Humility is a by-product that allows us to grow and develop in an atmosphere of freedom and removes the fear of becoming known by our employers, families, or friends as addicts.
Basic Text, pp. 75-76
Many of us may not have understood the idea that “anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions.” We wondered how this could be. What does anonymity have to do with our spiritual life?
The answer is, plenty! By guarding and cherishing our anonymity, we earn spiritual rewards beyond comprehension. There is great virtue in doing something nice for someone and not telling anyone about it. By the same token, resisting the impulse to proudly announce our membership in NA to the world—in effect, asking everyone to acknowledge how wonderful we are—makes us value our recovery all the more.
Recovery is a gift that we’ve received from a Power greater than ourselves. Boasting about our recovery, as if it were our own doing, leads to prideful feelings and grandiosity. But keeping our anonymity leads to humility and feelings of gratitude. Recovery is its own reward; public acclaim can’t make it any more valuable than it already is.
Just for today: Recovery is its own reward; I don’t need to have mine approved of publicly. I will maintain and cherish my anonymity.
Daily practice of our Twelve Step program enables us to change from what we were to people guided by a Higher Power.
Basic Text, p. 86
Who have we been, and who have we become? There are a couple of ways to answer this question. One is very simple: We came to Narcotics Anonymous as addicts, our addiction killing us. In NA, we’ve been freed from our obsession with drugs and our compulsion to use. And our lives have changed.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Who have we really been? In the past, we were people without power or direction. We felt like we had no purpose, no reason for living. Our lives didn’t make any more sense to us than they did to our families, our friends, or our neighbors.
Who are we really becoming? Today, we are not merely clean addicts, but people with a sense of direction, a purpose, and a Power greater than ourselves. Through daily practice of the Twelve Steps, we’ve begun to understand how our addiction warped our feelings, motivations, and behavior. Gradually, the destructive force of our disease has been replaced by the life-giving force of our Higher Power.
Recovery means more than cleaning up—it means powering up. We have done more than shed some bad habits; we are becoming new people, guided by a Higher Power.
Just for today: The guidance I need to become a new person is ready at hand. Today, I will draw further away from my old lack of direction and closer to my Higher Power.
We become able to make wise and loving decisions based on principles and ideals that have real value in our lives.
Basic Text, p. 105
Addiction gave us a certain set of values, principles we applied in our lives. “You pushed me,” one of those values told us, “so I pushed back, hard.” “It’s mine” was another value generated by our disease. “Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t mine to start with, but I liked it, so I made it mine.” Those values were hardly values at all—more like rationalizations—and they certainly didn’t help us make wise and loving decisions. In fact, they served primarily to dig us deeper and deeper into the grave we’d already dug for ourselves.
The Twelve Steps give us a strong dose of real values, the kind that help us live in harmony with ourselves and those around us. We place our faith not in ourselves, our families, or our communities, but in a Higher Power—and in doing so, we grow secure enough to be able to trust our communities, our families, and even ourselves. We learn to be honest, no matter what—and we learn to refrain from doing things we might want to hide. We learn to accept responsibility for our actions. “It’s mine”is replaced with a spirit of selflessness. These are the kind of values that help us become a responsible, productive part of the life around us. Rather than digging us deeper into a grave, these values restore us to the world of the living.
Just for today: I am grateful for the values I’ve developed. I am thankful for the ability they give me to make wise, loving decisions as a responsible, productive member of my community.
Hopeless living problems have become joyously changed. Our disease has been arrested, and now anything is possible.
Basic Text, p. 106
The NA program has given us more freedom than we ever dreamed possible. Sometimes, though, in the daily routine, we lose track of how much we’ve been given. How, exactly, have our lives changed in Narcotics Anonymous?
The bottom line of recovery, of course, is freedom from the compulsion to use. No longer must we devote all our resources to feeding our addiction. No longer must we endanger, humiliate, or abuse ourselves or others just to get the next “fix.” Abstinence itself has brought great freedom to our lives.
Narcotics Anonymous has given us much more than simple abstinence—we’ve been given a whole new life. We’ve taken our inventory and have identified the defects of character that bound us for so long, keeping us from living and enjoying life. We’ve surrendered those shortcomings, taken responsibility for them, and sought the direction and power we need to live differently. Our home group has given us the personal warmth and support that helps us continue living in recovery. And topping all this off, we have the love, care, and guidance of the God we’ve come to understand in NA.
In the course of day-to-day recovery, we sometimes forget how much our lives have changed in Narcotics Anonymous. Do we fully appreciate what our program has given us?
Just for today: Recovery has given me freedom. I will greet the day with hope, grateful that anything is possible today.
We examine our actions, reactions, and motives. We often find that we’ve been doing better than we’ve been feeling.
Basic Text, p.43
The way we treat others often reveals our own state of being. When we are at peace, we’re most likely to treat others with respect and compassion. However, when we’re feeling off center, we’re likely to respond to others with intolerance and impatience. When we take regular inventory, we’ll probably notice a pattern: We treat others badly when we feel bad about ourselves.
What might not be revealed in an inventory, however, is the other side of the coin: When we treat others well, we feel good about ourselves. When we add this positive truth to the negative facts we find about ourselves in our inventory, we begin to behave differently.
When we feel badly, we can pause to pray for guidance and strength. Then, we make a decision to treat those around us with kindness, gentleness, and the same concern we’d like to be shown. A decision to be kind may nurture and sustain the happiness and peace of mind we all wish for. And the joy we inspire may lift the spirits of those around us, in turn fostering our own spiritual well-being.
Just for today: I will remember that if I change my actions, my thoughts will follow.
It has now been a little over a year since my last drug use. I share no pride nor surprise about this news, it just is what it is. It came about in a dramatic ending in a masterful collaboration between the forces that be and me. I attracted the situation that led to an overdose and […]
It’s hard for me to even know what to write today. As anyone who’s lost a loved one knows, that one-year anniversary is just a mishmash of overwhelming feelings. You might think that passing one year means that the grieving process will be easier from here on out, but I can tell you that […]
Social acceptability does not equal recovery.
Basic Text, p. 22
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.
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
We share comfort and encouragement with others.
Basic Text, p. 99
Many of us have watched as babies take their first steps. The mother holds the child on its feet. The father kneels nearby with outstretched arms, encouraging the little one, his face flooded with devotion. The baby takes a few small steps toward its father. An older brother and sister cheer the tyke on. Baby falls down. Its mother, murmuring words of comfort, picks the child up and starts over again. This time, baby stays up until it is close enough to fall into the safety of its father’s arms.
As newcomers, we arrive in the rooms of NA much like this small child. Accustomed to living a life crippled by addiction, full of fear and uncertainty, we need help to stand. Just like a child beginning its march toward adulthood, we take our halting first steps toward recovery. We learn to live this new way of life because others who have gone before us encourage and comfort us by telling us what worked—and what didn’t work—for them. Our sponsor is there for us when we need a push in the right direction.
Many times we feel like we can’t take another step in recovery. Just like a child learning to walk, we sometimes stumble or fall. But our Higher Power always awaits us with outstretched arms. And like the child’s brothers and sisters shouting their encouragement, we, too, are supported by other NA members as we walk toward a full life in recovery.
Just for today: I will seek encouragement from others. I will encourage others who may need my strength.
Copyright © 1991-2016 by Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved