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Unread 01-12-2011, 09:32 AM   #101
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Default January 12th

January 12
Spiritual awakenings


“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps...”
Step Twelve
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“How will I know when I have had a spiritual awakening?” For many of us, a spiritual awakening comes gradually. Perhaps our first spiritual awareness is as simple as a new appreciation for life. Maybe one day we’ll suddenly discover the sound of birds singing early in the morning. The simple beauty of a flower may remind us that there is a Power greater than ourselves at work around us.
Often, our spiritual awakening is something that grows stronger over time. We can strive for more spiritual awareness simply by living our lives. We can persist in efforts to improve our conscious contact through prayer and meditation on a daily basis. We can listen within for the guidance we need. We can question other addicts about their experiences with spirituality. We can take time to appreciate the world around us.
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Just for today: I will reflect on the spiritual awakenings I have experienced. I will strive to be God-conscious. I will take time out in the day to appreciate my Higher Power’s handiwork.
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Unread 01-13-2011, 08:19 AM   #102
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Default January 13

January 13
Surrender to win


“Help for addicts begins only when we are able to admit complete defeat.”
Basic Text, p. 22
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Complete defeat—what a concept! That must mean surrender. Surrender—to give up absolutely. To quit with no reservations. To put up our hands and quit fighting. Maybe to put up our hand at our first meeting and admit we’re addicts.
How do we know we’ve taken a First Step that will allow us to live drug-free? We know because, once we have taken that gigantic step, we never have to use again—just for today. That’s it. It’s not easy, but it’s very simple.
We work the First Step. We accept that, yes, we are addicts. “One is too many, and a thousand never enough.” We’ve proven that to ourselves enough times. We admit that we cannot handle drugs in any form. We admit it; we say it out loud, if necessary.
We take the First Step at the beginning of our day. For one day. This admission frees us, just for today, from the need to live out our addiction all over again. We’ve surrendered to this disease. We give up. We quit. But in quitting, we win. And that’s the paradox of the First Step: We surrender to win, and by surrendering we gain a far greater power than we ever imagined possible.
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Just for today: I admit that I am powerless over my addiction. I will surrender to win.
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Unread 01-14-2011, 01:09 PM   #103
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Default January 14th

January 14
A loving God


“Our understanding of a Higher Power is up to us.... The only suggested guidelines are that this Power be loving, caring, and greater than ourselves.”
Basic Text, p. 24
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We’ve been told that we can believe in any kind of Higher Power we want as long as it is loving and, of course, greater than ourselves. Some of us, however, have trouble with these requirements. We either believe in nothing butourselves, or we believe that anything that could be called “God” could only be cold-hearted and unreasonable, sending us bad luck on a whim.
Believing in a loving Power is quite a leap for some of us, for many reasons. The thought of turning our will and lives over to the care of something we think might hurt us is sure to fill us with reluctance. If we come into the program believing that God is judgmental and unforgiving, we must overcome those beliefs before we can be truly comfortable with the Third Step.
Our positive experiences in recovery can help us come to believe in a loving God of our own understanding. We’ve been given relief from a disease that has afflicted us for a long time. We’ve found the guidance and support we need to develop a new way of life. We’ve begun to experience a fullness of spirit where once there was only emptiness. These aspects of our recovery have their source in a loving God, not a harsh, hateful one. And the more we experience recovery, the more we’ll trust that loving Higher Power.
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Just for today: I will open my mind and my heart to believe that God is loving, and trust my loving Higher Power to do for me what I cannot do for myself.
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Unread 01-17-2011, 08:47 AM   #104
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Default January 15

January 15
Fear


“We grow to feel comfortable with our Higher Power as a source of strength. As we learn to trust this Power, we begin to overcome our fear of life.”
Basic Text, p. 25
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Powerless as we are, living on self-will is a frightening, unmanageable experience. In recovery, we have turned our will and our lives safely over to the care of the God of our understanding. When we lapse in our program, when we lose conscious contact with our Higher Power, we begin to take control of our own lives again, refusing the care of the God of our understanding. If we do not make a daily decision to surrender our lives to the care of our Higher Power, we may become overwhelmed with our fear of life.
Through working the Twelve Steps, we’ve found that faith in a Power greater than ourselves helps relieve our fear. As we draw closer to a loving God, we become more conscious of our Higher Power. And the more conscious we are of God’s care for us, the less our fears.
When we feel afraid, we ask ourselves, “Is this fear an indication of a lack of faith in my life? Have I taken control again, only to find my life still unmanageable?” If we answer yes to these questions, we can overcome our fear by turning our will and our lives back over to care of the God of our understanding.
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Just for today: I will rely on the care of my Higher Power to relieve my fear of life.
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Unread 01-17-2011, 08:50 AM   #105
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Default January 16

January 16
Make that call!


