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CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY. What is an atmosphere of recovery? Atmosphere “A particular environment or surrounding influence” Recovery “Return to an original state” “Gradual healing” “The regaining or saving of something lost”

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  1. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • What is an atmosphere of recovery? • Atmosphere • “A particular environment or surrounding influence” • Recovery • “Return to an original state” • “Gradual healing” • “The regaining or saving of something lost” • An environment, specifically at meetings or functions associated with Narcotics Anonymous, that encourages and nurtures individual addicts seeking recovery from the disease of addiction.

  2. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • What can detract from an atmosphere of recovery? • Side conversations during readings and member sharing • Prejudice • Being under surveillance during meetings • Carrying drugs or weapons into a meeting space • Unruly children • Off-topic sharing • Verbal and physical confrontation • Discussing outside issues during a meeting • Provocative dress or actions • Predators in meetings • Issues of complete abstinence • Discussing a specific religion instead of spirituality

  3. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • What can we do to ensure an atmosphere of recovery and deal with the specific issues mentioned in this document? • Keep your eye on the prize – our primary purpose • Make it a part of every meeting to remind everyone in attendance of the group’s primary purpose and specifically what that means • Focusing on creating a safe haven of recovery for the addict who still suffers whether they’re on day #1 or day #2,051 • Show respect for people during the readings and when sharing; if you must hold a side conversation take it into another room or outside • Keep your sharing on-topic and recovery focused • Present a clear NA message

  4. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Discuss ways to promote an atmosphere of recovery at group business meetings • Create a welcoming committee, members whose job is to greet newcomers, answer questions, encourage them to get phone numbers, etc. • Create a reading for leaders in each meeting that outlines the specific things that encourage a recovery atmosphere • Have an orientation sheet for meeting leaders that explains ways in which they can maintain an atmosphere of recovery and how to deal with difficult situations that may arise

  5. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Deal with prejudice head-on • Make a statement in meeting formats that reiterates that everyone is welcome regardless . . . • Reach out to members or newcomers who are the target of prejudice • Make it a point to hug everyone at the meeting, especially those who are different from yourself • Invite a diverse range of recovery speakers for open meetings and at area, regional and world conventions • Discuss prejudice and solutions as a topic at workshops or conventions • Reach out to those groups in your area and region that appear to be isolating because they feel unwelcome in the current service structure • Support functions and meetings all over your area and region; take carloads of addicts with you to visit different meetings and do outreach • Contact your area or regional outreach chair if you feel groups that are isolating from others in the area no matter what the reason

  6. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Surveillance • First of all, determine if there really is a problem with a group being under surveillance • Call an emergency group business meeting to discuss the issue • Work through the area or regional public information chair as those committees may have good relationships with law enforcement and probation and parole officials in your town • Contact local officials and request a meeting to explain the group’s position and need for anonymity • Allow officials to review our group readings to gain a better understanding of our primary purpose • If they must ask questions, request that it be done away from the NA meeting and that members not be asked to identify or share confidential information • Contact NAWS for additional support • Do not make the situation worse by confronting those conducting surveillance • Deal with professionals in an appropriate and constructive fashion

  7. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Weapons or drugs carried into a meeting • Make it a standard part of the opening reading: drugs and weapons are not to be carried into the meeting space • If a weapon is the issue • Do nothing that will create a direct confrontation and potentially harm yourself or members • Have a system worked out ahead of time for dealing with this situation, discussed and approved by home group members in a business meeting • Ask the person to return to the parking lot and remove the weapon from the meeting space; be nonconfrontational and explain that it’s for everyone’s safety • If the person refuses or if the situation becomes threatening in any way, have a member call 911 – remember we are not professionals and should not attempt to disarm an individual • If the issue is carrying drugs into the meeting place • Again, have a system for dealing with this issue worked out by the group ahead of time during a business meeting • If the person is trying to sell drugs on-premise, call the police • If the person is loaded and seems to genuinely want to get better, ask them to remove the drugs from the meeting place and then they are free to return; refrain from sharing and talk to someone after the meeting

