I am familiar with the decision-making process of organizations such as government, corporations and schools. In those organizations, there are different levels of authority, a power structure. However, as a newcomer, I did not understand how the Nar-Anon fellowship worked. The Nar-Anon fellowship is made up of individual members who are all equals. In Nar-Anon, no one has the right to give orders. The whole Nar-Anon program is merely suggested. I can work my program in my own way and in my own time.

Nar-Anon meetings are conducted according to the wishes of the group, and decisions are made through discussions and the agreement of the members. This is called a group conscience. Each group can elect group officers. Officers are not paid; they are given the opportunity to perform a service for their group, such as chairing a meeting, making coffee, greeting newcomers, or representing the group at other levels of service. Members who act as leaders are reminded in our literature and Tradition Two that they are “trusted servants: they do not govern.” This structure works well at the group, area and regional levels.

The Nar-Anon world organization requires a more business-like structure to perform business functions that support the program and help it grow. These functions include public relations campaigns, telephone help lines, development, approval and sales of program literature, organizing conventions, and conferences. At this level, the Ninth Tradition allows us to hire the necessary professionals to perform these functions efficiently. The Ninth Tradition also reminds these paid professionals that their sole purpose is to serve the Nar-Anon Family Groups. The area, region and world level employees have no authority to direct or to interfere with the structure, the decision-making authority, or the activities of the individual Nar-Anon Family Groups.

Thought for Today: My responsibility is to serve the members, whether my work is voluntary or professional; the only authority in Nar-Anon is a loving Higher Power as expressed through our group conscience.

“At the beginning, mankind and the obligation of selfless service were created together. ‘Through selfless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires’: this is the promise of the Creator…” ~ Bhagavad Gita