“We feared that if we ever revealed ourselves as we were, we would surely be rejected.... [But] our fellow members do understand us.”
Basic Text, p. 32
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We need our fellow NA members—their experience, their friendship, their laughter, their guidance, and much, much more. Yet many of us hesitate to call our sponsor or visit our NA friends. We don’t want to impose on them. We think about phoning someone, but we don’t feel worthy of their time. We fear that if they ever got to know us—really know us—they’d surely reject us.
We forget that our fellow NA members are just like us. There’s nothing we’ve done, no place we’ve been, no feeling we’ve felt that other recovering addicts won’t be able to identify with. The more we let others get to know us, the more we’ll hear, “You’re in the right place. You’re among friends. You belong. Welcome!”
We also forget that, just as we need others, they need us. We’re not the only ones who want to feel like we belong, who want to experience the warmth of friendship, who want someone to share with. If we isolate ourselves from our fellow members, we deprive them of something they need, something only we can give them: our time, our company, our true selves.
In Narcotics Anonymous, recovering addicts care for one another. What waits at the other end of the telephone is not rejection, but the love, warmth, and identification of the NA Fellowship. Make that call!
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Just for today: In NA, I am among friends. I will reach out to others, giving and receiving in fellowship
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Unread 01-17-2011, 08:52 AM   #106
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Default January 17

January 17

Forgiveness


“As we realize our need to be forgiven, we tend to be more forgiving. At least we know that we are no longer intentionally making life miserable for people.”


Basic Text, pp. 39-40

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In our addiction we often treated others badly, sometimes deliberately finding ways to make their lives miserable. In our recovery, we may still have a tendency to pass judgment on others’ actions because we think we know how that person should behave. But as we progress in our recovery we often find that, to accept ourselves, we must accept those around us.
It may be difficult to watch as someone’s insanity manifests itself. But if we detach ourselves from the problem, we can start living in the solution. And if we feel affected by another’s actions, we can extend the principle of forgiveness.

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Just for today: I will strive to forgive rather than be forgiven. I will try to act in such a way that I feel worthy of self-love.
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Unread 01-18-2011, 02:27 PM   #107
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Default January 18

January 18
The simple inventory


“Continuing to take a personal inventory means that we form a habit of looking at ourselves, our actions, our attitudes, and our relationships on a regular basis.”
Basic Text, p. 42
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The daily inventory is a tool we can use to simplify our lives. The most complicated part of taking a regular inventory is deciding how to start. Should we write it out? What should we examine? In how much detail? And how do we know when we’ve finished? In no time, we’ve turned a simple exercise into a major project.
Here’s one simple approach to the daily inventory. We set aside a few minutes at the close of each day to sit quietly and check out our feelings. Is there a knot, big or small, in our gut? Do we feel uncomfortable about the day we’ve just finished? What happened? What was our part in the affair? Do we owe any amends? If we could do it over again, what would we do differently?
We also want to monitor the positive aspects of our lives in our daily inventory. What has given us satisfaction today? Were we productive? Responsible? Kind? Loving? Did we give unselfishly of ourselves? Did we fully experience the love and beauty the day offered us? What did we do today that we would want to do again?
Our daily inventory doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. It is a very simple tool we can use to keep in daily touch with ourselves.
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Just for today: I want to keep in touch with the way I feel in living this life I’ve been given. At the end of this day, I will take a brief, simple inventory.
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Unread 01-19-2011, 11:17 AM   #108
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Default January 19th

January 19
Making mountains into molehills


“When we stop living in the here and now, our problems become magnified unreasonably.”
Basic Text, p. 99
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Some of us seem to make mountains out of molehills with our problems. Even those of us who’ve found some measure of serenity have probably blown a problem far out of proportion at some time in our recovery—and if we haven’t done so yet, we probably will before long!
When we find ourselves obsessed with a complication in our lives, we will do well to sharply remind ourselves of all that is going right. Perhaps we’re afraid we won’t be able to pay our bills for the month. Instead of sitting at the calculator, adding our financial liabilities over and over, we can take stock of our efforts to reduce expenses. Following this mini-inventory, we continue with the task at hand and remind ourselves that as long as we are doing the footwork, a loving Higher Power will care for our lives.
Mountain-sized problems happen sometimes, but we don’t need to create them. Trust in a loving God of our understanding will put most of our problems in their proper perspective. We no longer need to create chaos to feel excited about our lives. Our recovery gives us countless real-life opportunities for excitement and drama.
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Just for today: I will take a realistic look at my problems and see that most of them are minor. I will leave them that way and enjoy my recovery.
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Unread 01-20-2011, 10:03 AM   #109
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Default January 20

