What Is Narcotics Anonymous?
Narcotics Anonymous is a global, community-based organization with a multilingual and multicultural membership. NA was founded in 1953, and members hold nearly 67,000 meetings weekly in 139 countries today.
What Is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?
NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean…[more]
About the Northeast NJ Area
The Northeast NJ Area is a part of New Jersey Region. Northeast Area is comprised of 27 weekly meetings 26 located in Union County, NJ and 1 located in Essex County, NJ. Below is an archive history of the Northeast Area. Since the writing of our history, 3 new groups have joined the area: A New Beginning, Morning Wake Up and Steppin’ into Serenity. A history of those groups will be provided soon. For a complete listing, please see our List of Meetings/Groups.
Northeast Group History
This history is dedicated to all the recovering addicts who have helped and/or started the meetings in this area; or any other area for that matter. Because you paved the way, we have so many meetings to attend in this area.
This history is also dedicated to the 32 groups that we serve and all of the recovering addicts who help to keep the doors open.
Also, to an Area Service Committee that has been truly supportive of all Public Information efforts this past year.
Most importantly to the newcomers who are coming in after us. Hopefully this project will give the newcomer something to refer to and build upon.
The Public Information Subcommittee Regional Handbook suggested it might be a good idea to know the history of your Area – how the groups sprang up, which are older, newer, etc.
Unfortunately, many groups did not know the year or history of their groups and most do not have archives. As a result, some groups did not celebrate the correct year and one group did not celebrate at all because they didn’t know the groups anniversary.
We were told that our Area did not have a history in the archives. So, we asked the groups and they felt it was necessary and a good idea. We asked other areas at the Region if they had done a history and one area stated they did a history and used member’s first names only.
The subcommittee reached out and asked what members in this area thought about using names, initials, etc. We voted to keep a record of all the names of predecessors who were involved in getting the groups started, but for the purpose of this book, we would keep it anonymous. Although the book is intended for NA Fellowship only, we don’t want to run the risk of breaking anonymity. The members who helped start meetings will be listed on a copy given to Area Service. So if the area wants to continue work on the book with names, it’s available.
We believe, like many others that the history of the groups and those who started them are important to preserve. Many predecessors have relocated to other areas/states or passed on.
We talked to as many people as we could who were there from the beginning. Then we talked to those who are currently attending and/or serving the groups. We verified information against at least 4 people per group. We visited 30 out of 32 groups to show them the history and asked for input. The other two groups forwarded the info. Some predecessors remembered everything about the group from beginning to end but could not remember the date/year. As one so eloquently put it “I don’t do dates”.
We hope you enjoy the book, keep it at your home group and add on to it as you remember. Please let us know if there are any corrections or new information. Please send it to P.I. Subcommittee or Area; the book can always be reprinted. Thanks!
Yours in Service
Public Information Subcommittee
Public Information Chair, Trish A.
Public Information Vice Chair, Kim E.
Public Information Secretary, Theresa D.
P.I. Booth Coordinator, Lisa B.
P.I. Booth/Community Event, Cecelia
Statewide Helpline, Darryl H.
Helpline Workshop, Claude C.
Helpline Workshop, Kelly B.
Helpline Workshop, Danny G.
Helpline Workshop, James A.
Helpline Workshop, James K.
Poster & Flyer Distribution, Eddie
Poster & Flyer Distribution, Lorenzo
Presentations to Professionals, Turner M.
Presentations to Professionals, Larry P.
Presentations to Professionals, Wahidah C.
Presentations to H&I Professionals, Lisa B.
Presentations to H&I Professionals, Barbara J.
If we missed anyone, please forgive us, we’ll add on next time. ☺
Printed June 12, 2004
Revised June 21, 2004
A BETTER WAY
Anniversary: January 1987
A Better Way group started out at Osceola Church and later moved across the street from Clark High School. The attendance was large. However, according to a member, the police started stopping (certain) people coming to this meeting; so they stopped coming and attendance fell off.
The group later moved to the south-side of Cranford on the corner of Walnut. They lost the facility and moved to Eastman and Holly where they meet now and attendance started to grow.
When the Westfield, Just For Today group changed their Monday meeting to Tuesday night, this group started to grow.
The format of this group used to be to share about your ‘week in recovery’. They were set up in one circle.
Because the group has grown so much, the format of this group is to count off and break into smaller groups. For example, all the ones go into one room; the twos get together in another room, all the threes in yet another room. Once you get into your meeting room, members still share about their week in recovery. This group has always had the same format.
