Narcotics Anonymous Way of Life

~ 2012 Form ~

Recovery Process

Many of us arrived in NA filled with fear. We felt alone and unique. We were desperate and had been unable to find a solution on our own. We had been in a battle for our lives. We had fought to maintain our habit and struggled to hold on to some semblance of normalcy. We began to desire change even when we knew it was impossible. It could have been the threat of jail, loss of a job, disintegration of our family, an attempted suicide or witnessing the death of another addict that gave birth to this desire. We felt that we could not live this way anymore. At some point, we looked at ourselves and could not believe what we had become. We were no longer a complete person rather an empty shell of our former selves. We were heartsick and ashamed and we looked for a better way. While our using experiences differ, our common denominator is that the process of recovery is the same for all of us. This is all the more remarkable because our drugs of choice are different, our backgrounds are different, our educational levels and work skills are different, but recovery remains the same. The same Twelve Steps of NA work for us all. Take away all the drugs and you still have the addict! Substitution keeps us off balance. Surrendering to the truth, no matter how painful, is the basic building block of our recovery.

When we show up to claim our lost lives, we get them back but they are probably in need of repair. Recovery is about changing, so we listen and become willing to try out suggestions. If we don't work the program, the program does not work. As we grow in recovery, we regain our ability to see clearly by degrees. There are several ways to look at a person's existence. For years now, the members of Twelve Step programs have known we were sick in the areas of sex, security and society. In time, we realize that these relate to lust, greed and pride and also relate to our personal state, stature and status. Our state of being, our stature of holdings and our standing within society seem like so many words until we realize they are the very things we will sell our souls for - or get loaded over.

Living clean was a whole new concept to us. It took time, effort and a sincere desire to adapt ourselves to the many changes. Some members disagree with specifying that our desire be a 'sincere desire' or an ‘honest desire’ thinking it meant something critical or judgmental. On the other hand perhaps it was meant that only sincere desire results in recovery, the proof is in the pudding.. However you read it, sincerity may only mean "without wax" from the root word in Latin. If you got clean and stayed clean, your desire was honest. This is no game or war of words. For addicts desperate enough to seek recovery in NA, it is life or death. And addicts have died for some pretty silly reasons.

When we reach our individual point of desperation, we open ourselves up to the Program of NA. We will have many choices in the discovery and identification process. As we pursue the willingness to be a part of this process, we gain new insights. When we are face-to-face with our addictive desires, a commitment to spiritual principles can re-establish our faith. We shall face many traps at all stages of recovery but spiritual principles will bring us rewards beyond our imagination. We rediscover God present and helpful in everything we do. There is a saying, "The further away you are from God, the more God seems to be our greatest enemy. The closer you get to God, the more you realize God was your only true friend all along."

In recovery, we learn to rely on our Higher Power and NA members who are practicing the NA way of life. We don't do this all at once; we begin with surrender and admission of our need for help in Step One. It all comes from admitting we are powerless over our addiction and that our lives have become unmanageable. We may not know entirely what this means, but when we make the admission, we notice immediate and growing relief from our obsessions. We need the experience, love and understanding of other clean addicts to begin to practice this program daily. We must study the spiritual principles of Narcotics Anonymous and learn how to apply those principles in our lives. We must find a Higher Power - whether it is an ideal or a supernatural being makes no difference. Many atheists and agnostics are among our members. As long as we believe - it will work for us. Find something to believe in that is loving and cares about your well being. When we first came to NA and stopped using drugs, we found that we needed our fellow members in much the same way that a newborn needs its mother. This is a matter of survival! The only difference between the infant and us is that we don't outgrow this need.

"Today, I understand the nature of my disease in a much different light than when I first came through the doors looking for a way to "get off drugs." As long as simply ‘not getting loaded’ was the foundation of my recovery, my disease then had hundreds of options remaining to keep me sick.

"I couldn't grasp the idea that a person who wasn't loaded could still be in active addiction through acting on the obsessive and compulsive nature of this disease in other areas of their lives. I thought that clean time equaled recovery - period! Today, I understand completely that recovery cannot exist without abstinence. However, it took a while for me to understand that I was not in recovery simply because I was no longer doing dope.

"Recovery is possible only when we work the Steps. It starts with the willingness to let go of my old ideas. As long as I see drugs as the problem, I remain in that old addictive pattern of blaming someone or something outside of myself for how I act and how I feel. From that viewpoint, it seems natural to continue using things outside of me as the solution to those problems. This way of thinking is at the root of addiction and I must surrender if I am to have a chance at true recovery."