January 20
One promise, many gifts


“Narcotics Anonymous offers only one promise, and that is freedom from active addiction...”
Basic Text, p. 106
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Imagine how it might be if we had arrived at the doors of Narcotics Anonymous, desperate, wanting to stop using drugs, only to be met by a sales pitch: “If you just work the steps and don’t use drugs, you’ll get married, live in the suburbs, have 2.6 children, and start wearing polyester. You will become a responsible, productive member of society and be fit company for kings and presidents. You will be rich and have a dynamic career.” Most of us, greeted with such a heavy-handed spiel, would have shrieked and bolted for the door.
Instead of high-pressure nonsense and frightening predictions, we are greeted with a promise of hope: freedom from active addiction. We feel a blessed relief come over us when we hear that we never have to use drugs again. We aren’t going to be forced to become anything!
Of course, after some time in recovery, good things start happening in our lives. We are given gifts—spiritual gifts, material gifts, gifts that we’ve always dreamed of but never dared hope we’d get. These, however, are truly gifts—they are not promised to us just because we become NA members. All we are promised is freedom from addiction—and it’s more than enough!
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Just for today: I have been promised freedom from active addiction. The gifts I receive are the benefits of recovery.
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Unread 01-21-2011, 10:04 AM   #110
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January 21
Unity and uniformity


“Unity is a must in Narcotics Anonymous.”
Basic Text, p. 63
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Unity is not uniformity. Unity springs from the fact that we have unity of purpose—to recover, and to help others stay clean. Even so, we often find that while we strive to fulfill the same purpose, our means and methods may be radically different.
We can’t impose our ideas of unity on others or confuse unity with uniformity. In fact, a big attraction of the NA program is the absence of uniformity. Unity springs from our common purpose, not from standards imposed on the group by a few well-meaning members. A group that has the unity which springs from the loving hearts of its members allows each addict to carry the message in his or her own unique way.
In our dealings with each other in NA, we sometimes disagree rather vocally. We must remember that the details of how we get things done isn’t always important, so long as we keep our focus on the group’s primary purpose. We can watch members who vehemently disagree over trivial things pull together when a newcomer reaches out for help. Someone was there for us when we got to the rooms of NA. Now it is our turn to be there for others. We need unity to help show the newcomer that this way of life works.
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Just for today: I will strive to be a part of unity. I know that unity does not equal uniformity.
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Unread 01-24-2011, 01:11 PM   #111
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January 22
The school of recovery


“This is a program for learning.”
Basic Text, p. 16
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Learning in recovery is hard work. The things we most need to know are often the hardest to learn. We study recovery to prepare ourselves for the experiences life will give us. As we listen to others share in meetings, we take mental notes we can refer to later. To be prepared, we study our notes and literature between “lessons.” Just as students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge during tests, so do we have the opportunity to apply our recovery during times of crisis.
As always, we have a choice in how we will approach life’s challenges. We can dread and avoid them as threats to our serenity, or we can gratefully accept them as opportunities for growth. By confirming the principles we’ve learned in recovery, life’s challenges give us increased strength. Without such challenges, however, we could forget what we’ve learned and begin to stagnate. These are the opportunities that prod us to new spiritual awakenings.
We will find that there is often a period of rest after each crisis, giving us time to get accustomed to our new skills. Once we’ve reflected on our experience, we are called on to share our knowledge with someone who is studying what we’ve just learned. In the school of recovery, all of us are teachers as well as students.
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Just for today: I will be a student of recovery. I will welcome challenges, confident in what I’ve learned and eager to share it with others.
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Unread 01-24-2011, 01:13 PM   #112
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Default January 23

January 23
Serenity check


“Lack of daily maintenance can show up in many ways.”
Basic Text, p. 95
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Ever had a perfect stranger remark about how great the weather was, only to reply “It stinks”? When this happens, we are probably suffering from a lack of daily maintenance in our program.
In recovery, life can get pretty hectic. Maybe those added responsibilities at work have got you hopping. Maybe you haven’t been to a meeting for awhile. Perhaps you’ve been too busy to meditate, or haven’t been eating regularly or sleeping well. Whatever the reason, your serenity is slipping.
When this happens, it is crucial that we take action. We can’t afford to let one “bad day,” complete with a bad attitude, slip into two days, four days, or a week. Our recovery depends on our daily maintenance program. No matter what is happening in our lives, we can’t afford to neglect the principles that have saved our lives.
There are many ways to recover our serenity. We can go to a meeting, phone our sponsor, meet another recovering addict for lunch, or try to carry the message to a newcomer. We can pray. We can take a moment to ask ourselves what simple things we haven’t been doing. When our attitudes head downhill, we can avert a crash with simple solutions.
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Just for today: I will examine the maintenance of my daily program of recovery.
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Unread 01-24-2011, 01:14 PM   #113
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Default January 24

January 24

From isolation to connection


“Our disease isolated us... Hostile, resentful, self-centered, and self-seeking, we cut ourselves off from the outside world.”


Basic Text, p. 4


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Addiction is an isolating disease, closing us off from society, family, and self. We hid. We lied. We scorned the lives we saw others living, surely beyond our grasp. Worst of all, we told ourselves there was nothing wrong with us, even though we knew we were desperately ill. Our connection with the world, and with reality itself, was severed. Our lives lost meaning, and we withdrew further and further from reality.
The NA program is designed especially for people like us. It helps reconnect us to the life we were meant to live, drawing us out of our isolation. We stop lying to ourselves about our condition; we admit our powerlessness and the unmanageability of our lives. We develop faith that our lives can improve, that recovery is possible, and that happiness is not permanently beyond our grasp. We get honest; we stop hiding; we “show up and tell the truth,” no matter what. And as we do, we establish the ties that connect our individual lives to the larger life around us.
We addicts need not live lives of isolation. The Twelve Steps can restore our connection to life and living—if we work them.

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Just for today: I am a part of the life around me. I will practice my program to strengthen my connection to my world.
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Unread 01-25-2011, 09:00 AM   #114
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Default January 25

January 25
An added gift


“We see it happening among us every day. This miraculous turnabout is evidence of a spiritual awakening.”
Basic Text, p. 51
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We watch them walk in to their first meeting defeated, their spirits broken. Their suffering is obvious, and their desire for help even more apparent. They collect a welcome chip and go back to their seats, shaken by the effort.
We see them again, and they seem a little more comfortable. They’ve found a sponsor and are attending meetings every night. They still won’t meet our glance, but they nod their heads in recognition as we share. We notice a spark of hope in their eyes, and they smile uncertainly when we encourage them to keep coming back.
A few months later, they are standing straight. They’ve learned how to make eye contact. They’re working the steps with their sponsor and are healing as a result. We listen to them sharing at meetings. We stack chairs with them afterward.
A few years later, they are speaking at a convention workshop. They’ve got a wonderful, humorous personality. They smile when they see us, they hug us, and they tell us they could never have done it without us. And they understand when we say, “nor could we, without you.”
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Just for today: I will find joy in witnessing the recovery of another.
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Unread 01-25-2011, 09:01 AM   #115
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Love this one!
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Unread 01-26-2011, 07:19 AM   #116
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Default January 26

January 26
Self-centeredness


“The spiritual part of our disease is our total self-centeredness.”
Basic Text, p. 20
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What is self-centeredness? It is our belief that the world revolves around us. Our wishes, our demands are the only ones worth consideration. Our self-centered minds believe they are capable of getting everything they want if only they would be left to their own devices. Self-centeredness assumes total self-sufficiency.
We say that self-centeredness is the spiritual part of our disease because the self-centered mind cannot conceive of anything greater or more important than itself. But there is a spiritual solution to our spiritual malady: the Twelve Steps of Narcotics Anonymous. The steps lead us away from self-centeredness and toward God-centeredness.
We strip away our delusion of self-sufficiency by admitting our own powerlessness and seeking the aid of a Power greater than ourselves. We acknowledge the bankruptcy of our self-righteousness by admitting we’ve been wrong, making amends, and seeking knowledge of what’s right from the God our understanding. And we deflate our overwhelming sense of self-importance by seeking to serve others, not only ourselves.
The self-centeredness afflicting our spirit can be treated with a spiritual solution: the Twelve Steps.
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Just for today: My guidance and my strength comes from a Higher Power, not from my own self. I will practice the Twelve Steps to become more God-centered and less self-centered.
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Unread 01-27-2011, 07:31 AM   #117
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Default January 27

January 27
Learning how to live again


“We learn new ways to live. We are no longer limited to our old ideas.”
Basic Text, p. 56
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We may or may not have been taught right from wrong and other basics of life as children. No matter, by the time we found recovery, most of us had only the vaguest idea of how to live. Our isolation from the rest of society had caused us to ignore basic human responsibilities and develop bizarre survival skills to cope with the world we lived in.
Some of us didn’t know how to tell the truth; others were so frank we wounded everyone we talked to. Some of us couldn’t cope with the simplest of personal problems, while others attempted solving the problems of the whole world. Some of us never got angry, even when receiving unfair treatment; others busily lodged complaints against everyone and everything.
Whatever our problems, no matter how extreme, we all have a chance in Narcotics Anonymous to learn how to live anew. Perhaps we need to learn kindness and how to care about others. Perhaps we need to accept personal responsibilities. Or maybe we need to overcome fear and take some risks. We can be certain of one thing: Each day, simply by living life, we’ll learn something new.
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Just for today: I know more about how to live than I did yesterday, but not as much as I’ll know tomorrow. Today, I’ll learn something new.
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Unread 01-28-2011, 09:52 AM   #118
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Default January 28

January 28
An every-day addict


“We can never fully recover, no matter how long we stay clean.”
Basic Text, p. 84
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After getting a little time in the program, some of us begin to think we have been cured. We’ve learned everything NA has to teach us; we’ve grown bored with the meetings; and our sponsor keeps droning the same old refrain: “The steps—the steps—the steps!” We decide it is time to get on with our lives, cut way back on meetings, and try to make up for the years we have lost to active addiction. We do this, however, at the peril of our recovery.
Those of us who have relapsed after such an episode often try to go to as many meetings as we can—some of us go to a meeting every day for several years. It may take that long for us to understand that we will always be addicts. We may feel well some days and sick on other days, but we are addicts every day. At any time, we are subject to delusion, denial, rationalization, justification, insanity—all the hallmarks of the typical addict’s way of thinking. If we want to continue living and enjoying life without the use of drugs, we must practice an active program of recovery each day.
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Just for today: I am an addict every day, but today I have the choice to be a recovering addict. I will make that choice by practicing my program.
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Unread 01-31-2011, 07:24 AM   #119
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Default January 29th

January 29
The First Step—an action step


“Do we understand that we have no real control over drugs?”
Basic Text, p. 18
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At first, many of us may have thought the First Step required no action—we just surrender and go on to Step Two. But Step One does require action!
The action we take in the First Step will be evident in the way we live, even from our first day clean. If we truly believe that we are powerless over our addiction, we will not choose to be around drugs. To continue to live with or associate with practicing addicts may indicate a reservation in our program. An absolute belief that the First Step applies to us will insure that we clear our homes of all drugs and paraphernalia.
As time goes on, we’ll not only continue with the basics but add new actions to our First Step repertoire. We’ll learn to feel our feelings rather than trying to control them. We’ll stop trying to be our own and only guides on our recovery journey; self-sponsorship will cease. We’ll begin looking to a Power greater than ourselves more and more for spiritual satisfaction rather than trying to fill that void with something else.
Surrender is only the beginning. Once we surrender, we need to learn how to live in the peace we have found.
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Just for today: I will take all the action necessary to practice the First Step. I truly believe it applies to me.
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Unread 01-31-2011, 07:28 AM   #120
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January 30 - giving it away

"We must give freely and gratefully that which has been freely and gratefully given to us."

Basic Text, p. 49
In recovery, we receive many gifts. Perhaps one of the greatest of these gifts is the spiritual awakening that begins when we stop using, growing stronger each day we apply the steps in our lives. The new spark of life within is a direct result of our new relationship with a Higher Power, a relationship initiated and developed by living the Twelve Steps. Slowly, as we pursue our program, the radiance of recovery dispels the darkness of our disease.

One of the ways we express our gratitude for the gifts of recovery is to help others find what we've found. We can do this in any number of ways: by sharing in meetings, making Twelfth Step calls, accepting a commitment to sponsorship, or volunteering for H&I or phoneline duty. The spiritual life given to us in recovery asks for expression, for "we can only keep what we have by giving it away."

Just for Today: The gift of recovery grows when I share it. I will find someone with whom to share it.

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Unread 01-31-2011, 07:29 AM   #121
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Default January 31

January 31
Trust


“Just for today I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.”
Basic Text, p. 93
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Learning to trust is a risky proposition. Our past experience as using addicts has taught us that our companions could not be trusted. Most of all, we couldn’t trust ourselves.
Now that we’re in recovery, trust is essential. We need something to hang onto, believe in, and give us hope in our recovery. For some of us, the first thing we can trust is the words of other members sharing in meetings; we feel the truth in their words.
Finding someone we can trust makes it easier to ask for help. And as we grow to trust in their recovery, we learn to trust our own.
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Just for today: I will decide to trust someone. I will act on that trust.
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Unread 02-01-2011, 09:36 AM   #122
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February 1
Hardships


“We felt different.... Only after surrender are we able to overcome the alienation of addiction.”
Basic Text, p. 22
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“But you don’t understand!” we spluttered, trying to cover up. “I’m different! I’ve really got it rough!” We used these lines over and over in our active addiction, either trying to escape the consequences of our actions or avoid following the rules that applied to everyone else. We may have cried them at our first meeting. Perhaps we’ve even caught ourselves whining them recently.
So many of us feel different or unique. As addicts, we can use almost anything to alienate ourselves. But there’s no excuse for missing out on recovery, nothing that can make us ineligible for the program—not a life-threatening illness, not poverty, not anything. There are thousands of addicts who have found recovery despite the real hardships they’ve faced. Through working the program, their spiritual awareness has grown, in spite of—or perhaps in response to—those hardships.
Our individual circumstances and differences are irrelevant when it comes to recovery. By letting go of our uniqueness and surrendering to this simple way of life, we’re bound to find that we feel a part of something. And feeling a part of something gives us the strength to walk through life, hardships and all.
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Just for today: I will let go of my uniqueness and embrace the principles of recovery I have in common with so many others. My hardships do not exclude me from recovery; rather, they draw me into it.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 08:53 AM   #123
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Default February 2

