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Public Relations Training - NA

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Greater Albuquerque Areaof Narcotics Anonymous11/09/2013
What’s your name?How did you first hear about NA?
Why IS Public relations important?
PR is a crucial part of our primary purpose “to carry the message to the addict who still suffers” because it let’s prospective members and those who seek to help them know who we are and where to find usProspective members hear about us through:Public service announcementsPostersTelevision adsThe InternetLiterature available in public placesReferralby judges, counselors, parole officers, corrections officers, or medicalprofessionalsBut perhaps most importantly through word of mouth!They’ve heard positive things about us from friends, family, or professionalsThey have seen the program work for someone they know
What does the Public Relations Subcommittee do?
We clarify what services NA can and cannot provide to the community.We make NA members more aware of their role in NA’s public image.We aim for the public to recognize NA as a positive and reliable organization.We develop valuable relationships with professionals and the general public.
How do we do it?
Placing literature racks in public places frequented by addicts and keeping them stocked with IP’s and meeting schedulesSending letters and emails to various organizations that affect the lives of addictsGiving presentations about Narcotics AnonymousHigh SchoolsHealth FairsPrisonsDrug CourtTreatment CentersHolding PR learning events within the fellowship
Who Is “The Public”?
Potential new members!Those that are close to or influence the lives of addicts:Family membersParole OfficersCorrections OfficersTreatment Facility StaffCounselorsMedical professionalsJudgesWhoever else comes into contact with addicts
How do we as individual members affect our public image?
What we say, do, or notdo,as individual members affects our relationships with the public andthestill suffering addict:Are we courteous to one another during and after meetings?Newermembers see how we behave and make choices about our fellowship. They may also share their views with their PO’s and others.Do we welcome newer members?Do we clean up after meetings?Are we respectful to people outside the fellowship, especially those that provide us with our meeting spaces?Do we wear NA logos or have NA bumper stickers and then act disrespectfully to others?Do we act on PR matters alone?Do we share our views on outside issues as if they were the views of NA?Do we break our anonymity with members of the press?
What are some of the Traditions and values important to PR?
Some of the principles vital to Public Relations:“Attraction rather than promotion”Cooperation vs.affiliation (matters of autonomy)AnonymityUnitySelf-support
Attraction:Whenmembers act in a way that is attractive, newcomersand potentialmembers are more likely to get a positive impression ofNAWhat ‘s attractive?Reliablecommunication, responsibility, commitment, and behavior thatreflects recovery.Wecan demonstrate the reliability of NA by showing up and fulfillingthe obligationswemakePromotion:Exemplified in thedifferencebetween informing the public about NA andinsisting thatNA isbetterthan any other recovery program.Promotionis“fanfare, overblown claims, [and]celebrity endorsements.” (It Works: How andWhy)
Cooperation vs. affiliation
We can cooperate with outside entities without compromising our traditions.Examples ofcooperation:Signing court cards as groups or individual membersWorking with public entities to provide them with as much accurate information about us as possible in order for them to better understand NA and to refer individuals to our programExamples ofaffiliation:Compromising our traditions and our autonomy to suit the needs of a particular facilityTaking any action that may blur the line between NA and the outside entity in the minds of prospective members
Anonymitysupports our ultimate goal of focusing on our primary purpose instead ofour individualconcerns. The principles contained within our traditions encourage us tohumbly jointogether in hope of forwarding the ideals of our fellowship.We work together to avoid being perceived as a sole representative of NAWe avoid identifying ourselves as members at the level of press, radio, films, and the internetWe focus on providing everyone an equal opportunity to recover within our fellowship
NA is more attractive when we are able to demonstrate our unity. Our unityshows whenwe use our diversity as a strength in our meetings and our services. When a groupof addictsfrom different backgrounds and with varying beliefs serves together, theyhighlight ourunity in a way that is extraordinarilyattractive.When we show our unity to the public we gain their trust. We show that we are a viable and effective program.
What’s the difference between speaking at an NA Meeting and Speaking at aprpresentation?
Being the speaker in an NA meeting: speaking directly to addicts, seeking to convey our message ofhope through our personal experiences.Givinga PR talk: Speaking primarily to those who may influence anaddictseeking recovery, convey a clear and attractive picture of what NA is and how it can be a resource for addicts. Sharing our personal experience is not always appropriate, unless we have been invited for that purpose specifically.
Presenting to the Public
Goalsofpresentation:IntroduceNA and explain the natureof theNA program.Raiseprofessional awareness of NA asa viablecommunity recovery andongoing peersupport resource for relieffrom drugaddiction.ProvideNA contact informationand gathercontact information fromall present.
