~ 2012 Form ~
Total abstinence from all drugs is the hallmark of NA recovery. The key to the disease concept is the desire to grow along with total abstinence. Some of our members suffer from illnesses that require the use of drugs but that does not prevent their finding recovery in NA. During illness, we just have to do the best we can. Those who use illness as a way to use soon find out that if you cheat, you lose. Recovery depends on desire for freedom from active addiction. We do not make people sick or well. We share a tried and true approach to living with addicts in need of help.
There are some among us with diseases in addition to addiction (like Hepatitis C or HIV) who need to be able to live clean while dealing with such an illness. The answers to our living problems are in the Twelve Steps and for us addicts there is no exception to this issue.
Living with a life-threatening illness is a relevant issue to our Fellowship, although it may not be talked about much. It is recovery while coping with another life-threatening illnesses. When we were out there using, a lot of us did irreparable damage to our bodies. Today, in recovery we have to live with the consequences of our active addiction and somehow stay clean as well. We wish to share how we manage to do this on a daily basis.
We know that addiction is incurable, progressive and fatal. It can be arrested at some point and recovery is then possible. The same holds true for other illnesses in recovery. We cannot go back and change what we did to ourselves, but we can choose to live just for today. Even if we cannot arrest physical illness, the spiritual damage it does to us can be stopped. Recovery shows us a new way to live - even with a potentially fatal illness. Anyone with health problems that stays clean "come hell or high water" has something very valuable to share.
Recovery helps us find out what we need to become complete and guides us in the direction we need to go when we need help. Power is the ability to define reality. While our disease robs us of this power, our recovery restores it. Dealing with life on life's terms means being able to get through times of illness or being able to adapt to living with something we can't control. We can accept these realities and get support from our fellow members.
One of the things we guard against in writing this material is the presentation of ‘good ideas’ for others to live by with no personal involvement or validating experience to back it up. Instead, we find people with our problem and find out what they do to get along. We have known members who died from cancer, AIDS and other causes but never lost faith and never stopped working their NA program. They would go to meetings and share what was going on with them. We are sure they helped others by the courage of their example.
An addict shared: "Just before I first came to the program, I had a broken foot and it hurt like hell. I was prescribed a painkiller and took it as prescribed. I remember the point where it was starting to get me going in a way that was all too familiar. It scared me and I stopped taking it before the pain was gone. It felt like a close call. After I got in recovery, it made more sense to me. I had the desire for recovery before I had the Program.
"I sponsor a man who went through the removal of a lung. He was in pain and had to take medication but he never lost the attitude and desire for recovery that makes us members. I never felt he was being dishonest or playing games. He could have died easily. It would be cruel to tell someone in that situation to throw away their medication. Recovery works and can help us in all sorts of circumstances."
Members who lose even for a short time the desire for recovery run the risk of relapse. After all, most members who have relapsed speak of losing their desire well before actual picking up the first drug. Developing a playful attitude towards the essentials of recovery is a warning sign. Stopping some of the things they have been doing to stay clean or grow spiritually are bigger warning signs.
An addict shared: "I always have to remember that addiction itself is a life threatening disease. Whenever I allow myself to become spiritually hungry, I find the urge to feed the addiction emerging.
"One of our local members is a paraplegic. He comes to the meeting in a wheelchair. Luckily, the building where we meet allows him to enter and exit under his own steam. Last Friday night, I went to ‘Buckhead’ to walk and stare at the neighborhood I used to live in during my college days. It has sure changed a lot as there are many more people and entertainment spots. Alongside one of the streets was a musician sitting with his guitar, amplifier and a set of harmonicas. He was setting up to do a live street performance.
"It took me a moment to realize that it was my buddy from the meeting, in his wheelchair, singing his heart out for tips and kicks. His first song was ‘Hoochie-Coochie Man.’ Sometimes, I think am a pretty fearless guy but I swear I do not currently have the guts to do what he did! I can play and even sing sometimes (I think!) but to do it in public along a street on a Friday night is awesome. I was impressed! I did not realize until I came past this topic that while his illness may or may not be life threatening, it is sure life limiting. At least I thought so until I realized that he is doing things that I cannot do! He helped me grow that night - and kicked out some really good blues!"
