We must give freely and gratefully that which has been freely and gratefully given to us. Page 30.
Basic Text, p. 49. In Recovery, we receive many gifts. Perhaps one of the greatest of these gifts is the spiritual awakening that begins when we stop using, growing stronger each day we apply the steps in our lives. The new spark of life within is a direct result of our new relationship with a Higher Power, a relationship initiated and developed by living the Twelve Steps. Slowly, as we pursue our program, the radiance of recovery dispels the darkness of our disease.
One of the ways we express our gratitude for the gifts of recovery is to help others find what we’ve found. We can do this in any number of ways: by sharing in meetings, making Twelfth Step calls, accepting a commitment to sponsorship, or volunteering for support duty. The spiritual life given to us in recovery asks for expression, for “we can only keep what we have by giving it away.”
Just for Today: The gift of recovery grows when I share it. I will find someone with whom to share it. – (c) 2016 NA World Services
If we make it to this point, we have a spiritual awakening. Though the nature of our awakening is as individual and personal as our spiritual path, the similarities in our experiences are striking. Almost without exception, our members speak of feeling free, of feeling more light-hearted more of the time, of caring more about others, and of the ever-increasing ability to step outside ourselves and participate fully in life. The way this looks to others is astonishing. People who knew us when we were in our active addiction, often appearing withdrawn and angry, tell us that we are different people. Indeed, many of us feel as if we began a second life.
Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Do we understand that we have no real control over drugs? Page 29.
Basic Text, p. 18. At first, many of us may have thought the First Step required no action-we just surrender and go on to Step Two. But Step One does require action!
The action we take in the First Step will be evident in the way we live, even from our first day clean. If we truly believe that we are powerless over our addiction, we will not choose to be around drugs. To continue to live with or associate with practicing addicts may indicate a reservation in our program. An absolute belief that the First Step applies to us will insure that we clear our homes of all drugs and paraphernalia.
As time goes on, we will not only continue with the basics but add new actions to our First Step repertoire. We will learn to feel our feelings rather than trying to control them. We will stop trying to be our own and only guides on our recovery journey; self-sponsorship will cease. We will begin looking to a Power greater than ourselves more and more for spiritual satisfaction rather than trying to fill that void with something else.
Surrender is only the beginning. Once we surrender, we need to learn how to live in the peace we have found.
Just for Today: I will take all the action necessary to practice the First Step. I truly believe it applies to me. – (c) 2016 NA World Services.
A First of anything is a beginning, and so it is with the Steps: The First Step is the beginning of the recovery process. The healing starts here; we can not go any further until we work this step.
Step One. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
Chain Reaction album
If you wanna feed all the children
Then start by feeding one
And if you wanna find a mountain
To build your dreams upon
You need love (the heart to care)
Give me strength (the nerve to dare)
“We can never fully recover, no matter how long we stay clean.” Page 28.
Basic Text, p. 84. After getting a little time in the program, some of us begin to think we have been cured. We learned everything NA has to teach us; we grew bored with the meetings; and our sponsor keeps droning the same old refrain: “The steps – the steps – the steps!” We decide it is time to get on with our lives, cut way back on meetings, and try to make up for the years we have lost to active addiction. We do this, however, at the peril of our recovery.
Those of us who have relapsed after such an episode often try to go to as many meetings as we can, some of us go to a meeting every day for several years. It may take that long for us to understand that we will always be addicts. We may feel well some days and sick on other days, but we are addicts every day. At any time, we are subject to delusion, denial, rationalization, justification, insanity; all the hallmarks of the typical addict’s way of thinking. If we want to continue living and enjoying life without the use of drugs, we must practice an active program of recovery each day.
Just for Today: I am an addict every day, but today I have the choice to be a recovering addict. I will make that choice by practicing my program. – (c) 2016, NA World Services.
From Isolation to Connection
“Our Disease Isolated us… hostile, resentful, self-centered, and self-seeking, we cut ourselves off from the outside world.” Pg. 24.