Before the Presentation
Determine who is best suited to give the presentation. Match “task-to-talent”Rehearsing is a good thing!Make sure you have the IP’s and other literature appropriate for the presentationDress appropriately to fit the environment, “business casual” at a minimumRemember to refrain from swearing
Prior to the Event
Considerthe setup of the roomArethere any sight barriers or hearing or lighting challenges to consider?Arethere any other distractions that might need to be addressed?Setup a literature table for handouts, IPs, or resource materials. Informthe audiencewhere these materials arelocatedProvidea box/basket for attendees to leave their businesscardsBesure to be fully prepared to startand end thesessionontime
Beginning the Presentation – 10mins
IntroductionsThelead presenter introduces all of the presenters forthe sessionIntroduceaudience members or allow them tointroduce themselves. Be sure to acknowledge any participantswho helpedto make the event possible, anyone representing the venue,etc.Logistical issuesAskthe audience to turn off the ringers on their cellphonesExplainwhere the bathrooms are, when the breaks will occur, whatrefreshments areavailable, etc.Inquireas to any special needs of any of theparticipants
Beginning the Presentation(cont.)
SetupOffera brief outline of the agenda, why the presentation is taking place, andwhat toexpect from it. Let the audience know that there will be time foraudience participationand questions at the end.Itis typical to ask at the beginning of the presentation: “How many are familiarwith NA?” and “How many have had no exposure to or knowledge of NA?”This responsemay require you to adapt your presentationsomewhat
The Presentation – 20Mins
Origin of our name – Why “narcotics?”Terminologycommonly used for all illegal substances atthe timeof our inception in1953NAis not a drug-specific program, but has universalappeal toall who have the disease ofaddictionHistoricalbackgroundAdaptedfrom AA; regular NA meetings started in Los Angeles, CA, in1953Explosivegrowth coincided with publishing of the bookNarcotics Anonymousin 1983In2012, over 61,800 meetings in over 129 countries, speaking 77languages
The Presentation (cont.)
What is NA? – A vital resourceTherapeuticvalue of one addict helping another – peer support network.Processfor change through the Twelve Steps.The NA meeting – primary vehicle for delivering the NA message of recovery;peer supportsystem and an environment within which people can help one anotherstop usingdrugs and learn to live drug-free.Meetingspromote atmosphere of recovery from drug dependence.Membersshare personal experiences with addiction and recovery.Experiencedolder members support newer members.NAmeetings and services are self-supporting by members’ contributions (nofees ormembership dues).Guidelineson how to conduct an NA meeting are available.Arange of NA literature available in many languages on display here – (name)
The Presentation (cont.)
Is NA culturally adaptable?Long-termNA communities: Indian subcontinent, Japan, Western Europe,Latin America, Middle East, Iran.Newgrowth: Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Africa.NAliterature published in over 41 languages.Ifyou know that your audience has ideas or opinions about challengesto adaptabilityand growth in your community, address your response to thoseideas here.
The Presentation (cont.)
NA Membership SurveySurveyhandout – provide background on how/where survey is conducted.Thissurvey has been carried out biennially since 1996.Gender: male 53%, female 47%.63% rated “Importance of first NA meeting” very high or high.Influenceto attend first NA meeting: Highest four were (1) another NA member, (2) treatment providers, (3) family, (4) court orders/drug courts. This showsthe importanceof our working with these organizations and families.Meetingattendance: members surveyed averaged 3.2 meetings per week.
The Presentation (cont.)
Cooperating with professionalsNA can assist with welcoming your clients to meetings.Presentations to professionals and clients.Printed material, audiovisual, helplines, websites.Subscription to NA publications (The NA Way Magazine), and literature useful for clients’ introduction to NA.No charge or fee for your clients to attend NA recovery meetings or for NApresentations.
The Presentation (cont.)
Benefits to the client(specific for treatment, healthcare, andcorrectional audiences)NAassists with transition back into the community. Members can meet clientsat meetingsor provide rides to meetings. Often members will invite newermembers tosocial gatherings such as dances or invite them out for refreshments followinga meeting.NAcan support clients while they are still in treatment. If clients havephone privileges, they can contact NA members and begin building their peersupport network.NAprovides a (peer based) support network and social community.Members maintaintheir support network through sponsorship, meeting attendance, andusing atelephone network of recovering friends. This extends to the social communityas membersjoin together for movies, theatre, sports events, etc.NAprovides drug-free role model reinforcement. Often clients have hadminimal exposureto drug-free living. Members of NA provide that role model in theirwork andhome environment.NAprovides offers drug-free social environment through conventions,dances, picnics.
