We do recover

After coming to NA, we found ourselves among a very special group of people who have suffered like us and found recovery. In their experiences, freely shared, we found hope for ourselves. If the program worked for them, it would work for us.

Basic Text, p. 10

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We-Do-RecoverA newcomer walks into his or her first meeting, shaking and confused. People are milling about. Refreshments and literature are set out. The meeting starts after everyone has drifted over to their chairs and settled themselves in. After taking a bewildered glance at the odd assortment of folks in the room, the newcomer asks, “Why should I bet my life on this group? After all, they’re just a bunch of addicts like me.”

Though it may be true that not many of our members had much going for us when we got here, the newcomer soon learns that the way we are living today is what counts. Our meetings are filled with addicts whose lives have turned completely around. Against all odds, we are recovering. The newcomer can relate to where we’ve been and draw hope from where we are now. Today, every one of us has the opportunity to recover.

Yes, we can safely entrust our lives to our Higher Power and to Narcotics Anonymous. So long as we work the program, the payoff is certain: freedom from active addiction and a better way of life.

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Just for today: The recovery I’ve found in Narcotics Anonymous is a sure thing. By basing my life on it, I know I will grow.

Twelfth Step “failure”?

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Step Twelve

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There is no such thing as a “failed” Twelfth Step call. Even if our prospect doesn’t get clean, we have accomplished two purposes. We have planted the seed of recovery in the mind of the addict with whom we have shared our experience, strength, and hope. And we ourselves have stayed clean another day. Rarely does a recovering addict leave a Twelve Step call with anything but a deep dose of gratitude.

Sometimes we are practicing the Twelfth Step without realizing it. When our co-workers or other acquaintances know some of our history and see what kind of person we are today, they know where to go when they have a friend or loved one in need of our help. We are often the best attraction that NA has to offer!

For many addicts, the Twelfth Step is the cornerstone of recovery. We truly believe that “we can only keep what we have by giving it away.” The paradox of the Twelfth Step is evident, for in giving, we receive.

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Just for today: I will remember that I am a living example of the Twelfth Step. I cannot “fail” when I try to carry the message to another addict.

Spiritual death

For us, to use is to die, often in more ways than one.

Basic Text, p. 82

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As newcomers, many of us came to our first meeting with only a small spark of life remaining. That spark, our spirit, wants to survive. Narcotics Anonymous nurtures that spirit. The love of the fellowship quickly fans that spark into a flame. With the Twelve Steps and the love of other recovering addicts, we begin to blossom into that whole, vital human being our Higher Power intended us to be. We begin to enjoy life, finding purpose in our existence. Each day we choose to stay clean, our spirit is revitalized and our relationship with our God grows. Our spirit becomes stronger each day we choose life by staying clean.

Despite the fact that our new life in recovery is rewarding, the urge to use can sometimes be overwhelming. When everything in our lives seems to go wrong, a return to using can seem like the only way out. But we know what the consequence will be if we use—the loss of our carefully nurtured spirituality. We have traveled too far along the spiritual path to dishonor our spirit by using. Snuffing the spiritual flame we have worked so hard to restore in our recovery is too dear a price to pay for getting high.

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Just for today: I am grateful that my spirit is strong and vital. Today, I will honor that spirit by staying clean.

Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Surrender is for everyone

If, after a period of time, we find ourselves in trouble with our recovery, we have probably stopped doing one or more of the things that helped us in the earlier stages of our recovery.

Basic Text, p. 95

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Surrender is just for newcomers, right? Wrong!

After we’ve been around awhile, some of us succumb to a condition particular to oldtimers. We think we know something about recovery, about God, about NA, about ourselves—and we do. The problem is, we think we know enough, and we think that merely knowing is enough. But it’s what we learn and what we do after we think we know it all that really makes the difference.

Conceit and complacency can land us in deep trouble. When we find that “applying the principles” on our own power just isn’t working, we can practice what worked for us in the beginning: surrender. When we find we are still powerless, our lives again unmanageable, we need to seek the care of a Power greater than ourselves. And when we discover that self-therapy isn’t so therapeutic after all, we need to take advantage of “the therapeutic value of one addict helping another.”

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Just for today: I need guidance, support, and a Power beyond my own. I will go to a meeting, reach out to a newcomer, call my sponsor, pray to my Higher Power—I will do something that says, “I surrender.”

Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Step One

We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step One

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The First Step begins with “we,” and there’s a reason for that. There is great strength in making a verbal admission of our powerlessness. And when we go to meetings and make this admission, we gain more than personal strength. We become members, part of a collective “we” that allows us, together, to recover from our addiction. With membership in NA comes a wealth of experience: the experience of other addicts who have found a way to recover from their disease.

