We may fear that being in touch with our feelings will trigger an overwhelming chain reaction of pain and panic. Page 279.
Basic Text, p.30. A common complaint about the Fourth Step is that it makes us painfully conscious of our defects of character. We may be tempted to falter in our program of recovery. Through surrender and acceptance, we can find the resources we need to keep working the steps.
It is not the awareness of our defects that causes the most agony, it is the defects themselves. When we were using, all we felt was the drugs; we could ignore the suffering our defects were causing us. Now that the drugs are gone, we feel that pain. Refusing to acknowledge the source of our anguish does not make it go away; denial protects the pain and makes it stronger. The Twelve Steps help us deal with the misery caused by our defects by dealing directly with the defects themselves.
If we hurt from the pain of our defects, we can remind ourselves of the nightmare of addiction, a nightmare from which we now awaken. We can recall the hope for release the Second Step gave us. We can again turn our will and our lives over, through the Third Step, to the care of the God of our understanding. Our Higher Power cares for us by giving us the help we need to work the rest of the Twelve Steps. We do not have to fear our feelings. Just for today, we can continue in our recovery.
Just for Today: I will not be afraid of my feelings. With the help of my Higher Power, I will continue in my recovery. – (c) 2018. NA World Services.
Step Two. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step Three. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step Four. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
All my life
Been running from a pain in me
A feeling I don’t understand
Holding me down
So rain on me
All I am, getting harder
A heavy weight
I carry around
I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to let the damage
My shadow see through me.
Life takes on a new meaning when we open ourselves to this gift. Page 276.
Basic Text, p.107. Neglecting our recovery is like neglecting any other gift we are given. Suppose someone gave you a new car. Would you let it sit in the driveway until the tires rotted? Would you just drive it, ignoring routine maintenance, until it expired on the road? Of course not! You would go to great lengths to maintain the condition of such a valuable gift.
Recovery is also a gift, and we have to care for it if we want to keep it. While our recovery doesn’t come with an extended warranty, there is a routine maintenance schedule. This maintenance includes regular meeting attendance and various forms of service. We have to do some daily cleaning-our Tenth Step-and, once in a while, a major Fourth Step overhaul will be required. But if we maintain the gift of recovery, thanking the Giver each day, it will continue.
The gift of recovery is one that grows with the giving. Unless we give it away, we can not keep it. But in sharing our recovery with others, we come to value it all the more.
Just for Today: My recovery is a gift, and I want to keep it. I will do the required maintenance, and I will share my recovery with others. – (c) 2018. NA World Services.
We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
She was storming through the house that day
And I could tell she was leaving
And I thought, aw, she’ll be back
Till she turned around and pointed at the wall an said
That picture from our honeymoon
That night in Frisco Bay
Just give it away
She said, give it away
And that big four-poster king-size bed
Where so much love was made
Just give it away
She said, just give it away.
Believe in Me
Just for today, I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery. Page 165.
Basic Text, p. 100. Not all of us arrive in NA and automatically stay clean. But if we keep coming back, we find in Narcotics Anonymous the support we need for our recovery. Staying clean is easier when we have someone who believes in us even when we do not believe in ourselves.
Even the most frequent relapser in NA usually has one staunch supporter who is always there, no matter what. It is imperative that we find that one person or group of people who believes in us. When we ask them if we will ever get clean, they will always replay, “Yes, you can and you will. Just keep coming back!”
We all need someone who believes in us, especially when we can not believe in ourselves. When we relapse, we undermine our already shattered self-confidence, sometimes so badly that we begin to feel utterly hopeless. At such times, we need the support of our loyal NA friends. They tell us that this can be our last relapse. They know from experience that if we keep coming to meetings, we will eventually get clean and stay clean.
It is hard for many of us to believe in ourselves. But when someone loves us unconditionally, offering support no matter how many times we’ve relapsed, recovery in NA becomes a little more real for us.
Just for Today: I will find someone who believes in me. I will believe in them. – (c) 2018. NA World Services.
