Addiction Survivors

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Unread 07-29-2011, 08:24 AM   #301
MaJaBe
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Default July 27

July 27
We do recover


“After coming to NA, we found ourselves among a very special group of people who have suffered like us and found recovery. In their experiences, freely shared, we found hope for ourselves. If the program worked for them, it would work for us.”
Basic Text, p. 10
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A newcomer walks into his or her first meeting, shaking and confused. People are milling about. Refreshments and literature are set out. The meeting starts after everyone has drifted over to their chairs and settled themselves in. After taking a bewildered glance at the odd assortment of folks in the room, the newcomer asks, “Why should I bet my life on this group? After all, they’re just a bunch of addicts like me.”
Though it may be true that not many of our members had much going for us when we got here, the newcomer soon learns that the way we are living today is what counts. Our meetings are filled with addicts whose lives have turned completely around. Against all odds, we are recovering. The newcomer can relate to where we’ve been and draw hope from where we are now. Today, every one of us has the opportunity to recover.
Yes, we can safely entrust our lives to our Higher Power and to Narcotics Anonymous. So long as we work the program, the payoff is certain: freedom from active addiction and a better way of life.
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Just for today: The recovery I’ve found in Narcotics Anonymous is a sure thing. By basing my life on it, I know I will grow.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 08:26 AM   #302
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July 28
Secrets and intimacy


“We feared that if we ever revealed ourselves as we were, we would surely be rejected.”
Basic Text, p. 32
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Having relationships without barriers, ones in which we can be entirely open with our feelings, is something many of us desire. At the same time, the possibility of such intimacy causes us more fear than almost any other situation in life.
If we examine what frightens us, we’ll usually find that we are attempting to hide an aspect of our personalities that we are ashamed of, an aspect we sometimes haven’t even admitted to ourselves. We don’t want others to know of our insecurities, our pain, or our neediness, so we simply refuse to expose them. We may imagine that if no one knows about our imperfections, those imperfections will cease to exist.
This is the point where our relationships stop. Anyone who enters our lives will not get past the point at which our secrets begin. To maintain intimacy in a relationship, it is essential that we acknowledge our defects and accept them. When we do, the fortress of denial, erected to keep these things hidden, will come crashing down, enabling us to build up our relationships with others.
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Just for today: I have opportunities to share my inner self. I will take advantage of those opportunities and draw closer to those I love.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 08:28 AM   #303
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July 29
Expectations


“As we realize our need to be forgiven, we tend to be more forgiving.”
Basic Text, p. 39
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Our behavior toward other people in our life is a mirror of our behavior toward ourselves. When we demand perfection of ourselves, we come to demand it from others around us, too. As we strive to repair and heal our lives in recovery, we may also expect others to work just as hard and to recover at the same pace as we do. And just as we are often unforgiving of our own mistakes, we may shut out friends and family members when they don’t meet our expectations.
Working the steps helps us understand our own limitations and our humanity. We come to see our failures as human mistakes. We realize that we will never be perfect, that we will, at times, disappoint ourselves and others. We hope for forgiveness.
As we learn to gently accept ourselves, we can start to view others with the same accepting and tolerant heart. These people, too, are only human, trying to do their best and sometimes falling short.
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Just for today: I will treat others with the tolerance and forgiveness I seek for myself.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 08:53 AM   #304
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July 30
Regular inventory


“Continuing to take a personal inventory means that we form a habit of looking at ourselves, our actions, attitudes, and relationships on a regular basis.”
Basic Text, p. 42
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Taking a regular inventory is a key element in our new pattern of living. In our addiction, we examined ourselves as little as possible. We weren’t happy with how we were living our lives, but we didn’t feel that we could change the way we lived. Self-examination, we felt, would have been a painful exercise in futility.
Today, all that is changing. Where we were powerless over our addiction, we’ve found a Power greater than ourselves that has helped us stop using. Where we once felt lost in life’s maze, we’ve found guidance in the experience of our fellow recovering addicts and our ever-improving contact with our Higher Power. We need not feel trapped by our old, destructive patterns. We can live differently if we choose.
By establishing a regular pattern of taking our own inventory, we give ourselves the opportunity to change anything in our lives that doesn’t work. If we’ve started doing something that causes problems, we can start changing our behavior before it gets completely out of hand. And if we’re doing something that prevents problems from occurring, we can take note of that, too, and encourage ourselves to keep doing what works.
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Just for today: I will make a commitment to include a regular inventory in my new pattern of living.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 08:54 AM   #305
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July 31
Freedom from active addiction


“Narcotics Anonymous offers only one promise and that is freedom from active addiction, the solution that eluded us for so long.”
Basic Text, p. 106
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NA offers no promises other than freedom from active addiction. It is true that some of our members meet with financial success in recovery. They buy nice houses, drive new cars, wear fine clothes, and form beautiful families. These outward signs of prosperity are not the lot of all of our members, however. A great many of us never achieve financial success. This does not necessarily reflect on the quality of our recovery.
When we are tempted to compare ourselves to these other, seemingly more affluent members, it is good to remember why we came to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. We came because our lives had fallen down around us. We were emotionally, physically, and spiritually defeated. Our Basic Text reminds us that “in desperation we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous.” We came because we were beaten.
For addicts, even one day clean is a miracle. When we remember why we came to Narcotics Anonymous and in what condition we arrived, we realize that material wealth pales in comparison to the spiritual riches we have gained in recovery.
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Just for today: I have been given a spiritual gift greater than material wealth: my recovery. I will thank the God of my understanding for my freedom from active addiction.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 08:55 AM   #306
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August 1

Freedom from guilt




“Our addiction enslaved us. We were prisoners of our own mind and were condemned by our own guilt.”


