groups are Open Topic/Discussion. We resemble more of a social club than a 12-step fellowship. We have great recovery in Indianapolis, but the members that have substantial clean time got their recovery a lot different than what we currently have today. Typically, 65-90 GSR’s show up at Area, but when it’s time to conduct the “business” aspect of the meeting there are normally less than 20 GSR’s left. This is not a true Group Conscience. If the Groups are OK with this type of behavior, let’s just open a Service Office where GSR’s can purchase literature 5-6 days a week. Basically, Area Service needs a major restructuring. This restructuring can be purpose driven, group focused, defined by geographical boundaries, collaborative, and flexible. A new service structure has been created through our World Services that I have attached to the end of this document. Some of the language has changed. The GSU (Group Service Unit) has now become the GSF (Group Service Forum), but the essence is the same.
• CIACNA was formed 12 years ago. This is our Area Convention. There was a lot of dissension amongst members initially, but there was more Unity. The first three conventions were very successful. CIACNA contributed a major sum of money to the Area (paying back the $500 we asked for initially for CIACNA I and much more). CIACNA was actually the major contributor that rescued the Area from financial hardship at that time. Members would rather drive 200 miles away and support a convention that gives absolutely nothing back to our Area, than support the Area Convention in their own back yard. Out of the 12 years in existence, there has been a motion to change or dissolve the convention in 7 of those years. Over the years, when there was a threat that CIACNA may need some money to help pay for the convention, Area donations were mysteriously at a record low. Coincidence? Yes, members have a choice about what they choose to support, but we ask you, “Is this a sign of unity?” If there is an issue with Trusted Servants, Finances, Music, Speakers, or Events at the Area Convention that turn you off, let’s discuss it. Again, this is our Area Convention, not some separate entity like ISNAC.
• To say we are not divided by race is absurd. I believe as members, we are naturally drawn to people that look like we do, but one of the disease’s greatest strengths is division. What’s sad is most of the division is not from without our particular race, but from within. There’s a Narcotics Anonymous Men’s Group that meets right here in Indianapolis, but members are more apt to have their “Men’s meetings” at someone’s house, than to support a NA Men’s group in their own Area. Some of these same members don’t believe in a NA Men’s Meeting, but they’ll share at a Men’s Rap at a Convention or Speaker Jam… The contradiction is mind-boggling, but “It’s difficult to see the picture when you’re in the frame”. Women’s meetings start and die within a year. Our female members within 5-8 years clean mostly leave the fellowship. In some circles, CIACNA is known as BLACKNA. “Sponsorship families” put on specific events to undermine other events that are going on in the Area. Just look around you at the next Area and observe how we are seated…Why is so much emphasis put on the “Personality and not the Principle”? The program of NA does not teach that. Maybe we are just romantics, but it’s my understanding, “we are a spiritual fellowship, with high ideals”.
• An Area Office was created in 2005 complete with a copier, mail machine and storage facility (it was very small, but at least it was ours). This was the precursor to Area purchasing its own building. A place to hold meetings, Area Service, functions and events. A place to house our Service Office where members could purchase literature. A place for members to fellowship. Currently we are scrambling to find a place for this function, or find a place for that event. We’re content to send every penny over the prudent reserve to Region & World instead of building up and cultivating our own Area first. We’d just as soon pay some outside facility $150 per month for three (3) hours of service than to create a legacy for our Area. Why? “Because that’s the way it’s always been.” The Area Office is gone and with it the dream of bigger and better things for our members and the addicts yet to come. Are we fully self-supporting through our own contributions? What’s holding us back? Fear? Control? Lack of trust in the process? Lack of Unity?

Lastly, like it or not, we are divided. If we can’t do anything to address our fear, lack of knowledge, disunity and cumbersome Area processes, a division will bring us closer together. Some believe that this is not possible. Divided, we will still be left with the same people, with the same belief systems. We disagree, we believe we won’t be controlled by mindsets that want things to remain as “they have always been”. “Recovery is an ACTIVE change in our ideas and attitudes”, but two of the basic aspects of the disease is fear of change and fear of the unknown. “This fear, based in part on past failures and disappointments in solving life’s difficulties, prevents us from making meaningful choices; choices which, if acted upon, would remove the very fear which blocks us.” IP #5.

26 thoughts on “Should Our Area Split?

  1. Nominations for the executive committee for CIACNA XIII are open and have been open since July. As of 10/23/15, there are no nominations for any position. Unity is a must is the theme if you didn’t know. Thanks for allowing me to share.

