Chapter 10: More Will Be Revealed

Chapter 10 Page 97
More Will Be Revealed

As our recovery progressed, we became increasingly aware of ourselves and the world around us. Our needs and wants, our assets and liabilities, were revealed to us. We came to realize that we had no power to change the outside world; we could only change ourselves. The program of Narcotics Anonymous provides an opportunity for us to ease the pain of living, through spiritual principles.

We are very fortunate to have had this program to come to. Before, very few people recognized that addiction was a disease. Recovery was only a dream.

The responsible, productive, drug-free lives of thousands of members illustrate the effectiveness of our program. Recovery is a reality for us today. Through working the steps we are rebuilding our fractured personalities. Narcotics Anonymous is a healthy environment for growth. As a fellowship, we love and cherish one another, supporting our new way of life together.

As we grow, we come to understand humility as acceptance of both our assets and our liabilities. What we want most is to feel good about ourselves. Today we have real feelings of love, joy, hope, sadness, excitement-not our old drug-induced feelings.

At times we find ourselves caught up in old ideas, even with time on the program. The basics are as important to recovery as they were in the beginning. We need to avoid old thinking patterns, both the old ideas and the tendency towards complacency. We cannot afford to become complacent because our disease is with us twenty-four hours a day. If, while practicing these principles, we allow ourselves to feel superior or inferior, we isolate ourselves. We are headed for trouble if we feel “apart from” other addicts. Separation from the atmosphere of recovery and the spirit of service to others

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slows our spiritual growth. Complacency keeps us from goodwill, love and compassion.

If we are unwilling to listen to others, we will deny the need for improvement. We learn to become flexible and to admit when others are right and we are wrong. As new things are revealed, we feel renewed. We need to stay open-minded and willing to do that one extra thing; go to that one extra meeting; stay on the phone that one extra minute; and help that newcomer stay clean that one extra day. This extra effort is vital to our recovery.

We come to know ourselves as never before. We experience new sensations, such as finding out what it is to love, to be loved, to know that people care about us, and to have concern and compassion for others. We find ourselves doing things that we never thought we would be doing, and enjoying them. We make mistakes and we accept and learn from them. We experience failure and we learn how to succeed. Often we have to face some type of crisis during our recovery, such as death of a loved one, financial difficulties or divorce. These are realities of life and they don’t go away just because we get clean. Some of us, even after years of recovery, found ourselves jobless, homeless or penniless. We entertained the thought that staying clean was not “paying off” and the old thinking stirred up self-pity, resentment and anger. No matter how painful life’s tragedies can be for us, one thing is clear:
“We must not use, no matter what!”

This is a program of total abstinence, however, there are times, such as in cases of health problems involving surgery and/or extreme physical injury, when medication may be valid. This does not constitute a license to use. There is no safe use of drugs for us. Our bodies don’t know the difference between drugs prescribed by a physician for pain and drugs “prescribed by ourselves” to get high. As addicts our skill at self-deception will be at a peak in such a situation. Often our minds will even manufacture additional pain as an excuse to use. Turning it over to our Higher Power and getting the support of our sponsor and other members can help prevent us from being our own worst enemies.

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Being alone during such times would give our disease too much leeway to take over. Honest sharing can dispel our fears of relapse. Serious illness or surgery can present particular problems for us.

Physicians should have specific knowledge of our addiction. Remember that we-not our doctor-are ultimately responsible for the risk we expose ourselves to. To minimize the danger there are a few specific options that we may consider. These are using local anesthesia, avoiding our drug of choice, if any, stopping while we are still hurting, and spending extra days in the hospital in case withdrawal occurs.

Whatever pain we experience will pass. Through prayer, meditation and sharing we keep our minds off our discomfort and have the strength to keep our priorities in order. It is imperative to keep N.A. members close by at all times, if possible. It is amazing how our minds will go back so quickly to our old ways and old thinking. You’d be surprised how much pain we can handle without medication. In this program of total abstinence, however, we need feel no guilt after having taken a minimum amount of medication prescribed by an informed professional for extreme physical pain.

We grow through pain in recovery and often find that such a crisis is a gift, an opportunity to experience growth by living clean. Before, we were unable to even conceive of the thought that problems bring gifts. This may be finding strength within ourselves that we never knew before or regaining the feeling of self-respect we had lost.

Spiritual growth, love and compassion are but idle potentials until shared with a fellow addict. By giving unconditional love in the fellowship, we become more loving, and in the sharing of spiritual growth we become more spiritual.

By carrying this message to another addict, we are well reminded of where we come from. Having had an opportunity to remember old feelings and behaviors, we are able to see our own personal and spiritual growth. In the process of answering the questions of another, we become more clear in our thinking. Newer members

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are a constant source of hope, ever reminding us that the program works. We have the opportunity to live the knowledge acquired by staying clean, when we work with them.

