Nicotine Anonymous: The Book
Nicotine Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
In order to maintain our spiritual foundation we need to determine appropriate boundaries regarding involvement with professionals. The manner in which members serve our fellowship needs to be in accordance with all our Traditions and Steps. The integrity of our program's principles should not become compromised or brought under suspicion with matters related to monetary profits. A function of our primary principle, anonymity, is that it affords all members an equality of status. If some members were to carry our message of recovery identified as "paid Nicotine Anonymous professionals" and inequality of status would result. Such implied inequality could lead other members to feel less valued or less inclined to serve the group or even share their story. A member who gains financially for carrying the message of Nicotine Anonymous would not be in keeping with the spiritual principle of personal recovery -- to freely give what we have been freely given.
Our Preamble states that there are no dues or fees for Nicotine Anonymous membership. Tradition Three establishes the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using nicotine. Having members charge money as professionals for doing Step Twelve work would be contrary to our principles.
However, Tradition Seven guides our groups to be self-supporting. In order for our fellowship to function effectively and efficiently there are practical and appropriate circumstances for members, who understand our program, to be paid or have expenses covered for services rendered. These members would be considered "special workers." They help with the regular tasks of operating the fellowship in a way that supports our efforts to help nicotine addicts.
For example, it could be appropriate to compensate a professional office manager with the necessary skills to address the ongoing business of an intergroup or World Services. Fellowship funds could pay a member whose job it is to respond
to literature orders and mail packages to groups and individual members. Although volunteers offer their talents freely to serve in many capacities, they cannot be expected to carry the message of recovery as well as carry the full load of running every aspect of our fellowship.
Additionally, healthcare professionals can arrange to have meetings available at their agencies to serve clients and patients. A member may open a nicotine rehab facility as a career. As long as compensation is not received for directly doing Nicotine Anonymous Twelve Step work as a Nicotine Anonymous member, they are not violating this Tradition. Therapists who are also Nicotine Anonymous members can treat clients for nicotine addiction, but when attending Nicotine Anonymous meetings simply as a member they have no more authority or status than any other member. Meetings are not a "place of business" and no professional should solicit clients at meetings. No member can be a "Nicotine Anonymous professional."
Nicotine Anonymous meetings are not professionally facilitated therapy groups. Therefore we would not endorse any one form of therapy because Tradition Ten guides us away from claiming an opinion on outside issues. Our program is unique. It consists of the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. These, together with the five tools, are what we know and what we offer.
*The Twelve Traditions reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Traditions does not mean that AA is affiliated with this program. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism -- use of the Twelve Traditions in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after AA, but which address other problems, does not imply otherwise.