Basic Text, p. 7


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Guilt is one of the most commonly encountered stumbling blocks in recovery. One of the more notorious forms of guilt is the self-loathing that results when we try to forgive ourselves but don’t feel forgiven.
How can we forgive ourselves so we feel it? First, we remember that guilt and failure are not links in an unbreakable chain. Honestly sharing with a sponsor and with other addicts shows this to be true. Often the result of such sharing is a more sensible awareness of the part we ourselves have played in our affairs. Sometimes we realize that our expectations have been too high. We increase our willingness to participate in the solutions rather than dwelling on the problems.
Somewhere along the way, we discover who we really are. We usually find that we are neither the totally perfect nor the totally imperfect beings we have imagined ourselves to be. We need not live up to or down to our illusions; we need only live in reality.

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Just for today: I am grateful for my assets and accept my liabilities. Through willingness and humility, I am freed to progress in my recovery and achieve freedom from guilt.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 08:57 AM   #307
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August 2
Practicing honesty


“When we feel trapped or pressured, it takes great spiritual and emotional strength to be honest.”
Basic Text, p. 85
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Many of us try to wiggle out of a difficult spot by being dishonest, only to have to humble ourselves later and tell the truth. Some of us twist our stories as a matter of course, even when we could just as easily tell the plain truth. Every time we try to avoid being honest, it backfires on us. Honesty may be uncomfortable, but the trouble we have to endure when we are dishonest is usually far worse than the discomfort of telling the truth.
Honesty is one of the fundamental principles of recovery. We apply this principle right from the beginning of our recovery, when we finally admit our powerlessness and unmanageability. We continue to apply the principle of honesty each time we are faced with the option of either living in fantasy or living life on its own terms. Learning to be honest isn’t always easy, especially after the covering up and deception so many of us practiced in our addiction. Our voices may shake as we test our newfound honesty. But before long, the sound of the truth coming from our own mouths settles any doubts: Honesty feels good! It’s easier living the truth than living a lie.
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Just for today: I will honestly embrace life, with all its pressures and demands. I will practice honesty, even when it is awkward to do so. Honesty will help, not hurt, my efforts to live clean and recover.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 01:33 PM   #308
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it's so beautiful you posted this. I've been in the hospital for a while (pneumonia and cranial pressure ). lots of time to reflect and sleep. I realized everything bad that has happened in my life stemmed from dishonesty..mine or someone elses.
it a hard thing to do but I've been honest on all fronts lately. it really opens your eyes to the small lies that slip from our lips or that we are fed on a daily basis
so thank you for this post it was a nice reminder. I hope people take it to heart ...and I hope honesty brings good things to. your life!
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Unread 08-03-2011, 02:50 PM   #309
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August 3
Trusting people


“Many of us would have had nowhere else to go if we could not have trusted NA groups and members.”
Basic Text, p. 84
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Trusting people is a risk. Human beings are notoriously forgetful, unreliable, and imperfect. Most of us come from backgrounds where betrayal and insensitivity among friends were common occurrences. Even our most reliable friends weren’t very reliable. By the time we arrive at the doors of NA, most of us have hundreds of experiences bearing out our conviction that people are untrustworthy. Yet our recovery demands that we trust people. We are faced with this dilemma: People are not always trustworthy, yet we must trust them. How do we do that, given the evidence of our pasts?
First, we remind ourselves that the rules of active addiction don’t apply in recovery. Most of our fellow members are doing their level best to live by the spiritual principles we learn in the program. Second, we remind ourselves that we aren’t 100% reliable, either. We will surely disappoint someone in our lives, no matter how hard we try not to. Third, and most importantly, we realize that we need to trust our fellow members of NA. Our lives are at stake, and the only way we can stay clean is to trust these well-intentioned folks who, admittedly, aren’t perfect.
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Just for today: I will trust my fellow members. Though certainly not perfect, they are my best hope.
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Unread 08-04-2011, 02:22 PM   #310
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August 4
When is a secret not a secret?


“Addicts tend to live secret lives.... It is a great relief to get rid of all our secrets and to share the burden of our past.”
Basic Text, p. 33
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We’ve heard it said that “we’re as sick as our secrets.” What do we keep secret, and why?
We keep secret those things that cause us shame. We may hold onto such things because we don’t want to surrender them. Yet if they’re causing us shame, wouldn’t we live more easily with ourselves if we were rid of them?
Some of us hold onto the things that cause us shame for another reason. It’s not that we don’t want to be rid of them; we just don’t believe we can be rid of them. They’ve plagued us for so long, and we’ve tried so many times to rid ourselves of them, that we’ve stopped hoping for relief. Yet still they shame us, and still we keep them secret.
We need to remember who we are: recovering addicts. We who tried so long to keep our drug use a secret have found freedom from the obsession and compulsion to use. Though many of us enjoyed using right to the end, we sought recovery anyway. We just couldn’t stand the toll our using was taking on us. When we admitted our powerlessness and sought help from others, the burden of our secret was lifted from us.
The same principle applies to whatever secrets may burden us. Yes, we’re as sick as our secrets. Only when our secrets stop being secret can we begin to find relief from those things that cause us shame.
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Just for today: My secrets can make me sick only as long as they stay secret. Today, I will talk with my sponsor about my secrets.
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Unread 08-05-2011, 10:12 AM   #311
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August 5
The shape of our thoughts