No longer must we try to solve the puzzle of our addiction on our own. When we honestly admit our powerlessness over our addiction, we can begin the search for a better way to live. We won’t be searching alone—we’re in good company.

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Just for today: I will start the day with an admission of my powerlessness over addiction. I will remind myself that the First Step starts with “we,” and know that I never have to be alone with my disease again.

Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Police In Ohio Ask Drug Seekers To Stop Texting Their Supplier: ‘He’s All Out’ — CBS Baltimore

Police in Ohio are urging those requesting drugs to stop calling their supplier’s cell phone because he’s been arrested for selling crystal meth, again.

via Police In Ohio Ask Drug Seekers To Stop Texting Their Supplier: ‘He’s All Out’ — CBS Baltimore

Fulfilling our dreams

Dreams that we gave up long ago can now become realities.

Basic Text, p. 71

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All things begin with a dream. But how many of us fulfilled our dreams while using? Even if we managed to complete something we had started, our addiction usually robbed us of any pride in our accomplishment. Perhaps when we used, we dreamed of the day when we would be clean. That day has come. We can use this day to make our dreams come true.

To fulfill our dreams we must take action, but our lack of self-confidence may keep us from trying. We can begin by setting realistic goals. The success we experience when we attain our initial goals allows us to dream bigger dreams the next time around.

Some of our members share that when they compare the ambitions they had when they first got clean with what they have actually achieved in recovery, they are astounded. In recovery, we often find more dreams come true than we could ever have imagined.

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Just for today: I will remember that all things begin with a dream. Today, I will allow myself to make my dreams come true.

Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The gift of desperation

Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until, in desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous.

Basic Text, p. 13

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When we think of being desperate, we envision an undesirable state: a poor, bedraggled soul frantically clawing at something sorely needed, a desperate look in the eyes. We think of hunted animals, hungry children, and of ourselves before we found NA.

Yet it was the desperation we felt before coming to NA that compelled us to accept the First Step. We were fresh out of ideas, and so became open to new ones. Our insanity had finally risen higher than our wall of denial, forcing us to get honest about our disease. Our best efforts at control had only worn us out; hence, we became willing to surrender. We had received the gift of desperation and, as a result, were able to accept the spiritual principles that make it possible for us to recover.

Desperation is what finally drives many of us to ask for help. Once we’ve reached this state, we can turn around and start anew. Just as the desperate, hunted animal seeks a safe haven, so do we: in Narcotics Anonymous.

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Just for today: The gift of desperation has helped me become honest, open-minded, and willing. I am grateful for this gift because it has made my recovery possible.

Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

An “inside job”

Social acceptability does not equal recovery.

Basic Text, p. 22

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One of the first things that happens to many of us in recovery is that we start to look better. We get healthier; we bathe; we dress more appropriately. And without the goading of active addiction, many of us finally stop stealing, lying, and hustling. We start to look normal—just by removing the drugs.

Looking normal is very different from being normal. Acceptability in the eyes of the world is a benefit of recovery; it is not the same thing as recovery. We can enjoy the benefits of recovery, but we must take care to nurture their true source. Lasting recovery isn’t found in acceptance from others, but in the inner growth set in motion by the Twelve Steps.

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Just for today: I know that looking good isn’t enough. Lasting recovery is an inside job.

Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Humility in action

If we are hurting, and most of us do from time to time, we learn to ask for help.

Basic Text, p. 83

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Sometimes recovery gets downright difficult. It can be even more difficult to get humble enough to ask for help. We think, “I have all this time clean. I should be better than this!” But the reality of recovery is simple: Whether we have thirty days or thirty years clean, we must be willing to ask for help when we need it.

Humility is a common theme in our Twelve Steps. The program of Narcotics Anonymous is not about keeping up appearances. Instead, the program helps us get the most from our recovery. We must be willing to lay bare our difficulties if we expect to find solutions to problems that arise in our lives.

There’s an old expression sometimes heard in Narcotics Anonymous: We can’t save our face and our ass at the same time. It isn’t easy to share in a meeting when we have a number of years clean only to dissolve into tears because life on life’s terms has made us realize our powerlessness. But when the meeting ends and another member comes up and says, “You know, I really needed to hear what you had to say,” we know that there is a God working in our lives.

The taste of humility is never bitter. The rewards of humbling ourselves by asking for help sweeten our recovery.

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Just for today: If I need help, I will ask for it. I will put humility into action in my life.

Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved