Narcotics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
It Works: How and Why tells us that the spiritual principles underlying this Tradition “are eminently practical ones: humility, prudence, anonymity, and integrity.” Our program, when worked conscientiously, allows any addict to stay clean, lose the desire to use drugs, and find a new way to live through the power of one addict helping another. There may be a place in the health care or other needs of an addict for professional services, but we addicts must remember that what we offer is the experience, strength, and hope gained from obtaining a state of recovery from our disease. That doesn’t come from having a professional degree, proclaiming we are experts, or telling fellow addicts what they “should” do — a reason we don’t cross-talk in meetings. Such a lack of humility runs the risk of “turning off” newcomers, and unintentionally steering a fellow addict into relapse. None of us need the extra challenge of the shame that would come from that.
It would be highly imprudent to turn our program into a professional treatment service and do our recovery work according to the dictates of professional leaders. Indeed, Tradition Two reminds us that we don’t have leaders who govern, only “trusted servants.” It is prudent, on the other hand, to recognize that there is nothing wrong with using special workers in our service centers that have helpful professional knowledge. It is to our benefit to focus on our recovery work, and not be distracted with the minutiae of running offices, such as NA World Services. The drama and mania that can go on inside any office is not something we need to opt into or enable. Most professionals also have requirements for credentialing and governance by outside organizations. Our essential anonymity would quickly be lost if information about our members and activities had to be shared with such organizations.
The Traditions illuminate the spiritual principles that keep us clean and enrich our lives so much when we keep them foremost in our hearts and actions. We observe the principle of integrity by never forgetting or forsaking what Tradition Eight expresses for us. In the words of How and Why, the proven success of one addict helping another “is the heart of our program; so long as that heart beats strongly, our fellowship and our recovery shall remain vital.”