“By shaping our thoughts with spiritual ideals, we are freed to become who we want to be.”
Basic Text, p. 105
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Addiction shaped our thoughts in its own way. Whatever their shape may once have been, they became misshapen once our disease took full sway over our lives. Our obsession with drugs and self molded our moods, our actions, and the very shape of our lives.
Each of the spiritual ideals of our program serves to straighten out one or another of the kinks in our thinking that developed in our active addiction. Denial is counteracted by admission, secretiveness by honesty, isolation by fellowship, and despair by faith in a loving Higher Power. The spiritual ideals we find in recovery are restoring the shape of our thoughts and our lives to their natural condition.
And what is that “natural condition”? It is the condition we truly seek for ourselves, a reflection of our highest dreams. How do we know this? Because our thoughts are being shaped in recovery by the spiritual ideals we find in our developing relationship with the God we’ve come to understand in NA.
No longer does addiction shape our thoughts. Today, our lives are being shaped by our recovery and our Higher Power.
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Just for today: I will allow spiritual ideals to shape my thoughts. In that design, I will find the shape of my own Higher Power.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 07:43 AM   #312
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August 6
The joy within


“Since the beginning of our recovery, we have found that joy doesn’t come from material things but from within ourselves.”
Basic Text, p. 107
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Some of us came to Narcotics Anonymous impoverished by our disease. Everything we’d owned had been lost to our addiction. Once we got clean, we put all our energy into recovering our material possessions, only to feel even more dissatisfied with our lives than before.
Other members have sought to ease their emotional pain with material things. A potential date has rejected us? Let’s buy something. The dog has died? Let’s go to the mall. Problem is, emotional fulfillment can’t be bought, not even on an easy installment plan.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with material things. They can make life more convenient or more luxurious, but they can’t fix us. Where, then, can true joy be found? We know; the answer is within ourselves.
When have we found joy? When we’ve offered ourselves in service to others, without expectation of reward. We’ve found true warmth in the fellowship of others—not only in NA, but in our families, our relationships, and our communities. And we’ve found the surest source of satisfaction in our conscious contact with our God. Inner peace, a sure sense of direction, and emotional security do not come from material things, but from within.
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Just for today: True joy can’t be bought. I will seek my joy in service, in fellowship, in my Higher Power—I will seek within.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 07:45 AM   #313
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August 7

The gratitude list


“We focus on anything that isn’t going our way and ignore all the beauty in our lives.”


Basic Text, p.80


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It’s easy to be grateful when everything runs smoothly. If we get a raise at work, we’re grateful. If we get married, we’re grateful. If someone surprises us with a nice present or an unasked favor, we’re grateful. But if we get fired, divorced, or disappointed, gratitude flies out the window. We find ourselves becoming obsessed with the things that are wrong, even though everything else may be wonderful.
This is where we can use a gratitude list. We sit down with a pen and paper and list the people for whom we are grateful. We all have people who’ve supported us through life’s upheavals. We list the spiritual assets we have attained, for we know we could never make it through our present circumstances without them. Last, but not least, we list our recovery itself. Whatever we have that we are grateful for goes on the list.
We’re sure to find that we have literally hundreds of things in our lives that inspire our gratitude. Even those of us who are suffering from an illness or who have lost all material wealth will find blessings of a spiritual nature for which we can be thankful. An awakening of the spirit is the most valuable gift an addict can receive.

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Just for today: I will write a list of things, both material and spiritual, for which I am grateful.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 08:25 AM   #314
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August 8
Responsible recovery


“...we accept responsibility for our problems and see that we’re equally responsible for our solutions.”
Basic Text, p. 97
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Some of us, well accustomed to leaving our personal responsibilities to others, may attempt the same behavior in recovery. We quickly find out it doesn’t work.
For instance, we are considering making a change in our lives, so we call our sponsor and ask what we should do. Under the guise of seeking direction, we are actually asking our sponsor to assume responsibility for making decisions about our life. Or maybe we’ve been short with someone at a meeting, so we ask that person’s best friend to make our apologies for us. Perhaps we’ve imposed on a friend several times in the last month to cover our service commitment. Could it be that we’ve asked a friend to analyze our behavior and identify our shortcomings, rather than taking our own personal inventory?
Recovery is something that has to be worked for. It isn’t going to be handed to us on a silver platter, nor can we expect our friends or our sponsor to be responsible for the work we must do ourselves. We recover by making our own decisions, doing our own service, and working our own steps. By doing it for ourselves, we receive the rewards.
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Just for today: I accept responsibility for my life and my recovery.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 08:27 AM   #315
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August 9
The Power of love


“We begin to see that God’s love has been present all the time, just waiting for us to accept it.”
Basic Text, p. 46
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God’s love is the transforming power that drives our recovery. With that love, we find freedom from the hopeless, desperate cycle of using, self-hatred, and more using. With that love, we gain a sense of reason and purpose in our once purposeless lives. With that love, we are given the inner direction and strength we need to begin a new way of life: the NA way. With that love, we begin to see things differently, as if with new eyes.
As we examine our lives through the eyes of love, we make what may be a startling discovery: The loving God we’ve so recently come to understand has always been with us and has always loved us. We recall the times when we asked for the aid of a Higher Power and were given it. We even recall times when we didn’t ask for such help, yet were given it anyway. We realize that a loving Higher Power has cared for us all along, preserving our lives till the day when we could accept that love for ourselves.
The Power of love has been with us all along. Today, we are grateful to have survived long enough to become consciously aware of that love’s presence in our world and our lives. Its vitality floods our very being, guiding our recovery and showing us how to live.
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Just for today: I accept the love of a Higher Power in my life. I am conscious of that Power’s guidance and strength within me. Today, I claim it for my own.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 08:31 AM   #316
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August 10
Regular prayer and meditation