The Presentation (cont.)
Benefits to the professional(specific for treatment and healthcare audiences)Researchstates: improves retention of clients in treatment (Each communitywill needto decide which researchers to identify for the audience. NAWS suggestsstudies conductedby J. F. Kelly, R. Stout, W.Zywaik[2006] and K. Humphries [2005] astwo possiblechoices for you.)Immediateaccess for clients.Valuableadjunct to treatment.
The Presentation (cont.)
How to contact NALocalcontact information including phone numbers, websites, or any otherrelevant information.NAWorld Services, PO Box 9999, Van Nuys, CA 91409;; phone: 818.773.9999; FAX: 818.700.0700.
Wrap Up – 15mins
Ask if there are any questions or comments.Ifthis is an audience that is familiar with NA and onethat interactswith addicts in a professional capacity, you willwant tomake this portion as interactive as possible. The moreyou canderive from this type of audience and create agenuine exchange, the more effective the interaction will be.
Wrap Up (cont.)
Atthe end of the presentationPointout the literature table, encourage the participants to take what they need,and toleave their business card.Thank the audience for their attention, thank the dignitaries and thevenue representativesagain, and thank the other presenters.Letthe audience know that you will be available for additional questions afterthe presentationis over, and where you will be.Askthe audience to fill out the session evaluation survey if you have decided itis valuable.
OnsiteCollectthe surveys, sign-in sheet, and business cards.Besure the room is left in order; collect any unused ordiscarded sessionmaterial.After the eventWritethank-you notes to all who attended.Atregularly scheduled intervals, follow up with all who attended.
Tips for Answering Public FAQs
Responding to questions in your own words often works best – the responseslisted belowcan be used as a guide.Short, simple, direct responses work best. Audience members or those who stop byan exhibitbooth usually have limited time and will appreciate a brief response.Whenwe use NA specific language such as “home group”, please explain themeaning forthe audience.Tryto keep responses focused on the questions asked. Remember, the goal isto informmembers of the public about Narcotics Anonymous – personal disclosureis usuallynot appropriate or helpful. (For example, sharing about the step youare working, how many members you sponsor, and your service commitments isnot necessarilyrelevant.)
Group Exercise
We will roll play a Q&A session with the public.We will offer difficult questions, and anyone who wishes, by raising their hand, may give an answer. We’ll then discuss and possibly refine the answers.Some questions will be hard. This is a safe place to make mistakes. In fact, that’s the idea today. Have fun with it.We will offer questions for a while, and may ask you to suggest a tough question a little later.
Public FAQs
What is the difference between AA and NA?AA helped start NA in 1953 by giving NA’s founding members permission toadapt theirtraditions and steps. The primary difference between the two programsis thatAA’s focus is alcohol and alcoholism, whereas NA’s focus is recoveryfrom addiction. In NA we believe that use of drugs, including alcohol, is but a symptomof thedisease of addiction.
Public FAQs
How can I find NA meetings in my neighborhood orin variouscountries around the world?The easiest way to find NA meetings is by visiting NA World Serviceswebsite, Since our members provide the data for the meeting locator,we cannotguarantee the information is completely accurate (some meetings mayhave changedlocations, for example). Contacting local area and regional helplinesor websites(also listed at will often provide more accuratemeeting information. (Have a local meeting directory with you during the presentation.)
Public FAQs
Aremost of your members heroin addicts?When NA first started, it is possible that the majority of our members usedheroin. Today, as indicated in ourMembership Survey, our members use a variety ofdrugs, includingalcohol. Interestingly, 78% of those surveyed list alcohol as one ofthe drugsused on a regular basis. This survey also provides informationabout employmentstatus, occupation, gender, and age. Our basic tenet about addictionis thatit is a disease and not related to a specific substance.
Public FAQs
What support does NA have for adolescents?Adolescents are welcome at all NA meetings. If there are meetings in a localNA communityspecifically designated for young people, the meeting schedulewill identifythose meetings as such. Although any NA member is welcome at anyNA meeting, specially designated youth meetings can help younger addicts findtheir peers.
