Getting Involved – Being of Service
What does being of service mean and why should I get involved? When NA members share in our regular meetings, they will often discuss being of service. Newcomers may be confused about what exactly that means. The majority of tasks completed for NA are performed by the individual members who volunteer their time. So, being of service in NA simply means volunteering your time for NA. When an NA member shares about being involved in service you will frequently hear them share how good he or she feels about it. In fact, our sponsors may tell us to “get involved in service” almost from day one. One of the things we learn in our recovery is that the core of our disease is self-centeredness. We also learn that providing selfless service to NA is one way to combat the disease of addiction. While volunteering for NA, members of our Fellowship find that being of service is an important and integral part of the recovery. Ultimately being of service to NA is one way that many of our members choose to demonstrate their gratitude for what NA has given to them. It’s a way of giving back.
How do I start being of service?
One of the best ways to get started in NA services is to choose a group that you feel comfortable at and attend regularly. We call this a home group because it suggests a place where we fit in and belong. Some of the ways NA members do service in their home groups are:
• Showing up early and help setting up the meeting
• Greeting members as they arrive to the meeting
• Making coffee
• Volunteering to chair the meeting
• Staying after the meeting to help clean up
• Participating in the group’s business meetings
What is the group business meeting?
Most NA groups have a monthly meeting called a business meeting. Discussions during business meetings usually include items such as making sure there is a good supply of literature on hand and electing new members to fulfill the group’s tasks. It is also a time to discuss how well the home group is fulfilling its primary purpose; to carry the message of recovery to the addict who stills suffers (Tradition Five). Since NA groups are the final authority on all issues relating to NA, this is also a time to discuss the actions and activities of the Area Service Committee (ASC). Following is a description of what an ASC is and an overview of some of its functions and responsibilities.
What is an Area Service Committee?
An Area Service Committee (ASC) refers to the volunteers and committees as defined by a collection of neighboring groups. Each ASC provides services for the groups and the community, allowing each group to focus on its primary purpose. In Connecticut, there are nine Area Service Committees and each of them has different subcommittees that perform specific tasks. Some of these tasks include organizing activities, distributing literature, bringing NA meetings into treatment centers and jails, and helping inform the public about Narcotics Anonymous. You may be familiar with the term officers when it comes to elected members of volunteer committees. In NA, these elected members are called trusted servants. One of the first trusted servant positions you will encounter in your home group is a GSR (Group Service Representative). This is the NA member that your home group elects to represent you at the monthly Area meeting. GSR’s carry the conscience of your home group to each Area meeting.. They are responsible for reporting the actions and activities of the Area to their home groups.
What is an Area Subcommittee?
The area also has several subcommittees with specific tasks. Each subcommittee has one chairperson elected by the Area Service Committee. Following is a brief description of each subcommittee.
- Public Relations
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.
Coordinates events such as dances, picnics, comedy shows, etc. in a safe and clean environment and provides a greater sense of community for the local NA Fellowship.
- Hospitals & Institutions (H&I)
Carries the message of recovery in NA to those addicts in hospitals and/or institutions such as treatment centers, jails, and prisons.
Acquires and distributes NA-approved literature and key tags to the groups in the Areas. Also, reviews any new literature being developed and provides input.
Maintains guidelines for how the committees coordinate services and handle issues.
- Writing Steps for Recovery (WSR)
Provides written correspondence with addicts that are incarcerated so that they have an opportunity to begin working the steps of NA.
- Board of Directors & Convention Committee
The Convention Committee organizes an annual celebration of recovery in our Region. The Board of Directors oversees the legal aspect of the event.
Should I get involved?
Absolutely! We encourage you to choose a home group and become involved immediately. Many of us have found that our home group is the beginning of our path of service to NA. Many of us have also discussed being of service with our sponsor and found that he or she encourages this participation and may have additional suggestions for our involvement in Area Service. We also encourage you to attend an Area Service Committee or subcommittee meeting soon so you can discover which area of service most interests you. Unity is the principle or our First Tradition, and we welcome you to experience the unity of the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship through service. To see a listing of Area Service Committee and Subcommittee, location, dates & times, click the following link.