The European Federation of Therapeutic Communities (EFTC) is one of Europe’s largest and longest-lived recovery network with members from over 70 organizations in 27 European countries, among them Narcotics Anonymous, and associate members from Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Colombia, USA, and Japan. The Federation up to now has organized 15 biennial international conferences to present and evaluate research into all aspects of the therapeutic community and the wider issue of long-term recovery. EFTC is not exactly “new business” for NA since NAWS has participated in several conferences of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities which is EFTC’s “older cousin” if we may. For our European community though, this was the first time that NA participated in the conference that took place in Thessaloniki-Greece in September 2019. Almost 500 participants and 150 residents most of them professionals in the field of addiction treatment met for three days in a well-organized event. Among them, we met quite a few NA members!
Narcotics Anonymous in Greece is not yet well established in society’s perception of addiction and recovery despite the 32 years of existence. Although due to persistence and recent PR (Public Relations) efforts of the local fellowship, NA friendly professionals helped to overcome this obstacle. For sure, we realized the importance and experienced the benefits of effective PR efforts since, as we were informed, there has been quite a constant struggle in the Greek fellowship during the last years in order to create and maintain strong relationships with other programs. In a more generalized point, local NA PR committees can play a quite significant role in helping the EDM PR Workgroup in achieving goals such as participation in the EFTC conference. In future EFTC’s there might be a chance that our participation expands a little bit, if we desire so, by presenting a workshop as well as holding an exhibition table.
This Task gave NA the opportunity to have a decent presence in an International Conference where people that can really refer addicts to our program got a message regarding the actual size and wideness and credibility and potentiality of Narcotics Anonymous worldwide fellowship. For me it was a reminder that I really belong in this enormous family and enforced the fearless feeling of this path along with the sense of responsibility to the still suffering addict. To further our message, that was the target as I felt it and I believe that through the channels that are now opened through our contacts our message was indeed furthered. Things could be better organized but this could be our precious experience for future tasks as there are more to follow. Thank you PR Workgroup for letting me serve.
In loving service
This was a well organized event and I believe that our presence was appropriate. Although you would anticipate that NA is known in those circles of professionals it felt that they knew more of AA than NA. So it was good to be present internationally but also locally. In Europe I feel we still have a long way to go to make NA known in society. Vangelis and myself were present for the full two days that the event was taking place. The preparation was all done by Vangelis and everything was beautifully organized. The extra was an idea of Vangelis to have a screen where NA videos were running all the time. Talked with lots and kept the details of many so we can forward that info to different NA communities in Europe. The idea was to take the opportunity to link NA with their local professionals. It was a pleasure doing this service and thank you for allowing me.