A BRAND NEW DAY
Anniversary: February 1993
This facility wanted an NA meeting. Someone who was involved with the facility knew a recovering addict. They knew her when she was using and saw her clean; she was an attraction. They called her and asked if she could help start a meeting there. She reached out to other recovering addicts. According to this member, there was no P.I., so they did the presentation themselves.
The group started out in the little room in the back of this same facility. There used to be about 10 recovering addicts attending what used to be a Tag meeting. They later moved over into the room where they are now and changed their format to a Just for Today meditation meeting.
The group got their name because one of the recovering addicts said every day was a ‘brand new day’ to us. The group also felt the meditation was just for today and it went with the name of the group.
Hugs Not Drugs and this group used to meet at 8:00 p.m. When Hugs changed their meeting time, most members started attending/supporting both meetings. They would go from Hugs to Brand New Day.
CAUGHT IN THE GRIP
Anniversary: January 1999
A member went to 3-4 other members and told them “we need to give back to the community”. Let’s have a place for the people in this area (Rahway) to go to.
Members were sitting around trying to figure out the name for the group. The name came from a home group member. At the time, another home group member was going through some stuff and the home group member told her she was “caught in the grip” and the members said that’s it …… that’s the name of the group: Caught in the Grip.
One of main reasons they wanted to start this group was to have it in the projects because it was in the belly of the beast: Leesville Ave., Rahway.
The format of the group was a Beginner’s topic. For the last two years they on the 3rd week of each month they do Steps 1-3.
FAITH, HOPE & ACCEPTANCE
Anniversary: End of March or early April 1986
A home group member stated that this group didn’t have any written records. Therefore, there is no listing of when the group actually got started.
This year, the group reached out to the past home group members and came up with some history for this group. The details are sketchy because some pioneer members have passed away, relocated or otherwise cannot be located.
They started out on 867 Westfield Avenue. There were two meetings, open discussion upstairs and beginners’ grab bag topic downstairs.
They paid their rent by keeping the grounds, mopping, raking leaves and anything else to keep the facility in good condition.
In 1999, this group relocated in Roselle. The Sisterhood of Recovery and Steps Ahead group also meet at this facility.
A home group member with 20 years stated that today they carry the spirit that this group did when it was formulated.
FRIDAY NIGHT ALIVE
Anniversary: December 1985
This group holds two meetings at this facility. There is a meeting upstairs and one downstairs. This group also has separate rooms for the children to learn/play while you attend the meeting.
Upstairs used to be a Step meeting. Downstairs has always been a beginners meeting.
Note: The month and year does not add up with 19 years; but this is the information given.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
Anniversary: May 1995
This group started out on Elm Street in Rahway. The group relocated to Hamilton Street, (Buttner Hall) Rahway in 2002; where they are still located.
The format was an Open Beginners Grab Bag Topic. The group changed their format to Grab Bag for the first three weeks. The last week of the month they do a Step 1 - 3. If there is 5 weeks in a month, they will have a grab bag for the first four weeks.
GOOD ORDERLY DIRECTION
Anniversary: May 15, 1985
Good Orderly Direction is also known as G.O.D started out on Broad Street (across the street from (then) St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. They used to meet in the same Pearl & South Broad Streets facility where Hugs Not Drugs was meeting at the time.
The idea to start Good Orderly Direction came out of the meetings held in detox at the Winfield Scott Hotel, East Jersey Street, Elizabeth. At the time Winfield Scott Hotel used to have a detox in the hotel. This detox later moved into what used to be St. Elizabeth (Trinitas). This group used to meet on a Monday night and it used to be a 1-12 step meeting.
When the detox left, the meeting had to relocate, so they changed their meeting day to Saturdays and relocated to Broad Street where Hugs Not Drugs were located. The idea for G.O.D. came while they were bringing a meeting to detox. Some of the members who formulated the Hugs Not Drugs group were involved in starting G.O.D.
This group relocated to Pierce Manor, Irvington Avenue, Elizabeth. Hope & Recovery also met there. From there in 2000, this group relocated to Chandler & Middlesex Avenues, Linden. The format of this group was a Step 1 through 3 out of the basic text.
Because this group had such a combination of new comers – along with the support of old timers, the format was changed – going up to Steps 1 through 6 with open topics at the end of each month. This group has dedicated home group members.
HOPE & ESPERANZA
Anniversary: April 2002
The names for this group were put in a hat and the name Hope & Esperanza was chosen. They were originally located in Trinitas Hospital where they still meet. However, they used to meet in a session room and within the first year they had to relocate to the cafeteria because the group’s attendance grew.
