When dealing with an alcoholic, there may be a natural annoyance that a man could be so weak, stupid and irresponsible. Even when you understand the malady better, you may feel this feeling rising. – ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 139.
God knows what is hiding in those weak and drunken hearts
Guess he kissed the girls and made them cry
Those hard-faced queens of misadventure
God knows what is hiding in those weak and sunken lives
Fiery throngs of muted angels
Giving love but getting nothing back, oh.
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.
Partners in Recovery
Nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.
Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress … Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances! – ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, pp. 89, 100.
“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.
“By working the steps, we come to accept a Higher Power’s will … We lose our fear of the unknown. We are set free.” Pg. 362.
Basic Text, p. 16. Life is a series of changes, both large and small. Although we may know and accept this fact intellectually, chances are that our initial emotional reaction to change is fear. For some reason, we assume that each and every change is going to hurt, causing us to be miserable.
If we look back on the changes that have happened in our lives, we’ll find that most of them have been for the best. We were probably very frightened at the prospect of life without drugs, yet it is the best thing that’s ever happened to us. Perhaps we’ve lost a job that we thought we’d die without, but later on we found greater challenge and personal fulfillment in a new career. As we venture forth in our recovery, we’re likely to experience more changes. We will outgrow old situations and become ready for new ones.
With all sorts of changes taking place, it is only natural to grab hold of something, anything familiar and try to hold on. Solace can be found in a Power greater than ourselves. The more we allow changes to happen at the direction of our Higher Power, the more we’ll trust that those changes are for the best. Faith will replace fear, and we’ll know in our hearts that all will be well.
Just for Today: When I am afraid of a change in my life, I will take comfort from knowing that God’s will for me is good.
– (c) 2016. NA World Services.
Turn, Turn, Turn.
Pete Seeger. Book of Ecclesiastes.
The Byrds (1960’s).
To everything, turn, turn, turn.
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die.
A time to plant, a time to reap.
A time to kill, a time to heal.
A time to laugh, a time to weep.
“I started to imitate some of the things the winners were doing. I got caught up in NA. I felt good …”
Basic Text, p. 153.
We often hear it said in meetings that we should “stick with the winners.” Who are the winners in Narcotics Anonymous? Winners are easily identified. They work an active program of recovery, living in the solution and staying out of the problem. Winners are always ready to reach their hands out to the newcomer. They have sponsors and work with those sponsors. Winners stay clean, just for today.
Winners are recovering addicts who keep a positive frame of mind. They may be going through troubled times, but they still attend meetings and share openly about it. Winners know in their hearts that, with the help of a Higher Power, nothing will come along that is too much to handle.
Winners strive for unity in their service efforts. Winners practice putting “principles before personalities.” Winners remember the principle of anonymity, doing the principled action no matter who is involved. Winners keep a sense of humor. Winners have the ability to laugh at themselves. And when winners laugh, they laugh with you, not at you.
Who are the winners in Narcotics Anonymous? Any one of us can be considered a winner. All of us exhibit some of the traits of the winner; sometimes we come very close to the ideal, sometimes we don’t. If we are clean today and working our program to the best of our ability, we are winners!
Just for Today: I will strive to fulfill my ideals. I will be a winner.
– (c) 2016 NA World Services.
Fulfilling our roles in life as winners does not come easy. Life is often a challenge from the moment we open our eyes to greet the new day. It is the bond with and trust in our Higher Power that carries us through the most challenging moments in our day to day lives.
Walking Away a Winner
Many times love is on the table the stakes are high.
What I thought this was love so I laid it all on the line.
You nearly took everything I had,
Never knew I could hurt so bad,
But I least I left with every peace of this heart of mine.
I’m walking away a winner.
I’m walking away from a losing game.
With my pride intact and my vision back I can say,
I know where I’m going and I know I’ll be alright.
I’m walking away a winner, Walking back into my life.
“We are achieving freedom from the wreckage of our past.” N.A. Basic Text p. 45.
When we start the Ninth Step, we have reached an exciting stage in our recovery. The damage done in our lives is what led many of us to seek help in the first place. Now we have a chance to clean up that wreckage, amend our past, and reclaim our lives.
We have spent a long time and much effort preparing for this step. When we came to NA, facing the debris of our past was probably the last thing we wanted to do. We started doing it privately with a personal inventory. Then we opened our past up to the scrutiny of a select, trusted few: ourselves, our Higher Power, and one other person. We took a look at our shortcomings, the source of much of the chaos in our lives, and asked that all those defects of character be removed. Finally we listed the amends needed to set our wrongs right, all of them.
Now we have the opportunity to make amends, to acquire freedom from the wreckage of our past. Everything we have done so far in NA has led us here. At this point in the process of our recovery, the Ninth Step is exactly what we want to do. With the Twelve Steps and the help of a Higher Power, we are clearing away the rubble that for so long has stood in the way of our progress; we are gaining the freedom to live.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Serenity Prayer.
Recovery involves change, and change means doing things differently. The problem is, many of us resist doing things differently; what we’re doing may not be working, but at least we’re familiar with it. It takes courage to step out into the unknown. How do we find that courage?
We can look around ourselves at NA meetings. There we see others who found they needed to change what they were doing and they have done so successfully. Not only does that help quiet our fear that “change, any change” spells disaster, it also gives us the benefit of their experience with what does work, experience we can use in changing what doesn’t.
We can also look at our own recovery experience. Even if that experience, so far, has been limited to stopping the use of drugs, still we have made many changes in our lives-changes for the good. Whatever aspects of our lives we have applied the steps to, we have always found surrender better than denial, recovery superior to addiction. Our own experience and the experience of others in NA tells us that “changing the things I can” is a big part of what recovery is all about. The steps and the power to practice them give us the direction and courage we need to change. We have nothing to fear.
Just for Today: I welcome change. With the help of my Higher Power, I will find the courage to change the things I can.
(c) 2015 NA World Services,
Rhythms of Grace.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
H.P. AS GUIDE
See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. – ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 164. A.A. Big Book.
Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
“Higher Power” is a term given significance in the 1930s in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and is used in other twelve-step programs. It is also sometimes referred to as a power greater than ourselves and is frequently abbreviated to “HP.” The term refers to a spiritual supreme being.
“I rely on My Higher Power to give me what I need and I am grateful I do not get some things I deserve.” Shirley. (2016).
“Higher Power” is one of three new songs Boston recorded for their Greatest Hits album. This track features their original lead singer Brad Delp. Boston leader Tom Scholz wrote this with bass player David Sikes. The “Higher Power” is a concept in Alcoholics Anonymous to help participants deal with their addiction. In this song, Delp sings about looking beyond himself for guidance. We hear Serenity Prayer right before the guitar solo.
Hey, my higher power
Yeah, give me the power
Let me love you
Take me home to your religion for the night
Let me touch you
Teach me how to see your vision through my eyes
Turn the pages
Tell my story, let me face another day
Safe embraces, I feel it comin’ now
My captain’s on his way
Hey, my higher power
The world is spinnin’, but I’m not afraid
Yeah, give me the power
It’s the beginnin’, the beginnin’ of another day
Let me hold you
Take me back into the secrets of my mind
Let me know you
Come and save me Lord
Don’t let me cross the line.
Hey, my higher power
The world is spinnin’, but I’m not afraid
Yeah, give me the power
It’s the beginnin’, the beginnin’ of another day.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things
I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
And may your love shining down, amen.