Belief. Acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; Trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.
Although honesty is difficult to practice, it is most rewarding. Page 163.
Basic Text, p. 96. How difficult we find it to be honest! Many of us come to NA as confused about what really happened in our lives that it sometimes takes months and years to sort it all out. The truth of our history is not always as we have told it. How can we begin to be more truthful?
Many of us find it the easiest to be honest in prayer. With our fellow addicts, we sometimes find that we have a hard time telling the whole truth. We feel certain that we will not be accepted if we let others know us as we really are. It is hard to live up to the “terminally hip and fatally cool” image so many of us portrayed! In prayer, we find an acceptance from our Higher Power that allows us to open our hearts with honesty.
As we practice this honesty with the God of our understanding, we often find that it has a ripple effect in our communications with others. We get in the habit of being honest. We begin to practice honesty when we share at meetings and work with others. In return, we find our lives enriched by deepening friendships. We even find that we can be more honest with ourselves, the most important person to be truthful with!
Honesty is a quality that is developed through practice. It isn’t always easy to be totally truthful, but when we begin with our Higher Power, we find it easier to extend our honesty to others.
Just for Today: I will be honest with God, myself, and others. – (c) 2018. NA World Services.
The decision to ask for God’s help is our greatest source of strength and courage. Page 153.
Basic Text, p. 26. A challenge is anything that dares us to succeed. Things new and unfamiliar serve as challenges, whether those things appear good or bad to us. We are challenged by obstacles and opposition from within ourselves and from without. New and difficult things, obstacles and opposition, all are a part of “life on life’s terms.” Living clean means learning to meet challenges.
Many of us, consciously or unconsciously, took drugs to avoid meeting challenge. Many of us were equally afraid of failure and success. Each time we declined the day’s challenge, we suffered a loss of self-esteem. Some of us used drugs to mask the shame we felt. Each time we did that, we became even less able to meet our challenges and more likely to use.
By working the NA program, we find the tools we need to successfully meet any challenge. We come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, a Power that cares for our will and our lives. We ask that Power to remove our character defects, those things that made our lives unmanageable. We take action to improve our conscious contact with that Higher Power. Through the steps, we are given the ability to stop using drugs and start living.
Each day, we are faced with new challenges. And each day, through working our program of recovery, we are given the grace to meet those challenges.
Just for Today: I will ask my Higher Power to help me squarely meet today’s challenge. – (c) 2018. NA World Services.
“We have found a loving, personal God to whom we can turn.” Page 39.
Basic Text, p. 27. Some of us come into recovery with the impression that life’s hardships are a series of cosmic tests designed to teach us something. This belief is readily apparent when something traumatic happens and we wail, “My Higher Power is testing me!” We are convinced that it is a test of our recovery when someone offers us drugs, or a test of our character when faced with a situation where we could do something unprincipled without getting caught. We may even think it is a test of our faith when we are in great pain over a tragedy in our lives.
But a loving Higher Power does not test our recovery, our character, or our faith. Life just happens, and sometimes it hurts. Many of us have lost love through no fault of our own. Some of us have lost all of our material wealth. A few of us have even grieved the loss of our own children. Life can be terribly painful at times, but the pain is not inflicted on us by our Higher Power. Rather, that Power is constantly by our sides, ready to carry us if we can not walk by ourselves. There is no harm that life can do us that the God of our understanding can not heal.
Just for Today: I will have faith that my Higher Power’s will for me is good, and that I am loved. I will seek my Higher Power’s help in times of need. (c) 2016 NA World Services
Iroquois Prayer of Gratitude
We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with waters.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicine for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and the squashes, which give us life.
We return thanks to the wind, which moving the air has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and the stars,
which have given us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of his children.
The Science Behind Cultivating the Attitude of Gratitude and How It Works.
The benefits include health and Wellness, better sleep, feeling more alive, reaching out and receiving compassion, even helping build a better immune system. – Derrick Carpenter. Happify. http://www.happify.com/hd/the-science-behind-gratitude/
How do we get on with cultivating an attitude of gratitude?