Those members knew the area was in dire need of a bilingual meeting, especially because of the high number of Spanish speaking residents in Elizabeth. Two founding members would meet at Dunkin Donuts to discuss getting the group started.
They always met on the same day and time. Their format is Open Beginner’s Speaker Discussion Spanish/English. There is one speaker in English and one speaker in Spanish. The two speakers share the time.
HOPE & RECOVERY
Anniversary: November 1991
The group started the second Thursday in November 1991, by a member who worked in the Salvation Army in Elizabeth, but it folded. A member went back because the group folded and re-started the group on November 22. This group used to meet at 11 p.m. in the Salvation Army on E. Grand Street, Elizabeth. They met at 11:00 p.m. for a few weeks.
The people in the homeless shelter would send people to the meeting. The group’s first name was Hope & Salvation.
In December 1991, a member (who had 9 months at the time) told the member who initially started the meeting that they needed to go to area. When they went to area, they were told they couldn’t keep the name because it violated Tradition Six – Endorsement. Therefore, the group member thought of the name: Hope & Recovery.
They started recruiting recovering addicts to attend the meeting. Two members decided to change to 7:30 Friday because they were not getting support. For one reason, the meeting was late. Another reason was because E. Grand was a drug infested area. However, they stayed there for close to a year and continued to try to recruit people to come give support.
The format was originally a Basic Text Book meeting. It was later changed to a Pamphlet meeting. This is one of a few Pamphlet meetings in the area.
Other members committed to the group and decided to move because they were being dictated to by the facility. They were supposed to relocate to a church on Prince Street, Elizabeth. But, the first night they were scheduled to meet, they were locked out.
Fortunately, a member who lived in Pierce Manor asked if they could use their Community Room in the front of the building. Note: Good Orderly Direction also met at this facility on Saturday nights.
Later, the facility wanted to use the front room for their residents so they relocated them to the Community Room in the back. This group celebrated their 1 year anniversary at this location.
HUGS NOT DRUGS
Anniversary: November – 1981 or 82
According to most members, this is the oldest group that stayed in the Area
When members started the meeting, they said we do hugs - not drugs. That’s how the group got its name. Before the speaker shares, the group ask that you hug each other or hug the person next to you.
Hugs started out at a church next door to the Winfield Scott Hotel on East Jersey Street, Elizabeth. At the time, the Winfield Scott Hotel had a detox in the hotel. NA members from this group would bring a meeting into the hotel/detox. Likewise, the detox would bring their patients to attend Hugs meeting.
According to a member who was there, in those years, there was not a lot of NA in the detoxes, there was mostly AA going into the facilities. The idea for Good Orderly Direction came out of the meetings held by Hugs and the detox meetings.
The group moved to Chestnut Street in Elizabeth. While they were at Chestnut St., their old facility (the church on E. Jersey) burned down. The congregation from the E. Jersey Street church moved into their facility on Chestnut Street and the congregation voted them out. Some members recall this being a wonderful meeting facility.
From there they moved to a church on Pearl & South Broad Streets, Elizabeth. While Hugs Not Drugs were there, Good Orderly Direction also relocated to this facility. In fact, a member who was present stated Hugs (who still met on Thursdays) helped G.O.D. get started there on Saturdays.
Hugs stayed there for many years until the facility moved them out. That’s when they moved to St. Patrick’s (also known as St. Pat’s) in Elizabeth where they now meet.
Before the speaker shares, it is customary in this group that everyone stands up and gives the person next to you a hug. But the group doesn’t mind if you hug as many as you can.
Hugs used to be a Speaker Meeting, now they are a Life Story meeting. They also used to have a celebration at the end of the month for all home group members who were celebrating that month. The member could have people in recovery come speak on their behalf.
They used to meet at 8:00 p.m. then they moved their meeting time to 7:30 p.m. From 7:30 p.m. they changed their time to 6:30 p.m. As a result, most members started attending/supporting both meetings in Elizabeth: Hugs not Drugs and A Brand New Day. To date, many members are able to attend St. Pats and come by the car load to the later meeting.
IF YOU WANT WHAT WE HAVE
Anniversary: August or September 1989
According to a former home group member, based on minutes being lost and scattered, this group celebrates in September although they started in August.
The group had a business meeting and voted on the group’s name. A member’s name was picked and that’s how the group got the name “If you want what we have”.
A recovering addict had a good relationship with the Pastor of the church. He went and asked if he could start an NA meeting. He then passed out flyers to other groups for support and passed out flyers at Area Service.