This period of our recovery often precedes a spiritual awakening. While we know on an intellectual level how the Steps work, we probably have not experienced the miracle at a deeper level yet. We may find ourselves having a jaded view toward newcomers and people who relapse repeatedly. We find ourselves talking to them about recovery yet we may not really expect them to stay clean. Some of us have gotten clean just to 'show' someone! Some of us view structural service as an arena to debate our points of view and provide us with stimulating mental exercise. Some try to interpret the Traditions and past policies much like a judge reviewing law before rendering a verdict. We may continue this way until someone points out that the Traditions, like the Steps, are not laws that can be broken, but spiritual principles meant to guide us when we don't know what to do. They are our goals for spiritual growth.

We battle to understand that we have the right to self-inspection. We don't fight each other or outsiders, we find our own disease. Our disease can convince us that spending time finding a belief that works for us, doing an inventory, or making amends is the ultimate selfishness. We have the right to relax our fear of others and we experience our progress emotionally. Hey, recovery is great! We begin to experience curiosity, openness and positive expectations daily. Fear after fear bites the dust. The healing that we feel on the inside allows us to become more open to others. The objective of ongoing recovery is to keep the growth process alive and happening daily.

Practicing principles is the best way to achieve ongoing recovery. When someone complains that they feel like they are not growing in recovery, one of us must remind them that it is their choices that make up their lives. It may be that they have slacked off on some aspect of their spiritual maintenance but may never think to look for it unless guided by someone who cares. If you believe God is in everyone, maybe that means it is God in the other person who helps you. When we each get back to what is important to us, we see colorful and vivid images instead of the usual bland, gray world. We can not always hit our own 'reset button' and we soon learn that our need for one another is very real. Clean addicts are the ultimate weapon in our fight to get a second life. Through them, we see the world with new eyes. Doors open to us. Solutions and fresh ideas spring into our minds. What worked for others may work for us.

In NA, we are learning to change ‘who we are’ on the inside so we can live better on the outside. Like active addiction, recovery develops its own momentum. Coming face to face with oneself has never been easy and searching for the truth is even harder. It begins with a simple acknowledgment that we have a disease and we need help. If we have the benefits of accepting the disease concept and have done a complete First Step, we find it easier to recognize when our disease pops up no matter how much time we have in recovery. As individuals, we may have many pet theories about the disease concept but our combined experience is available the atmosphere of recovery to be found in an NA meeting. If we find ourselves depressed for no apparent reason, we need to re-evaluate our lives. It is a good time to stop, look and listen! Asking for help is a good way to start and is the best way to keep getting help. With this help, we may see that we have a resentment against someone who has harmed us but we do not want to cause harm in return. Our disease makes it hard to ask for help because it would rather keep us angry and confused. We give up, show up, sit down, but most importantly, we do not pick up. Our basic choice in any situation is either freedom or bondage. It is only available if we can see the choice is ours.

We had searched high and low for the ultimate meaning of life in the belief that it would give us the elusive feelings of control or understanding. We were convinced that finding that elusive prize would allow us to settle down, take root, and break our self-destructive patterns. This is the minds way of trying to re-assert itself and control our lives through personal power. We never took the time nor gave ourselves a chance to heal. There is more to learn on this path of recovery. Of course there is. Mentally, we grow from one level up to the next level but it takes spirituality to go beyond. Most often, we have to slow down, not speed up, to get with the Program.

We find ourselves in crises yet may not realize that we create them! Some of us have become accident prone to justify getting and taking medication. We may fight with people for no good reason and experience that familiar hung-over sensation even without using drugs. Where we based our lives on lies, we experienced pain and destruction. Our perceptions have to match up to reality to work in the real world. When we use truth to guide our lives, we find joy and freedom. Once we understand this concept, we can apply it in all areas of our lives. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are the keys to living free from our addiction. In Narcotics Anonymous, miracles happen when we know what we need to do and find the strength to do it. It doesn't matter whether our natural response is to ‘rage’ outwardly or ‘stuff it’ inwardly, we must learn to manage without using drugs. This is part of what we call having a choice. We claim the right to determine our reactions to people, places and things that used to control us. This is why spiritual growth is so important to our recovery.

When we finally surrendered to our addiction and worked the First Step, we fully expected the world to come crashing down around us. The First Step tells us that if we continue to remain alone - we will suffer from the horrors of addiction: degradation, dereliction, insanity and death. We have run for so long that we thought our anonymity shielded us from destruction. When we admitted that we could not manage our lives, we see some opportunities for change. We begin to see change as a solution that is spiritual in nature and will allow us to live happier lives. Some of us will not get through this period clean. Those addicts who relapse often have a hard time coming back and staying clean. Remorse over what they have thrown away causes them to dwell in the past and abandon the present. The addicts who make it back are the ones who can humble themselves, return to the basics and start living their lives anew. It is difficult, but it is better than the alternatives. Addicts, who have put together some time after such a relapse, tell us they realize that their recovery is something they can never take for granted. The relapse process begins whenever we chose to practice the reverse of the recovery process. If we do not go to meetings, read the literature, and spend time with recovering addicts - we have begun negotiating the relapse process. The more we continue to leave off the things that work, the more certain we can be of the outcome. Relapse will occur.

The thoughts of using come to many of us frequently during early recovery. These thoughts can seem so real that we can almost taste the stuff. Some addicts even fantasize themselves right out of the rooms. We must accept that using thoughts are common to us and realize that we are not alone or unique when we experience them. It is quite normal for such thoughts to come especially during emotional crises. Some say that the time to worry would be when this did not happen. Arguments, the death of a loved one, losing a job, separation or divorce are some of the more recognizable situations that seem to trigger these thoughts. Many members share that sometimes they have these thoughts simply because they heard a familiar song on the radio, a blizzard hit town, or they ran into an old friend. We may find ourselves on dangerous ground because we find that our reservations actually increased our desire to use. Many have relapsed not realizing that this selective fantasizing is what took them out.

Even if we do not use, we can still give our addiction power. Becoming obsessed with multiple relationships, gambling, food, work, perfectionism, adrenaline addiction, danger highs, stealing, road rage, abuse, manipulating others, lying, or buying things to make us feel better robs us of our strength. We must face the truth. If we do not surrender and renew our commitment to recovery, we will be lost. The disease of addiction rules through fear and deception. We become convinced that we are alone and that the only answers lie in escape, manipulation and control. Giving up the burden of our secrets is essential to ongoing recovery. Looking within, we find many unfamiliar emotions. We must feel and work through these emotions, we have to grieve and rejoice or cry and laugh. Working the Steps, we write about the situation, how we feel, how things came to be, what it looks like and how we would like to see it resolved. It may take quite some time before we feel ‘back to normal.’ Maintaining close ties with our sponsor and home group during this phase of recovery is invaluable. We find support among our fellow addicts. Taking care to be good to ourselves, we accept where we are right now and love ourselves for who we are. We get to the other side of the situation and find that we have grown from the experience.

Sometimes, we felt like we were emotional spastics when we arrived in NA. We were unable to concentrate and often had sudden and severe mood swings. Our episodes of using were disrupting our living pattern and the disease was preventing any personal achievement through the distraction of using. We have learned that false pride and an over-inflated self-image is precious, especially if we have nothing else. It seemed that while others were building up their lives, we were in a destructive mode and repeatedly attempted to destroy our life. We try to evade uncomfortable emotions by denying their existence. However, when avoiding these emotions, we are not facing our fears. This is like bandaging a wound without cleansing it. The problem will only fester and come back, forcing us to deal with it later. Instead, we observe how our newly found courage transforms itself into trust. We find the ability to share things with others that were impossible in the past. The fear of others knowing us for who we are has left us. This principle of trust is evident in our meetings. We observe people taking risks and sharing things that are pleasurable as well as painful.

Often NA members face challenges that can shake them to their very core, especially if there are other life changes going on such as career changes, geographical relocations, health problems, divorce, death or marriage. Many addicts experience emotional extremes during these times. Some recovering addicts have said that life's problems and feelings seem worse than when they were using drugs, but they stay clean regardless of how bad it gets. For some, issues from the past such as sexual or physical abuse, pent_up rage or growing up in a negative environment come to the surface. It is common to feel off-balance even when we are working hard at our recovery. We hear others share their pain as well as embarrassing truths about themselves. A part of us cringes as we realize that they are sharing our secrets. A part of us waits for others in the group to condemn and ridicule these secrets. When this fails to happen, it helps us trust the group with our feelings. As we experience the love that other NA members show us, we experience the filling of that inner void. We feel the emotions that others go through to get clean and stay clean and this gives us the courage that we need on top of our desire for recovery. Sometimes the feelings that others share can remind us of what we will go through if we drop away from the program of recovery and return to active addiction. This is usually when many of us get a sponsor and actually begin working the Twelve Steps on a deeper level. We have tasted the fruits of recovery and we want more.

