Our Policy of Openness:
Our Higher Power As We May Each Come to Understand
Our experience is that left to our own devices we did not stop using nicotine. Our strength to recover from this addiction was realized with the help and guidance of a Power greater than ourselves. Our hope arose and was maintained as we came to believe and practice the universal spiritual principles of this program of recovery.
The proper noun God and gender pronouns His and Him are in some of our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions because the wording is based on the original Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous written after 1939. Nicotine Anonymous’ adaptation of these Steps and Traditions is not intended to imply an affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous or any religious sect or denomination.
Nicotine Anonymous is not a religion, nor does it have an “official” or “approved” spiritual path. Our program is based on universal spiritual principles and uses the concept referred to as God, Higher Power, or a Power greater than ourselves as an essential means to recover from our active nicotine addiction. The chapter on Step Eleven in Nicotine Anonymous: The Book informs members that “God can be an inner voice, nature, other people, or a rock.” The Newcomer’s Booklet states: “For many members, their group is that Power greater than themselves that provides support, understanding, and inspiration to recover from this addiction.”
Our Traditions guide us to focus on the program’s principles and to avoid controversy, so that we may better fulfill “our primary purpose to offer support to those who are trying to gain freedom from nicotine,” as per Our Preamble. Tradition Three affirms: “The only requirement for Nicotine Anonymous membership is a desire to stop using nicotine.” Thus, each member is free to come to her or his own understanding of a Power greater than herself or himself and discover the value and purpose of involving a Higher Power in her or his life.
The chapter on Step Seven in Nicotine Anonymous: The Book also imparts the following: “We acknowledged our Higher Power as a higher, more complete, more encompassing entity than ourselves. We saw that our Higher Power was more, and that we were less. But we were not less in a bad or pejorative sense. We were less in respect to our Higher Power.”
As a worldwide fellowship we welcome all nicotine addicts who seek recovery from nicotine addiction. Our members come from a diversity of cultures, backgrounds, and understandings. There are members who may or may not also belong to a religious organization or follow a specific spiritual path, whether traditional or one of an individual’s own design. There are members who have a secular belief system, or one solely based on science. There are members who have no particular belief system or may simply be content to accept the mystery of life.
Acceptance of these differences fosters caring and love, so essential to our healing process—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Step Twelve maintains this acceptance also improves our ability to “carry this message” of recovery to other nicotine users and “to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Tradition One states: “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on Nicotine Anonymous unity.” May our program’s literature represent, and members’ actions reflect, this respect for the dignity of each Nicotine Anonymous member.