Another addict shared: "Being in the situation at present of dealing with several health issues for which the treatments are apparently somewhat counterproductive at times, I find that ‘keeping it as simple as possible’ definitely helps.
"I have experienced all the things that went on when I first got clean. I have been putting a lot of attention into modifying my eating patterns. I recall at about two weeks into the commitment, My head hurt, my belly hurt, my arm hurt, my toe hurt, etc. and this disease said, ‘If you're gonna still feel bad, why bother?’
"I picked-up the tools that y'all gave me. The Basic Text tells me that the only alternatives to recovery are jails, institutions, dereliction and death. I find that when I start feeling ‘hopeless and powerless’ with what is going on - it helps me to remember that dereliction is a neglect of, or failure in, duty. It is being remiss.
"I found that I have to dedicate my life each day to ‘recovery’ and then God provides me with reminders of my commitment and provides the strength to stay with it - no matter what."
We do not play doctors in NA; we share a proven program of recovery from addiction. We do not claim to have all the answers. Where NA is new, there have been tragic occasions where uninformed people have given irresponsible medical advice and we take the issue very seriously: we are not doctors! Some drugs have side effects from unsupervised withdrawal like heart attack and other major concerns. Sadly, addicts have died from unwanted medical advice. We recommend that you seek the help of an informed physician and we pledge to do all we can to help the medical community get accurate information on our experience with addiction and recovery.
Someone who is required to take medication to deal with illness outside their control is not using. We have found that our members stay clean through major surgery and amputations requiring all sorts of drugs: they did not relapse spiritually and required no detox. As the pain subsided, they dispensed with the medication. In many of these cases, they had members visiting them in the hospital, bringing them a meeting, visits from their sponsors and the literature open at hand! It is hard to imagine a greater testimony to the healing power of NA recovery.
Others have had physical and emotional complications that resulted in medications that while they do not get you high, they are definitely to be taken seriously. Nevertheless, the rule ‘if it is for an illness, it is not using’ applies in nearly every case. Naturally, some will abuse this but we cannot control that. We can make someone who expresses a sincere desire for recovery welcome in our meetings. They may have nowhere else to go. Whether their personal situation allows them to get off ‘everything’ or not is something that is between them, their sponsor, their physician and their Higher Power. No one can judge their situation with the assurance of accuracy. Sincerity most always triumphs and those who have gaps in their desire for recovery will always find a way to use. We would hope that our members take time to pray when and where concerns of this type come up. Narcotics Anonymous is a program of total abstinence and yet we utilize practical spirituality.
Someone with emotional disorders on medication may feel comfortable in our meetings for a time, yet never be an addict. Disruption of any sort is rarely tolerated beyond a point, but a surrendered, sincere desire for self-betterment is most respectable. Life threatening illness means someone is living with imminent death. Kindness and restraint can help us reserve our "firebrand" statements about staying clean for those who are not otherwise ill. Recalling our pasts, we try to make room for those who need us reserve our judgment for ourselves and do the best we can to live the will of our loving Ultimate Authority. The temptation to give advice may be great but all we can actually share is our experience. Recalling this may help us to avoid situations where we might hurt someone unintentionally.
So long as a problem or issue can hide and avoid admission, discussion and honest sharing of recovery experience, just that long will our pain and sense of isolation endure. While it has long been said, "We are not doctors." there is no reason why we cannot share our real recovery in areas that concern, or will concern, most of our members. If not directly, we need to be aware of situations that may occur and what has worked for other NA members facing the same or similar problems. As written elsewhere in our Program of recovery, there is no safe usage of drugs. Our bodies do not know the difference. Also, while we are free to make generalizations, it is most important that the reader understand that generalizations do not apply in every case.
Total abstinence has long been the bedrock for recovery in Narcotics Anonymous. Over the years, progress in medicine has resulted in proliferation of drugs designed to help people with all sorts of illness or complaints. This has made the very idea of total abstinence seem antiquated and out of date with all the new medications to choose from. Narcotics Anonymous, as a program, cannot survive unless we keep NA a safe place for addicts seeking recovery. While we may include members who are forced to take medication in our Fellowship, we are not unclear about our insistence on keeping total abstinence as our primary goal in recovery. The more we are freed from the effects of drugs in one form or another, the more we are free to be ourselves. We may be great or less than great but at least we are free. Active addiction is being forced to use against our will.
Doctors, in most cases, do not receive training in the area of addiction. When we use the phrase ‘informed physician’ what we mean is a doctor who knows something about NA and the disease concept. The recovery process is not yet recognized in the greater society. It is something we have worked out among ourselves, putting our lives on the line for what we believe. Devastation and death have marked our mistakes. What we have learned has worked for hundreds of thousands with more addicts getting clean every day. While we still say, "We are not doctors." we may now add, "We have learned . . ." It requires very little effort to have people who are trained physicians, especially doctors who are also in NA, to look through what we share in writing and bring any need for inclusion, exclusion or restatement to our attention. But to pretend that we know nothing is not based in reality.
Long clean time results from living the Program on a daily basis. Any day we stop working our program, the Program will stop working for us. Without application, NA is as useless as an umbrella in the coat closet on a rainy day. Nobody is exempt from illness and we need to share how we stay clean when we are sick. While we can discuss particular problems and solutions, we bear in mind that in human beings, no part exists separate from the whole. Age, general health and common illnesses may affect us in ways that are more intense than in the general population.
Cancer – Stop hating anyone. This seems to be a general truth that comes up in reality where a person is diagnosed with cancer in any form. While this may sound like ‘folk medicine,’ it is what you hear among people who actually have cancer – and what’s the harm? We are finding out more about how the thoughts we hold in our minds affect the events that happen in our lives. There can be no doubt that our minds have much to say about how our bodies feel and function. Everything from our diets and respiration to our physiological state and development can be affected for the better or worse by our mental state. Hating in general creates a negative state of mind and that negativity can carry though to our physical condition. The body registers everything we eat, breath or drink.
Injury – Our members have awakened after an auto accident in a hospital with no idea what happened. There have been times when they were put on medication while they were still out cold. There are other times when their thinking and perceptions are impaired. Let’s make sure our people get the best medical treatment. Any addict who has this misfortune should be willing to go through medical detox, if necessary.
Perceptions may or may not be real. Many upsets and imbalances result in changes in the way we see things and this in turn changes our reaction. If we feel threatened or out of sorts, the first thing most of us do is blame it on whoever is closest at hand. So, our loved ones become the focus of our concern rather than considering our own need for mood management, taking care of ourselves and double checking our thinking. Just a little restraint will go a long way to avoiding lashing out at others when we need to be making adjustments in our thinking. Not getting too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired is one way we keep ourselves in a good state of mind.
Just as ‘breakthroughs’ in medications have occurred, many forms of mental illness now have names unknown in the past. Borderline personality, multiple personality, bipolar and clinical depression are helping us understand what is happening to us and how we can deal with perceptions that may be self-generated based on disturbances in our body chemistry. Other people may in fact be doing things that upset us but that cannot explain the degree to which we get upset.
Diet, exercise, spending enough time alone, with others and in study will all help keep us balanced. Even member's diagnosed with emotional illness will benefit from these things. We want our program to be available to all who need it and this forces us to think through what we say and do in recovery. If someone has a headache, take Asprin. If a member suffers from mental illness, they may need prescribed medication. If a member is feeling upset or going through some emotional upheavals associated with working the 12 Steps, take nothing. Shame, guilt, remorse are all healthy feelings for people who have done wrong and not been able to admit it. They are accurate.
The point of recovery is we can change and as we change, our feelings change. We do not medicate these feelings, we deal with them. We go over what has happened that makes us feel badly and perhaps discuss it with our sponsor or at a home group. Do not discuss illegal things unless you know every group member. 'No surveillance' may be 'no known surveillance' at a meeting with two or three hundred people present. Anonymity, in practice, seems to apply more to people who know us and care about us.
Always a hot spot for recovering addicts, medication for real needs is considered separate from questionable medication or using by volition. Sickness is one of the realities we face in recovery. A valid medication makes it possible for us to live without pain or disorientation. Using in terms of active addiction is evident when obsession, compulsion or excessive justification shows up. Much of our using took place in secret, or at least secret from those who did not use like we did. Just so, make sure you share what is happening in your life with your sponsor, trusted friends and others whose opinion or experience you value. Don’t ask someone who has never owned a car how to change a spare tire. They may give you great theories but lack effective experience. Don’t ask someone who has never been sick how to survive surgery or a major illness. They just don’t know. Great danger lies in the fact that many times a well-intended person will make up something helpful to avoid admitting they have no successful experience to share. If we allow ourselves to become subject to their fantasy of what will help, we expose ourselves to all kinds of mistakes.
Being cut off from contact with our Higher Power shifts everything in our lives out of focus. We renew our recovering state of mind by surrendering when we encounter things too big for us to handle on our own. Being able to turn these things over mentally and in reality for our Higher Power to handle takes us off the hook and frequently solutions appear almost immediately. We have known for years that we are our own worst enemy but is surprising to most of us how many forms this self-destructiveness can take. God help us!
HIV/AIDS & Recovery
Member's Personal Account
Part of my story is that I shot drugs from early 1970’s to the early 1980’s the last four years were almost daily. I remember some of the old time junkies that ran some of the galleries that I frequented were going to the hospital with this weird pneumonia that was killing some of them in the early 1980’s. They found a name for my disease. They called it HIV/AIDS.
I took the HIV test after a routine physical showed that I had a low white cell count. I had about ten days to wait for the results to come back. During this time I reflected back on all the people who had died of AIDS related illnesses that were from my circle of close friends that I shot dope with. Knowing how many of them close friends of mine were real blood brothers mixing blood because you get in a hurry to get your fix, then shaking like a leaf for a minute or two. The fact that we used the same works or used the shooting gallery works instead of new one should have made me want to take the HIV test many years earlier, but I believe that subconsciously, I did not want to know. My denial could have landed me in the hospital had not the GOD of my understanding intervened and do for me what I was not willing to do for myself. November 9th 1997, I was diagnosed with clinical AIDS. I was clean nine years at the time of my diagnosis and one month shy of celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary. I was lucky my wife rode this out with me, as she rode out living with me in active addiction. Some are not as lucky as I was. Their wives, lovers, or partners think they can but soon find out they can not handle living with a person who has HIV/AIDS.
By the time I went to the doctor to find out what the test results were, I had, through the principles on our program, already accepted what I knew he was going to tell me. Once the diagnosis was confirmed, it was actually a relief. I had no idea how heavy the weight was until it was gone. The poor doctor kept asking me over and over, "Do you understand what I have just told you?" My reply was, "Yes, Doc. I am in a 12 Step program. My concern is not how I got this way, my concern is what are we going to do about it starting today." I then told him, "As long as you give me what you gave Magic, I am going to be ok." He said that is just what we are going to do. I have through the course of my therapy had a pill count as high as 33 pills a day. Even though I have a program, the regimen I was on at first wore me down. After a year and I became very depressed as a result. It was a bad situation to have any disease run my life. The disease of addiction is one we can take charge of and keep arrested using the NA program. The HIV/AIDS meds I was taking were ruling my life. They had to be taken on time, every time, to be effective. That was not so bad. I could do that but when I would meet with you after a meeting and you say, "Come on Ron, lets go get something to eat." I would have to look at my watch because I had to wait two hours after or one hour before I took my meds.
