California Inland Region of NA

RD Highlights from the 2020 Western States Zonal Forum (WSZF)

This report is presented in sequential order, as much as was possible.

We drove 837 miles on this trip over roughly 15 ½ hours in 4 days. Tina and Region 51 did an awesome job putting on a well-planned and coordinated WSZF, and, if there were any hiccups, we didn’t see them.

Fellowship Development in St. George, Utah

We got to the hotel Thursday, checked in and had a quick lunch and then back on the 15 North to St. George, Utah, where we participated in a Fellowship Development (FD) workshop for the local NA fellowship. There were presentations from the 2 World Board members in attendance (Paul and Hammad), Regional H&I from one of the member regions, and from RDs from Alaska Region and Washington Northern Idaho Region about starting a meeting as part of the WSZF’s fellowship development in Alaska in 2018. There was also an extensive Q&A session where local members were encouraged to participate and ask questions. All of the WSZF participants had the opportunity to talk and interact with members from the local fellowship.

One interesting discussion was about establishing H&I panels in a facility involved whether to start with PR/PI as the initial point of contact or someone from H&I. Ultimately, it was suggested that if relationships already existed with a facility, then maybe H&I should run point, but that if it was a new facility, unfamiliar with H&I, that maybe a PR/PI presentation would be appropriate, potentially in conjunction with someone from H&I.

California Collaboration

We didn’t accomplish anything new this past year, but we didn’t set any tasks or goals last time either. There was some extended discussion about whether the collaboration is accomplishing anything, whether it would be more effective and inclusive to just work as a part of the WSZF.

We discussed what the collaboration is doing / has done so far. Currently, a map of all California regions has been produced, with the intention of deploying on a web site where professionals (and maybe addicts as well) could identify what Region they are looking for and make contact. Through the collaboration, a connection for insurance is available if we’re ever interested. Several other regions (including So Cal) utilize the insurance.

Moving forward we will be utilizing one of the facilitators from WSZF to run our meeting. We voted in Art from So Cal as an un-funded assistant facilitator. We voted in Dave T. to serve as coordinator for PR between the California regions. He would like PR/PI coordinators to send him their contact information so he can help regions to connect and collaborate when opportunities arise. His contact info is 858-380-9345 davet.91977@gmail.com

Regional Reports

All 13 Regions were in attendance and provided reports. We distributed 25 copies of our report to the WSZF, read some of the highlights to the body, and turned in our $300 contribution to the WSZF.

Interesting Takeaways:

  • CAR Vote Tallying

I asked if other Regions could share about the method they use to tally their votes. A few regions tally like we do, by Area Tally, while many others use a Group Tally, and some even use an Individual Tally.

  • Fellowship Development
    The zonal Fellowship Development (FD) Workgroup will continue for another year. Steven S. from Arizona will continue to chair the workgroup. If anyone is interested in participating, I can provide contact details.
  • Video H&I Panels

We had a few interested members in attendance from other Regions and Zones. Tim from Santa Fe, New Mexico, shared that there is a prison in Santa Fe where they are starting to take in H&I panels via Video feed.
I was excited about the possibilities:

  • No clearance required
    • Ability to broadcast panel to multiple pods at the same time
    • Ability to mix live panels with video
  • The RD from San Diego asked if Lower Desert or another area might be interested in exploring the potential further in collaboration with San Diego Imperial Counties in one of the prisons that falls in their region, but is close enough to Lower Desert to potentially share.

Conference Agenda Report (CAR)

One of my biggest takeaways from the CAR Review is that, in the eyes of the World Board (WB) there are two NAWSes. One (1) being NAWS, Inc. the Corporation for whom the World Board is the Board of Directors, and two (2) NAWS – NA World Services, which consists of NAWS, Inc., the World Board, the World Service Conference (WSC), and Regional Delegates/Alternates. This was eye-opening for me, and I am sure will have an impact on how I view current and future motions and discussions framed by the World Board around NAWS.