“Most of us pray when we are hurting. We learn that if we pray regularly, we won’t be hurting as often or as intensely.”
Basic Text, p. 44
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Regular prayer and meditation are two more key elements in our new pattern of living. Our active addiction was more than just a bad habit waiting to be broken by force of will. Our addiction was a negative, draining dependence that stole all our positive energy. That dependence was so total, it prevented us from developing any kind of reliance on a Higher Power.
From the very beginning of our recovery, our Higher Power has been the force that’s brought us freedom. First, it relieved us of our compulsion to keep taking drugs, even when we knew they were killing us. Then, it gave us freedom from the more deeply ingrained aspects of our disease. Our Higher Power gave us the direction, the strength, and the courage to inventory ourselves; to admit out loud to another person what our lives had been like, perhaps for the first time; to begin seeking release from the chronic defects of character underlying our troubles; and, at last, to make amends for the wrongs we’d done.
That first contact with a Higher Power, and that first freedom, has grown into a life full of freedom. We maintain that freedom by maintaining and improving our conscious contact with our Higher Power through regular prayer and meditation.
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Just for today: I will make a commitment to include regular prayer and meditation in my new pattern of living.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 08:36 AM   #317
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August 11
Active listening


“Through active listening, we hear things that work for us.”
Basic Text, p. 102
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Most of us arrived in Narcotics Anonymous with a very poor ability to listen. But to take full advantage of “the therapeutic value of one addict helping another,” we must learn to listen actively.
What is active listening for us? In meetings, it means we concentrate on what the speaker is sharing, while the speaker is sharing. We set aside our own thoughts and opinions until the meeting is over. That’s when we sort through what we’ve heard to decide which ideas we want to use and which we want to explore further.
We can apply our active listening skills in sponsorship, too. Newcomers often talk with us about some “major event” in their lives. While such events may not seem significant to us, they are to the newcomer who has little experience living life on life’s terms. Our active listening helps us empathize with the feelings such events trigger in our sponsee’s life. With that understanding, we have a better idea of what to share with them.
The ability to listen actively was unknown to us in the isolation of our addiction. Today, this ability helps us actively engage with our recovery. Through active listening, we receive everything being offered us in NA, and we share fully with others the love and care we’ve been given.
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Just for today: I will strive to be an active listener. I will practice active listening when others share and when I share with others.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 08:45 AM   #318
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August 12
Enough!


“Something inside cries out, ‘Enough, enough, I’ve had enough,’ and then they are ready to take that first and often most difficult step toward dealing with their disease.”
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Have we really had enough? This is the crucial question we must ask ourselves as we prepare to work the First Step in Narcotics Anonymous. It doesn’t matter whether or not we arrived in NA with our families intact, our careers still working for us, and all the outward appearances of wholeness. All that matters is that we have reached an emotional and spiritual bottom that precludes our return to active addiction. If we have, we will be truly ready to go to any lengths to quit using.
When we inventory our powerlessness, we ask ourselves some simple questions. Can I control my use of drugs in any form? What incidents have occurred as a result of my drug use that I didn’t want to happen? How is my life unmanageable? Do I believe in my heart that I am an addict?
If the answers to these questions lead us to the doors of Narcotics Anonymous, then we are ready to move on to the next step toward a life free from active addiction. If we have truly had enough, then we will be willing to go to any lengths to find recovery.
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Just for today: I admit that I have had enough. I am ready to work my First Step.
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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:44 AM   #319
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August 13
Difficult people


“By giving unconditional love... we become more loving, and by sharing spiritual growth we become more spiritual.”
Basic Text, p.103
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Most of us have one or two exceptionally difficult people in our lives. How do we deal with such a person in our recovery?
First, we take our own inventory. Have we wronged this person? Has some action or attitude of ours served as an invitation for the kind of treatment they have given us? If so, we will want to clear the air, admit we have been wrong, and ask our Higher Power to remove whatever defects may prevent us from being helpful and constructive.
Next, as people seeking to live spiritually oriented lives, we approach the problem from the other person’s point of view. They may be faced with any number of challenges we either fail to consider or know nothing about, challenges that cause them to be unpleasant. As it’s said, we seek in recovery “to forgive rather than be forgiven; to understand rather than be understood.”
Finally, if it is within our power, we seek ways to help others overcome their challenges without injuring their dignity. We pray for their well-being and spiritual growth and for the ability to offer them the unconditional love that has meant so much to us in our recovery.
We cannot change the difficult people in our lives, nor can we please everyone. But by applying the spiritual principles we’ve learned in NA, we can learn to love them.
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Just for today: Higher Power, help me serve other people, not demand that they serve me.
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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:45 AM   #320
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August 14
Letting go of our limitations


“We don’t have to settle for the limitations of the past. We can examine and reexamine our old ideas.”
Basic Text, p. 11
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Most of us come to the program with a multitude of self-imposed limitations that prevent us from realizing our full potential, limitations that impede our attempts to find the values that lie at the core of our being. We place limitations on our ability to be true to ourselves, limitations on our ability to function at work, limitations on the risks we’re willing to take—the list seems endless. If our parents or teachers told us we would never succeed, and we believed them, chances are we didn’t achieve much. If our socialization taught us not to stand up for ourselves, we didn’t, even if everything inside us was screaming to do so.
In Narcotics Anonymous, we are given a process by which we can recognize these false limitations for what they are. Through our Fourth Step, we’ll discover that we don’t want to keep all the rules we’ve been taught. We don’t have to be the lifelong victims of past experiences. We are free to discard the ideas that inhibit our growth. We are capable of stretching our boundaries to encompass new ideas and new experiences. We are free to laugh, to cry, and, above all, to enjoy our recovery.
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Just for today: I will let go of my self-imposed limitations and open my mind to new ideas.
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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:47 AM   #321
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August 15

Over time, not overnight

“We found that we do not recover physically, mentally, or spiritually overnight.”