This recovering addict was the only member at the group, so he sought out support from other groups, particularly the noon Friday meeting at the YMCA.
The group was always located at 155 Washington Avenue, Race Street entrance, Elizabeth. The group has always met on that day and time; but they used to meet in a smaller room.
The group used to have a different format that what they have now. Now the format of this group is the 1st week = Speaker Meeting; every other week is an Open Topic Discussion – anything that is NA related.
JUST FOR TODAY
Anniversary: October 1985
This group used to meet at the Holy Trinity Church, across the street from where they now meet.
This group used to meet on a Monday night, but changed the day to Tuesday. As a result, the attendance at the Monday, Better Way meeting started to grow.
The format of this group is the speaker can choose to share on the Just For Today meditation for that day or speak on a I.P. (Pamphlet). This is an Open meeting.
LIVING AS MEN
ANNIVERSARY: March 1989
While at the G.O.D. meeting (in the kitchen) a few male members were in a huddle. They were discussing things that they did not feel comfortable enough to share on the floor. It was suggested that they get out of the huddle and if issues were sensitive, they should start a men’s meeting and so they did. They tried out different names including: Boys to Men. They felt they were already men, so a member suggested “Living As Men”. The group agreed.
This group is a closed men’s meeting – where all addicts are welcome.
They were located at the YMCA in Elizabeth. Then they briefly relocated to the Resurrection Temple in Roselle, and then to Commerce Street, Elizabeth where they now meet.
The format of this group is 1st week = Tradition; 2nd and 3rd week = Open Topic; 4th week=Step.
MIRACLES ON ST. GEORGES
Anniversary: March 1991
The group got its name from two recovering addicts who said that most of the members had lived in the neighborhood just about all their lives. They used and ran St. Georges Avenue. They believed they were Miracles from St. Georges. The idea of this meeting came as a result of two members talking about starting an early after work meeting.
They were first located in Linden/Roselle Day Care Center on St. Georges Avenue. A recovering addict’s stepmother helped them get this facility; they later relocated.
A group member, who was the Secretary at the time, had a relationship with the Reverend who owns the Church and Dry Cleaner. This group used to meet in the cleaner; it was very cold. Eventually they had to move out because the Cleaner was being torn down. The Reverend allowed the meeting to move to the church and they are still there today.
They relocated in either 1994 or 1995. One of the reasons they relocated was because the facility raised the rent. Another was because the facility took their key or they wouldn’t give them a key. Also, at times the people from the facility wouldn’t open up the facility and the group met outside.
They always met on that day and time. The format used to be an Open Discussion Meeting, while in Linden. When the group moved to Roselle, their format changed to an Open Speaker Pamphlet Meeting and the last Monday of the month is a Step Meeting corresponding with the month. This is one of only a few pamphlet meetings in the area.
Anniversary: December 198__
This group got their name from the Basic Text which tells us we are “Never Alone”.
Members went to 10 places to start this meeting and were turned down. They started out in Summit; they were there for years. From there they relocated to Burnett Middle School on Morris Avenue in Union.
The group later relocated to Battlehill in Union. They have been there for the last 10 years or so. When the group got this facility, they agreed to give them only a 90 day trial basis. However, because the group believed in and applied ‘leaving the facility in as good as or better shape than we found it’, they were allowed to stay.
The group continued to keep the facility and the grounds clean, pay their rent on time and was very responsible. Therefore, the facility asked if they wanted to start a second meeting which is the Regardless of Age meeting.
So, what started out as a 90 day trial period grew into two Narcotics Anonymous meetings in this facility; one by request.
Anniversary: November 1995
Names for this group were put into a hat. A home group member’s name, New Beginnings, was picked.
According to a group member, in early November a group of recovering addicts who were blessed to have jobs found it hard to attend the early Wednesday night meeting so they started the group.
They were first located at 155 1st Street at the Mack Building, Elizabeth. They relocated because of a discrepancy with the facility and because of a change in the hands in the facility.
The group relocated across the street to 101 Broadway. The facility wanted them to come back, but they were settled in their new facility. Coincidently, the Wednesday group “Today We Live” lost their facility at St. Patrick’s so they were in need of a new facility. A New Beginnings home group member informed the facility and they allowed the Today We Live group to move into New Beginnings group’s old slot at the Mack Building.
The group always met on Wednesdays but they used to meet at 8:00 p.m. They currently meet at 7:30 p.m.