It sucked, having pills dictate your eating habits. I sought some outside help on this issue and fought with my doctor to change my meds to something I could take and eat when I wanted to. That is what NA taught me that I am responsible for my recovery from all diseases.
I used the principle of acceptance to deal with my situation, no one but me had put myself at risk to acquire HIV/AIDS. I used the principle of surrender to move on and take responsibility to take care of my new disease just for today. I used the 4th, 5th, and 8th steps to not let guilt interfere and cause me to not take my meds on time every time. Through prayer and meditation I was able to disclose and be open about my AIDS status from day one. I hear you tell me for years that my secrets will keep me sick. I got rid of all secrets writing my 4th step, so I was not about to start keeping news secrets.
The bottom line was that through the practice of the 12 steps and 12 traditions I was able to look and my new disease as a gift. I know some of you as you read that line will ask how he can look at such a life changing disease as a gift. I will tell you how and why.
The GOD of my understanding has taken care of me since the day I asked to be taken off the streets and not let me use drugs any more. When I was in treatment, and did not know where my wife and kids were, I got mad at GOD and demanded to see my family. Being the loving and caring GOD that he is, I saw my family the next day. He has reunited me with my family after I got out of treatment. He has restored me to sanity. He sent me to NA to get a sponsor and learn through the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions exactly who I really am. So, with all the good things he has given me, why not look at this as just another gift from GOD. That’s right I said gift.
You see the day I disclosed my AIDS status, people inside and outside the rooms made it their business not to be in my life any more. There were even a few NA members who I did not get hugs from - or when I did get a hug it was not the same tight 'hold on for you life' hug. Well let us look at what a gift that was. If they can not accept me the way I am, they did not need to be in my life anyway. So GOD removed some people who did not believe in me and want to help me in my recovery. There was lady friend of mine who after the meeting came up to me and said, "You have been helping us in NA for a long time, GOD wants you help some other people now who have a different disease." Man, talking about GOD speaking through other people. I was blown away but I was also able to take what that lady had told me and run with it.
Here is another way this has been a gift. We have people in NA who are not as comfortable as I am with my AIDS status and they do not feel that they can disclose their HIV/AIDS status, the reasons why vary but the bottom line is they ask if they can share with me what is going on with them in relation to their HIV, I am willing to be of service and give them the recovery from HIV/AIDS I have learned. So I now felt pleased that I was able to be open with my HIV status because they could not.
The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions play a big part in my HIV therapy. I had a job making $50,000 plus a year. It was in the chemical industry, and I was also working shift work, all three shifts every month, including most holidays. You can not find a doctor that will tell you that is a healthy way to live your life. It actually takes time of the end of your life. Then there are the safety and EPA regulations you have to abide by. I just wanted to paint the stressful environment I was working under. Mind you, when you are in the process of doing this day in and day out, you do not feel the stress. How I found out was I had come to the point where the money was not as important as my health. And after eighteen months away from that job my T-Cell (CD4) count went from 221 up to 587, my doctor said that was a dramatic jump. This is what the 12 Steps taught me. It was, and still is, a painful decision I made. My family suffered because I lost close to $30,000 in income, but we are making it just for today.
On the back of our medallion it says "We share and care with others the NA way" to me others meant everybody. I am a certified HIV educator. This is another gift; I was able to get educated to HIV/AIDS at no cost, you can not beat free education. I do a lot of speaking to a lot of different audiences. I always share as if I am in a NA meeting and it always goes well. I do not have to tell a person that I am sharing the 12 Steps with them as long as they benefit from what I am telling them it is all good.
I am also Hepatitis C positive. Again another result of sticking needles in my arms. The 12 Steps of NA helped me to take and own responsibility for my actions. We all have our wreckage of the past that sooner or later we have to deal with and these diseases are my wreckage. I also became Diabetic as a result of the meds, the virus, or the way I was eating, again it is not how we got it, it is what we do about it. The doctor told me that if I lost thirty pounds, I would not have to take Diabetes medicine. I have already told you how many pills I was taking and I was not trying to add any more. I went from 231 lbs. to 205 lbs. My goal is 190 lbs. I am so into my recovery that I laughed when I found out about acquiring another disease, thinking to myself, when is this gonna end, and knowing that the answer is when you guys hear that I have left this world and gone on the big meeting in the sky.