Basic Text, p. 28


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Have you ever approached a recovery celebration with the feeling that you should be further along in your recovery than you are? Maybe you have listened to newcomers sharing in meetings, members with much less clean time, and thought, “But I’m just barely beginning to understand what they’re talking about!”
It’s odd that we should come into recovery thinking that we will feel wonderful right away or no longer have any difficulty handling life’s twists and turns. We expect our physical problems to correct themselves, our thinking to become rational, and a fully developed spiritual life to manifest itself overnight. We forget that we spent years abusing our bodies, numbing our minds, and suppressing our awareness of a Higher Power. We cannot undo the damage in a day. We can, however, apply the next step, go to the next meeting, help the next newcomer. We heal and recover bit by bit—not overnight, but over time.

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Just for today: My body will heal a little, my mind will become a little clearer, and my relationship with my Higher Power will strengthen.
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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:48 AM   #322
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Default August 16

August 16

Up or down

“This is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day.... This growth is not the result of wishing but of action and prayer.”

Basic Text, pp. 37


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Our spiritual condition is never static; if it’s not growing, it’s decaying. If we stand still, our spiritual progress will lose its upward momentum. Gradually, our growth will slow, then halt, then reverse itself. Our tolerance will wear thin; our willingness to serve others will wane; our minds will narrow and close. Before long, we’ll be right back where we started: in conflict with everyone and everything around us, unable to bear even ourselves.
Our only option is to actively participate in our program of spiritual growth. We pray, seeking knowledge greater than our own from a Power greater than ourselves. We open our minds and keep them open, becoming teachable and taking advantage of what others have to share with us. We demonstrate our willingness to try new ideas and new ways of doing things, experiencing life in a whole new way. Our spiritual progress picks up speed and momentum, driven by the Higher Power we are coming to understand better each day.
Up or down—it’s one or the other, with very little in between, where spiritual growth is concerned. Recovery is not fueled by wishing and dreaming, we’ve discovered, but by prayer and action.

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Just for today: The only constant in my spiritual condition is change. I cannot rely on yesterday’s program. Today, I seek new spiritual growth through prayer and action.
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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:49 AM   #323
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August 17
Tell the truth


“A symptom of our disease is alienation, and honest sharing will free us to recover.”
Basic Text, p. 83
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Truth connects us to life while fear, isolation, and dishonesty alienate us from it. As using addicts, we hid as much of the truth about ourselves from as much of the world as we possibly could. Our fear kept us from opening ourselves up to those around us, providing protection against what others might do if we appeared vulnerable. But our fear also kept us from connecting with our world. We lived like alien beings on our own planet, always alone and getting lonelier by the minute.
The Twelve Steps and the fellowship of recovering addicts give people like us a place where we can feel safe telling the truth about ourselves. We are able to honestly admit our frustrating, humbling powerlessness over addiction because we meet many others who’ve been in the same situation—we’re safe among them. And we keep on telling more of the truth about ourselves as we continue to work the steps. The more we do, the more truly connected we feel to the world around us.
Today, we need not hide from the reality of our relations with the people, places, and things in our lives. We accept those relationships just as they are, and we own our part in them. We take time every day to ask, “Am I telling the truth about myself?” Each time we do this, we draw that much further away from the alienation that characterizes our addiction, and that much closer to the freedom recovery can bring us.
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Just for today: Truth is my connection to reality. Today, I will take time to ask myself, “Am I telling the truth?”
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Unread 08-18-2011, 08:06 AM   #324
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August 18
"How long do I have to go?"


“The way to remain a productive, responsible member of society is to put our recovery first.”
Basic Text, p. 106
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The meetings have been great! Each night we’ve attended, we’ve gathered with other addicts to share experience, strength, and hope. And each day, we’ve used what we’ve learned in the meetings to continue in our recovery.
Meanwhile, life goes on. Work, family, friends, school, sport, entertainment, community activities, civic obligations—all call out for our time. The demands of everyday living sometimes make us ask ourselves, “How long do I have to go to these meetings?”
Let’s think about this. Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous, could we stay clean on our own? What makes us think we can now? Then there’s the disease itself to consider—the chronic self-centeredness, the obsessiveness, the compulsive behavior patterns that express themselves in so many areas of our lives. Can we live and enjoy life without effective treatment for our disease? No.
“Ordinary” people may not have to worry about such things, but we’re not “ordinary” people—we’re addicts. We can’t pretend we don’t have a fatal, progressive illness, because we do. Without our program, we may not survive to worry about the demands of work, school, family, or anything else. NA meetings give us the support and direction we need to recover from our addiction, allowing us to live the fullest lives possible.
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Just for today: I want to live and enjoy life. To do that, I will put my recovery first.
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Unread 08-24-2011, 07:22 AM   #325
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August 19
First things first


