Why Public Relations is Important to the NA member
The Narcotics Anonymous message is “that an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use and find a new way to live.” Our relations with the public enable us to share this message broadly so that those who might benefit from our program of recovery can find us. We perform public relations service to increase the awareness and credibility of the NA program. We share our message openly with the public at large, with prospective members, and with professionals. Maintaining an open, attractive attitude in these efforts helps us to create and improve relationships with those outside the fellowship. Establishing and maintaining a commitment to these relationships can help us to further our primary purpose.
The spiritual principles of our steps, traditions, and concepts guide us in pursuing our public relations aims and our efforts to enhance NA’s public image and reputation. These principles apply to our community and service efforts as well as to the personal behavior and attitude of individual NA members.
Informing Professionals and the Public
Narcotics Anonymous is a global, community-based organization with a multi-lingual and multicultural membership. NA was founded in 1953, and our membership growth was minimal during our initial twenty years as an organization. Since the publication of our Basic Text in 1983, the number of members and meetings has increased dramatically. Today1, NA members hold more than 43,900 meetings weekly in 127 countries. We offer recovery from the effects of addiction through working a twelve-step program, including regular attendance at group meetings. The group atmosphere provides help from peers and offers an ongoing support network for addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
Our name, Narcotics Anonymous, is not meant to imply a focus on any particular drug; NA’s approach makes no distinction between drugs including alcohol. Membership is free, and we have no affiliation with any organizations outside of NA including governments, religions, law enforcement groups, or medical and psychiatric associations. Through all of our service efforts and our cooperation with others seeking to help addicts, we strive to reach a day when every addict in the world has an opportunity to experience our message of recovery in his or her own language and culture.
What is the Importance of Anonymity?
This is a “we” program, and in public information the concept that “I can’t, we can” is vital. Our spiritual foundation of anonymity can be seriously damaged by members acting independently.
We do not give our last names nor appear in the media as members of Narcotics Anonymous. As part of our spiritual program of recovery, we avoid self-promotion in favor of a more humble style of service. In our experience, members who become “media stars” in relation to their membership in NA run the risk of placing the spiritual foundation of their recovery in jeopardy as well as giving the public an inaccurate perspective of recovery in NA.
What is the NA Member’s Responsibility?
We need to accept responsibility for our behavior in public when we identify ourselves as NA members. This is a form of public information. Each one of us may be seen as a representative of NA to those not familiar with our program. The way in which we maintain the facilities we use for our meetings and functions also affects how the public views NA as a whole.
Another form of public information service occurs when requests are made for information or presentations about Narcotics Anonymous. When a request is made, a PR committee member should be contacted. If a committee member is unavailable, the request should be relayed to a group service representative (GSR) or area chairperson. We handle requests in this manner because each request deserves immediate and appropriate attention. When you are approached with a request, remember that this is not a personal one, but a request for Narcotics Anonymous as a whole.
How Does the Work Get Done?
The Public Relations Subcommittee receives information from groups through the Area Service Committee. We also receive and respond to requests for information from the public, including individuals, various public agencies, and the media.
Some of the ways we provide information to the public include:
- Manning and maintaining the area helpline.
- Hosting PR Learning Days, and workshops.
- Working in cooperation with the Hospitals & Institutions Subcommittee in joint projects.
- Developing and distributing posters, fliers, and other public service announcements to inform the public of how to reach us.
- Responding to requests for speakers from churches, civic organizations, schools, or the media.
The Public Relations Subcommittee is comprised of the following positions:
- Web Coordinator
- General Volunteers
- Helpline Orientation Person
- Helpline Volunteer
Why Should I Get Involved?
Every member has a place in the Public Relations Subcommittee. We need and value your input, suggestions, feedback, and participation. We openly invite you to come to our Public Relations Subcommittee meeting. Like most service committees, PR always needs willing members.