Other interesting discussion from the CAR included:

  • There was extensive discussion around motion 1. We were told that this would normally have been a CAT motion, but that the World Board (WB) was trying to practice more transparency.
  • There was extensive discussion around motions 3-5 and the FIPT.
  • I asked the World Board member leading the discussion, if motion 4 passed, would they, or had they discussed taking action against groups reproducing illicit literature (specifically book length NA literature). His response was a definitive “No”.
  • Southern California Region is considering proposing an amendment to Motion 13 from the CAR. They may also opt to present it as a CAR motion in 2022 (Since they haven’t decided yet, I will present a brief synopsis:
    • Motion 13: To direct the World Board to create a project plan for consideration at the WSC 2022 to investigate changes and/or additional wording to NA literature from gender specific language to gender neutral and inclusive language.add “gender” to “What is the NA Program?” to read: “Anyone may join us regardless of age, race, gender, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion.”
    • Intent: While the investigation of changes to NA Literature toward gender-neutral/inclusive language is a worthy discussion toward greater unity, our region is proposing this first step. This sentence is a powerful statement our literature makes about who is welcome to join Narcotics Anonymous. This reading is a basic reading at meetings and this small change would set the tone for inclusivity without having to negotiate too many cultural differences in language and concepts of personal identity worldwide. Inclusion of the word “gender” in this sentence communicates the value system that men and women equally may join Narcotics Anonymous; this also welcomes addicts who do not conform or who define gender for themselves. Until all genders are treated equally worldwide, Narcotics Anonymous must include gender in this sentence so that any addict seeking recovery, despite differences in our identities that might divide us outside of NA, feel welcome to join Narcotics Anonymous regardless of social, political, socioeconomic, religious, or legal restrictions in the world. 
    • Rationale: We believe there is a clear distinction between the two terms. Gender refers to one’s concept of self as male, female, a blend of both, neither, or other; sexual identity refers to how one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is romantically or sexually attracted

Conference Approval Track (CAT)

The CAT is basically the second half of the CAR, dealing primarily with planning, budgeting, seating of regions, guidelines for WSC, procedural standard for WSC business, etc. These items were separated from the CAR a number of years back to simplify the CAR. At 187 pages, it made for some ‘light reading’ in our 6-hour CAT session on Saturday morning. The motions in the CAT are made by the World Board.

As with the CAR, the CAT is available online at www.na.org/conference

There are 17 additional motions in the CAT

  1. To approve the 2020–2022 NAWS Strategic Plan.
    1. The NAWS Strategic Plan is outlined in pages 9-23 of the CAT
    1. This is proposed as a whole, rather than item-by-item
  2. To approve the project plan for the Spiritual Principle a Day Book for inclusion in the 2020–2022 Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc., Budget.
    1. A proposed budget of $75,000 for the next 2 years.
  3. To approve the project plan for New Recovery Informational Pamphlets.
  4. To approve the project plan for Revising Existing Recovery Informational Pamphlets.
  5. To approve the project plan for Issue Discussion Topics.
    1. The World Board member was queried as to why DRT/MAT was being forwarded back to the fellowship as an issue discussion topic (rather than setting the topics from the survey) and he responded that a motion had been passed to write an IP with NA’s position on DRT/MAT, but the last round of discussion had not resulted in a clear position to take on the subject.
    1. I asked, at what point do you you (the Wolrd Board) say, we’re never going to get a clearing position than what’s stated in our literature “NA is a program of complete abstinence‚” He said it could happen, but they aren’t there yet.
  6. To approve the project plan for the Local Service Toolbox.
  7. To approve the project plan for the Role of Zones.
  8. To approve the project plan for the Fellowship Intellectual Property Trust Revision.
  9. To approve the 2020–2022 Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc., Budget
    1. NAWS had a $1.3 Million budget deficit in the last period… $1 Million of this was offset by profit from the World Convention in Orlando, but they still had a $300K loss (spent $300K more than they took in). Current budget calls for an approximate $1.6 Million deficit for the next two years. When queried, “Why does it make sense to establish a deficit budget?” one of the World Board members put his hands in the air and said “What would you like us to cut?” He went on to say that NAWS currently has over 70 days of operating capital (much higher than the industry standard for corporations) and that they would work from those funds if they had to.
  10. To seat the Minas Region
  11. To seat the North‐West Russia Region
    1. There was some semi-heated discussion about why the WB hadn’t made motions for the other 3 Regions who applied for seating to be seated, giving the WSC the option of vote to seat or not seat each of the Regions. The WB response was that only 2 of the Regions met all of the criteria for seating. Motions to seat the other 3 Regions can be made as ‘new idea’ motions at the WSC.
  12. To pause zonal seating by not considering seating requests from zones formed after WSC 2018 until after zonal seating criteria or a process for zonal seating is established by the WSC.
  13. To approve the proposed changes to A Guide to World Services in NA as provided in the 2020 CAT and indicated in red.
    1. Motions 29 and 30 both make changes to the Guide to World Services in NA, but one of the two motions deals with items that were recommended by the HRP (Human Resources Panel), so those changes were separated to allow those changes to be addressed separately.
  14. To approve the proposed changes to A Guide to World Services in NA as provided in the 2020 CAT and indicated in red and highlighted.
  15. To adopt the 2020–2022 Reimbursement Policy.
  16. To eliminate abstentions when voting or taking straw polls, for WSC 2020 only beginning after CAR‐ Related Discussion and Decisions.
    1. Discussion was that Abstentions actually count as “no” votes, and the RDs have the option of casting a “Not Voting” which then removes them completely from the count.
  17. To adopt, for WSC 2020 only, the following approaches for New Idea Discussions (see CAT for details)
  • NEW IDEA: (for discussion at WSC) – from Northern New England Region – We propose to discuss creating a process to advance New Ideas for Discussion prioritized at the prior conference that allows for:
    • Fellowship-wide feedback
    • Development of regional consciences
    • Multi-regional/Multi-zonal consensus-building and CAR motion collaboration