“We apply effort to our most obvious problems and let go of the rest. We do the job at hand and, as we progress, new opportunities for improvement present themselves.”
Basic Text, p. 56
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It’s been said that recovery is simple—all we’ve got to change is everything! That can seem a pretty tall order, especially when we first arrive in Narcotics Anonymous. After all, not many of us showed up at our first meeting because our lives were in great shape. On the contrary, a great many of us came to NA in the midst of the worst crises of our lives. We needed recovery, and quick!
The enormity of the change required in our lives can be paralyzing. We know we can’t take care of all that needs to be done, not all at once. How do we start? Chances are, we’ve already started. We’ve done the first, most obvious things that needed to be done: We’ve stopped using drugs, and we’ve started going to meetings.
What do we do next? Pretty much the same thing, just more of it: From where we are, we do what we can. We walk the path of recovery by picking up our feet and taking the step that’s right in front of us. Only when that’s been accomplished must we concern ourselves with what comes next. Slowly but surely, we’ll find ourselves making progress down the path, visibly drawing closer each day to becoming the kind of person we’d like to be.
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Just for today: I will walk the path of my recovery by taking the step right in front of me.
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Unread 08-24-2011, 07:23 AM   #326
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August 20
Facing death


“Often we have to face some type of crisis during our recovery, such as the death of a loved one...”
Basic Text, p. 102
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Every life has a beginning and an end. However, when someone we love a great deal reaches the end of their life, we may have a very hard time accepting their sudden, final absence. Our grief may be so powerful that we fear it will completely overwhelm us—but it will not. Our sorrow may hurt more than anything we can remember, but it will pass.
We need not run from the emotions that may arise from the death of a loved one. Death and grieving are parts of the fullness of living “life on life’s terms.” By allowing ourselves the freedom to experience these feelings, we partake more deeply of both our recovery and our human nature.
Sometimes the reality of another’s death makes our own mortality that much more pronounced. We reevaluate our priorities, appreciating the loved ones still with us all the more. Our life, and our life with them, will not go on forever. We want to make the most of what’s most important while it lasts.
We might find that the death of someone we love helps strengthen our conscious contact with our Higher Power. If we remember that we can always turn to that source of strength when we are troubled, we will be able to stay focused on it no matter what may be going on around us.
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Just for today: I will accept the loss of one I love and turn to my Higher Power for the strength to accept my feelings. I will make the most of my love for those in my life today.
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Unread 08-24-2011, 07:25 AM   #327
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August 21
Friendships


“Our friendships become deep, and we experience the warmth and caring which results from addicts sharing recovery and a new life.”
IP No. 19, Self-Acceptance
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Most of us come to Narcotics Anonymous with few genuine friends. And most of us arrive without the slightest understanding of what it takes to build lasting friendships. Over time, though, we learn that friendships require work. At one time or another, all friendships are challenging. Like any relationship, friendship is a learning process.
Our friends love us enough to tell us the truth about ourselves. The old saying, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you furious,” seems especially true in friendship. This can make friendships awkward. We may find ourselves avoiding certain meetings rather than facing our friends. We have found, though, that friends speak out of concern for us. They want the best for us. Our friends accept us despite our shortcomings. They understand that we are still a work in progress.
Friends are there for us when we’re not there for ourselves. Friends help us gain valuable perspective on the events in our lives and our recovery. It is important that we actively cultivate friendships, for we have learned that we cannot recover alone.
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Just for today: I will be grateful for the friends I have. I will take an active part in my friendships.
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Unread 08-24-2011, 07:27 AM   #328
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August 22
Contribution


“We recognize our spiritual growth when we are able to reach out and help others.”
Basic Text, p. 58
––––=––––
To make a difference in the world, to contribute something special, is perhaps the highest aspiration of the human heart. Each one of us, no matter what our personal makeup, has a unique quality to offer.
Chances are that at some time in our recovery we met someone who reached us when no one else could. Whether it was someone who made us laugh at our first meeting, a warm and compassionate sponsor, or an understanding friend who supported us through an emotional storm, that person made all the difference in the world.
All of us have had the gift of recovery shared with us by another recovering addict. For that, we are grateful. We express our gratitude by sharing freely with others what was given to us. The individual message we carry may help a newcomer only we can reach.
There are many ways to serve our fellowship. Each of us will find that we do some things better than others, but all service work is equally important. If we are willing to serve, we’re sure to find that particular way to contribute that’s right for us.
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Just for today: My contribution makes a difference. I will offer a helping hand today.
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Unread 08-24-2011, 07:42 AM   #329
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August 23
Decision-making


“Before we got clean, most of our actions were guided by impulse. Today, we are not locked into this type of thinking.”
Basic Text, p. 90
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Life is a series of decisions, actions, and consequences. When we were using, our decisions were usually driven by our disease, resulting in self-destructive actions and dire consequences. We came to see decision-making as a rigged game, one we should play as little as possible.
Given that, many of us have great difficulty learning to make decisions in recovery. Slowly, by working the Twelve Steps, we gain practice in making healthy decisions, ones that give positive results. Where our disease once affected our will and our lives, we ask our Higher Power to care for us. We inventory our values and our actions, check our findings with someone we trust, and ask the God of our understanding to remove our shortcomings. In working the steps we gain freedom from the influence of our disease, and we learn principles of decision-making that can guide us in all our affairs.
Today, our decisions and their consequences need not be influenced by our disease. Our faith gives us the courage and direction to make good decisions and the strength to act on them. The result of that kind of decision-making is a life worth living.
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Just for today: I will use the principles of the Twelve Steps to make healthy decisions. I will ask my Higher Power for the strength to act on those decisions.
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Unread 08-24-2011, 07:55 AM   #330
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August 24
Seeking God's will


