Chapter 3: Why Are We Here?

Why Are We Here?

Before coming to the Fellowship of N.A., we could not manage our own lives. We could not live and enjoy life as other people do. We had to have something different and we thought we had found it in drugs. We placed their use ahead of the welfare of our families, our wives, husbands, and our children. We had to have drugs at all costs. We did many people great harm, but most of all we harmed ourselves. Through our inability to accept personal responsibilities we were actually creating our own problem. We seemed to be incapable of facing life on its own terms.

Most of us realized that in our addiction we were slowly committing suicide, but addiction is such a cunning enemy of life that we had lost the power to do anything about it. Most of us ended up in jail, or sought help through medicine, religion and psychiatry. None of these methods was sufficient for us. Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until in desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous.

After coming to N.A. we realized we were sick people. We suffered from a disease from which there is no known cure. It can, however, be arrested at some point, and recovery is then possible.

We are addicts seeking recovery. We used drugs to cover up our feelings, and did whatever was necessary to get them. Many of us woke up sick, unable to make it to work, or went to work loaded. Many of us stole to support our habit. We hurt the ones we loved. We did all these things and told ourselves, “We can handle it”. We were looking for a way out. We couldn’t face life on

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its own terms. In the beginning, using was fun. For us it became a habit and finally was necessary for survival. The progression of the disease was not apparent to us. We continued on the path of destruction, unaware of where it was leading us. We were addicts and did not know it. Through drugs we tried to avoid reality, pain and misery. When the drugs wore off, we realized that we still had the same problems and that they were becoming worse. We sought relief by using again and again – more drugs, more often.

We sought help and found none. Often doctors didn’t understand our dilemma; they tried to help by giving us medication. Our husbands, wives and loved ones gave us what they had and drained themselves in the hope that we would stop using or get better. We tried substituting one drug for another, but this only prolonged our pain. We tried limiting our usage to “social” amounts without success. There is no such thing as a “social addict”. Some of us sought an answer through churches, religions or cultism. Some sought a cure by geographic change, blaming our surroundings and living situations for our problems. This attempt only gave us a chance to take advantage of new people. Some of us sought approval through sex or change of friends. This approval- seeking carried us further into our addiction. Some of us tried marriage, divorce or desertion. Regardless of what we tried, we could not escape from our disease.

We reached a point in our lives where we felt like a lost cause. Our worth to our jobs, families and friends was little or none. Many of us were unemployed and unemployable. Any form of success was frightening and unfamiliar. We didn’t know what to do. As the self-loathing grew, we needed to use more and more to mask our feelings. We were sick and tired of pain and trouble. We were frightened and ran from the fear. No matter how far we ran, we always carried the fear with us. We were hopeless, useless and lost. Failure had become our way of life and self-esteem was nonexistent. Perhaps the most painful of all was the desperation of loneliness. Isolation and the denial of our addiction kept us moving

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along this downhill path. Any hope of getting better disappeared. Helplessness, emptiness and fear became our way of life. We were complete failures. Personality change was what we really needed. Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary. When we lied, cheated or stole, we degraded ourselves in our own eyes. We had had enough of self-destruction. We experienced how powerless we really are. When nothing relieved our paranoia and fear, we hit bottom and became ready to ask for help.

We were searching for an answer when we reached out and found Narcotics Anonymous. We came to our first N.A. meeting in defeat and didn’t know what to expect. After sitting in a meeting, or several meetings, we began to feel that people cared and were willing to help. Although our minds told us we would never make it, the people in the Fellowship gave us hope by insisting we could recover. We found that no matter what our past thoughts or actions were, others had felt and done the same. Surrounded by fellow addicts, we realized that we were not alone. Recovery is what happens in our meetings; each of our lives is at stake. We found that by putting recovery first, the Program works.

We faced three disturbing realizations:

1. We are powerless over addiction and our lives are unmanageable;
2. Although we are not responsible for our disease, we are responsible for our recovery;
3. We can no longer blame people, places and things for our addiction. We must face our problems and our feelings.

The ultimate weapon for recovery is the recovering addict. We concentrate on recovery and how we feel, not what we have done in the past. Old friends, places and ideas are often a threat to our recovery. We need to change our playmates, playgrounds and playthings.

When we realized we are not able to manage on our own, some of us immediately began experiencing depression, anxiety,

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hostility and resentment. Petty frustrations, minor setbacks and loneliness often made us feel that we were not getting any better. We found that we suffered from a disease, not a moral dilemma. We were critically ill, not hopelessly bad. Our disease can only be arrested through abstinence.

Today we experience a full range of feelings. Before coming into the fellowship, we either felt elated or depressed with very little in between. Our negative sense of self has been replaced by a positive concern for others. Answers are provided and problems are solved. It is a great gift to feel human again.

What a change from the way we used to be! That’s how we know that the N.A. program works. It is the first thing that ever convinced us that we needed to change ourselves, instead of trying to change the people and situations around us. We discover new opportunities. We find a sense of self-worth. We learn self-respect. This is a program for doing just those things. By working the steps, we come to accept a Higher Power’s will; this acceptance leads us to recovery. We lose our fear of the unknown. We are set free.