Long History  (Page 1 of 3)
* Source documents are quoted verbatim, often with original typos intact, reproduced digitally, or reduced photostatically. The narrative in this issue was done largely by cutting and pasting lines from existing histories.

The first real publication in Narcotics Anonymous was this little booklet. This was written between '53 and '56, and published in '56. You can read stuff that will sound familiar. You can hear our literature in there, the beginnings. You can hear the roots of what you hear in every meeting in there. This was the first publication "Narcotics Anonymous".




           P.O. Box 1043

      Studio City, California

This booklet is dedicated to 

those who suffer from 

narcotics and sedation 

addiction. We, in Narcotics 

Anonymous, offer no cure, 

but we can honestly, 

positively, show you a way 

out, a way to quit using.



                               - 1 -
                       DO YOU NEED 
You do if you are an addict.
Are you an addict?
Ask yourself these questions. Answer them as honestly as you can.
1. Do you loose time from work due to "using"?
2. Is "using" making your home life unhappy?
3. Do you "fix" because you are shy with other people?
4. Is "using" affecting your reputation?
5. Have you ever felt remorse after "fixing"?
6.Have you ever gotten into financial difficulties as a result of "using"?
7.Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when
8. Does your "using" make you careless of your family's welfare?
9. Has your ambition decreased since "using"?
10. Do you crave a "fix" at a definite time daily?
11. Do you want a "fix" the next morning?
                                      - 2 - 
12. Does "using" cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13. Has your efficiency decreased since "using"?
14. Is "using" jeopardizing your job or business?
15. Do you "fix" to escape from worries or trouble?
16. Do you "fix" alone?
17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of "using"?
18. Has your physician ever treated you for "using"?
19. Do you "fix" to build up your self-confidence?
20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of "using"?
                                       * * *
If you answered YES to any one of these questions, you may be an addict.
If you answered YES to any two of the questions, chances are you are an addict.
If you answered YES to three or more then you are an addict beyond doubt.
  Absolutely nothing, unless you are convinced you must do something about it, and sincerely want to do something about it.
                              - 3 - 
  If you sincerely want to stop using, we in Narcotics Anonymous, who suffered from the same addiction, and who are now arrested cases and living a new way of life, have a program that will show you the way out. We can't offer you a cure, because neither you nor we will ever be cured of addiction. But like us, you can become an arrested case. You can stop using and start living.
                       WHAT IS THE 
  Narcotics Anonymous is an absolutely non-profit-making fellowship and is connected with no police, political, or religious organization. There are no initiation fees, no dues, no charges of any kind. There are no pledges to sign. Any one may join, regardless of age, race, color or religion. We are not interested in what you used, how much, or who your connections were. All we ask is that you have the sincere, honest desire to stop using. 
  We of Narcotics Anonymous are exactly like you. We are a group of addicts who meet regularly to help each other obtain arid maintain our sobriety and to stay clean. 
   Before coming on the program, our trouble was we could not manage our own lives. We couldn't live like normal
                                - 4 - 
people. We had to have something different and we thought we had found it in drugs and narcotics. We got so we had to have these drugs arid narcotics no matter what the cost. We placed their use ahead of the welfare of our families, wives and children. We did them great harm, but most of all, we harmed our selves. We broke not only the laws or society but the greatest law of all - the law of nature.
   We were running away, that was our real problem, for the use of drugs and narcotics is but a symptom of underlying causes. We used in order to escape facing life and its problems. We realized we were slowly committing suicide, but such cunning enemies of life are drugs and narcotics that we had lost the power to do anything about it.
   Jail did us no good. Medicine and psychiatry had no answers for us. Everything else having failed, in desperation we sought help from each other, in Narcotics Anonymous.
   Here, we have come to realize we are not moral lepers. We are simply sick people. We suffer from a disease, just like alcoholism, diabetes, tuberculosis, heart trouble or cancer. There is no known cure for these diseases and neither is there for drug addiction. But by following a pattern derived from
                               - 5 - 
Alcoholics Anonymous and its teachings, we have become arrested cases. We found out how to live a life free from the uses of narcotics and sedation. We have stopped using. We have learned how to live.
   Here is how we did it. These are the steps we took, and they are the steps we suggest for anyone who sincerely wants to stop using.
   1.We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable. 
   2.We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
   3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.
   4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
   5.We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 
   6.We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 
   7.We humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings. 
   8.We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
                                - 6 - 
   9.We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
   10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 
   11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to that out. 
   12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
                                 * * *
Does this sound like a big order?
We donít expect you to do it overnight. You didn't become addicted in one day. "Easy does it" We suggest you begin a program of recovery by taking Step One. Admit you are powerless over drugs, that your life has become unmanageable. It you are in a jail or hospital, you have gone through complete withdrawal and have stopped using for the time being. Upon release, tell yourself you will not use today. It is most important you get in touch with a member of Narcotics Anonymous or attend a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous at once.
                         - 7 - 
It you are not in a jail or hospital, the same thing holds true: Stop using for today. 
   If the compulsion becomes so great you can't see going through a whole day, then put yourself on a five minute basis of not using. 
   After five minutes, do it for another five minutes. 
   Minutes will grow into hours, hours into days. Quitting for one day, then another, will eventually help you break the habit. 
   Go from Step One to Step Two. Then to Step Three. You do it by stages, first thing first. By constant attendance at Narcotics Anonymous meetings, you will find answers to the questions that may be disturbing you now.