A woman in the program lost her young son in a tragic accident. She told of experiencing hurt at the hands of addicts who meant well, but lacked the tact and compassion to help. "Within two weeks after his death someone said, 'You have suffered with this long enough, it's time you work the Steps and turn it over.'

"When they told me that, I felt like they were saying that I should just forget my son and move on. Well, I can't do that! I was working Steps, just to face each day and not go over the edge of insanity because I was hurting so badly. I'm sure God will heal me in time, but how long it takes is between God and I."

The addicts giving advice probably meant to help her. They were sharing things that they knew worked and may not have gotten to the sensitivity part. Nonetheless, an injury occurred because of someone's ignorance and insensitivity. We may be blind to the distress of others because sometimes empathy is painful. As hard as it is to watch someone suffer, we have found that a kind word and a warm hug are more healing than the best-intentioned advice. We often discover during these difficult times that we exhibited a greater measure of faith than we knew we had. We have been living Step Three in our lives. Our faith told us that eventually the bad feelings would pass and they had. Some of us may be dealing with years of repressed hurt and anger. Many say that the courage we use to face these feelings is the same courage that we find when it is time to do a Fourth Step. We hang on knowing that the God of our understanding will carry us through. The care of a loving God takes the sting out of the emotional pain.

At its best, the Narcotics Anonymous Fellowship is like a loving family. A bond exists between the members of the fellowship that is similar to the relationship between siblings. This bond develops out of our need for others who have found recovery from the disease of addiction by living the NA way of life. When we discover how many people care about us, we can begin to open ourselves up to their help. In this way, our lives expand and we grow spiritually. We are part of the miracle of recovery. We fear placing trust and faith in other people and usually with good reason. When we trust that God is working, not only in our life but in the lives of others as well, we begin to relax. We need to remember that when we seek help from others, we are not depending on them to meet our needs. They help us overcome our old behavior by sharing what worked for them. The difference is that we are no longer asking anyone for anything that we can do for ourselves. Addiction allowed and even encouraged us to drift into a pattern of excessive personal obsession. The more we used - the more we resented anything and anyone that demanded to be in front of the drugs. The resulting loneliness and desperation were driving forces when we sought help. Many of us relapse, not even realizing that one of the major obstacles to recovery are the lies that we tell ourselves and actually believe. After coming to Narcotics Anonymous, we learn that honesty, open-mindedness and willingness are indispensable to recovery. We all nod our heads in agreement when this discussion takes place in meetings. Upon closer examination, we may find that we still have a life based on lies. We still use these lies to justify and rationalize our sick behavior patterns.

All people have a tendency to surround themselves with like-thinking people. This confirms their opinions whether true or false. Addicts are more susceptible to this behavior. The disease of addiction causes us to defend or justify our position when we hear key words, phrases or anything that makes us feel uncertain about our beliefs. This results in isolation. We continue on this course unless an obstacle such as pain deflects us or unless a force greater than we are draws us in another direction. We must learn to tolerate imperfection whether it is in others or ourselves. If we continue to isolate ourselves from recovery, the results can be dramatic and even lethal. In recovery, we relax, become a part of and check out all the possibilities.

Today, we have a solution to this problem - it is called ‘thinking things all the way through.’ This means that instead of trying to force the thought out of our minds, we continue with the fantasy and make sure to include the pain and despair that comes with using. We remind ourselves of our frantic struggles for money, loss of friends, withdrawal, trouble with the law and major health problems. When we force ourselves to think things through, we can see both sides of reality and we increase our desire to stop using. Many of us find that these using thoughts came less often after we began practicing this new tool of recovery. As we confront our reservations, our mind begins to comprehend that we do not want to use under any circumstances. Events that once triggered obsessive behavior only cause a passing thought today. God gives us the power to recover the NA way.

Others have learned how to address today's problems, thereby eliminating tomorrow's catastrophes. These NA members have a solid foundation in the Twelve Steps, a sponsor and a home group from which they continually draw strength and experience. They have an active reliance on a loving God. Good times and bad times happen in recovery as they did in our active addiction. The difference is that we have the ability to make the most of our good fortunes today. Furthermore, we learn to work through tough situations without making them worse. Our job as recovering NA members is to remember that we have this ability and to use it daily. This new surrender to the Steps can often instill a lasting feeling of well being within us. We now recognize, that no matter what happens, we can stop the insanity by humbling ourselves and letting the God of our understanding guide us through troubled times.

