HOW TO START A GROUP
If there is no Nar-Anon Family Group (NFG) in your community, contact The Nar-Anon Area Services Committee (ASC) to request support for the initiative by phone (Helpline – 0881296791 or Website Admin 0813823150) or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Anyone who has an addicted relative or friend or is concerned about the effects of drug use in others in any way may start a group.
The first step in getting a group started is finding at least one other person sharing your concern. It is easiest to start a group with three or more people. If you do not know anyone, attending NA meetings to meet the relatives or friends of addicts after meetings can be a successful way of locating others interested in starting a new group. Usually NA groups are happy to cooperate with Nar-Anon, but they must be assured that their anonymity will be protected.
Next find a meeting place, usually in a church, school, community centre, hospital, or rehabilitation centre. Some choose a location and time coordinated with a NA meeting. Our 7th Tradition states: “Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” The expenses include a small donation for use of the meeting room. After a meeting place is found, contact your ASC office to purchase a new group packet. The packet includes all necessary information and literature to start a meeting along with the group registration form. A permanent mailing address, such as the group secretary’s, will assure your group continues to receive the benefits of ASC services.
REGISTRATION OF GROUPS
The founding of a group and its functions are the responsibility of those qualified for membership. World Services Organisation (WSO) will register any group designating itself a Nar-Anon Family Group (NFG) or Narateen group with the understanding that it will abide by the Twelve Traditions and the Twelve Concepts and meetings will be open to any Nar-Anon or Narateen member. Group registration forms are available in the new group pack or online at www.nar-anon.org and at the end of the Guide to Local Services (GLS).
You will need to attract more members to your group. Informing the clergy, doctors, social workers, and others in your community who have occasion to counsel families of addicts may be productive. This can be done by mail and you can keep your anonymity. Some newspapers will include Nar-Anon listings in the local events columns without charge.
In Nar-Anon’s format for group meetings, it states we have no dues or fees, but we pass a basket at each meeting to pay for literature, to cover the group’s expenses, and to support Nar-Anon beyond the group level. This is in accordance with our Seventh Tradition.
Organizing a group should be kept simple. Officers are elected by group conscience to serve for a period decided by the group, often from three to six months. Regular rotation of service positions gives all members the privilege of serving. Officers are trusted servants, they do not govern. Every group needs a meeting leader, sometimes called a chair. A group will also need a member to act as secretary. The secretary often acts as treasurer until the group is large enough to divide duties among other members. Each group also has a group service representative who participates in the wider service organization of Nar-Anon.
DUTIES OF GROUP OFFICERS
- Plans meetings in advance
- Opens the meeting with a moment of silence followed by the group reciting the Serenity Prayer
- Reads the Newcomer’s Welcome and Preamble
- Introduces speakers or announces the topic of the meeting
- Invites new members to share (e.g., last 15 minutes of meeting)
- Helps establish committees, if these are necessary
- Can act as chair of the steering committee, when there is one
- Handles all routine matters between the group and WSO including the annual group registration form which can be found in the Guide to Local Services
- Handles any group correspondence
- Uses a home or other address to serve as a permanent mailing address
- Notifies WSO of any change in mailing address
- Notifies WSO when there is a change of group officers
- Keeps a current list of members’ telephone numbers
- Makes announcements at meetings including WSO’s appeal for contributions
- Orders conference approved literature (CAL) for the group (this may also be done by the treasurer or a literature chair)