We have learned to value others’ respect for us. We are pleased when people can now depend on us. For the first time in our lives we may be asked to serve in positions of responsibility in community organizations outside of N.A. Our opinions are at times sought and valued by non-addicts in areas other than addiction and recovery. We can enjoy our families in a new way and may become a credit to them instead of an embarrassment or a burden. They can be proud of us today. Our individual interests broaden possibly to include social or even political issues. Hobbies and recreation give us new pleasure. It gives us good feelings to know that aside from our value to others as recovering addicts we are also of value as human beings.

The reinforcement received by sponsorship is limitless. We spent years taking from others in every conceivable way. Words cannot describe the sense of spiritual awareness that we receive when we have given something, no matter how small, to another person.

We are each other’s eyes and ears; when we do something wrong our fellow addicts help us to help ourselves by showing us what we cannot see. We sometimes find ourselves caught up in old ideas. We need to constantly review our feelings and thinking, if we are to stay enthusiastic and grow spiritually. This enthusiasm will aid our ongoing recovery.

Today we have the freedom of choice. As we work the program to the best of our ability, the obsession with self is removed. Much of our loneliness and fear are replaced by the love and security of the fellowship. Helping a suffering addict is one of the greatest experiences life has to offer. We are willing to help. We have had similar experiences and understand fellow addicts as no one else can. We offer hope for we know that a better way of life is now real for us, and we give love because it was so freely given. New frontiers are open to us as we learn how to love. Love can

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be the flow of life energy from one person to another. By caring, sharing, and praying for others, we become a part of them, and through empathy, allow them to become part of us. As we do this, we undergo a vital spiritual experience and are changed.

On a practical level, changes occur because what’s appropriate to one phase of recovery may not be for another. We constantly let go of what has served its purpose, and let God guide us through the current phase with what works here and now.

As we become more God-reliant and gain self-respect, we realize that we don’t need to feel superior or inferior to anyone; our real value is in being ourselves. Our egos, once so large and dominant, now take a back seat because we are in harmony with a loving God. We find that we lead richer, happier and much fuller lives when we lose self-will.

We become able to make wise and loving decisions, based on principles and ideals that have real value in our lives. Shaping our thoughts with the spiritual ideals that we are moving toward, we are freed to become who we want to be. What we had feared, we can now overcome through our dependence on a loving God. Faith has replaced our fear and given us freedom from ourselves.

In recovery, we also strive for gratitude. We feel grateful for ongoing God-consciousness. Whenever we confront a difficulty that we do not think we can handle, we ask God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

A spiritual awakening is an ongoing process. We experience a wider view of reality as we grow spiritually. An opening of our minds to new spiritual and physical experiences is the key to better awareness. As we grow spiritually we become attuned to our feelings and our purpose in life.

By loving ourselves, we become able to truly love others. This is a spiritual awakening that comes as a result of living this program. We find ourselves daring to care and love.

Higher mental and emotional functions, such as conscience and the ability to love, were sharply affected by our use of drugs. Living skills were reduced to the animal level. Our spirit was

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broken. The capacity to feel human was lost. This seems extreme, but many of us have been in this state.

In time, through recovery, our dreams come true. We don’t mean that we necessarily become rich or famous. However, by realizing the will of our Higher Power, dreams do come true in our recovery.

One of the continuing miracles of recovery is becoming a productive, responsible member of society. We need to tread carefully into areas that expose us to ego-inflating experience, prestige and manipulation that may be difficult for us to deal with. We have found that the way to remain a productive, responsible member of society is to put our recovery first. N.A. can survive without us but we cannot survive without N.A.

Living just for today, we have no way of knowing what will happen to us. We are often amazed at how things work out for us. Recovering in the here and now, the future becomes an exciting journey. If we had written our list of expectations when we came to the program, we would have been cheating ourselves. Hopeless living problems became joyously changed. Our disease has been arrested and now anything is possible.

We become increasingly open-minded which opens the door for new ideas, in all areas of our lives. Through active listening, we hear things that work for us. This ability is a gift and grows as we grow spiritually. Life takes on a new meaning when we open ourselves to this gift. ln order to receive, we must be willing to give.

Narcotics Anonymous offers only one promise and that is freedom from active addiction, the solution that eluded us for so long. We will be freed from our self-made prisons.

In recovery, our ideas of fun change. We are now free to enjoy the simple things in life, like fellowship and living in harmony with nature. We now have become free to develop a new understanding of life. As we look back, we are grateful for our new life. It is so unlike the events that brought us here.

While using, we thought that we had fun and that non-users

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were deprived of it. Spirituality enables us to live to the fullest, feeling grateful for who we are and what we have done in life. Since the beginning of our recovery, we have found that joy doesn’t come from material things, but from within ourselves. We find that when we lose self-obsession, we are able to understand what it means to be happy, joyous, and free. Indescribable joy comes from sharing from the heart; we no longer need to lie to gain acceptance.

Narcotics Anonymous offers addicts a program of recovery which is more than just a life without drugs. Not only is this way of life better than the hell we lived, it is better than any life we had ever known.

We have found a way out, and we see it work for others. Each day more will be revealed.

“My gratitude speaks… When I care and
When I share with others The N.A. way.