“We learn to be careful of praying for specific things.”
Basic Text, p. 46
––––=––––
In our active addiction, we usually did not pray for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out. On the contrary, most of our prayers were for God to get us out of the mess we had made for ourselves. We expected miracles on demand. That kind of thinking and praying changes when we begin practicing the Eleventh Step. The only way out of the trouble we have made for ourselves is through surrender to a Power greater than ourselves.
In recovery, we learn acceptance. We seek knowledge in our prayers and meditation of how we are to greet the circumstances that come our way. We stop fighting, surrender our own ideas of how things should be, ask for knowledge, and listen for the answers. The answers usually won’t come in a flash of white light accompanied by a drum roll. Usually, the answers will come merely with a quiet sense of assurance that our lives are on course, that a Power greater than ourselves is guiding us on our paths.
We have a choice. We can spend all our time fighting to make things come out our way, or we can surrender to God’s will. Peace can be found in accepting the ebb and flow of life.
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Just for today: I will surrender my expectations, look to my Higher Power for guidance, and accept life.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 01:07 PM   #331
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August 25

The Ninth Step—reclaiming life

“We are achieving freedom from the wreckage of our past.”


Basic Text, p. 42


––––=––––

When we start the Ninth Step, we’ve reached an exciting stage in our recovery. The damage done in our lives is what led many of us to seek help in the first place. Now, we have a chance to clean up that wreckage, amend our past, and reclaim our lives.
We’ve spent a long time and much effort preparing for this step. When we came to NA, facing the debris of our past was probably the lastthing we wanted to do. We started doing it privately with a personal inventory. Then, we opened our past up to the scrutiny of a select, trusted few: ourselves, our Higher Power, and one other person. We took a look at our shortcomings, the source of much of the chaos in our lives, and asked that all those defects of character be removed. Finally, we listed the amends needed to set our wrongs right—all of them—and became willing to make them.
Now, we have the opportunity to make amends—to acquire freedom from the wreckage of our past. Everything we’ve done so far in NA has led us here. At this point in the process of our recovery, the Ninth Step is exactly what we want to do. With the Twelve Steps and the help of a Higher Power, we are clearing away the rubble that for so long has stood in the way of our progress; we are gaining the freedom to live.

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Just for today: I will take advantage of the opportunity to reclaim my life. I will experience freedom from the wreckage of my past.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 01:09 PM   #332
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August 26
Tenth Step inventory


“We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
Step Ten
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A daily Tenth Step keeps us on a sound spiritual footing. While each member asks different questions, some questions have been found to be helpful to almost everyone. Two key Tenth Step questions are, “Am I honestly in touch with myself, my actions, and my motives? And have I prayed for God’s will for me and the power to carry it out?” These two questions, answered honestly, will lead us into a more thorough look at our day.
When focusing on our relationships with others, we may ask, “Have I harmed anyone today, either directly or indirectly? Do I need to make amends to anyone as a result of my actions today?” We keep it simple in our inventory if we remember to ask, “Where was I wrong? How can I do it better next time?”
NA members often find that their inventories include other important questions. “Was I good to myself today? Did I do something for someone else and expect nothing in return? Have I reaffirmed my faith in a loving Higher Power?”
Step Ten is a maintenance step of the NA program. The Tenth Step helps us to continue living comfortably in recovery.
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Just for today: I will remember to review my day. If I have harmed another, I will make amends. I will think about how I can act differently.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 01:13 PM   #333
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August 27
Choosing life


“Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary.”
Basic Text, p. 15
––––=––––
Active addiction is a smoldering death-wish. Each of us courted death every time we used. Our lifestyles, too, put us at risk. The life of an addict is sold cheaply with every day and every dose.
In recovery, the first pattern we change is the pattern of using. Staying clean is the start of our journey into life. But our self-destructive behavior usually went far deeper than just our using. Even in recovery, we may still treat ourselves as if we are worthless. When we treat ourselves badly, we feel badly. And when we feel badly, we seek relief—maybe even in our old solution, drugs.
Choosing recovery means choosing life. We decide each day that we want to live and be free. Each time we avoid self-destructive behavior, we choose recovery.
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Just for today: I will choose life by choosing recovery. I will take care of myself.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 01:15 PM   #334
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Default August 28th

August 28

The light of exposure


“These defects grow in the dark and die in the light of exposure.”


Basic Text, p.32


––––=––––

The Fifth Step asks us to share our true nature with God, with ourselves, and with another human being. It doesn’t encourage us to tell everyone every little secret about ourselves. It doesn’t ask us to disclose to the whole world every shameful or frightening thought we’ve ever had. Step Five simply suggests that our secrets cause us more harm than good when we keep them completely to ourselves.
If we give in to our reluctance to reveal our true nature to even one human being, the secret side of our lives becomes more powerful. And when the secrets are in control, they drive a wedge between ourselves, our Higher Power, and the things we value most about our recovery.
When we share our secret selves in confidence with at least one human being—our sponsor, perhaps, or a close friend—this person usually doesn’t reject us. We disclose ourselves to someone else and are rewarded with their acceptance. When this happens, we realize that honest sharing is not life-threatening; the secrets have lost their power over us.