Basic Text. p. 4. Addiction is an isolating disease, closing us off from society, family, and self. We hid. We lied. We scorned the lives we saw others living, surely beyond our grasp. Worst of all, we told ourselves there was nothing wrong with us, even though we knew we were desperately ill. Our connection with the world, and with reality itself, was severed. Our lives lost meaning, and we withdrew further and further from reality.
The NA program is designed especially for people like us. It helps reconnect us to the life we were meant to live, drawing us out of our isolation. We stop lying to ourselves about our condition; we admit our powerlessness and the unmanageability of our lives. We develop faith that our lives can improve, that recovery is possible, and that happiness is not permanently beyond our grasp. We get honest; we stop hiding; we “show up and tell the truth,” no matter what. And as we do, we establish the ties that connect our individual lives to the larger life around us.
We addicts need not live lives of isolation. The Twelve Steps can restore our connection to life and living, if we work them.
Just for Today: I am a part of the life around me. I will practice my program to strengthen my connection to my world.
(c) 2016. NA World Services
Basic Text, p. 16. Learning in recovery is hard work. The things we most need to know are often the hardest to learn. We study recovery to prepare ourselves for the experiences life will give us. As we listen to others share in meetings, we take mental notes we can refer to later. To be prepared, we study our notes and literature between “lessons.” Just as students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge during tests, so do we have the opportunity to apply our recovery during times of crisis.
As always, we have a choice in how we will approach life’s challenges. We can dread and avoid them as threats to our serenity or we can gratefully accept them as opportunities for growth. By confirming the principles we’ve learned in recovery, life’s challenges give us increased strength. Without such challenges, however, we could forget what we’ve learned and begin to stagnate. These are the opportunities that prod us to new spiritual awakenings.
We will find that there is often a period of rest after each crisis, giving us time to get accustomed to our new skills. Once we’ve reflected on our experience, we are called on to share our knowledge with someone who is studying what we’ve just learned. In the school of recovery, all of us are teachers as well as students.
Just for Today: I will be a student of recovery. I will welcome challenges, confident in what I have learned and eager to share it with others. – (c) 2016 NA World Services
Spirit Young Performers
Forgiveness. “As we realize our need to be forgiven, we tend to be more forgiving. At least we know that we are no longer intentionally making life miserable for people.” Page 17.
Basic Text, pp. 39-40. In our addiction we often treated others badly, sometimes deliberately finding ways to make their lives miserable. In our recovery, we may still have a tendency to pass judgment on others’ actions because we think we know how that person should behave. But as we progress in our recovery we often find that, to accept ourselves, we must accept those around us.
It may be difficult to watch as someone’s insanity manifests itself. But if we detach ourselves from the problem, we can start living in the solution. And if we feel affected by another’s actions, we can extend the principle of forgiveness.
Just for Today: I will strive to forgive rather than be forgiven. I will try to act in such a way that I feel worthy of self-love.
(c) 2016 NA World Services
The most important gift we can ever receive is God’s gift of His Son, our Savior, and with Him forgiveness, restoration, and the promise of spiritual life that begins now and lasts forever. The most important gift we can ever give is to give Jesus our heart. – Marion Stroud. Daily Bread. 12/23/2016.
You overwhelm me with Your gifts, Lord. In return, I want to give You the very best present that I can. Please show me what You want most from me.
It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When they pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word
“Freedom to change seems to come after acceptance of ourselves.” Page 371.
Basic Text, p.58. Fear and denial are the opposites of acceptance. None of us are perfect, even in our own eyes; all of us have certain traits that, given the chance, we would like to change. We sometimes become overwhelmed when contemplating how far short we fall of our ideals, so overwhelmed that we fear there’s no chance of becoming the people we’d like to be. That’s when our defense mechanism of denial kicks in, taking us to the opposite extreme: nothing about ourselves needs changing, we tell ourselves, so why worry? Neither extreme gives us the freedom to change.
