Many pamphlets have been written on the various stages of recovery in NA. "For The Newcomer", "Sponsorship", "Living The Program" but there is one pamphlet that we have yet to see on the tables at NA meetings and it is sorely lacking... so here it is "So You Want To Be A Circuit Speaker".
Maybe it was at that 1st anniversary meeting, that we heard our first NA speaker. We were captivated by the wit and brilliance of their share (unless they had less than 6 months, because we probably wanted to use... listening to the hour long war story with the graphic details of how they got high).
Maybe it was that 1st convention we attended, when we had a few months clean and could scrape up enough money to buy our own t-shirts and coffee mugs, and, oh yea... one or two of those recovery tapes (if we had any money left after buying every piece of crap that had NA stamped on it).
We might have remembered seeing the speaker bathed in a white light and sharing so brilliantly, that we thought to ourselves.... "Some day. Some day I'm going to be up there myself, yes, someday I'm going to be a "CIRCUIT SPEAKER FOR NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS!" Now, if I can just figure out how to ask this newcomer girl next to me to the dance, after this meeting ends. Well, wait no longer. In this pamphlet, we will discuss the various intricacies of being just that (no not a hot pick up artist at conventions) a "CIRCUIT SPEAKER FOR NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS!".
Most circuit speakers start out small and build upon a proven set of jokes and cool lines. Of course, since nothing is original in Narcotics Anonymous, it is perfectly legal to steal as many good lines as possible wherever you can find them. The rule is you must give credit 3 times and then the material is yours. An insiders secret here, some of our best lines have come from AA speaker tapes, especially a lot of lines used by those NA old timers with 14 or more years clean. Wouldn't your purist sponsor be surprised if he knew that!
First of all, you need a good tape. Well, it doesn't even have to be very good, if you sponsor someone on the program committee. That is what we call an "in" in NA circuit speaker terms. It may even be "Your Sponsor" who dope fiends a speaker spot at the convention for you. Usually it will be for a workshop on something awesome like the "12 Traditions" or even more impressive "The Concepts" (don't worry if you don't know anything about them, no one is going to show up at your workshop any way).
You may wish to start out by speaking at a group anniversary or someone's birthday celebration. Be sure when you begin your talk to thank the committee for allowing you this opportunity to share your experience strength and hope on recovery from the disease of addiction in NA. Oh yes, be sure to let them know that you are "Clean" and not Clean and Sober. Purist principles have been firmly ingrained in most NA program committees. Any reference to AA or any other outside enterprise, especially therapists and codependency treatment is strictly an NA NO NO. Unless, of course, it's in the form of a put down or joke, then it's OK.
You may even want to get the group in on the fun of participating on your 1st tape. You can invite them to cheer loudly and enthusiastically when you are introduced. Be sure the person introducing you has reams of nifty bullshit to say about you. It helps if you are holding something important of his, like a letter to his parole board or judge. In worse case scenarios you can keep his "meeting sign in slip" for aftercare, till after he introduces you (be sure to have it pre-signed so you wont forget latter).
Develop a speaking style which really grabs the audience. Tears are good but don't over do them. You are speaking to a bunch of well trained con artists... they will see through your scams... unless of course, you are damn good. Most Circuit Speakers are.
Evangelical speaking is very big in certain circles of NA, especially inner city conventions. Raising your voice to accentuate something you've read out of The Basic Text will always score major points with the un-informed. Be sure to mention humility a lot as well.
Quoting your clean time is a must for any World Class Circuit Speaker. It should be done in such a way as to not seem like your bragging about it. Clean time broken down to months... as in; "I have 72 months clean"... is a big no no. Most addicts can't figure that fast and "months" are only impressive to a small minority... we are aiming for the big time here!
The second big secret to becoming a "CIRCUIT SPEAKER FOR NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS!" is the old back door. That is through service work, especially structured service... the higher the levels, the larger the audience. Of course, if you can make it to World Level of NA, your practically a shoe in.
So you've just got 5 years clean and can be a main speaker at an NA convention, now what? Use a lot of the tools mentioned above. It never hurts to try all of them... the more the merrier we say in NA. You used like a pig, why not recover like one to.
Say you get that Saturday Night Speaker spot at the Areas Convention (face it, Regionals are a little bit tough right off the bat and you haven't kissed enough ass yet in just 5 short years). Your sitting in your seat, sweating your balls off (or other parts of your anatomy for woman). Don't forget that you have to sit through all the readings, and the announcements, and the roll call of states & provinces, and the clean time countdown and once all that is over and your a nervous wreck and you have to piss so bad you can taste it because you didn't want to leave and miss your cue and you are so frightened because you haven't stood up in front of everyone and you now see that there are over 500 recovering critics watching your every move and you have to be brilliant.. what do you do????
So you want to be a "CIRCUIT SPEAKER FOR NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS!"... well, we suggest that there are a few simple things you can do before you get to this point and they are as follows;
1. WORK THE FUCKING STEPS SO YOU ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT INSTEAD OF RAMBLING ON ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHICH WOULD BORE ANYONE.
2. GET SOME CLEAN TIME (PREFERABLY 10 YEARS OR MORE)... SO YOU ACTUALLY HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE STRENGTH AND HOPE TO SHARE.
3. DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO NA BY PARTICIPATING IN SERVICE AND LEARN THE TRADITIONS THROUGH EXPERIENCE, PREFERABLY BY VIOLATING ALL OF THEM, SO YOU WILL HAVE A LOT OF HUMOROUS ANECDOTES TO PASS ON...
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY TURN IT OVER TO GOD... IF HE AIN'T SHARIN, AIN'T
NOBODY LISTENING ANYWAY!