Public FAQs
It was briefly mentioned that NA has a variety ofrecovery literature. What kinds of literature and recoverymaterials doyou have, and how can I obtain these?NA has six book-length pieces:NarcoticsAnonymous, Basic TextLivingClean: The Journey ContinuesItWorks: How and Why, which contains essays about the Twelve Stepsand TwelveTraditionsJustfor Today: Daily Meditations for RecoveringAddictsSponsorshipTheNA Step Working Guides, a companion piece toIt Works: How and Why.We also have a host of informational pamphlets, booklets, and a quarterlyjournal calledThe NA Way Magazine. All of our literature and recovery materials canbe obtaineddirectly from or by contacting the local NA area or region.
Public FAQs
How can we schedule an NA presentation?At the end of this presentation, please provide us with your contactinformation andwe will arrange for a presentation with you.
Public FAQs
Is someone who is still using drugs welcometo attendNA meetings?Yes, they are more than welcome to attend meetings. Many of ourmembers actuallycame to meetings while still using drugs and are now drug-freeand recoveringtoday. Often, if a member is still using, he or she will be asked torefrain fromspeaking during a meeting. Instead, these addicts are encouraged tospeak withmembers during break or before or after the meeting.
Public FAQs
What resources do you have for singleparents? Arechildren welcome at meetings?Most groups welcome children who are behaved and under the supervision ofa parent. Sometimes a group will offer babysitting services for its members.Contact thelocal NA helpline for additional information or look for meetings in the localNA meetingdirectory that indicate childcare or that the group is children-friendly.
Public FAQs
I referred someone to NA who was takingmedication, andNA members said they were not clean. Wouldyou explainwhat you mean?NA is a program of complete abstinence, and members refer to time (days,weeks, months, years) without using drugs as “cleantime.”SinceNarcotics Anonymous is an abstinence-based recovery program,persons whoare taking drug replacement medication are not considered drug-free.These personsare encouraged and welcome to attend NA meetings; however, theyare askedto listen rather than speak at meetings, and it is suggested they talkto memberson a break, or before or after a meeting. Meetings that follow thisformat doso to preserve the atmosphere of recovery.For members who have a need to take prescribed medication for medicalor mentalhealth issues, we suggest reading the bookletIn Times of Illness. Thispiece provideshelpful, experience-based information regarding medication andillness, andoutlines the idea that the decision to take medication is left to themember, physician, and sponsor. This pamphlet was written to help members whohave achievedtotal abstinence from drugs and are faced with a need to take medication.Unfortunately, our members often voice their own opinions about the useof medicationeven though NA has no opinion. Although this may be adisconcerting issuefor professionals, it can be equally as confusing to many members.Typically, membersof NA make a distinction between drug replacement medicationand medicationthat a person needs to take once they are completely abstinentfrom drugs.
Public FAQs
What happens at an NA meeting?An NA meeting is where two or more addicts gather for the purpose ofrecovery fromthe disease of addiction. Members offer each other peer support bysharing experiencesabout how they manage life situations without returning tousing drugs. Some meetings have speakers who share their experience with gettingand stayingclean, while others have structured formats that focus on NAliterature (ourBasic Text, informational pamphlets, or ourJust for Todaydailymeditation book). All meetings focus on recovery and supporting each other in recovery.
Public FAQs
What happens at an NA meeting? (cont.)Here are some other things that can occur at an NA meeting:Duringthe course of a meeting, a basket is passed for our membersto contributemoney to support the cost of the meeting facility and otherservices. One of our traditions speaks to our self-support through ourown contributions.Meetingsoften open and close with the Serenity Prayer or somequote fromNA literature. [In some communities this may requiresome explanation. The word “prayer” could be troublesome.]Somemeetings also providekeytagsto recognize days, months, andyears ofcontinuous abstinence from drugs.
Public FAQs
Is NA connected with any religious organizations?No. The NA program is based on a set of spiritual principles that are notassociated witha particular religion. Although our steps call for finding and believing ina “powergreater than oneself,” this is a personal decision for each and everymember tomake. Members choose their own “power greater than themselves.”Members’ beliefsrange from nature to organized religion, from no belief that a powerexists, tobelief in the power of inanimate objects such as rocks. Members are freeto choosea belief that works for them personally, and there is no oppositionto anyone’schoice within the fellowship. We perceive this to be a strength ofour program— the unconditional freedom members have with choosing theirown personalbelief — and in NA meetings one can hear members state that this wasan attractiveand safe aspect of the fellowship. NA doesn’t oppose or endorseany religion. Experience of our members has shown that the spiritual principleswork forall members, from the devoutly religious to the atheist and agnostic.





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Public Relations Training - NA