Why H&I Panels?
What is H&I?
H&I stands for Hospitals & Institutions and is a public service arm of our program that works toward spreading the recovery message of Marijuana Anonymous.
District H&I committees reach out locally to hospitals and institutions (rehab centers, jails, schools, etc.) to make them aware that there is a Twelve Step program that addresses marijuana addiction. The H&I Committee offers to plan and arrange panels to speak to residents, inmates, students, etc.
What is a Panel?
A panel is a small group of Marijuana Anonymous members that convenes at an institution to speak about recovery. Each panel member shares experience, strength, and hope by telling his or her own story: what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now, with the emphasis on recovery.
The panel is comprised of a panel leader and up to four other members. The recommended sobriety (free from all mind altering substances, including alcohol) for a panel leader is at least one year, and for panel speakers, at least six months.
Panels can occur weekly, monthly or at any other frequency that suits the setting.
Why should I be on a Panel?
Can you remember the first time you heard about sobriety, the first time you heard about Marijuana Anonymous or another Twelve Step program? Can you remember your first meeting, your first glimmer that there might be a better way to live— a happier, saner life free of marijuana?
Can you remember seeing hope in the eyes of another and the desire for change that inspired in you?
You can be the person that helps change the course of another addict’s life by serving on a panel for an hour or two, telling your story and sharing your strength and hope.
You can give back some of what you’ve received by sharing the miracle of your own recovery and sobriety.
H&I is one of the most rewarding of all services we can do in recovery. This is what some of our members have said about being on MA panels:
“Do a panel! This program doesn’t owe you anything, you owe it. If you are reading this now and you’re sober, you owe it to your sobriety to share with others what you’ve got.”
“One of the greatest gifts I’ve received in my sobriety was when I saw a man take a one year cake in Marijuana Anonymous. One year prior, I shared on a panel where he had been a patient. He came to Marijuana Anonymous because of that panel and what he heard. To see him take a cake was a feeling like I’ve never known before!”
“…On page 89 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, it is summed up perfectly—‘Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail’. We find this to be a fact for marijuana addicts too.”
“Panels give me the opportunity to share with others my accomplishments in sobriety, and that the same is possible for any addict. If I can do it, you can do it!”
“All I can do is share my own experience strength and hope, to let you know where I came from, and where I am now. My greatest reward from all of this is when someone comes up to me after a panel to say they have felt the same way.”
“I had to detox in a hospital, and the main thing that kept me there at a time when I was so miserable all I wanted to do was go home and use, was panels coming in and sharing, showing us by their caring actions that it does get better. The opportunity to return that favor is the most rewarding commitment I can take.”
How should I conduct myself when I’m on a Panel?
First of all, remember that when you are on a panel, you do, in some way, represent Marijuana Anonymous, not just yourself. How you dress and the language you use reflects back on MA as a whole. Here are some simple guidelines to follow when you’re speaking on a panel:
- Avoid excessive use of profanity.
- Dress appropriately
- Tell your story but stay away from long drug-a-logues.
What Step and Tradition am I practicing by being on a Panel?
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to marijuana addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry its message to the marijuana addict who still suffers.
What Traditions should I keep in mind when I speak on a Panel?
Marijuana Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the MA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Our public relations policy is based upon attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, film, and other public media. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all fellow MA members.
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
How can I be on a Panel?
At the meeting level, your Group Service Representative can tell you how to contact the district H & I Committee. Or attend a District Service Committee meeting yourself and volunteer your services for an H & I panel.