2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
Each of us has been, because of our common malady, unable to govern ourselves. Our un-manageability has become apparent, not only to others, but to ourselves as well. This is often understood as a First Step toward recovery for the individual and initial point of unity for our fellowship; each person must first realize his or her powerlessness and un-manageability. We seek to do what we have committed to as well as we can with the freedom to ask for help. Neither we, nor any form of society with which we associated, could control our insatiable desire to use drugs and abuse our surroundings. Family, friends, governments, and institutions, none of which had any long lasting success with controlling or disciplining us addicts. Through being controlled by others, our need for self-government seems further evident. We are people who have grown very sensitive to authority.
It has been our experience, though we cannot be governed, we can be led or inspired toward what feels right in our hearts. This feeling of rightness or goodness is what many of us associate with the spiritual awakening we begin to experience in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. It is in this context that the concept of our Second Tradition becomes more obvious. Our only real Authority rests with God, as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Both power drivers and rebels can better work together in this context to carry our message, since neither is expending their energy foolishly fighting amongst the other.
Dope addicts are funny people. While many of us claim to hate authority figures. It is with some surprise that we find out that we actually are rather quick to give ourselves over to authority without thinking about it. Because we are not in charge, we believe we have no responsibility. In active addiction, our dealers were authorities along with various representatives of the organized world like cops, judges and doctors. We feel a need for freedom that we don’t associate with illness or addiction. This is responsible freedom. We are unable to cope with every day reality and the ordinary demands of life may slide beyond our reach. Authorities are the ones we associate with the word “no.”
“I do not know where the courage comes from most of the time, but today I find that I am a leader in NA. It takes courage to lead. It feels great for me to be so passionately involved in something that regardless of consequences, I will stand up and speak about an unpopular or controversial position. At the other end, I am able to carry and speak pro to a group conscience decision that I disagree with personally as long as it doesn’t force me to act against my basic principles or beliefs. I am able to get myself out of the way and become an instrument that carries a group’s conscience in a way that engenders humility and selflessness in my personality.”