My sponsor beat into my head a few things some of them go like this, "Don’t take anything personal." So when all this happened, I did not take it personal. The 12 Steps ease the pain of living life on life’s terms, not remove it. He also said, "Once you identify the problem, it is half solved. You just have to put some positive action to it and you are in the recovery process." He used to use this analogy, if there is a quarter on the floor and its heads up, you know tails is on the other side but until you bend down and flip it over you can not see the other side. Action had and continues to have to be taken for me to remain in our recovery process. Life is good when I am in the recovery process.
I am taking better care of myself today then I ever did prior to finding out I was AIDS positive. Today I work in the HIV/AIDS field helping other people who are positive get their medicine and see a doctor so they can live a quality life. I am coming up on fifteen years of recovery. I have been in the same home group for fourteen and a half years, we are a group that meets to help each other stay clean and we practice the 12 Traditions to the best of our ability. I will end this by saying this. I have seen many HIV+ people. They all do not take their diagnosis the say way. It takes many of them a long time to come to grips with their situation. I am so grateful that I am a member of NA and had a program to help me deal with my situation. Some of those people do not have a good outlook on life. I love knowing the fact that I have a program that has already been proven in the lives of many addicts. So I know it can be the guide through any thing that life throws my way, and I never have to use over it.
Life Limiting Illness
"I have felt that I needed to write this in hopes it will help others, in addition to having been encouraged by my sponsor write about this for some time now. I confess to all the usual pitfalls that seem to appear as insurmountable. So, with your patient attention, here goes:
"I was diagnosed with both diabetes and lymphodema prior to entering recovery. I struggled with living with both of these life-limiting conditions. I was able after coming into recovery to accept that I was as responsible for my recovery or lack thereof in these disorders as well. The saving grace, I thought was that I did not have to take any questionable medications for them. As I have progressed in the recovery process, it has become apparent to me that not taking that responsibility places me dangerously close to the line. The disease of addiction tells me that I don’t have to monitor my diet, that if I eat things that drive up my blood sugar I can shoot a little more insulin to compensate. While, clearly insulin will not get me high – it would be without a doubt using behavior and thinking.
"I heard it said, in the beginning that we start the process of recovery by stopping the drugs and as time passes we should begin to address other symptoms of using. That has been my experience.
"Then life threw me a curve ball; after a 6 week confinement in the hospital I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost two years ago. Of course, I was put on morphine at the hospital for pain management. I struggled against it, begged the doctor to give me something else. I would go as long as I could stand it before taking it, I guess I tried all the solutions that the disease of addiction suggested until my sponsor told me that an addict in recovery could follow directions. I surrendered, asked the nurses for any information they had on pain management and began to educate myself on this concept. In the process, I learned the vast difference between pain management and pain response. The latter applies to pain that should subside as the injury heals; the other is to prevent further complications to recovery that are caused by pain.
"I had to have exploratory surgery to get a biopsy and a diagnosis. They also mechanically removed about seven liters of fluid from my abdomen. Further surgery was not recommended because of my weight [another life-limiting, self-inflicted condition] which ironically had increased by almost forty pounds lbs due to fluid retention. Initially, I was very committed to losing enough weight to proceed in the usual manner, surgery followed by chemotherapy.
"My oncologist said we really didn’t need to wait the time it may take to achieve that option, I was already stage 4 which only leaves the final stage when the cancer leaves the abdomen and travels to other areas. So then the choice is chemotherapy or nothing. I have developed a close enough relationship with God as to be absolutely convinced that I’m going to be okay, no matter what. So much information, so many choices, and so little time to process things – my head was spinning and I had to go on the instincts God has blessed me with and pray, pray, pray! Therefore, I went for the chemotherapy.
