How to start a meeting
Introduction to the Starter Kit:
This section of Nicotine Anonymous® on the Web emulates the meeting starter kit that is mailed to people when they inquire by mail about starting a meeting. Some of the material that is mailed in hard copy is "linked" in this section. For example, here on the web, you click onto the hyperlink "meetings" to view the most current meeting list available, whereas when you are mailed a starter kit, \a printed meeting list is included.
Nicotine Anonymous is a twelve-step recovery program adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using nicotine. Our fellowship defines "abstinence" as a state that begins when all use of nicotine ceases. There are no dues or fees, but we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Our program of recovery consists of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and five "tools" - meetings, sponsorship, literature, the phone list, and service.
We encourage you to start a meeting in your area. The starter kit section includes suggestions for: finding a meeting place, outreach ideas to announce the new meeting, three samples of meeting formats, a guideline for assembling the "newcomer's welcome packet", and guidelines for the positions of chairperson, secretary, and treasurer.
The Starter Kit
We are happy you want to start a meeting and we want you to succeed. Therefore, this section includes a lot of detail and explanatory notes. All of the following are suggestions; they represent our collective experience.
We are assuming you are new to our fellowship and there are no other meetings in your area. We want you to have enough information to be comfortable in making this commitment. If there are other meetings in your area, review this package and visit an existing nearby meeting. Doing so will provide first-hand experience and support.
We suggest you make a personal commitment for a minimum of three months to keep the meeting open. Some of us make commitments of up to a year because we have found it takes time to get a meeting established. Most nicotine users will tell you they will come to the meeting when you talk about starting one. Good intentions do not always work out, and if you are the lone person at the meeting for a while, do not become discouraged, don't let the early excitement of your effort turn into frustration and disappointment. If there are other like minded people to help in the beginning, it makes things easier. Keeping the meeting going and having it available for the newcomer, will also help you succeed in your program of recovery.
Before looking for a meeting place, decide on a day and time for the meeting that fits your schedule. Our meetings generally last for one hour and are held every week at the same time and day. Hospitals, churches, banks, community facilities such as libraries, recreation centers, or health departments are likely meeting places. Such locations are usually inexpensive. Try to negotiate a flexible rent that you can afford in the beginning, than you can increase it as the membership grows. Some places such as hospitals might not want to charge rent. In that case we suggest you try to arrange a periodic donation to a department, such as Community Services. This will keep Nicotine Anonymous self-supporting in line with our Seventh Tradition.
Here are some suggestions for outreach
1. Prepare a flyer (click here for flyer) and place copies in hospitals, clinics, libraries and other high traffic locations in your area.
2. Ask your local newspaper to list your meeting in their community events section. Many radio and public television stations as well as your local cable TV company have the same service available and the listings are usually free.
3. Inform your county chapters of the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, as well as local smoking cessation programs. And don't forget us - please fill out the Meeting Directory form.
What you need to get started!
Click on the following links to find out more information about your kit.