(see last 3 pages in CAT copies, or as a separate addendum online for more information)

WSZF Business Session

We spent a good chunk of time going through proposed WSZF Guideline revisions. With time for our business session running short, it was decided to send the Guidelines back to the workgroup to make the revisions requested and review any other potential changes.

We also determined to keep the Fellowship Development workgroup going for another year.

We then had a series of motions regarding implementation of a Zonal BMLT:

Meeting Search Tool – BMLT

The WSZF voted to establish a BMLT (Basic Meeting List Tool) Server for use by the regions in the Zone. Probably close to half of the regions already use the BMLT on their web sites, so this will produce a cost savings for those regions, if they choose to utilize it, and make it easily accessible to Regions such as ours who haven’t implemented this technology.

The BMLT is a meeting database and search tool developed by some NA members which has slowly been being adopted by areas and regions around the world. You can see it in use on both the San Diego Imperial Counties Regional web site, and the Southern California Regional web site. Combined with other tools, it can also be used to create printed meeting lists, to allow for text-based meeting search (e.g. text your current location to a number and get a list of the 5 closest meetings today).

This will take some time to roll out and implement but should be a very worthwhile and functional development from the zone.

Finally, we voted in Eric from Northern California Region as the IT Coordinator, the point person for implementing the BMLT, updating the WSZF Web Site and utilization of our technology such as Zoom and Loomio. Eric and I met briefly Sunday morning and I will be working with Eric on the redesign of the WSZF Web Site.

Closing Session

In the closing session, we talked about:

  • Next meeting – we meeting informally at the WSC. I also proposed that we have at least one online meeting over the course of the year.
  • Budget for the IT Coordinator – we set a $500 cap for the IT Coordinator to begin implementing the BMLT and move the Web Site to a virtual server.
  • IT Coordinator funding – there was some discussion as to whether we should establish funding for the IT Coordinator to attend the next WSZF, but the matter was held over to one of our meetings during the year when we may have a better idea of our needs
  • Hosting of the 2021 WSZF

There were no bids to host the 2021 WSZF, although a few regions indicated that they might be interested and would discuss it with their regions. Stephen and I both thought it might be interesting to consider hosting he 2021 WSZF, which needs to take place in the first quarter of 2021. Non-WSC years have more flexibility regarding dates. Hopefully we can discuss this further in Innovations and Challenges.

Contact us if you have questions…

Feel free to contact us. There is so much more that isn’t in the report… local meetings, conversations, and the sharing of ideas and passion for NA. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. We are your Regional Delegate Team.

RD – Mike C., delegate@cirna.org phone at 760-641-0705

RDA – Stephen S.., stephen69scott@yahoo.com phone at 760-270-3423