Once the obsession to use leaves us and our lives stabilize, many of us get involved in activities outside the Fellowship. Some of us seek to increase our conscious contact with God through religion or other spiritual practices. We spend more time with our families. We may become active in community volunteer work, elections, government, social responsibilities, scouting, parent organizations, coaching sports teams, etc. Some members say, because of their recovery, they have taken up hobbies for the first time. Things that we have turned into a series of increasing difficulties reduce in size as recovery progresses. Surrendering to the reality of our addiction provides us a way to escape that addiction. All these activities are positive outlets and necessary to forming a well-rounded life. Unfortunately, we have seen many members disappear from the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous while in the pursuit of money, property and prestige.

Others may ‘float out the door on a cloud of religious zeal.’ Instead of allowing their involvement in outside interests to complement their recovery, many thought it could replace it. Removed from direct contact with other addicts, it is often easy to fool ourselves into thinking that we're in control of our lives. We may even tell ourselves, "Sure, NA saved my life and helped me in the beginning but now I'm ready to live a normal life. I just don't have time for the things I used to do."

One addict shared: "For seven or eight years I was actively involved in Narcotics Anonymous. As time went on, I became interested in doing more outside the program. With the skills I'd learned through countless service positions and committees, I discovered that ‘normal’ people wanted me involved with their projects too. Before long, I was active in local politics, participating in charity fund raisers, and sitting on several not-for-profit boards - all at the same time. It was service burnout all over again!

"Besides my volunteer activities, I had picked up a couple of hobbies that turned into a part-time business. I was also trying to stay fit by working out at a gym regularly. With all this new responsibility, I just didn't make time to go to meetings or call my sponsor anymore. I didn't 'quit' NA, I just never made it to meetings. I wasn't too concerned though, after all, I was still clean and had an impressive resume of good deeds I was doing. The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to return.

"After two years of sporadic meeting attendance, some situations arose that got me coming back regularly. Upon my return, I discovered that I had regressed in my recovery much more than I had thought. I was more judgmental toward others. I had redefined my standards for honesty and other spiritual values. Where I once felt at ease, knowing I was in God's care, I had begun to feel threatened by other people or situations. The irony is that these changes were so subtle that I didn't recognize them until I became an active member again.

"Now more than two years have passed. I realize that active involvement with steps, sponsor and a home group has to be a lifetime commitment. I still have outside interests and activities, but they don't take priority over my recovery anymore. While I can probably lead a normal life, I will never be normal. I will always be an addict. The required treatment for my progressive, terminal disease is participation in Narcotics Anonymous."

Many members wander off and stop going to meetings. They might receive visits or telephones calls and give assurances that everything is all right because they are not using. Their emotional and spiritual needs seem to be met within the family setting, a church or some other group of people. This might have worked for a while but the rest of us in the program need to know what they learned that helps them. They may need us, even if they avoid us. They take their program with them as they grow and explore their new lives. The problem is that they tend to forget to come back and share with us what they found useful to them. In NA, we specialize in sharing information on recovery from the disease of addiction. Of those who drift away, very few say that their lives are better without NA, even if they did stay clean. Occasionally we may encounter one of our absent members. They tell us that they are doing well; but many times, after some conversation, the old familiar feelings of loneliness, disconnection and isolation come out. Many of those we talk to relate a sense of aimlessness and a feeling of not being useful. Grateful indeed is the addict who makes it back from a walkabout or a relapse.

They realize Narcotics Anonymous provides us with a sense of community, a higher purpose for living and a proven spiritual path. Others face hardships in recovery, but never leave the program. Fear, hopelessness and despair can seem to overtake us. This is all stuff we have to deal with clean. While these troublesome times may seem like our darkest hour, they can often be catalysts for growth.

No matter how much clean time we have, or what our specific problem is - we always begin with the principle of surrender. Surrendering to the truth is still the basic building block of our recovery. By reaching out to NA members who care about us, we can ease our pain and confusion. Through prayer and trusting the God of our understanding, we find new strength and wisdom. Inventory is a valuable tool we use often. It helps us see things as they really are. Our path, once dark, is now illuminated. Most of us come through these experiences more humble, more grateful and more peaceful than we would have ever imagined. Recovery begins with surrender. We no longer feel the need to continue proving that our beliefs are correct. We surrender our fixed ideas and belief systems to the God of our understanding. We have the choice between love and fear. If we are vigilant with honesty, open-mindedness and willingness, we soon find that God is moving us in a new direction. We might hesitate when letting go of old practices because there is a certain comfort and security in familiar pain. God will supply the direction and courage we need for change. It would be cruel and not very loving of God to bring us this far to let us down. We begin to find and embrace a new lifestyle that is based on God's will for us.