February 2
Goodwill


“Goodwill is best exemplified in service; proper service is ‘Doing the right thing for the right reason.’”
Basic Text, p. xv
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The spiritual core of our disease is self-centeredness. In dealing with others, the only motive our addiction taught us was selfishness—we wanted what we wanted when we wanted it. Obsession with self was rooted in the very ground of our lives. In recovery, how do we root self-obsession out?
We reverse the effects of our disease by applying a few very simple spiritual principles. To counteract the self-centeredness of our addiction, we learn to apply the principle of goodwill. Rather than seeking to serve only ourselves, we begin serving others. Rather than thinking only about what we can get out of a situation, we learn to think first of the welfare of others. When faced with a moral choice, we learn to stop, recall spiritual principles, and act appropriately.
As we begin “doing the right thing for the right reason,” we can detect a change in ourselves. Where once we were ruled by self-will, now we are guided by our goodwill for others. The chronic self-centeredness of addiction is losing its hold on us. We are learning to “practice these principles in all our affairs”; we are living in our recovery, not in our disease.
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Just for today: Wherever I am, whatever I do, I will seek to serve others, not just myself. When faced with a dilemma, I will try to do the right thing for the right reason.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 07:23 AM   #124
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Default February 3

February 3
We need each other


“Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion, or lack of religion.”
Basic Text, p. 9
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Addiction closed our minds to anything new or different. We didn’t need anyone or anything, we thought. There was nothing of value to be found in anyone from a different neighborhood, a different racial or ethnic background, or a different social or economic class. We may have thought that if it was different, it was bad.
In recovery, we can’t afford such attitudes. We came to NA because our very best thinking had gotten us nowhere. We must open our minds to experience that works, no matter where it comes from, if we hope to grow in our recovery.
Regardless of our personal backgrounds, we all have two things in common with one another in NA that we share with no one else: our disease, and our recovery. We depend on one another for our shared experience—and the broader that experience, the better. We need every bit of experience, every different angle on our program we can find to meet the many challenges of living clean.
Recovery often isn’t easy. The strength we need to recover, we draw from our fellow NA members. Today, we are grateful for the diversity of our group’s membership, for in that diversity we find our strength.
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Just for today: I know that the more diverse my group’s experience is, the better able my group will be to offer me support in the different circumstances I find myself facing. Today, I welcome addicts from all backgrounds to my home group.
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Unread 02-04-2011, 08:22 AM   #125
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February 4
Feeling good isn’t the point


“For us, recovery is more than just pleasure.”
Basic Text, p. 43
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In our active addiction, most of us knew exactly how we were going to feel from one day to the next. All we had to do was read the label on the bottle or know what was in the bag. We planned our feelings, and our goal for each day was to feel good.
In recovery, we’re liable to feel anything from one day to the next, even from one minute to the next. We may feel energetic and happy in the morning, then strangely let down and sad in the afternoon. Because we no longer plan our feelings for the day each morning, we could end up having feelings that are somewhat inconvenient, like feeling tired in the morning and wide-awake at bedtime.
Of course, there’s always the possibility we could feel good, but that isn’t the point. Today, our main concern is not feeling good but learning to understand and deal with our feelings, no matter what they are. We do this by working the steps and sharing our feelings with others.
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Just for today: I will accept my feelings, whatever they may be, just as they are. I will practice the program and learn to live with my feelings.
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Unread 02-07-2011, 08:54 AM   #126
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Default February 5

February 5
Keep coming back!


“We are grateful that we were made so welcome at meetings that we felt comfortable.”
Basic Text, p. 83
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Remember how scared we were when we walked into our first NA meeting? Even if we walked in with a friend, most of us recall how difficult it was to attend that first meeting. What was it that kept us coming back? Most of us have grateful memories of the welcome we were given and how comfortable that made us feel. When we raised our hand as a newcomer, we opened the door for other members to approach us and welcome us.
Sometimes the difference between those addicts who walk back out the door of their first meeting, never to return to NA, and the addicts who stay to seek recovery is the simple hug of an NA member. When we have been clean awhile, it’s easy to step back from the procession of newcomers—after all, we’ve seen so many people come and go. But members with some clean time can make the difference between the addict who doesn’t return and the addict who keeps coming back. By offering our phone numbers, a hug, or just a warm welcome, we extend the hand of Narcotics Anonymous to the addict who still suffers.
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Just for today: I remember the welcome I was given when I first came to NA. Today, I will express my gratitude by offering a hug to a newcomer.
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Unread 02-07-2011, 09:03 AM   #127
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Default February 6

