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Addiction is a solution to impossible situations
Impossible situations are things that arise in our lives that have no solution. Chronic pain, an unhappy relationship, financial issues or even simple boredom can become impossible to deal with. When addicts are trapped by these situations, an addict can turn to actively using to deal with those feelings. Everyone identifies with the sacrifices they make daily in their lives in order to achieve balance. It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting things to be different. “Wouldn’t it be nice if things were different” is uttered in an offhand way when the difficulties of life catch up with any of us. Difficult situations that are unresolved become impossible situations. The same dangerous thinking lurks on the other side of life too. Those idyllic moments, moments of joy and serenity can become equally impossible to maintain for any person. Addicts are again drawn to the lure of getting and using those moments again and again as they strive to be happy and never deal with conflict. For various reasons, many people come to Narcotics Anonymous because they have identified within themselves that active addiction is the only solution available to them right now. In the beginning, members of NA were able to identify with others because of patterns of drug use, but as members return to the program, they learn that addiction is more than the substances they used.
(Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Grey book (Version 2), chapter 1, “Who is an addict”, Page 5) "Addiction isolated us from people except for the getting, using, and finding ways and means to get more." This statement is powerful for an addict at any stage of recovery and not just when we are new. Vigilance requires that an addict consider all aspects of their lives, and all manifestations of the disease daily. It is the reason they do the steps and work with a sponsor. (Basic Text, Chapter 2, “What is the Narcotics Anonymous Program”, Page 19) “We are recovered addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean” and “We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help.” This is a part of the message in the literature that invites members into the solution. People who have no problems are no longer in the solution as are the self-seekers who have little or nothing to offer to others. Many members will join groups in the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous with the purpose of staying clean. Groups host regular meetings for addicts to attend. (Narcotics Anonymous Group Booklet, published 1997, Page 2) “The quality of an NA meeting is directly dependent on the strength and solidarity of the NA group which sponsors it.” Participation in a Group is the foundation of recovery in NA. (Narcotics Anonymous Group Booklet, published 1997, Page 1)
The best source of solutions for the group’s problems, in most cases, is the group itself. “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps,” our Twelfth Step says, “we tried...to practice these principles in all our affairs.” When we collectively apply the insight received from that spiritual awakening to our group’s problems, we call that group conscience. Common sense, open minds, calm discussion, accurate information, mutual respect, and healthy personal recovery enable a group to deal effectively with almost anything that comes its way.
By completing a set of steps, addicts can achieve an awakening of the spirit. Continued involvement in a Group teaches addicts how to apply spiritual principles in their lives. To facilitate the efforts to stay clean, members of any group will need a clearly defined purpose and work together to resolve common problems by arriving at a group conscience.
The Narcotics Anonymous literature says, (Basic Text, Tradition 5, Page 83) “Our primary purpose is to carry the message to the addict who still suffers”. How this is achieved is “In our groups we share our experience, strength and hope and this is our message that an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs; lose the desire to use again; and find a new way to live.” The first part of the message is simple and clear. An addict can stop using drugs. Some members arrive free of drugs, and some struggle to free themselves of drugs for long periods of time. Addicts can return to self-medicating their impossible situations at any time and this is called a relapse. The goal of the individual member is always complete abstinence. During times of illness addicts may return to drug use, under the care of professionals but the goal is always to return to complete abstinence. Members of NA always strive to be inclusive regardless of their personal opinions and remember that as a Fellowship they are (Basic Text, Our Symbol, preface) “a universal and total program that has room within for all manifestations of the recovering and wholly recovered person.”
Losing the desire to use must mean more than simply losing the desire to use drugs. The focus is on addiction, and not specific substances in the first step. Some members do struggle with a desire to return to drug use. Other members will come to see that recovery itself has become an addiction as they return time and time again to patterns of behavior that serve nothing but themselves despite remaining clean. New ideas about addiction are emerging as the Fellowship grows. Service-based recovery are people who get caught up controlling and manipulating rather than proper service; which is operating with the full support of the Fellowship. Some members seek event-based recovery enjoying the best of what is available and never wanting to deal with the conflicts that make up any fellowship. Self-seekers will always find themselves outside the Fellowship. Avoiding or causing drama can be as big an addiction as any drug, so learning to deal with conflict is why the 12 traditions are applied to the groups. Sometimes the best a member can hope for is to walk away from toxic situations and serve the Fellowship in other ways, never forgetting the primary purpose and the means by which that is achieved.
Finding a new way to live is the goal of anyone who chooses to be a part of the Fellowship and how they are to achieve ongoing recovery. (Basic Text, Chapter 4, “How it works”, Page 28) “We believe that the sooner we face our problems within our society, in everyday living, just that much faster do we become acceptable, responsible, and productive members of that society.” By meeting regularly, and helping each other, addicts begin to learn about spiritual principles and apply them in their daily lives. An addict’s regular commitment to regular attendance, sharing and caring with and for other addicts will guarantee a manner of living that ensures our recovery continues.
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