Denial, discovery, curiosity, recognition and identification are stages that we go through in discovering that we suffer from a disease. Sometimes we fight this discovery. Taking a closer look at how we think and respond to situations gives us a new perspective. This insight teaches us new ways to approach whatever might confront us. From this perspective, we work outward and see how addiction came to touch every part of our lives. As we grow in recovery, we observe constantly in order to change our lives. Some of us came to meetings in our early recovery because we were afraid of what would happen to us if we did not. Eventually we kept coming back because the recovery itself was so attractive. We notice when others become stable in recovery. What we have learned is reinforced when we actually witness it working for others. Before long, we believe that we too can get better. Our hope grows into faith and our commitment to stay clean gets stronger. We come to meetings today because we want to. We like the feelings that we get from sharing and listening to other addicts. We are able to form deep, impressive, and lasting memories that assist us in readjusting our viewpoints and actions.

If we do not take something into our bodies, we will not have to deal with it later. The similarities between food and other forms of consumption are endless. If something makes us sick, we stop eating it. If we are sick, we examine what we have been eating. If we discover something has been making us sick, we give ourselves permission to stop eating it. When something like this comes up and we have trouble stopping, we work all Twelve Steps on the subject, including helping others if we want ongoing relief.

As we acquire time and experience in recovery, we find that our reliance on the God of our understanding grows. Some of our older members talk about being in a constant state of prayer – in other words, living the program in all that they do. These members appear as though nothing on earth could shake their serenity. Impossible as it may seem that deep and abiding peace is within the grasp of every one of us. Most of us have had these spiritual moments when we felt completely in the care of our Higher Power. These feelings often follow an act of surrender, such as taking a Fifth, Seventh, or Ninth Step. This inner peace may only last a few minutes or a few days but it is not easily forgotten once experienced. Much of our work in recovery is an effort to return to and maintain that state of mind. Each time we choose God's will over self-will, self-will; we are moving closer to a state of serenity. Each time we help someone else and expect nothing in return, we add joy to our lives. Each time we do a good deed without telling anyone about it, we learn humility and find peace. Each time we sit alone and look within for our Higher Power's guidance, we gain wisdom and power. Each time we face our fears and do what is right, in spite of the consequences, we gain courage. When we give love to others and ourselves, we find ourselves loved in return. The recovery process teaches us how to practice these principles in all our affairs, ‘our thoughts, our deeds and our actions.’ The longer we stay at it, the better it gets.

We must learn that mastering our feelings, thoughts, and emotions is not copping out, denying personal responsibility or living in someone else's expectations. We learn that we are becoming ourselves when we focus on our mind, spirit, and our personal likes and dislikes. We begin to experience the peace and definition that comes with this process. Reality begins to develop for us, this time as a friend and ally, not an adversary. Our fear of this process held us in limbo, perpetually bound, weakened and it prevented our healthy growth. Once we believe that others do care about us, we can open ourselves up to their help. Many of us were afraid for a long time, always hiding from reality, but today we have courage. This is how our lives expand and we experience spiritual growth. We found that when we stop running, the world stops chasing us. We thought that the world hated us and was in pursuit to hurt us. Active addiction would not allow us to see that those who cared for us loved and missed us.

Today, we can look at life's events and ourselves realistically. Through effort and application, we find God's Will revealed to us moment by moment. We stop placing expectations on other people and situations and practice acceptance instead. We realize that everything that happens to us, both good and bad, is only another lesson in living. Each morning we begin our day by asking God for knowledge of His will for us and for the power to carry it out. We know that the God of our understanding is in charge. Our lives are better and things are good. We asked for guidance and now we act on that guidance.

Therefore, we have fewer crises. Each night we end our day by expressing gratitude for all that we have experienced. By working with others, we keep our perspective of the Program fresh and invigorating. We feel connected to the world and celebrate the joy of living. We are grateful for every moment because we are alive, we are clean and we are free.


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Reprinted from the 
Narcotics Anonymous Way of Life, 
Traditions War: a pathway to peace,
The Spirit of NA 
or NA Twenty Plus

being edited on this site.

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.