February 6
I can’t—we can


“We had convinced ourselves that we could make it alone and proceeded to live life on that basis. The results were disastrous and, in the end, each of us had to admit that self-sufficiency was a lie.”
Basic Text, p. 62
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“I can’t, but we can.” This simple but profound truth applies initially to our first need as NA members: Together, we can stay clean, but when we isolate ourselves, we’re in bad company. To recover, we need the support of other addicts.
Self-sufficiency impedes more than just our ability to stay clean. With or without drugs, living on self-will inevitably leads to disaster. We depend on other people for everything from goods and services to love and companionship, yet self-will puts us in constant conflict with those very people. To live a fulfilling life, we need harmony with others.
Other addicts and others in our communities are not the only ones we depend on. Power is not a human attribute, yet we need power to live. We find it in a Power greater than ourselves which provides the guidance and strength we lack on our own. When we pretend to be self-sufficient, we isolate ourselves from the one source of power sufficient to effectively guide us through life: our Higher Power.
Self-sufficiency doesn’t work. We need other addicts; we need other people; and, to live fully, we need a Power greater than our own.
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Just for today: I will seek the support of other recovering addicts; harmony with others in my community; and the care of my Higher Power. I can’t, but we can.
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Unread 02-07-2011, 09:05 AM   #128
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February 7
This is not a test


“...we have found a loving, personal God to whom we can turn.”
Basic Text, p. 27
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Some of us come into recovery with the impression that life’s hardships are a series of cosmic tests designed to teach us something. This belief is readily apparent when something traumatic happens and we wail, “My Higher Power is testing me!” We’re convinced that it’s a test of our recovery when someone offers us drugs, or a test of our character when faced with a situation where we could do something unprincipled without getting caught. We may even think it’s a test of our faith when we’re in great pain over a tragedy in our lives.
But a loving Higher Power doesn’t test our recovery, our character, or our faith. Life just happens, and sometimes it hurts. Many of us have lost love through no fault of our own. Some of us have lost all of our material wealth. A few of us have even grieved the loss of our own children. Life can be terribly painful at times, but the pain is not inflicted on us by our Higher Power. Rather, that Power is constantly by our sides, ready to carry us if we can’t walk by ourselves. There is no harm that life can do us that the God of our understanding can’t heal.
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Just for today: I will have faith that my Higher Power’s will for me is good, and that I am loved. I will seek my Higher Power’s help in times of need.
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Unread 02-08-2011, 11:00 AM   #129
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Default February 8

February 8
What is a sponsor?


“…an NA sponsor is a member of Narcotics Anonymous, living our program of recovery, who is willing to build a special,
supportive, one-on-one relationship with us.”
IP No. 11, Sponsorship, Revised
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What is a sponsor? You know: That nice person with whom you had coffee after your first meeting. That generous soul who keeps sharing recovery experience free of charge. The one who keeps amazing you with stunning insight regarding your character defects. The one who keeps reminding you to finish your Fourth Step, who listens to your Fifth Step, and who doesn’t tell anyone how weird you are.
It’s pretty easy to start taking all this stuff for granted once we’re used to someone being there for us. We may run wild for a while and tell ourselves, “I’ll call my sponsor later, but right now I have to clean the house, go shopping, chase that attractive...” And so we end up in trouble, wondering where we went wrong.
Our sponsor can’t read minds. It’s up to us to reach out and ask for help. Whether we need help with our steps, a reality check to help us straighten out our screwy thinking, or just a friend, it’s our job to make the request. Sponsors are warm, wise, wonderful people, and their experience with recovery is ours—all we have to do is ask.
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Just for today: I’m grateful for the time, the love, and the experience my sponsor has shared with me. Today, I will call my sponsor.
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Unread 02-10-2011, 07:30 AM   #130
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February 9
Self-acceptance


“When we accept ourselves, we can accept others into our lives, unconditionally, probably for the first time.”
IP No. 19, Self-Acceptance
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From our earliest memories, many of us felt like we never belonged. No matter how big the gathering, we always felt apart from the crowd. We had a hard time “fitting in.” Deep down, we believed that if we really let others get to know us, they would reject us. Perhaps our addiction began to germinate in this climate of self-centeredness.
Many of us hid the pain of our alienation with an attitude of defiance. In effect, we told the world, “You don’t need me? Well, I don’t need any of you, either. I’ve got my drugs and I can take care of myself!” The further our addiction progressed, the higher the walls we built around ourselves.
Those walls begin to fall when we start finding acceptance from other recovering addicts. With this acceptance from others, we begin to learn the important principle of self-acceptance. And when we start to accept ourselves, we can allow others to take part in our lives without fear of rejection.
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Just for today: I am accepted in NA; I fit in. Today, it’s safe to start letting others into my life.
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Unread 02-10-2011, 07:31 AM   #131
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February 10
Fun!