The format used to be Steps 1 through 12 out of It Works How & Why. The current format of this group is the Symbol to More Will Be Revealed with the exception of Steps 1 through 4.
Anniversary: May, 1997
A recovering addict had a good relationship with the Pastor so he asked if he could start an NA meeting. This recovering addict came up with “a brilliant idea” if he should say so himself (and he did) to start the first late night meeting in the Northeast Area. The meeting starts at 10:00 p.m.
Note: according to our records, Hope & Recovery was the first late night meeting; but they changed the time very quickly.
A group member suggested the name and the group voted for “No Nonsense”. They have always met at the same facility, at the same day and time.
The format of this group used to be an Open Round Robin Candlelight meeting. The Pastor didn’t like the idea of candles, for fear of fire hazard so the group changed their format to an Open Round Robin meeting. They decided to keep the lights dim to keep a similar effect. The group incorporated a timer so everyone could share. The group had a time keeper. They actually felt the timer would help the recovering addicts get to the exact nature.
The group started out with a no profanity policy and no coffee. The group is no longer a ‘no profanity’ meeting. The refreshment was fruit juice. The first couple of anniversaries, the group spoke on behalf of the group, which was interestingly different.
The group was so small at first that members could actually share more than once. Also, at one point, the Pastor did not want the meeting to exceed 25 people.
The Read and Recover group also meets at this facility.
OFF THE BOULEVARD
Anniversary: June, 1982
This is reported to be the second oldest group that stayed in the area
They first met in Kenilworth – On the Boulevard. That’s where the group got its name. They left there and moved to Morris Avenue, Union at Burnett Junior High School. They stayed there for a few years. The format then was a Life Story meeting. There were issues with the Township and they had to relocate.
A group member called the Township and requested the Myra Kearse facility. The Mayor agreed. They relocated to where they meet now: Springfield Avenue, Vaux Hall. They changed the format to Open Topic.
When they initially started meeting there, a lot of patients from detox were in attendance. It used to be a small meeting; it has now grown.
PRINCIPLES BEFORE PERSONALITIES
Anniversary: October 1991
This group got started in May 1992, but wasn’t listed in the Statewide Meeting Directory until October – so they celebrate in October.
The name came out of the fact that home group members felt no individual member is greater than the group. The Principles of Recovery are more important than personalities. Hence the name: Principles Before Personalities.
They used to meet upstairs in this facility. When they moved downstairs, the meeting attendance grew.
The format of the group was the Basic Text (full book) with the exception of the Symbol. They did Chapters 1-9 starting with Who’s An Addict? they skipped the Traditions and continued through Book Two – the personal stories.
The group used to do burning desires in the beginning of the meeting: joys & sorrows. They no longer do joys & sorrows.
The groups format now is Basic Text – Book One - no personal stories, no Traditions. They read the Just For Today in the beginning of the meeting.
The group was very small when it was formulated. According to a predecessor, the meeting was started out of resentment (for those who knew). Yet, what was started out as resentment grew into the spirit of carrying the message to the newcomer.
READ & RECOVER
Anniversary: February, 1985
They have been located at 4th and Walnut, Roselle the whole time; the group has never moved.
This group started out with one meeting in the front. It was a (Basic Text) Book Meeting. They go from the beginning of the book up to the last chapter. They do not read the personal stories.
The meeting got large; therefore they started a meeting in the back. It was an Open Discussion meeting.
The open discussion meeting in the back became too large for the room, so people started moving over into the other room. The room became affectionately known as “The Get Honest” Room. Note: Group members state the ‘get honest’ room should not imply that members did not get honest in the other 2 meetings. The group maintained three meetings in this facility until 4 years ago. They took a group conscience and kept the two meetings: one in the front and one in the back. To date, they maintain a spirit of unity.
This group like many others used to take a 15 minute smoke break after the speaker shared and came back to finish the meeting.
In the front, after the speaker shared, the Secretary used to take down the names of those who wanted to share on a piece of paper. The sharing would go in that order.
The No Nonsense meeting also meets in this facility.
REGARDLESS OF AGE
Anniversary: June 2000
According to members, this group was offered to Narcotics Anonymous as a result of the reputation established by the Never Alone meeting which was already in the facility.
Regardless of Age was intended to be a youth meeting. They are a 1 through 12 Step Meeting.