Whether we are longtime NA members or new to recovery, the freedom to change is acquired by working the Twelve Steps. When we admit our powerlessness and the unmanageability of our lives, we counteract the lie that says we don’t have to change. In coming to believe that a Power greater than we are can help us, we lose our fear that we are damaged beyond repair; we come to believe we can change. We turn ourselves over to the care of the God of our understanding and tap the strength we need to make a thorough, honest examination of ourselves. We admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being what we’ve found. We accept the good and the bad in ourselves; with this acceptance, we become free to change.
Just for Today: I want to change. By working the steps, I will counter fear and denial and find the acceptance needed to change.
– (c) 2016 NA World Services
Walking the Way We Talk
“Words mean nothing until we put them into action.” Page 369.
Basic Text, p.58. The Twelfth Step reminds us “to practice these principles in all our affairs.” In NA, we see living examples of this suggestion all around us. The more experienced members, who seem to have an aura of peace surrounding them, demonstrate the rewards of applying this bit of wisdom in their lives.
To receive the rewards of the Twelfth Step, it is vital that we practice the spiritual principles of recovery even when no one is looking. If we talk about recovery at meetings but continue to live as we did in active addiction, our fellow members may suspect that we are doing nothing more than quoting bumper stickers.
What we pass on to newer members comes more from how we live than what we say. If we advise someone to “turn it over” without having experienced the miracle of the Third Step, chances are the message will fail to reach the ears of the newcomer for whom it’s intended. On the other hand, if we “walk what we talk” and share our genuine experience in recovery, the message will surely be evident to all.
Just for Today: I will practice the principles of recovery, even when I’m the only one who knows. – (c) 2016 NA World Services.
N.A. Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
“There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using.” Page 363.
Basic Text, p. 9. We all know people who could benefit from NA. Narcotics Anonymous. Many people we encounter from all walks of life-our family members, old friends, and co-workers-could really use a program of recovery in their lives. Sadly, those who need us do not always find their way to our rooms.
NA is a program of attraction, not promotion. We are only members when we say we are. We can bring our friends and loved ones to a meeting if they are willing, but we cannot force them to embrace the way of life that has given us freedom from active addiction.
Membership in Narcotics Anonymous is a highly personal decision. The choice to become a member is made in the heart of each individual addict. In the long run, coerced meeting attendance doesn’t keep too many addicts in our rooms. Only addicts who are still suffering, if given the opportunity, can decide if they are powerless over their addiction. We can carry the message, but we can not carry the addict.
Just for Today: I am grateful for my decision to become a member of Narcotics Anonymous.
(c) 2016 NA World Services.
Don’t Stop Believing
Do You Believe We Can Do This
Open Road Film (Little Boy) 2015.
Addiction, Drugs, and Recovery
“Addiction is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease that affects every area of our lives.”
Basic Text, p. 20.
Before we started using, most of us had a stereotype, a mental image of what addicts were supposed to look like. Some of us pictured a junkie robbing convenience markets for drug money. Others imagined a paranoid recluse peering at life from behind perpetually drawn drapes and locked doors. As long as we didn’t fit any of the stereotypes, we thought, we could not be addicts.
As our using progressed, we discarded those misconceptions about addiction, only to come up with another: the idea that addiction was about drugs. We may have thought addiction meant a physical habit, believing any drug that didn’t produce physical habituation was not “addictive.” Or we thought the drugs we took were causing all our problems. We thought that merely getting rid of the drugs would restore sanity to our lives.
One of the most important lessons we learn in Narcotics Anonymous is that addiction is much more than the drugs we used. Addiction is a part of us; Addiction is an illness that involves every area of our lives, with or without drugs. We can see its effects on our thoughts, our feelings, and our behavior, even after we stop using. Because of this, we need a solution that works to repair every area of our lives: the Twelve Steps.
Just for Today: Addiction is not a simple disease, but it has a simple solution. Today, I will live in that solution: the Twelve Steps of recovery. – (c) 2016 NA World Services.
Should I drink another drink
Say another lie
I know that you may think
That I’m a broken little bird in my mind
Cause I’m falling on the floor
I’m climbing up the walls
And everytime I get a grip
I seem to lose myself just a little more