"I took the first chemo session and came through quite well, which helped me leave the hospital very optimistic. I live about seventy miles from the hospital and the ride home was tiring indeed. It seems that the process of my husband loading me in the truck [my lymphodema was seriously out of control, I think the entire amount of fluid retention was in my legs because I could only take a few steps with assistance and could not move them on my own], had put pressure on one of the incisions from the laparoscopic surgery. When we arrived home, my dress was wet enough to have water squeezed from it. We came in the house and settled for the night. I still had fluid coming from the incision in such force that it was quite obvious the next morning. By this time, I was feeling some of the effects of the chemo but we had to reload and drive back to the doctor’s office to get stitched.
"I returned to the hospital in three weeks for my next chemo session and after ten attempts to start an IV the nurses at the cancer clinic said no go. Then, of course, I had to have another surgery to have an access device installed for chemo and whatever. Still they doctors said I could not survive having the major surgery necessary to remove the cancer. I had chemo as well as blood transfusions every three weeks for the following year. I have not had chemo for a year now and my levels are holding steady so we are most definitely on a one day at a time basis.
"I was sent home with a morphine patch delivery system. Initially, I was on 25mg with a prescription for OxyContin to take for break through pain [lovely situation for an addict to be in, huh?] When I revisited my primary physician in a couple of weeks, we had a serious discussion about this. The results were: he increased the dosage to 50mg and we discontinued the other drug.
"I am still not able to attend meetings on a regular basis. My home group has been so wonderfully supportive. They bring me NA meetings at home and continued to allow me to celebrate my anniversaries. I have a sponsee who is celebrating in July. She lives about 5 hours away and her home group wants me to come speak but I cannot possibly make such a trip. In talking to my home group members, they have invited her to celebrate here and allow us to make a recording that she can take back to play at her home group.
"A lot of people that I thought were friends are no longer coming around because they cannot accept my medications. I lost a sponsee, she felt that I was entirely too comfortable with the situation. Some have pulled away long enough to process things and are back and quite fiercely defensive of me when others attack. I resigned as Area Chairperson as soon as I received my diagnosis and what lay ahead. I did this over some quite vocal objections from some who are now on a character assignation campaign. I would not even attempt to hold a position within the service structure with these forces at work in my life today. I remain available as a resource but have no business in a representative capacity.
"I am clearly aware of the physical effects of my medications on my system and am also clearly convinced that I have not relapsed. I am also aware that this situation like any that I may go through requires that I remain open and vocal about what I am going through and that I must remain vigilant. The need for medications has physically placed me a step or two closer to the line but my continuing surrender and commitment to recovery both mentally and spiritually are allowing me to remain in the recovery process. As the old song goes, "two out of three ain’t bad!" As a parting thought to others who find themselves in a similar situation, I would like to say: Trust God, talk to your sponsor and/or your immediate network regularly, take suggestions ONLY from those who have personal experience it this area to share with you rather than opinions or hearsay, recommit to recovery DAILY, seek and follow the directions of your doctor exactly, and remain vigilant. We do recover and can continue to recover through life-threatening illnesses.
- A Grateful Addict from Georgia
persons have visited this page since March 3, 2012
Reprinted from the
N.A. FELLOWSHIP USE ONLY
Copyright © December 1998
Victor Hugo Sewell, Jr.
NA Foundation Group
6685 Bobby John Road Atlanta, GA 30349 USA
All rights reserved. This draft may be copied by members of Narcotics Anonymous for the purpose of writing input for future drafts, enhancing the recovery of NA members and for the general welfare of the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship as a whole. The use of an individual name is simply a registration requirement of the Library of Congress and not a departure from the spirit or letter of the Pledge, Preface or Introduction of this book. Any reproduction by individuals or organizations outside the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous is prohibited. Any reproduction of this document for personal or corporate monetary gain is prohibited.