  8. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Unruly children • Again have a group policy for dealing with noise at meetings, whether adults or children • Make it a part of the opening format to remind parents that they are responsible for helping the group protect its atmosphere of recovery; and to please help us keep distractions to a minimum • Consider providing volunteers to watch children during meetings in an adjacent room • Consider starting a meeting specifically for parents with children

  9. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Off-topic sharing • Let leaders of discussion meetings know how important it is to stay on topic as part of leader orientation • For discussion meetings, state in the opening format that it’s important to stay on-topic unless someone has an issue they need to bring up • Divide meetings into more than one topic discussion; have the first half hour be one topic and the second half hour another • Leaders can gently direct the conversation back on track without being offensive • Discuss at the group business meeting how individual home group members can take responsibility at any meeting for bringing the discussion back on track • Discussing outside issues • Explain what the 10th tradition means and why NA has no opinion on outside issues • Leaders and home group members can bring the discussion back on track after offering to speak with the individual after the meeting • Also remember, that as long as a member is sharing about how an issue is affecting his/her recovery and not making a statement or asking for a position, that it may not be an outside issue at all

  10. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Provocative dress or actions at meetings and functions • Especially when representing the group or NA at a public information or H&I function, provocative dress and behavior is inappropriate from anyone • Bring self esteem or projecting a positive NA image up as a meeting topic • Have 2-3 home group members of the same sex discuss the behavior/dress with the addict • Remember what’s obscene to one person is art to another

  11. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Predators in meetings • It is up to every home group member to guard for predatory behavior from anyone • Have 2-3 home group members discuss with the offending member after the meeting • Make a “no predatory behavior tolerated” statement as part of the meeting format • Discuss the detriments of predatory behavior at conventions and workshops • Confront your friends if they’re guilty of predatory behavior

  12. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Issues of complete abstinence • Remember that we are not professionals and that some people suffer from conditions for which medication is essential; it is not our place to determine what those conditions are • If prescribed medication use is creating conflict and problems for members, steer them to other members with similar experience or to NAWS or the NAWS website • Read the pamphlet Medication in Recovery and discuss as a meeting topic • Each group must determine how to handle drug replacement therapy, i.e. methadone and psychotropic medication • Consider letting members share unless it’s disruptive to meetings • Many groups do not allow those on drug replacement therapy to chair meetings or hold service positions, but again, each group must decide its policy

  13. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Religious versus spiritual • Reiterate in meeting format that this is a spiritual, not religious, program of recovery • Host a third step discussion meeting in which members discuss the many ways they have found paths to spirituality • If a person is dominating the meeting discussion with specific religious chatter that isn’t NA, the leader should redirect the meeting as described with other forms of disruption • Home group members can take the lead and chime in after this person speaks and discuss how their way to spirituality is different and how that is the beauty of NA • If a member persists in presenting conflicting religious views and you risk confusing or alienating newcomers, have several home group members invite the person to coffee and discuss why they need to keep the discussion in spiritual, not religious, terms

  14. CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY • Conclusion – creating an atmosphere of recovery • Meeting formats are an excellent way to lay the ground rules for sharing, staying on topic and the primary purpose • Keeping the focus on the newcomer and providing a safe environment with a clear message brings everything into focus • Provide an orientation sheet for meeting leaders/chairs; explain what they can do to maintain an atmosphere of recovery • Discuss these issues at group business meeting and have a plan of action ahead of time • Don’t tolerate illegal weapons or drugs in the meeting space; call the police if necessary • Home group members should take the lead in making everyone feel comfortable – walking the walk that everyone is welcome regardless . . . • Get out of your own comfort zone and reach out to groups isolated geographically, by common cultural or geographic needs, handicap, etc. • Creating an atmosphere of recovery is up to every individual member – by setting a personal example for others to follow we can prove that no addict, anywhere, need die from the horrors of addiction

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