The group got their name from our literature (What is the Narcotics Anonymous Program) which states “……..regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion……”
SERENITY ON SUNDAY
Anniversary: February 1988
In February 1988 a group of recovering addicts formed a new group. The members decided to call the group Serenity on Sunday. The group met at St. Thomas Church, 1400 St. Georges Avenue, Rahway at 8:00 p.m. The format was an Open Topic Discussion meeting. Members of the group elected trusted servants and joined the northeast area of the New Jersey Region of Narcotics Anonymous.
In September 1998 the group added a 12 Step meeting to the group. That meeting met at the same time as the topic meeting but in a different room. Reading from It Works, How & Why Book, a speaker would share their strength, hope and experience on the step for that week
In January 2001, the group moved its location to the Zion Lutheran Church at 215 Elm Street, Rahway, maintaining both the Topic and the Step meeting
The group moved its location again in October 2002. The group now meets at the Clark Municipal Building 430 Westfield Avenue, in Clark in the Teen Recreation Center. The group continues to have long standing home group members and continues to carry out its 5th Tradition.
Both meetings join together once a year on the 1st Sunday of February to celebrate the group’s anniversary.
SISTERHOOD OF RECOVERY
Anniversary: September 1987
This group is a women’s meeting, but all recovering addicts are welcome. For a long time, there was no women’s meeting in the Northeast Area. Some people thought it was against the traditions to have a meeting for women only but there was a need for a place where women in recovery could go who felt uncomfortable to share in an open meeting. Home group members want it to be known that no one is refused a seat in this meeting (male or female).
According to a predecessor, at the time there was also a lot of back biting between the women in this area so a few members got together and decided to get a women’s meeting started. Also, according a predecessor with 20 years recovery, women started to find relationships. They sometimes didn’t know what was appropriate to share and not share. They needed a place where they could share everything. There were not a whole lot of women in the Northeast Area of NA during this time. The meeting was originally held at Heards Church on E. 8th Avenue in Roselle but after some years they moved to Roselle United Methodist Church on Sheridan Avenue. At first there was a lot of support. Women came from all over the area and began to get to know each other. A lot of lasting friendships has been made because of this meeting.
Then the area split and the meeting started to get smaller and smaller. Some members stuck it out and today the meeting, though small, is consistent with group members who still show up.
Anniversary: October 1988
NA members felt there needed to be a meeting on that day and time: Sunday, 12 noon. Two members (one now deceased) picked the name for the group. One of the founding members had office space on Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, so the group originally met there.
The group relocated two weeks after the conception of the meeting because the landlord needed the office space cleaned regularly; unfortunately it was the same time as the meeting.
So the members had to move the meeting and they found the facility at the YMCA on Madison Avenue in Elizabeth. After being comfortable in their home for years, the YMCA kicked out the Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 meetings and eventually H&I also.
The group relocated along with the Friday meeting to Bond Street. After a brief stay they got kicked out of there because of a discrepancy with the residents and the facility which housed parolees. So group member’s found Trinitas (Grassman Hall) where they still meet today.
They always met on Sundays at 12 noon. The format is the Symbol to More Will Be Revealed from the Basic Text. As far as we know this has always been the format.
STEPPING OUT ON SATURDAY
Anniversary: October 1989
This group started out as an illness meeting for recovering addicts who had a second disease. The group meets in Westfield. The group’s format is a Step 1-3 meeting, the fourth and fifth weeks are an open topic.
Anniversary: May 1990
This group first met where the Friday Nite Alive group meets on Chestnut & Grant, Roselle Park. A member was a regular at the meeting went to an AA meeting one night. He came into the diner where a lot of people from the meeting went after the meeting and everyone asked where he was. He told them he had just come from an AA meeting. He said there are no 12 step meetings in the area. They only had 1-2-3-cha-cha-cha.
So a member said maybe that is God telling you that you need to start a step meeting. You don’t need to go to the other fellowship for 12 steps, start one yourself. Therefore, that’s how they got the name: Steps Ahead.
He asked “how do you do that?” He responded “you’re going to have to get about 12 people that are going to commit to it for 6 months and support it. Then get a facility, go to area and ask for a starter kit.” They got support; approximately 70 people showed up for the first meeting. They lost the facility and relocated to Sheridan Avenue and have been there ever since.
TODAY WE LIVE
Anniversary: March 1993
Members initially wanted an Illness in Recovery meeting in the area.
This group was an Open Topic discussion meeting. They used to meet at St. Pat’s in Elizabeth, where Hugs Not Drugs meet until a few years ago. They relocated to the Mac Building in Elizabeth which was the New Beginnings old facility.
According to predecessors, this meeting was started because members felt there was a special interest need for recovering addicts who have other illnesses. Just for Today, they did not feel they were suffering with the illness, but living with it. Therefore the name: Today we Live.