Freshen up the Thanks.
Make a Game about Noticing New Gratefulness each day.
Get Real about Your Gratitude Practice.
Be Both Optimistic and Realistic.
Make Thankfulness Fun by Mixing it up.
Be Creative in Engaging your Gratitude activities.
Get Social about your Gratitude.
Write a Gratitude letter.
You are on your way to positive life changes to better yourself.
For us, recovery is more than just pleasure. Page 36.
Basic Text, p. 43. In our active addiction, most of us knew exactly how we were going to feel from one day to the next. All we had to do was read the label on the bottle or know what was in the bag. We planned our feelings, and our goal for each day was to feel good.
In recovery, we are liable to feel anything from one day to the next, even from one minute to the next. We may feel energetic and happy in the morning, then strangely let down and sad in the afternoon. Because we no longer plan our feelings for the day each morning, we could end up having feelings that are somewhat inconvenient, like feeling tired in the morning and wide-awake at bedtime.
Of course, there is always the possibility we could feel good, but that is not the point. Today, our main concern is not feeling good but learning to understand and deal with our feelings, no matter what they are. We do this by working the steps and sharing our feelings with others.
Just for Today: I will accept my feelings, whatever they may be, just as they are. I will practice the program and learn to live with my feelings. – (c) 2016 NA World Services
Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by
You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good
I’m feeling good.
Goodwill is best exemplified in service; proper service is “Doing the right thing for the right reason.” Page 34.
Basic Text, p. xv. The spiritual core of our disease is self-centeredness. In dealing with others, the only motive our addiction taught us is selfishness. We want what we want when we want it. Obsession with self is rooted in the very ground of our lives. In recovery, how do we root self-obsession out?
We reverse the effects of our disease by applying a few very simple spiritual principles. To counteract the self-centeredness of our addiction, we learn to apply the principle of goodwill. Rather than seeking to serve only ourselves, we begin serving others. Rather than thinking only about what we can get out of a situation, we learn to think first of the welfare of others. When faced with a moral choice, we learn to stop, recall spiritual principles, and act appropriately
As we begin doing the right thing for the right reason, we can detect a change in ourselves. Where once we were ruled by self-will, now we are guided by our goodwill for others. The chronic self-centeredness of addiction is losing its hold on us. We are learning to practice these principles in all our affairs; we are living in our recovery, not in our disease.
Just for Today: Wherever I am, whatever I do, I will seek to serve others, not just myself. When faced with a dilemma, I will try to do the right thing for the right reason. – (c) 2016 NA World Services
Share Your Goodwill
When you have a place to sleep at night,
when you have some food to eat,
when you have a coat to keep you warm,
and shoes upon your feet,
remember there are people
not as fortunate as you.
Remember they might need your help.
We felt different … Only after surrender are we able to overcome the alienation of addiction. Page 33.
Basic Text, p. 22. “But you do not understand!” we spluttered, trying to cover up. “I am different! I really have it rough!” We used these lines over and over in our active addiction, either trying to escape the consequences of our actions or avoid following the rules that applied to everyone else. We may have cried them at our first meeting. Perhaps we’ve even caught ourselves whining them recently.
So many of us feel different or unique. As addicts, we can use almost anything to alienate ourselves. But there’s no excuse for missing out on recovery, nothing that can make us ineligible for the program – not a life-threatening illness, not poverty, not anything. There are thousands of addicts who have found recovery despite the real hardships they have faced. Through working the program, their spiritual awareness has grown, in spite of-or perhaps in response to those hardships.
Our individual circumstances and differences are irrelevant when it comes to recovery. By letting go of our uniqueness and surrendering to this simple way of life, we are bound to find that we feel a part of something. And feeling a part of something gives us the strength to walk through life, hardships and all.
Just for Today: I will let go of my uniqueness and embrace the principles of recovery I have in common with so many others. My hardships do not exclude me from recovery; rather, they draw me into it. – (c) 2016 NA World Services.