Freedom from guilt

Our addiction enslaved us. We were prisoners of our own mind and were condemned by our own guilt.

Basic Text, p. 7

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Guilt is one of the most commonly encountered stumbling blocks in recovery. One of the more notorious forms of guilt is the self-loathing that results when we try to forgive ourselves but don’t feel forgiven.

How can we forgive ourselves so we feel it? First, we remember that guilt and failure are not links in an unbreakable chain. Honestly sharing with a sponsor and with other addicts shows this to be true. Often the result of such sharing is a more sensible awareness of the part we ourselves have played in our affairs. Sometimes we realize that our expectations have been too high. We increase our willingness to participate in the solutions rather than dwelling on the problems.

Somewhere along the way, we discover who we really are. We usually find that we are neither the totally perfect nor the totally imperfect beings we have imagined ourselves to be. We need not live up to or down to our illusions; we need only live in reality.

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Just for today: I am grateful for my assets and accept my liabilities. Through willingness and humility, I am freed to progress in my recovery and achieve freedom from guilt.

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

The “G” word

It is important for you to know that you will hear God mentioned at NA meetings. What we are referring to is a Power greater than ourselves that makes possible what seems impossible.

IP No. 22, Welcome to NA

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Most of us come to Narcotics Anonymous with a variety of preconceptions about what the word “God” means, many of them negative. Yet the “G” word is used very regularly in NA, if not constantly. It occurs 92 times in the first 103 pages of our Basic Text, and appears prominently in a third of our Twelve Steps. Rather than sidestep the sensitivity many of us feel toward the word, let’s address it head on.

It’s true that Narcotics Anonymous is a spiritual program. Our Twelve Steps offer a way to find freedom from addiction through the help of a spiritual Power greater than we are. The program, however, doesn’t tell us anything about what we have to think about that Power. In fact, over and over again, in our literature and our steps and our meetings, we hear it said, “the God of our understanding”—whatever that understanding may be.

We use the word “God” because it’s used in our Basic Text and because it communicates most effectively to most people a basic understanding of the Power underlying our recovery. The word, we use for the sake of convenience. The Power behind the word, however, we use for more than convenience. We use that Power to maintain our freedom from addiction and to ensure our ongoing recovery.

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Just for today: Whether I believe in “God” or not, I will use the Power that keeps me clean and free.

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

The big picture | Just for Today, April 12

All spiritual awakenings have some things in common. Common elements include an end to loneliness and a sense of direction in our lives.

Basic Text, p. 50

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Some kinds of spiritual experiences take place when we confront something larger than we are. We suspect that forces beyond our understanding are operating. We see a fleeting glimpse of the big picture and find humility in that moment.

Our journey through the Twelve Steps will bring about a spiritual experience of the same nature, only more profound and lasting. We undergo a continual process of ego-deflation, while at the same time we become more conscious of the larger perspective. Our view of the world expands to the point where we no longer possess an exaggerated sense of our own importance.

Through our new awareness, we no longer feel isolated from the rest of the human race. We may not understand why the world is the way it is or why people sometimes treat one another so savagely. But we do understand suffering and, in recovery, we can do our best to alleviate it. When our individual contribution is combined with others, we become an essential part of a grand design. We are connected at last.

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Just for today: I am but one person in the entire scheme of things. I humbly accept my place in the big picture.

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

Steps 1, 2 & 3 of Crystal Meth Anonymous

1. We admitted that we were powerless over crystal meth and our lives had become unmanageable.

With Step 1, we admit that we can’t control crystal meth or its affect on us (ie. we can’t use just a little; we make dangerous decisions) and we put using it ahead of everything else — food, hygiene, work, health, finances, loved ones, a home, etc.

2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

In Step 2, we get hope. We admit that we can’t quit on our own; that we need help from something greater than ourselves.

Sanity = The opposite of insanity. Insanity = Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. With addiction, sanity usually means doing something different, new, positive and healthy.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a God of our understanding.

“A God of our understanding” is often called a “Higher Power.” You choose your Higher Power. It doesn’t have to be “God.” For many people it’s CMA program, the fellowship, nature, art, music — but, it cannot be you or the drug(s).

“Of our understanding” means it’s what we understand now. We don’t have to get what “God” is right now; just be willing, open-minded to your “Higher Power'”s guidance.

God-centeredness | Just For Today, March 30

Gradually, as we become more God-centered than self-centered, our despair turns to hope.

Basic Text, p. 95

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What a glorious thing to have hope! Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous, many of us lived lives of utter hopelessness. We believed we were destined to die from our disease.

Many members speak of being on a “pink cloud” their first months in the program. We’ve stopped using, made some friends, and life looks promising. Things are going great. Then reality sets in. Life is still life—we still lose jobs, our partners still leave us, friends still die, we still get sick. Abstinence is no guarantee that life will always go our way.

When the reality of life on its own terms sets in, we turn to our Higher Power and remember that life happens the way life happens. But no matter what occurs in our recovery we need not despair, for there is always hope. That hope lies in our relationship with our Higher Power.

This relationship, as expressed by the thought in our text, develops over time: “Gradually, we become more God-centered.” As we rely more and more on the strength of our Higher Power, life’s struggles don’t have to drag us into the sea of despair. As we focus more on God, we focus less on ourselves.

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Just for today: I will rely on my Higher Power. I will accept that, regardless of what happens, my Higher Power will provide me with the resources to live with it.

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

Our own true will | JFT, March 29

…God’s will for us consists of the very things we most value. God’s will… becomes our own true will for ourselves.

Basic Text, p. 48

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It’s human nature to want something for nothing. We may be ecstatic when a store cashier gives us back change for a twenty though we only paid with a ten. We tend to think that, if no one knows, one small deception won’t make any difference. But someone does know—we do. And it does make a difference.

What worked for us when we used frequently doesn’t work long in recovery. As we progress spiritually by working the Twelve Steps, we begin to develop new values and standards. We begin to feel uncomfortable when we take advantage of situations that, when we used, would have left us gloating about what we had gotten away with.

In the past, we may have victimized others. However, as we draw closer to our Higher Power, our values change. God’s will becomes more important than getting away with something.

When our values change, our lives change, too. Guided by an inner knowledge given us by our Higher Power, we want to live out our newfound values. We have internalized our Higher Power’s will for us—in fact, God’s will has become our own true will for ourselves.

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Just for today: By improving my conscious contact with God, my values have changed. Today, I will practice God’s will, my own true will.

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