THE PROGRAM AND THE TOOLS
The Twelve Steps
With the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous has adapted the Twelve Steps. The Twelve Steps encompass the spiritual aspects of our program of recovery. Newcomers are especially encouraged to study, understand and make use of the benefits of the first three steps. By admitting we are powerless over nicotine, by coming to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, and by making a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of this Power, we take the first steps along our path to freedom. We are free to enjoy healthier, saner and more serene lives.
The Steps are a process of self-discovery and a journey toward spiritual peace. They are the heart of our program. Everything in the program is suggested; nothing is required except having the desire to live nicotine free. Many of us have found that the Steps become increasingly attractive to us as we experience freedom from nicotine. Our desire to improve the quality of our lives increases as well. It is a process that each member takes at his or her own pace. The Fellowship supports recovery, it does not demand it.
The Twelve Traditions
The Twelve Traditions provide form and unity to our entire Fellowship. They help guide local meetings to follow the path that has worked at bringing recovery to many people over many years. The traditions keep the focus on our primary purpose, reaching out and supporting all nicotine users who seek recovery. These guidelines ensure that any member of the Fellowship can go to any meeting and find these same basic principles at work. Anonymity and confidentiality are essential elements of this program to protect its members' privacy and to protect the Fellowship as a whole from individual controversies.
The wisdom of the Traditions may also be useful to you in endeavors with other groups such as families, jobs, communities. The Traditions have been the anchor that has helped many strangers whose lives have been unmanageable (due to addiction) create an enduring Fellowship of mutual support.
The power of meetings is the group support we receive. We have a remarkable similarity of experience and a shared goal of freedom from nicotine. In meetings, we share our experience, strength, and hope. Most of us have found that at every meeting someone, somehow, has said something that touches us. Someone with our same weakness has shown us a way to be strong; someone who was without hope has been inspired to hope and then sparked our own hope; someone has used humor to overcome a difficulty, and reminded us to keep a light touch in our own lives.
Meetings are a powerful tool in our program. Attending on a regular basis strengthens our resolve and commitment to be nicotine free. We experience acceptance and support as we share without fear of cross talk, unsolicited advice, or criticism. We learn to keep the focus on ourselves and to share with honesty and love. We do not need to analyze the recovery process. We only know it works, so we keep coming back!
The Phone List
The phone list includes first names and phone numbers of all group members who are willing to offer and receive support between meetings.
For those groups that offer lists, the customary etiquette is to call during the day or early evening. Even calls at unusual hours are forgiven if you are in urgent need of support to maintain your abstinence. Some groups also include e-mail addresses.
Our literature includes several pamphlets, and the books: Nicotine Anonymous: The Book, Our Path To Freedom, 90 Days, 90 Ways (daily meditations), A Year of Miracles (daily meditations), andThe Twelve Traditions (booklet). These materials have been written by recovering nicotine users who have volunteered their services. All literature with the Nicotine Anonymous logo was approved at Nicotine Anonymous World Services Conferences. The pamphlets cover a variety of issues and help to explain aspects of this program. Nicotine Anonymous: The Book has much to offer the recovering nicotine user, including a full text about each of the Twelve Steps. Our Path To Freedom contains the stories of members who offer their experience with nicotine and recovery.
Newcomers are encouraged to read as much of the literature as interests them. We have found that rereading the literature at a different stage of our abstinence and recovery can sometimes strike a new chord within us and provide new insights.
Sponsors are members who are committed to abstinence and are willing to share their experience on a one-to-one basis. They live the Twelve Steps to the best of their ability. Sponsors act as a guide in the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of recovery up to the level of their experience. A sponsor passes along that which he/she has received from others in the program and finds this as the best way to keep his/her gift of recovery.
To find a sponsor you can approach someone you believe has what you need to help you achieve ongoing abstinence. After several meetings, if you have not successfully arranged for a sponsor, talk with your chairperson. He or she may be able to suggest someone to sponsor you. Temporary sponsorships are sometimes arranged. Each person decides for him/herself. E-mail sponsors may also be arranged when available for those without access to traditional sponsors.
Carrying the message of freedom from nicotine to nicotine users who still suffer is the basic purpose of our Fellowship. We look for ways to inform people that Nicotine Anonymous is available. However, we remain mindful that this is a program of attraction, not promotion. We do not try to persuade people, only to inform them. Any service, no matter how small, that helps reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery.
Our presence and sharing our experience, strength and hope at meetings is our most important service in carrying the message. In addition, setting up a meeting room, maintaining literature inventories, welcoming newcomers, posting meeting announcements, doing whatever needs to be done in the group or for Nicotine Anonymous as a whole, gives back what we have so generously been given. We do what we can when we can. We gain as we give and thus learn the value of service as another tool of our recovery.