                 OUR PRAYER

   God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
  The courage to change the things I can,
  And the wisdom to know the difference.

                         - 8 - 
                JUST FOR TODAY

Tell yourself:
  JUST FOR TODAY my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of narcotics.

  JUST FOR TODAY I will have faith in someone in Narcotics Anonymous who believes in me and wants to help me to recovery.

  JUST FOR TODAY I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.

  JUST FOR TODAY, through Narcotics Anonymous, I will try to get a better perspective on my life.

  JUST FOR TODAY I will be unafraid. My thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way of life, even for today, I have nothing to fear.


For information regarding time and place of  Narcotics Anonymous meetings, write to:

P.O. Box 1043
Studio City, Calif.

P.O. Box 13023 
So. Eastern Station
San Diego, Calif.

  That was followed in the early 60's by the White Booklet. The readings in here are almost identical to what we have today. Basically our readings evolved in the mid 60's in one format until the mid 70's then we went into a different format. The cover is significantly different on the current white book. The history of the White Booklet is the history of the Basic Text.
The idea of the Basic Text was to involve as many people as possible. We believed that any NA Member has something valid to say and something valid to contribute to the book  "Narcotics Anonymous".  The book "Narcotics Anonymous" was not written by a small group of individuals. It was really done by many, many, many people.
   Every piece of input, every concept that was input was included in the Basic Text. Not always the same wording but the ideas were all there. That was one of the promises we made to ourselves and one of our working rules. We assumed that every piece of input was valid and that every concept needed to be expressed in the book. Every piece of input, every concept that was input was included in the Basic Text. 
   The first World Literature Conference was held in October of 1979 in Wichita, Kansas. Anyone that wanted to participate was welcome. The purpose of that conference was to put together a plan of action. The results were the World Literature Guidelines. This began formal work on the Basic Text.
   In September of 1980 we went to Lincoln, Nebraska for the 2nd World Lit. Conference. One of the things that was decided in Lincoln, Nebraska, was that we would use the white booklet as the outline of the Basic Text. We went to start going through all the material we had collected and we'd find a sentence that fit in with something in the white booklet and we'd cut it out and we'd paste it up. We sorted them out by White Book Chapters. This produced a rough draft.
   The 3rd World Lit. Conference was held in Memphis, Tennessee in February 1981. It was a polishing, a revision and an editing of that cut and paste. Some work had been done between Lincoln and Memphis by the 30 or 40 people that attended the Lincoln conference. The result of the Memphis conference was the manuscript known as the Grey Form. There are people who believe that some of the stuff in the Grey Form is the best that's ever been written in Narcotics Anonymous. There are some real neat things that happened in the development of this manuscript in Memphis. The 7th Tradition was dictated in a 9 hour telephone conversation to a typist from across the country.
   Work began at once. Even before this was distributed, typed versions were being worked on. The next World Lit. Conference was held in Santa Monica, California during April 1981. The idea was to try to fix some of the disjointedness. Not to change it but to make it consistent in tone and style, and to fill in some of the holes. The resulting draft disappeared and has never been found.
   So we had to go back three months later in Warren, Ohio and start re-creating some of that work.  The 4th World Literature Conference, July 1981, resulted in another draft that went to Miami, Florida, site of the 5th World Lit. Conference during September 1981 and it was polished there.
   Then In November the Lit. Conference went back to Memphis and a final manuscript was put together and typed up, It was edited by someone in the Fellowship and the result was the Approval Form of the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous. Bootleg copies appeared almost immediately and were printed off of these. There were probably 10 or 12 different places in the country that these  were produced in mass quantities. Sometimes you heard people talking about "Turkey" books. One of them had a little turkey on the cover. It was printed in Memphis.  Some had yellow covers, some had white covers. There were a variety of bootlegs produced. The originals had a shiny cover.
   A letter was sent with the Approval Copies explaining the events leading to this point and how to proceed. The Approval Form was circulated through the Fellowship and approved at the World Service Conference (WSC) in 1982 as the Basic Text for Narcotics Anonymous. 
November, 1981

Dear Fellow Trusted Servants:

   The time has arrived for us to take a look at, evaluate and decide if the Basic Text that has evolved from six W.S.C. Literature Conferences over the past several years represents recovery from addiction through our experiences in Narcotics Anonymous.
   There has long been a need for a comprehensive Basic Text on recovery, the Narcotics Anonymous book. Our book is needed to carry the message of recovery to places where members cannot go or have not yet been or gone. A Basic Text book on recovery from addiction for public libraries and for the shelves of doctors; parole and probations; and judges' offices. A definitive text so millions of people may know that we can and do recover, a day at a time.
   The Mid-South R.S.C. accepted the responsibility of printing, packaging, addressing and mailing this Approval Form of our book, our Basic Text on N.A. Recovery. As of this writing, many addicts are arriving in Memphis, Tennessee, to help with this great work and many others continue to send their spiritual, emotional and financial support from around the world.
   Now it is on you. The time has come, to be or not to be... to do or not to do! Approval of Our Basic Text should proceed as follows: Narcotics Anonymous members read this Approval Form of Our Book and Groups of N.A. members vote to approve or not. The Group Service Representatives vote the conscience of the Groups at Area Service Committee Meetings and then the Area Service Representatives vote the conscience of their areas at Regional Service Committee Meetings. Regional Service Representatives, State Delegates (in areas that have not yet formed a Regional Service Committee), will then vote at the World Service Conference to be held in Los Angeles, CA, in May of 1982, to approve for Hardback. If your group's locality does not have an organized service structure, you should get together with other N.A. groups in your state and send a state representative who will have the same voting strength as an R.S.R.
   In an effort to reduce the cost of printing and mailing, the personal stoties have been excluded. Our book in its present Approval Form is Basic Text only. The stories, some of which were in the Review Form, will be considered separately at a later date. We remain your trusted servants.

In Gratitude and Loving Service,

Literature Sub-Committee
World Service Conference
Narcotics Anonymous

                               SATURDAY MAY 7
(Literature Committee Chairperson, Page C.)  I would like to make a motion to accept the basic text approval form as the 1st edition of our Narcotics Anonymous Book, Julie W. added amendment that a 2/3 majority vote be required for passgae of that.  Parliamentarian then stepped in and clarified.  Call for a vote.  Not clear.  **Count of voting participants was taken at this time.  Clarification that this does not include stories, only basic text.  Call for a vote on the motion.  Discussion. Motion passed.  WE HAVE A BOOK
January 1983 the Book still had not been printed and the Board of Trustees (BOT) started objecting to several passages in the Traditions chapter. Together with the WSO Board of Directors, they decided to censor the Book. The WSC Chairperson protested to no avail. The WSC Literature Chairperson tried to revoke WSO's-rights to the copyright. These censored passages, contained in the discussions of the Fourth and Ninth Traditions, expressed two themes: the service structure is not NA, but something created to serve NA and the Fellowship controls the service structure. World Services refuted these statements in the very act of censorship.
March 1, 1983

To The Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous

Re: Change/Deletions/Corrections in the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous

In November 1982 inaccuracies were noted by the World Service Office of NA, in the basic text "Narcotics Anonymous" which was then scheduled for publication. At that time a special meeting of the Chairpersons of the three Service Branches of Narcotics Anonymous, WSC, WSB, and WSO was called. At that meeting the inaccuracies in chapter 6, involving traditions four (4) and nine (9) were corrected.

On February 12, 1983 due to difficulties with the printer involving misuse of monies paid in the amount of approx. $15,000.00 the art work, type sets & negatives were removed from the printer by the WSO Board of Directors. During the course of a meeting by the WSO Board on February 17, 1983 called to discuss the selection of another printer for the book, the Chairman of WSC demanded that the corrected/deleted/changed material be returned to its original form as approved by the 1982 World Service Conference. The WSO Board complied with the WSC Chairman's demand. At this point the Chairman of the Board of Trustees protested that decision, and the WSO Board then voted to turn the material over to the WSB for their consideration and recommendation. During the course of the week that followed the WSB reviewed the material and requested that WSO print the book as it was changed/corrected/deleted in November. The WSO went along with that recommendation.

   The changes/corrections/deletions are attached and revolve around the fact that the book as approved by the 1982 World Service Conference contains the following inaccuracies: In tradition four the book states that SERVICE COMMITTEES ARE NOT NA and later in the same paragraph states  "ALL ELSE IS NOT NA" cleary indicating that they are not a part of Narcotics Anonymous. The book further states "whether to utilize these services is up to the group". This would allow any group to do whatever the group chose do and continue to call themselves an NA Group, leaving the fellowship no recourse but to allow them to do so. Any group  could use any literature they choose to use in meetings. The use of literature other then NA literature in meetings has been a problem in the past. This is but one of many problems that could surface in the future should the book be printed as approved.