  2. Hello Family,
    I chose to be a member of Narcotics Anonymous in 2007. Narcotics Anonymous saved my life. I am no longer a slave to the disease of addiction. I was sitting in my home group tonight and read why our area wants to split and it made my stomach hurt. NA is in 132 countries and we speak 77 languages as a whole. NA as a whole does not discriminate just like our disease does not discriminate. Splitting up area because of race is not what Narcotics Anonymous as a whole represents. Members of NA come from every walk of life and this is what our basic text tells us. It also says all of us are equal as members of the group. Our common welfare should come first. Our basic text says, “Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate, and neither does the program of N.A. Admittedly there is a stereotype of the “typical” candidate for NA- urban, criminal, a needle-user- and that narrow vision does describe some of us, but we are also professionals, and parents, and students, and so on, living in cities, small towns, and rural communities in countries all over the world.” You just read addiction is a disease that does not discriminate, and neither does the program of N.A. I have always been proud to be a member of Narcotics Anonymous, but after reading what I did tonight, I am not proud to part of a fellowship that wants to split area based on race. This is a sad day for members of NA and what I read is not what NA as a whole represents. Our fellowship comes together regardless of race, sexual identity, creed, religion and lack of religion. If this splitting of area happens because of race, Indiana should be ashamed. Everything this fellowship stands for would be thrown out the window. I am deeply hurt by the words I read on this sheet of paper. It displays how ignorant and selfish people can be as individuals. It says we must grow up or die. Please I beg we grow up and see everyone as members of narcotics anonymous as equals, not by the color of our skin. During my time in NA I have gotten my help from a variety of different members. I guess you could categorize me as a Caucasian if you want to, but I am just a member of narcotics anonymous. I am part of a fellowship that promised they did not discriminate based on race. We all speak one language and that is recovery. I love NA because we focus on recovery and we do not care what or how much you used. There is only one disease. We all bleed red. My first home group was Surrender to Win at the Roosevelt Relapse Prevention Center on 10th and Belmont. There a man that helped me through the hospitalization and surgery my daughter had. I lived at a half-way house where women showed me how to live clean one day at a time. If it were not for these members I do not know where I would be today. I love them not because of their race but because they loved me until I could love myself. I know if this separation happens based on race we are doing NA as a whole a disservice. Our message is that an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live. You are welcome here. We are trusted servants. The NA book says it is devoted to informing every addict: just for today, you never have to use again. I pray and hope as a fellowship we can get back to the simplicity of the fellowship. We are here to spread the NA message. We live by spiritual principals. Acceptance is what we need to practice. Acceptance, that NA as a whole does not discriminate, and if you want to discriminate you are in the wrong fellowship. Discrimination goes against all our spiritual principals as a whole. I never saw color until today, and this is a sad day for narcotics anonymous. I have never felt divided in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. I do fear though that after what was written people will now feel divided. We must focus on our similarities and not our differences. No, I do not believe our area should split.
    Laura F.

    1. Laura, I appreciate your comments. You only focused on one of the points… What about the other four?

      1. I was thinking the same thing. I’d like to hear your feedback on the other points as well. Also have you registered for CIACNA XIII? Are you willing to be chair of a subcommittee? Also do you attend functions for other areas when our very own area is having a function? Those are the most important points. The race issue is global. No discussion is really needed there. Thanks for letting me share.

        1. I was the secretary for the serenity team. I have two children, I am a full time student and I work part-time. I always register and attend CIACNA. I also help in any way I can. No, I do not attend as many functions as I would like because I work on weekends. I also do not see anything in our basic text about conventions. These conventions are a huge money and time commitment. I think the help to newcomers comes from meetings. I really think CIACNA is a huge prom where people spend all their money trying to impress. I think it takes away from what NA as whole tries to do and that is to carry the message to the still suffering addict. Yearly conventions that we cannot afford, and the time commitment takes away from the simplicity of the fellowship. My opinion, thanks for letting me share.

          1. Thanks for sharing Laura. How do you feel about the state convention ISNAC or the world convention? Do you also feel these conventions take away from what NA as a whole trying to do, or just CIACNA?

        2. I hate to say this, Jada, but going to conventions and functions does not make a person a better NA member than those who do not. First of all, know that I love you and disagreeing does not change that. But my personal choice is not to attend any conventions. I believe they are a waste of money. I believe that money could be used in many better ways to carry tje message. I do not judge those who go, but that Is my personal choice. I also attend only a few area functions. I believe we have gotten carried away with extravagant spending. There was a time when food was not served at any function except Tje Spring Fling. Or all others there was a lunch break if they lasted all day. If it was an evening event, somehow we managed. I really believe getting back would be a good idea, but then, just the other day I was told when we old timers finally die off, NA can start having real recovery. Love you, Jada!

