Active listening

Through active listening, we hear things that work for us.

Basic Text, pp. 106-107

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Most of us arrived in Narcotics Anonymous with a very poor ability to listen. But to take full advantage of “the therapeutic value of one addict helping another,” we must learn to listen actively.

What is active listening for us? In meetings, it means we concentrate on what the speaker is sharing, while the speaker is sharing. We set aside our own thoughts and opinions until the meeting is over. That’s when we sort through what we’ve heard to decide which ideas we want to use and which we want to explore further.

We can apply our active listening skills in sponsorship, too. Newcomers often talk with us about some “major event” in their lives. While such events may not seem significant to us, they are to the newcomer who has little experience living life on life’s terms. Our active listening helps us empathize with the feelings such events trigger in our sponsee’s life. With that understanding, we have a better idea of what to share with them.

The ability to listen actively was unknown to us in the isolation of our addiction. Today, this ability helps us actively engage with our recovery. Through active listening, we receive everything being offered us in NA, and we share fully with others the love and care we’ve been given.

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Just for today: I will strive to be an active listener. I will practice active listening when others share and when I share with others.

Regular prayer and meditation

Most of us pray when we are hurting. We learn that if we pray regularly, we won’t be hurting as often or as intensely.

Basic Text, p. 45

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Regular prayer and meditation are two more key elements in our new pattern of living. Our active addiction was more than just a bad habit waiting to be broken by force of will. Our addiction was a negative, draining dependence that stole all our positive energy. That dependence was so total, it prevented us from developing any kind of reliance on a Higher Power.

From the very beginning of our recovery, our Higher Power has been the force that’s brought us freedom. First, it relieved us of our compulsion to keep taking drugs, even when we knew they were killing us. Then, it gave us freedom from the more deeply ingrained aspects of our disease. Our Higher Power gave us the direction, the strength, and the courage to inventory ourselves; to admit out loud to another person what our lives had been like, perhaps for the first time; to begin seeking release from the chronic defects of character underlying our troubles; and, at last, to make amends for the wrongs we’d done.

That first contact with a Higher Power, and that first freedom, has grown into a life full of freedom. We maintain that freedom by maintaining and improving our conscious contact with our Higher Power through regular prayer and meditation.

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Just for today: I will make a commitment to include regular prayer and meditation in my new pattern of living.

The Power of love

We begin to see that God’s love has been present all the time, just waiting for us to accept it.

Basic Text, p. 47

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God’s love is the transforming power that drives our recovery. With that love, we find freedom from the hopeless, desperate cycle of using, self-hatred, and more using. With that love, we gain a sense of reason and purpose in our once purposeless lives. With that love, we are given the inner direction and strength we need to begin a new way of life: the NA way. With that love, we begin to see things differently, as if with new eyes.

As we examine our lives through the eyes of love, we make what may be a startling discovery: The loving God we’ve so recently come to understand has always been with us and has always loved us. We recall the times when we asked for the aid of a Higher Power and were given it. We even recall times when we didn’t ask for such help, yet were given it anyway. We realize that a loving Higher Power has cared for us all along, preserving our lives till the day when we could accept that love for ourselves.

The Power of love has been with us all along. Today, we are grateful to have survived long enough to become consciously aware of that love’s presence in our world and our lives. Its vitality floods our very being, guiding our recovery and showing us how to live.

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Just for today: I accept the love of a Higher Power in my life. I am conscious of that Power’s guidance and strength within me. Today, I claim it for my own.

Responsible recovery

…we accept responsibility for our problems and see that we’re equally responsible for our solutions.

Basic Text, p. 97

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Some of us, well accustomed to leaving our personal responsibilities to others, may attempt the same behavior in recovery. We quickly find out it doesn’t work.

For instance, we are considering making a change in our lives, so we call our sponsor and ask what we should do. Under the guise of seeking direction, we are actually asking our sponsor to assume responsibility for making decisions about our life. Or maybe we’ve been short with someone at a meeting, so we ask that person’s best friend to make our apologies for us. Perhaps we’ve imposed on a friend several times in the last month to cover our service commitment. Could it be that we’ve asked a friend to analyze our behavior and identify our shortcomings, rather than taking our own personal inventory?

Recovery is something that has to be worked for. It isn’t going to be handed to us on a silver platter, nor can we expect our friends or our sponsor to be responsible for the work we must do ourselves. We recover by making our own decisions, doing our own service, and working our own steps. By doing it for ourselves, we receive the rewards.

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Just for today: I accept responsibility for my life and my recovery.

The shape of our thoughts

By shaping our thoughts with spiritual ideals, we are freed to become who we want to be.

Basic Text, p. 105

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Addiction shaped our thoughts in its own way. Whatever their shape may once have been, they became misshapen once our disease took full sway over our lives. Our obsession with drugs and self molded our moods, our actions, and the very shape of our lives.

Each of the spiritual ideals of our program serves to straighten out one or another of the kinks in our thinking that developed in our active addiction. Denial is counteracted by admission, secretiveness by honesty, isolation by fellowship, and despair by faith in a loving Higher Power. The spiritual ideals we find in recovery are restoring the shape of our thoughts and our lives to their natural condition.

And what is that “natural condition”? It is the condition we truly seek for ourselves, a reflection of our highest dreams. How do we know this? Because our thoughts are being shaped in recovery by the spiritual ideals we find in our developing relationship with the God we’ve come to understand in NA.

No longer does addiction shape our thoughts. Today, our lives are being shaped by our recovery and our Higher Power.

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Just for today: I will allow spiritual ideals to shape my thoughts. In that design, I will find the shape of my own Higher Power.

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

One Year Ago Today — An Addict’s Sister

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 […]

via One Year Ago Today — An Addict’s Sister

When is a secret not a secret?

Addicts tend to live secret lives…. It is a great relief to get rid of all our secrets and to share the burden of our past.

Basic Text, p. 33

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We’ve heard it said that “we’re as sick as our secrets.” What do we keep secret, and why?

We keep secret those things that cause us shame. We may hold onto such things because we don’t want to surrender them. Yet if they’re causing us shame, wouldn’t we live more easily with ourselves if we were rid of them?

Some of us hold onto the things that cause us shame for another reason. It’s not that we don’t want to be rid of them; we just don’t believe we can be rid of them. They’ve plagued us for so long, and we’ve tried so many times to rid ourselves of them, that we’ve stopped hoping for relief. Yet still they shame us, and still we keep them secret.

We need to remember who we are: recovering addicts. We who tried so long to keep our drug use a secret have found freedom from the obsession and compulsion to use. Though many of us enjoyed using right to the end, we sought recovery anyway. We just couldn’t stand the toll our using was taking on us. When we admitted our powerlessness and sought help from others, the burden of our secret was lifted from us.

The same principle applies to whatever secrets may burden us. Yes, we’re as sick as our secrets. Only when our secrets stop being secret can we begin to find relief from those things that cause us shame.

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Just for today: My secrets can make me sick only as long as they stay secret. Today, I will talk with my sponsor about my secrets.

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

loving someone with addiction — onegirlslifejourneyblog

methagedemographics

everyday is a battle trying to love someone with addiction. addiction doesn’t discriminate. it causes children to despise parents, hurt, jail time, and loneliness. i had to learn how to grow up on my own at the short age of 16 because i always had to do everything on my own because drugs got the […]

via loving someone with addiction — onegirlslifejourneyblog