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When we first come to Narcotics Anonymous we are likely broken. It would be a rare thing to find someone who comes to their first meeting brimming with hope and a desire to expand their horizons.We are only asked to have a desire to stop using and we are encouraged to attend meetings regularly. We are given phone numbers, so we can contact other members for support as we struggle to live and experience life without the crippling effects of active addiction.In meetings we learn the tools of recovery that other recovering addicts are applying in their lives today. The struggle to get clean and stay clean is similar for each of us, and even though we may stumble, we are encouraged to keep coming back. Once we achieve that first day clean, we are encouraged to find a sponsor and begin the 12 Steps. The Steps are a spiritual process that helps us focus on three main things in our lives; 1) an understanding of who we are, 2) a relationship with a power greater than ourselves, and 3) the tools to carry a message to the suffering addict.NA only makes one promise; that an addict, any addict can stop using, lose the desire to use, and find and new way to live.Narcotics Anonymous makes clear that this process will be more important than anything else if we are to survive and find a new way to live. Our journey in recovery may be filled with opportunity and personal success but the disease we share requires a devotion to selflessness otherwise we will find ourselves caught in self-obsession again and again.
During the process of working the Steps we discover that many of us have taken for granted the abundance in our lives.At first this idea of abundance can be a strange concept. The N.A. literature tells us that the core of our disease is self-obsession; and most of us always wanted more- more of whatever substance, or person, or thing that could fill the endless open space we felt in our hearts. The Steps help us to understand our limits as they exist in the moment, with the understanding that our spiritual condition is in direct relationship with how we feel about ourselves today. We strive to share with others our experience, strength and hope regardless of how we feel at any moment. That desire and willingness to share with others replaces our self-obsession. Even an abundance of suffering when shared helps to get outside of ourselves and connect with other recovering addicts. We learn to step out of the wreckage of our past and move forward when we share with others.
The abundance we find begins when we stop dedicating so much of our lives to the pursuit of fulfilling our addictive natures.Our understanding of abundance may differ, however, when we simplify our lives most of us find that our needs are met.We attend our home group regularly and work with newcomers which allows us to share our gratitude and appreciate the richness of our lives. Self-obsession narrowed our vision to what we desired, so a relationship with a higher power helps us make choices and gives us new options.
From our first day clean we begin to understand that the grace of a higher power allows us a daily reprieve from the disease of addiction.When our energy and focus is freed up from constantly seeking ways and means to get ‘more’, we can see that today we have enough.Some of us never expected another breath, another sunrise, or even another chance at anything resembling a life.We allow a higher power to guide our lives and we nurture that relationship.Sometimes we question the wisdom that comes our way or misunderstand how to live life on life’s terms.We are often challenged to look for and find the abundance that fills our lives or to have gratitude for being given that chance to start over. By applying the core principles of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness we get to understand that living within our means emotionally, spiritually, and financially, our lives can become manageable.When we apply the 12 Steps and the spiritual principles found therein, the only lasting benefits we find are those that direct us to carry a message to the suffering addict because, as our literature tells us, ‘we can only keep what we have by giving it away’.
Often, we have compared our insides with the outsides of others, perhaps feeling the lack of outward success when seeing the neighbor’s new car or watching the glamorous people eating at cafes and restaurants with their lovers and friends.What we find, however, after attending meetings regularly and working the Steps, that our hearts are thawing, and we feel like we belong somewhere, that we are among our tribe. Our recovery in NA can only work in our lives if we participate in the meetings we attend and the home groups we are accountable to, constantly striving to carry a message to others.We discover that abundance touches our lives when we take stock in what is important; learning how to relate to others with genuine interest, healing the past, and by living in the moment. We not only have our needs met, but we are hopeful for the future.The efforts we put into doing the Steps will enrich our lives and help us identify our abundance.We become grateful for all that Narcotics Anonymous gives us; and we no longer feel the lack in our lives, but a life worth living with direction and purpose.
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