In tradition nine it states that NO SERVICE COMMITTEE OR CONFERENCE has the power to decide anything. It is our belief that this statement would negate the entire service structure of NA, and hence have the potential for creating anarchy within the fellowship. Finally the line stating that SERVICE COMMITTEES ARE NOT A PART OF NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS
places the service structure outside of Narcotics Anonymous, outside of the traditions and hence not subject to the will of the fellowship. We believe that the inclusion of this material in the book would create immediate and long range problems for the fellowship, seriously threatening the unity of NA and therefore recommended to the WSO Board that this material not be included in the book.

We believe it was not the intention of those members of the Literature Committee who selflessly devoted 100's of hours and
$1,000's of dollars to provide the fellowship with our book, nor those members of the Board of Trustees who personally worked on and reviewed the material, nor the fellowship who approved the book, to place the Service Structure outside the Traditions or the dictates of the fellowship.

We deeply regret the oversight and the controversy that has evolved around this material. We are, however thankful that WSO discovered these inaccuracies. To the best of our knowledge no other changes/deletions/corrections were made in the book.

In Loving Service, 

Board of Trustees

Sally Evans
Chairperson, WSB

At WSC 1983 the WSO delivered the Altered Book. The Fellowship said you cheated us, you took out some of what was in our book, you took out part of what we approved, we want it put back in. The Second Edition was changing the Basic Text back to it's originally approved form.
                               WSC '83 - MAY 6 1983
MOTION:  Page C. (Chair, WSC Lit Comm) moved, seconded by Jim M. (NA Way)  "that our book be completely returned to its approved form before any more are printed.  CARRIED AS AMENDED BELOW.
Vote:  YES  24   No   15   Abs.  5

AMENDMENT:  John F. (Greater Philadelphia) moved, seconded by Bob K. (Tennessee) to "add the words "in subsequent printings" to replace "before any more are printed"
Vote:   Yes   28   No   6     Abs.    10      CARRIED

Debate resumed on these controversial passages at the 1984 WSC. A letter from a Nebraska Group was used, by the President of the WSO Board of Directors, to justify making a motion to "go to the Fellowship for a vote within 60 days" on the issue. Such a procedure does not exist in our service structure. The vote, the validity of which is disputed by some members, approved removing these passages once again, resulting in the Third Edition. Many were outraged including the Philadelphia Area:
P.O. Box 14541
Philadelphia, PA 19115

June 13, 1984
To:   All World Service Conference Participants
Re:   Directive to vote on deletions in Traditions Four and Nine.

Dear W.S.C.:

The Philadelphia Area is outraged for the following reasons:

ITEM 1:  The W.S.C. is erroneously utilizing the Twelve
Traditions for organizational purposes which they (the
Traditions) were never intended for. The sole purpose of the
Traditions are as spiritual guidelines that provide protection for
each and every Group.

As a result of the vote the motion in question recieved, it is clear to us that 77% of our trusted servants at the highest level do not understand what the Traditions are about.

When the principles of the Twelve Traditions are adopted by a service committee, only the ideals are adopted. This does not change the committee organizationally, nor does it make them a Twelve Tradition Group.

ITEM 2:  This issue was improperly attached to an item on the agenda at W.S.C.-84.

ITEM 3:  The voting used at W.S.C.-84 is, at least, questionable.
We refuse to recognize the disproportionate representation. It
does not reflect a fair Group Conscience of the Fellowship of N.A.
(i.e. 37 regions=37 votes).

ITEM 4:  W.S.C.-84 circumvented the policies and procedures attending these matters.

ITEM 5:  The impiled ultimatum that if we do not respond to their deadline, the approved Basic Text would either not be printed or would be altered prior to printing.

ITEM 6:  Acknowledgement of W.S.C.-84's proposal on this issue will set precedent, allowing the W.S.C. to call for a change without going through previously established procedures meant for such issues. This will divert us from our primary purpose.

   We feel that Nebraska's request should not have been used to ressurect this old issue, which we had trusted was put to rest at W.S.C.-83. It appears to us that the Group in Nebraska made a simple request for an explanation and clarIfication of the apparent contradictions as well as the deletions in the so called "First Edition".
   The W.S.B., as trusted servants, should have simply responded to Nebraska's request straightforwardly and honestly.
   We also feel someone under the direction of Chuck Gates, if not Mr. Gates himself, and the W.S.B. owe an apology to the Nebraska Group as well as N.A. as a whole, for ommitting the truth - the W.S.O. and W.S.B. never had the authority to delete those lines in question. The issue had been settled by mandate at W.S.C.-83.
   Therefore, we the members of the Philadelphia Area protest this issue and will not cast our vote. We refuse to recognize the violation of procedure (it's not a Tradition matter).
                         In Loving Service,
           Phila. Area Service Committee of NA.