––––=––––

Just for today: I can disarm the secrets in my life by sharing them with one human being.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 01:16 PM   #335
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Default August 29th

August 29
Don't look back


“The steps offer a big change from a life dominated by guilt and remorse. Our futures are changed because we don’t have to avoid those who we have harmed. As a result... we receive a new freedom that can end isolation.”
Basic Text, p. 39
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Many of us come to Narcotics Anonymous full of regrets about our past. Our steps help us begin to resolve those regrets. We examine our lives, admit our wrongs, make amends for them, and sincerely try to change our behavior. In doing so, we find a joyous sense of freedom.
No longer must we deny or regret our past. Once we’ve made our amends, what’s done is truly over and gone. From that point on, where we come from ceases to be the most important thing about us. It’s where we are going that counts.
In NA, we begin to look forward. True, we live and stay clean just for today. But we find that we can begin to set goals, dream dreams, and look ahead to the joys a life in recovery has to offer. Looking forward keeps us centered in where we are going, not remorseful or regretful about our past. After all, it is hard to move forward if we are looking back.
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Just for today: The steps have freed me from regrets over my past. Today, I look forward to my new life in recovery.
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Unread 08-31-2011, 09:35 AM   #336
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August 30
Doing good, feeling good


“We examine our actions, reactions, and motives. We often find that we’ve been doing better than we’ve been feeling.”
Basic Text, p.43
––––=––––
The way we treat others often reveals our own state of being. When we are at peace, we’re most likely to treat others with respect and compassion. However, when we’re feeling off center, we’re likely to respond to others with intolerance and impatience. When we take regular inventory, we’ll probably notice a pattern: We treat others badly when we feel bad about ourselves.
What might not be revealed in an inventory, however, is the other side of the coin: When we treat others well, we feel good about ourselves. When we add this positive truth to the negative facts we find about ourselves in our inventory, we begin to behave differently.
When we feel badly, we can pause to pray for guidance and strength. Then, we make a decision to treat those around us with kindness, gentleness, and the same concern we’d like to be shown. A decision to be kind may nurture and sustain the happiness and peace of mind we all wish for. And the joy we inspire may lift the spirits of those around us, in turn fostering our own spiritual well-being.
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Just for today: I will remember that if I change my actions, my thoughts will follow.
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Unread 08-31-2011, 09:36 AM   #337
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August 31
Gratitude


“Hopeless living problems have become joyously changed. Our disease has been arrested, and now anything is possible.”
Basic Text, p. 106
––––=––––
The NA program has given us more freedom than we ever dreamed possible. Sometimes, though, in the daily routine, we lose track of how much we’ve been given. How, exactly, have our lives changed in Narcotics Anonymous?
The bottom line of recovery, of course, is freedom from the compulsion to use. No longer must we devote all our resources to feeding our addiction. No longer must we endanger, humiliate, or abuse ourselves or others just to get the next “fix.” Abstinence itself has brought great freedom to our lives.
Narcotics Anonymous has given us much more than simple abstinence—we’ve been given a whole new life. We’ve taken our inventory and have identified the defects of character that bound us for so long, keeping us from living and enjoying life. We’ve surrendered those shortcomings, taken responsibility for them, and sought the direction and power we need to live differently. Our home group has given us the personal warmth and support that helps us continue living in recovery. And topping all this off, we have the love, care, and guidance of the God we’ve come to understand in NA.
In the course of day-to-day recovery, we sometimes forget how much our lives have changed in Narcotics Anonymous. Do we fully appreciate what our program has given us?
––––=––––
Just for today: Recovery has given me freedom. I will greet the day with hope, grateful that anything is possible today.
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Unread 09-02-2011, 08:33 AM   #338
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September 1
Real values


“We become able to make wise and loving decisions based on principles and ideals that have real value in our lives.”
Basic Text, p. 105
––––=––––
Addiction gave us a certain set of values, principles we applied in our lives. “You pushed me,” one of those values told us, “so I pushed back, hard.” “It’s mine”was another value generated by our disease. “Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t mine to start with, but I liked it, so I made it mine.” Those values were hardly values at all—more like rationalizations—and they certainly didn’t help us make wise and loving decisions. In fact, they served primarily to dig us deeper and deeper into the grave we’d already dug for ourselves.
The Twelve Steps give us a strong dose of real values, the kind that help us live in harmony with ourselves and those around us. We place our faith not in ourselves, our families, or our communities, but in a Higher Power—and in doing so, we grow secure enough to be able to trust our communities, our families, and even ourselves. We learn to be honest, no matter what—and we learn to refrain from doing things we might want to hide. We learn to accept responsibility for our actions. “It’s mine”is replaced with a spirit of selflessness. These are the kind of values that help us become a responsible, productive part of the life around us. Rather than digging us deeper into a grave, these values restore us to the world of the living.
––––=––––
Just for today: I am grateful for the values I’ve developed. I am thankful for the ability they give me to make wise, loving decisions as a responsible, productive member of my community.
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Unread 09-02-2011, 08:37 AM   #339
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September 2
Higher Powered


“Daily practice of our Twelve Step program enables us to change from what we were to people guided by a Higher Power.”
Basic Text, p. 86
––––=––––
Who have we been, and who have we become? There are a couple of ways to answer this question. One is very simple: We came to Narcotics Anonymous as addicts, our addiction killing us. In NA, we’ve been freed from our obsession with drugs and our compulsion to use. And our lives have changed.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Who have we really been? In the past, we were people without power or direction. We felt like we had no purpose, no reason for living. Our lives didn’t make any more sense to us than they did to our families, our friends, or our neighbors.
Who are we really becoming? Today, we are not merely clean addicts, but people with a sense of direction, a purpose, and a Power greater than ourselves. Through daily practice of the Twelve Steps, we’ve begun to understand how our addiction warped our feelings, motivations, and behavior. Gradually, the destructive force of our disease has been replaced by the life-giving force of our Higher Power.
Recovery means more than cleaning up—it means powering up. We have done more than shed some bad habits; we are becoming new people, guided by a Higher Power.
––––=––––
Just for today: The guidance I need to become a new person is ready at hand. Today, I will draw further away from my old lack of direction and closer to my Higher Power.
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