          1. I love you too Jeff and thanks for the fresh eyes your comment brought to light. I never thought of that, and putting on a convention or event surely does take a lot of finances and manpower that could be used elsewhere. And no it does not mean you are a better NA member than anyone else. Thanks for sharing…much love and respect.

  3. I personally don’t see the disunity. I see the disunity label being placed on a person or groups perspective.

    My understanding is that ISNAC is in Merrillville because of $$, not lack of unity or complacency.

    The types of meetings we have isn’t a concern to me. I like options. I like changing it up from time to time. What I see in all types of meetings are addicts staying clean. I see addicts working the 12 steps and applying them in their lives. I see addicts carrying a message of hope!! NA is working!

    I believe it’s a group problem not an area problem when GSRS don’t attend ASC. I KNOW the GSR for my homegroup attends area and stays for the whole meeting. They get our literature and report back to the group the business that was discussed. I’m grateful that my homegroup’s GSR does a thorough job and serves us well. I have seen other GSRS that dont serve their group according to the group booklet. This responsibility lies on the group to ensure their trusted servant is doing the job they were voted in to do.

    Thanks to Narcotics Anonymous I have the freedom of choice today. I live a full active life. I have the opportunity to choose the events I want or can attend. I like to attend other area functions as well. I CAN’T attend every NA function. I’m okay with that. Just because I’m not at a certain event doesn’t mean I don’t support it. The reason doesn’t have to be labeled. It is what it is.

    I sincerely had no idea we were so called divided by race. REALLY? Isnt that why we take a group conscious? Our area’s group conscious has multi races. This is not a one man/woman show. That’s why we vote on things. It seems the other issue outlined in the original posts are about issues that have been previously discussed and voted on at some point.

    Narcotics Anonymous has saved my life and I try to place principles before personalities. I try to give back and serve my area and my family to the best of MY ability.

    Thanks for letting me share. 🙂

      1. Nominations for subcommittee chairs for CIACNA XIII will December 12th and 13th. The meeting will be 947 N Pennsylvania Ave at 1pm on both days. Remember the theme of CIACNA is “Unity is a Must.”

  4. When I do accumulate my clean time required for service, I’ll be more than happy to donate my time to service work. Maybe there aren’t enough members who attend meetings with enough clean time either.

  5. I wrote a rather long reply to this. I actually am not worried or concerned about it. I do not think it will ever happen they way it is being attempted. However, I would like to see my questions answered. Will it be posted? Was I too long? Just wondering.
    Jeff B.

