The Blue Book has a reading entitled ‘Keeping our Meetings Healthy’ that details ‘the three destructive forces that can create dissension and ultimately destroy the group’. It might be helpful to read this section and discuss it occasionally at your group meetings.
Some other guidelines for Healthy Meetings include:
- Giving Advice – We comfort other members by sharing our experience, strength and hope – not by telling them what they should do. Each member has to decide for themselves what path they want to take and the timeline for taking that path.
- Crosstalk – Making spontaneous comments either during or after someone shares should be avoided. Brief, encouraging comments such as “Keep coming back” or “You’ve come to the right place” are permissible but you should avoid asking questions or offering your opinion about another member’s sharing during the meeting. You can initiate a discussion with members individually after the meeting if you need further clarification.
- Nar-Anon Literature – It is important to use only Conference Approved Literature during the meetings. There are many excellent books and articles that deal with addiction, however, these should not be discussed during the meetings. Nar-Anon meetings should be devoted to sharing our experiences, strength and hope and not conducting book or article reviews or offering comments about other literature. Again, these items can be shared after the meeting on an individual basis.
- Treatment Programs – Nar-Anon does not offer opinions about how to fix our addicts. Our main focus concerns helping family members of addicts.
- Involvement of Members – It is important to get all members involved in leading the Group Meetings. Some groups utilize a Meeting Leader sign-up sheet, while others just ask members that have attended a least a few meetings if they would be willing to lead. An easy-to-follow meeting outline is provided with the New Group Packet discussed earlier. This can be modified to suit your needs but the general guidelines should be included in any modifications.
- It is also suggested that you have a member sign-in sheet that captures the member’s first name, telephone number and email address. If a member is struggling during the week, it is important that they can reach out to other members for support. This list can also be used to notify all members of changes or cancellations of meeting due to inclement weather, etc. As with everything in Nar-Anon, a member has the right to choose whether to share their personal information.
- Variety of Meetings – There are other types of meetings that your group can have besides the sharing type. Some of these are shown below.
- Speaker Meetings – A Speaker(s) will share their individual experiences in more detail.
- Step Meetings – A more detailed study of the Twelve Steps
- Beginner Meeting – A meeting that is geared more towards the Newcomer
- Business Meeting – A meeting where the Group’s business matters are discussed
- Group Conscience Meeting – An introspective look at the programs the Group is undertaking
- Group Challenges – Occasionally there will be challenges that come up for every group i.e. someone trying to dominate the meeting, financial problems, low attendance, inappropriate discussion topics, etc. It is important that you use contacts gained through active participation in the region or calls to the WSO to help get you through these rough times. Everyone in Nar-Anon wants to see your meeting be a success and will offer suggestions about what can be done to help you through challenging times. Following are some suggestions to help with some of these challenges:
- Dominate sharing during the meeting – passing a stone or a lit candle, to keep people aware of the amount of time they are sharing.
- Financial Problems – Have a Business Meeting and share where the donated money is being used. Another possibility is to share copies of the article entitled – ‘Dig Deeper – 7th Tradition’ found on page 3 of the September, 2012 “Serenity Connection”. This can be found at: WSO Serenity Connection
- Low Attendance – Review the section – Getting the Word Out to the Public and do one of the Outreach Monthly Challenges.
- Inappropriate Discussion Topics – Review the reading entitled ‘Keeping our Meetings Healthy’ in the Blue Book.
Review these sections:
- How to Start a New Meeting