NEZF History – revised February 2014
The North East Zonal Forum was born out of an idea that was nurtured from the first East Coast Convention in 1980. During the eighties, several regions got together to discuss what NA is like in other parts of the country. A little later, at the WSC in Dallas, Texas in 1992, some of us learned that a few other parts of the NA World had already been meeting as Forums or Zones and a committee produced a paper about Zonal Forums. Several RSRs from the northeast discussed starting a North East Zonal Forum. Those RSRs approached the other regions of the northeastern USA present in Dallas about meeting together, and a small meeting was held.
Our next meeting took place at the Multi-Regional in New York City. Members of the Western States Forum and Canadian Assembly shared their experience, strength, and hope. We agreed to write a simple “Statement of Function and Purpose.” We were beginning to see the benefits of talking and sharing with other regions. Several addicts met at the Connecticut Regional Convention in Stamford and wrote our Statement of Function and Purpose.
We met next after MARLCNA. We decided then that we would meet regularly, and would discuss issues in common to the areas and groups and our Regions. In the beginning, volunteer regions hosted the NEZF, now we have switched to an alphabetical rotation.
The NEZF is comprised of 12 Regions of the Northeast portion of the United States. They are: ABCD, Connecticut, Eastern New York, Greater New York, Mid Atlantic, New England, New Jersey, Northern New England, Northern New Jersey, Northern New York, Western New York, and Tri-State. As of 2010, we were the third largest zone by number of meetings. We meet twice a year for two days: once in the winter—usually in January or February, and once in the summer—usually June or July. Our meetings take place on weekends, with an orientation session and agenda review on Friday evening, topic discussion, regional reports and workshops on Saturday, and a business session on Sunday morning, usually ending around noon. We elect our chair and vice chair for one-year terms, and our secretary for two years. These are non-funded positions.
We appointed an ad hoc committee in 2000 to suggest a set of guidelines to the NEZF. During the discussion phase following the first draft of our proposed Guidelines, we hit upon the phrase, “Can You Live With It?” We came to believe that nothing we did was important enough that it couldn’t be “lived with.” We had no direct impact on the newcomer, or on the individual groups of our regions. At our June, 2002 meeting in Pittsburgh, after several painstaking discussions of these proposed Guidelines, we finally took the giant step forward and approved our Guidelines.
We are presently leaning towards a consensus-based decision-making process. We entertain proposals rather than motions, but we still vote. Typically we have a CAR workshop, and CAT if it is finished, at our January forum prior to the WSC, usually with board members present.
We’ve had an ad-hoc committee work on a PowerPoint presentation on “NA and the Services We Provide,” In June we hold a Zone Wide Workshop, offering workshops to the local fellowship, our first being held in June of 2009. We also launched our website, www.nezf.org in 2009.
As of our most recent discussions regarding our purpose we seem to be interested in adding some type of service to our discussion based forum. We have added to our agenda reading of the Narcotics Anonymous Vision for Service and a time to prioritize a list of goals to achieve through collaboration. Currently, we are in the discussion phase of hosting a service symposium in the years we don’t have the WSC.