UNITY IN THE HOOD
Anniversary: December 1993
A member grew up in the neighborhood, so she was able to secure the facility. This group has always met on Olive Street, Elizabeth. Another member picked the name and they took it to a vote. The name Unity in the Hood was picked.
The group has not always met on Tuesday nights. They originally met on Monday nights, but the members felt it conflicted with the Monday 7:30 p.m. meeting in Elizabeth, so they decided to change the meeting day to Tuesdays. Unfortunately they lost the first secretary because he couldn’t commit on Tuesdays.
Also, several months ago, the group extended the time to two hours so they changed the time to 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The time was extended because the steps out of the It Works, How & Why are so lengthy, they felt the group needed more sharing time, especially because there’s a lot of newcomers that attend this meeting.
Recently the group voted to go back to an hour and a half, so they could have a more effective business meeting. So the new time is 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
The format used to be a Closed Step meeting from the It Works, How & Why and the last week of the month, a Tradition coinciding with the month.
The current format of this group is Open Speaker, Steps 1 through 12 out of It Works, How & Why. The fourth week is a Tradition coinciding with the month and if there is a fifth week of the month, it becomes a tag meeting. Also, if the speaker doesn’t show up, it also becomes a tag meeting.
At one point, if the speaker didn’t show up, they would just read the Step and Open the floor. Also, the GSR never read the announcements and they recently re-implemented the Traditions back into the format.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Anniversary: March 1986
According to a predecessor who was there, home group members were trying to figure out a name for this group. They were going back and forth when one group member asked them “What’s In a Name?”
This group has always met at this location at 12 noon. People used to come during their lunch break. They a lot of recovering addicts from Middlesex and Essex used to attend on a regular basis. This was a strong group with very good attendance. Now group members describe this meeting as small and casual meeting. This group has always had a small group of committed trusted servants to hold the door open. They used to have a van load of outpatients from a detox attend this meeting on a regular basis. The format of this group has always been an Open Topic. This group celebrates clean time in the middle of the meeting.
WHY ARE WE HERE?
Anniversary: August or September 1989
This group started out on Broad Street/Madison at the YMCA. This used to be a 12 noon meeting. But because of scheduling with the facility, they voted to move the time to 10:00.
This was an open speaker meeting. Around three years ago they changed to Steps 1-3 meeting.
WRITE & RECOVER
Anniversary: September 9, 1991
According to a founding member, his sponcee was going to school in Syracuse, NY. He told While there he was going to a meeting that he loved. He told them that the first 15 minutes they would sit down and write on their steps. One of the founding members was having a hard time writing his 4th Step. Not to mention 3 other founding members who were also on the 4th Step. They thought this would be a good format for a meeting.
Approximately 6 months after the meeting started, they were struggling and something spiritual happened. One day 4 group members were having a business meeting to close/fold the meeting. Two members voted to close the meeting and two new members voted to keep it. They were trying to figure out what to do since it was a tie. A guy walked over with 24 hours or less. He shared that he only felt comfortable at that meeting and said “you can’t close”. They decided then and there to keep the door open. The guy never came back. Today this meeting is going well.
YOU GOTTA WANT IT
Anniversary: August 1987
The group got its name from a founding member who put the name in a grab bag. Members felt there was a need for a meeting in this area. A lot of members were from Elizabeth area, Pioneer Homes.
They always met on Mondays at this facility. They used to pay their rent with canned goods to the facility. The format of this group used to be an Open Discussion – Step and Tradition meeting coinciding with the month.
The group changed the format to: 1st week – open topic; 2nd week – one of the 10 chapters (Basic Text); 3rd week – round robin grab bag; 4th and 5th week Step and Tradition coinciding with the month. The 4th week there is 10 minutes reserved to share where you’re at.
Northeast and Regional History
According to a member who has 25 years of recovery, the Northeast Area is one of the oldest areas in the New Jersey; it is older than the New Jersey Region. When the ‘Northeastern’ Area started, Bergen, Essex/Greater Newark, Hudson, Middlesex, New Brunswick, Passaic, Plainfield, Sussex, were all apart of the Area. Hudson was the first area to break off to form their Area.
This area was the first to host the Regional Convention which was held in 1985 or 1986 in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Memorial Day weekend. The idea for the NJ Regional Convention came from the Northeast Area. A predecessor also recalled the East Coast Conventions always being held on a college campus. One Convention theme was “From Jail to Yale”.