  6. I have the following questions to those who wish to split the area. But first let me say this. There is nothing new in NA. This very same tactic was attempted about 15 years ago by a few addicts. One of those addicts is leading the attempt this time, as he did last time. At that time it was overtly racist as the attempt was to split the area into a donut shape, with the urban groups in the middle and suburban groups on the outside. Now, their is much obfuscation, and confusion in using such terms as restructuring. This seems another attempt to mislead. It is not restructuring the service system that the motion calls for. It clearly calls for splitting the area. Much confusion has been created by this and when questions are brought up on the area floor, I have personally seen them answered with derision, contempt, or simply not answered at all by the ad hoc chair? Often the questioner has been told if they want answers to attend the meetings, a clear violation of The Concepts. So, let me attempt to decipher the intent. This is no small task since the letter is so full of unsubstantiated accusations, innuendo, and alarmism.
    One by one:
    1. While moving the area to Merriville maybe for the reasons you said, though they are backed up with no evidence and only opinion, how will splitting the area change this? Will the smaller area be able to host the convention? Will splitting the area bring a fix to complacency, indignance (however that fits into the problem), and lack of unity?
    2. The second point is incredibly perplexing. We resemble a social club? Maybe the writer feels this way, but i and most others can surely think. of better ways than spending 3-7 nights a week in a meeting. I for one, would much rather be with my wife and family. How do old timers recovery differently? If I am included in that disrespectful term, let me say this: I like most people of experience, your predecessors, have a sponsor and use one, we read the literature, go to meetings and do not use. We are also more than thrilled at the new literature and use it to write about and further develop and explore our recovery. Now I suspect the writer is referring to many experienced members refusing to go to special interest meetings i.e men’s, women’s, gay, etc. meeting. There is a simple reason for this. Many of us feel it violates traditions. Rather than raise a stink over this or throw a fit, our years of recovery has taught us to simply ignore it and others do what they want. We have learned over the years that meetings which continually and knowingly violate Traditions, do not last, and choose to let God have the say so. Throwing a fit, or derisory name calling o disrespect for those predecessors to whom you may very well owe your recovery, is nothing but divisive. The truth is, almost all meeting in the urban areas can be traced back to one African American addict. And I saw this addict shamefully called names on the ASC floor while the chair allowed it. A pitiful display. But once again the question arises, how does splitting the area stop addicts from using their time in meetings for social reasons? How does splitting the area change the way your predecessors work their program?
    3. A rather bizarre point, but here goes. Once again the writer uses an unsubstantiated accusation. While maybe a few may go to other conventions, CIACNA is well attended and financially sound. Every year, the convention committee rightfully panics but in the end, all works out well. As for not approving of the convention, are different opinions not allowed? Is the opinion that CIANCNA should be dissolved any more correct that having the opposite opinion? There are many who do not support this or any other convention, I being one of them. But once again, the big question; how is splitting the area going to change this? Is there going to be an entrance exam to fill out before a group enters the new area to make sure the group supports and promises to attend CIACNA. Of course not. It is ridiculous to think splitting the area will have any difference on this whatsoever.
    4. Finally, what I and many of us belief this is all about. Race. I have already covered special interest groups. But let me say this. The personalities before principals seems to be the writer’s perception. It is once again unsubstantiated rhetoric. This addict, along with every addict I have talked to, and there are many, has NEVER heard the word BLackna. It is completely silly and inflammatory to start such rumors. In 28 years, I have NEVER heard the word niggar used, except by African Americans, in which case I still find it offensive, and I have never known of an issue overtly decided by race. This is not to say that race does not divide us on some or maybe even many levels. I am not that naive. But the issue needs to be dealt with the way other issues are dealt with; above board, clearly and transparently. Once again, how will splitting the area change this? Is there going to be a racial test before a group can enter an area? Is a member going to have to prove themselves open to an Oasis of Hope doctrine before they can join? Once again, it is folly to think splitting the area will solve this problem.
    5. Concerning the area office. It is currently written into policy that we can have one. It is the GSRs who seem to have decided not to nave one. Interestingly enough, this is the only issue where splitting the area will help. If a new area wants to have an office, they can go for it.
    6. Finally let me say this. This attempt to split the area violates at least three traditions: #4, each group is autonomous. Nobody can tell a group what area they have to belong to. Likewise, groups cannot be told what area they cannot belong to. It is entirely up to the groups. If a group in Franklin, decides to belong to central and a group right next door decides to belong to South Central, nobody can stop them. Group conscience decides this and that is all that is required (Tradition 2). Who is to tell a group which ASC they must attend? Certainly not any ASC or other service body. Again, referring to the second Tradtion, our leaders are trusted servants, They do not govern. Governing means telling somebody what to do. The second tradition also,allows any group,or groups to come together and form another area. If they find, by group conscience they want to do so, all they have to do is come to the ASC of which they are a part, and declare their desire to do so. No permission is required, and the area cannot say no. This has been done many times in the past. We have always blessed them and given the seed money to get them started. The same will be done if there are groups in Central who wish to join together and form another area. But the problem here is, it is not coming from the groups. It’s backwards. It is not up to area to make this decision. It is not in its purview. Can it be a couple groups are asking area to do its dirty work in order to absolve them of any responsibility should it not work. I hope not.
    7. Personally I have no real opinion on this, no matter what happens, NA will go on, and I will find personal recovery. But I do believe this area is confused and deserves answers to the questions raised here. God bless. Jeff B.

  7. Thanks for sharing Jeff. I haven’t seen any racial slurs used in the format, let’s not start now. Saying the N word is less abrasive and more acceptable. Unity is a must. Recover together or die alone

  8. Jada, you know me, or at least I hope you know me and how I have used my life to bring about real positive change in communities, in NA and in the world. I used the word because it is an exact quote in an accusation toward the fellowship. Personally it is not on my vocabulary and is only a minute part of what my response was about. What I wrote should not be judged by my use of that offensive word. I am only asking those who support this motion for answers, because many are asking the same question. It was not meant to be slanderous but to make a point. Of II offended anybody, forgive me, but do not let it overshadow the entire context of the response, which is to open a line of communication among the fellowship. The more I listen to the reports given at area and talk to people on the ad hoc, the more I am convinced this motion is about race and, while there may be a problem, splitting the area will not,solve it, but only be running from it and not facing it head just as other areas have not done. The Courage to Change does not mean running from a problem. It means having an open dialogue, and facing a problem head on. And that is all I have to say on the matter until we receive some reall concrete answers. I love you and God bless.

  9. Thanks for sharing Jeff. It may have been a direct quote used in the fellowship, however, let’s not use any racial slurs here. You and I have the opportunity to keep the lines of communication open. Lets do that by keeping our primary purpose 1st and foremost. I believe using racial slurs will only derail us from what we are trying to accomplish here. Peace and blessings…

  10. Agreed. But still waiting for answers. This seems to be the problem. When those who brought up the motion are asked serious questions, they ignore it.

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