Speaking in a Hospital or Institutional Presentation:
When an NA H&I member (Panel Leader) together with an NA speaker go into a jail or institution to carry the NA message of recovery — it is not called an NA meeting — its an NA presentation. The difference is that to be an NA meeting there needs to be free access to the public and also the people in attendance have to be drug addicts (CD — closed discussion). In H&I, even though the presentation may be conducted in a drug detox or prison we do not assume that the people there are addicts. For a more detailed explanation read the NA pamphlet: The Group Booklet.
This contrast between NA meeting and NA presentation creates some differences in how one shares in an H&I setting. The first, and probably the most important thing to know, is that an H&I message should be introductory: Keep it Simple and Hopeful!!! Someone that is on 80 milligrams of methadone, or even 3 days clean, probably doesn’t need to know about how you became ready to have God remove all your defects of character . I’m not even sure that I’m ready for that story!!!
I do not want to imply that there is a strict formula or hard and fast rules for speakers, but H&I has established some guidelines which are helpful:
Do’s and Dont’s For Speakers:
Do Obey All Dress Codes
Do Emphasize That NA Recovery Is Available To Any Addict, Regardless Of The Type Of Drug Used
Do Emphasize Getting To An NA Meeting Immediately Upon Release
Do Emphasize Getting A Sponsor And A Home Group
Do Emphasize Arriving Early And Staying Around After The Meeting
Do Emphasize The Importance Of Identifying Oneself As Recently Released From An Institution
Do Use NA Language (Clean, Addict, Recovery)
Don’t Break Anyone’s Anonymity
Don’t Debate The Facility’s Rules
Don’t Discuss Conditions in Facility
Don’t Glorify A War Story
H&I Panel Leaders usually select speakers that they know and have already heard share. Nevertheless, its still very important to have all speakers read the “Do’s & Dont’s For Speakers”. It serves as a reminder of the key points to mention in the sharing: a basic hopeful recovery message geared towards getting them to a meeting upon release. While at an H&I presentation, its easy to forget where we are, because it can feel like an NA meeting. This is another reason why all H&I committees require that prior to sharing all speakers read the “Do’s and Dont’s”. The suggestions in that reading are based in the collective NA H&I experience and/or the 12 Traditions.
If you would like to learn more about H&I service — or are interested in getting an H&I commitment /become a panel leader and run an H&I presentation — the NYC Area H&I committee meets on the second Saturday of every month at 149 Christopher Street / St Veronica’s Church — at 1PM — the next H&I committee meeting is Saturday November 13th — 1PM.