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Friday, August 6, 2010

Narcotics Anonymous 5th Tradition

Tradition Five

“Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry the
message to the addict who still suffers.”

“You mean to say that our primary purpose is to carry the
message? I thought we were here to get clean. I thought that
our primary purpose was to recover from drug addiction.” For
the individual, this is certainly true; our members are here to
find freedom from addiction and a new way of life. However,
groups aren’t addicted and don’t recover. All our groups can do
is plant the seed for recovery and bring addicts together so that
the magic of empathy, honesty, caring, sharing, and service can
do their work.

The purpose of this tradition is to ensure that this
atmosphere of recovery is maintained. This can only be achieved
by keeping our groups recovery-oriented. The fact that we, each
and every group, focus on carrying the message provides consistency;
addicts can count on us. Unity of action and purpose
makes possible what seemed impossible for us—recovery.
The Twelfth Step of our personal program also says that we
carry the message to the addict who still suffers. Working with
others is a powerful tool. “The therapeutic value of one addict
helping another is without parallel.” For the newcomers, this is
how they found Narcotics Anonymous and learned to stay clean.
For the members, this reaffirms their commitment to recovery.
The group is the most powerful vehicle we have for carrying the
message. When a member carries the message, he is somewhat
bound by interpretation and personality. The problem with literature
is language. The feelings, the intensity, and the strengths
are sometimes lost. In our group, with many different personalities,
the message of recovery is a recurring theme.

What would happen if our groups had another primary purpose?
We feel our message would be diluted and then lost. If we
concentrated on making money, many might get rich. If we were
a social club, we could find many friends and lovers. If we specialized
in education, we’d end up with many smart addicts. If
our specialty was medical help, many would get healthy. If our
group purpose were anything other than to carry the message,
many would die and few would find recovery.

What is our message?

The message is that an addict, any addict,
can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new
way to live. Our message is hope and the promise of freedom.
When all is said and done, our primary purpose can only be to
carry the message to the addict who still suffers because that is
all we have to give.

Copyright © 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2008 by
Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

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