According to minutes of August 26, 1984, the Northeast Area Service Committee was opened at 7 p.m. and closed at 10:00 p.m. with the Lord’s Prayer. I was told that in the early 80s, most NA members didn’t know they were breaking Traditions by including religion (The Lord’s Prayer) at the end of their meeting. After all, most predecessors were still a bunch of members who started out in AA who were trying to start NA meetings. According to predecessors, this was controversial and created internal problems because this program states “you don’t have to be religious” “this is not a religious program”. Some Muslims, Jews and other religions had problems with this prayer. It brought religion into the program. The Lord’s Prayer was taken out sometime around 1984-1985 and replaced with the Serenity Prayer.
Minutes also reflect a motion to change the time for area to start back to 2:00 p.m. The motion passed and it became effective September, 1984. Two groups made donations which totaled $22.87. The October 1984 Service Workshop and Area Service was scheduled to be held at St. Paul’s Church in Teaneck, New Jersey.
Below are groups that were listed on the 1984 Northeastern Area Minutes as being a part of the area. Some, we are told, are still in existence in the other areas that broke off such as Greater Newark, Plainfield, etc.
- Abstinence & Beyond
- Begin to Win
- Born to Win
- Begin to Live
- Come Correct
- Clean & Crazy
- Hugs Not Drugs
- Never on Sunday
- Mental Cure
- Stairway to Heaven
- The Good the Bad & the Sober
- The Night Owls
- For Those Who Care
- Recovery in All Seasons
- Recovery Room
- Recover and Discover
- Take It or Leave It
- Grateful Addicts
- Wake Up and Live
- Total Abstinence
- Straight Talking
- Recovering Addicts
- 12 Step Workshop
Total Abstinence is believed to have been the oldest group then in the area. The meeting still exists in the Vailsburg Section of Greater Newark. Information provided by: NJ Regional Archives Chair and verified by Kenny and Nabilah.
Northeast Area Service – 2004
Area Service meets the second Sunday of each month at 796 E. Hazelwood Street, JFK Community Center, Rahway, New Jersey. The Service Workshop starts at 1:00 p.m. and Area Service begins at 2:00 p.m. until the completion of business. Both are opened and closed with the Serenity Prayer.
At this time, our Area address is: Narcotics Anonymous
Northeast New Jersey Area
Post Office Box 37
Roselle, New Jersey 07203
This area has 32 groups which are mostly represented by Group Service Representatives (G.S.R.) and Alternate G.S.R.s There is an Area Service Chair, Area Service Vice Chair, Policy Chair, Treasurer, Literature Distribution Chair, Secretary, Service Workshop, Activities, Hospitals & Institutions, RCM, Alt. RCM, Public Information, Convention, B.O.T., Literature Review and Ad hoc Committee.
Group Hospital & Institutions Representative (G.H.I.R.) was created in the Northeast Area because they were not getting support for H&I subcommittee meetings. Therefore, a predecessor who was serving H&I asked each group to send a G.H.I.R.
In the early 80s, the groups used to do all their own fundraising. The groups did not want to be in competition or coincide with each others fundraising events.
Northeast New Jersey Area Convention - N.E.N.J.A.C.
There were many members who were instrumental each year in bringing this Area one wonderful convention after another. All have been overwhelmingly supported from recovering addicts around the states and other countries as well.
The following have been convention themes for the past 10 years:
NENJAC I In the Spirit of Unity October 27, 28 and 29, 1995
NENJAC II Freedom, Self, God, Service
In the Spirit of Unity II November 8, 9 and 10, 1996
NENJAC III In the Spirit of Unity III November 7, 8 and 9, 1997
NENJAC IV The Bridge that Unites Us
In the Spirit of Unity IV November 6, 7 and 8, 1998
NENJAC VCarrying the Message of Hope
In the Spirit of Unity V November 5, 6 and 7, 1999
NENJAC VI Stepping Out of the Shadows
In the Spirit of Unity VI November 3, 4 and 5, 2000
NENJAC VII Follow Us to Freedom
In the Spirit of Unity VII November 2, 3 and 4, 2001
NENJAC VIII Together We Can
In the Spirit of Unity VIII November 1, 2 and 3, 2002
NENJAC IX Surrender to Win
In the Spirit of Unity IX October 31, Nov. 1 and 2, 2003
NENJAC XA Decade of Recovery
In the Spirit of Unity X November 5, 6 and 7, 2004
Information provided by Barbara and Lisa
Much thanks to everyone who helped us so much with this project. Your leads, phone calls and time was greatly appreciated.