“In recovery, our ideas of fun change.”
Basic Text, p. 107
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In retrospect, many of us realize that when we used, our ideas of fun were rather bizarre. Some of us would get dressed up and head for the local club. We would dance, drink, and do drugs until the sun rose. On more than one occasion, gun battles broke out. What we then called fun, we now call insanity.
Today, our notion of fun has changed. Fun to us today is a walk along the ocean, watching the dolphins frolic as the sun sets behind them. Fun is going to an NA picnic, or attending the comedy show at an NA convention. Fun is getting dressed up to go to the banquet and not worrying about any gun battles breaking out over who did what to whom.
Through the grace of a Higher Power and the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous, our ideas of fun have changed radically. Today when we are up to see the sun rise, it’s usually because we went to bed early the night before, not because we left a club at six in the morning, eyes bleary from a night of drug use. And if that’s all we have received from Narcotics Anonymous, that would be enough.
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Just for today: I will have fun in my recovery!
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Unread 02-11-2011, 07:18 AM   #132
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February 11
A curse into a blessing


“We have become very grateful in the course of our recovery.... We have a disease, but we do recover.”
Basic Text, p. 8
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Active addiction was no picnic; many of us barely came out of it alive. But ranting against the disease, lamenting what it has done to us, pitying ourselves for the condition it has left us in—these things can only keep us locked in the spirit of bitterness and resentment. The path to freedom and spiritual growth begins where bitterness ends, with acceptance.
There is no denying the suffering brought by addiction. Yet it was this disease that brought us to Narcotics Anonymous; without it, we would neither have sought nor found the blessing of recovery. In isolating us, it forced us to seek fellowship. In causing us to suffer, it gave us the experience needed to help others, help no one else was so uniquely suited to offer. In forcing us to our knees, addiction gave us the opportunity to surrender to the care of a loving Higher Power.
We would not wish the disease of addiction on anyone. But the fact remains that we addicts already have this disease—and further, that without this disease we may never have embarked on our spiritual journey. Thousands of people search their whole lives for what we have found in Narcotics Anonymous: fellowship, a sense of purpose, and conscious contact with a Higher Power. Today, we are grateful for everything that has brought us this blessing.
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Just for today: I will accept the fact of my disease, and pursue the blessing of my recovery.
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Unread 02-11-2011, 07:19 AM   #133
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Amen!!
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Unread 02-14-2011, 08:54 AM   #134
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Default February 12

February 12
Living in the moment


“We regretted the past, dreaded the future, and weren’t too thrilled about the present.”
Basic Text, p. 7
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Until we experience the healing that happens when we work the Twelve Steps, it is doubtful that we can find a statement more true than the quote above. Most of us come to NA hanging our heads in shame, thinking about the past and wishing we could go back and change it. Our fantasies and expectations about the future may be so extreme that, on our first date with someone, we find ourselves wondering which lawyer we’ll use for the divorce. Almost every experience causes us to remember something from the past or begin projecting into the future.
At first, it’s difficult to stay in the moment. It seems as though our minds won’t stop. We have a hard time just enjoying ourselves. Each time we realize that our thoughts are not focused on what’s happening right now, we can pray and ask a loving God to help us get out of ourselves. If we regret the past, we make amends by living differently today; if we dread the future, we work on living responsibly today.
When we work the steps and pray each time we discover we’re not living in the present, we’ll notice that those times aren’t occurring as often as they used to. Our faith will help us live just for today. We’ll have hours, even days, when our full attention is focused on the current moment in time, not the regrettable past or fearful future.
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Just for today: When I live fully in each moment, I open myself to joys that might otherwise escape me. If I am having trouble, I will ask a loving God for help.
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Unread 02-14-2011, 08:55 AM   #135
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Default February 13

February 13

The ties that bind

“As long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would tear us apart, all will be well.”

Basic Text, p. 60

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Many of us feel that without NA we would surely have died from our disease. Hence, its existence is our very lifeline. However, disunity is an occasional fact of life in Narcotics Anonymous; we must learn to respond in a constructive way to the destructive influences that sometimes arise in our fellowship. If we decide to be part of the solution instead of the problem, we are headed in the right direction.
Our personal recovery and the growth of NA is contingent upon maintaining an atmosphere of recovery in our meetings. Are we willing to help our group deal constructively with conflict? As group members, do we strive to work out difficulties openly, honestly, and fairly? Do we seek to promote the common welfare of all our members rather than our own agenda? And, as trusted servants, do we take into consideration the effect our actions might have on newcomers?
Service can bring out both the best and the worst in us. But it is often through service that we begin to get in touch with some of our more pressing defects of character. Do we shrink from service commitments rather than face what we might find out about ourselves? If we bear in mind the strength of the ties that bind us together—our recovery from active addiction—all will be well.

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Just for today: I will strive to be of service to our fellowship. I will be unafraid to discover who I am.
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Unread 02-14-2011, 08:56 AM   #136
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February 14
Honesty and spirituality


“The right to a God of your understanding is total and without any catches. Because we have this right, it is necessary to be honest about our belief if we are to grow spiritually.”
Basic Text, pp. 25-26
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In meetings, over refreshments, in talks with our sponsor, we hear our NA friends talking about the way they understand their Higher Power. It would be easy to “go with the flow,” adopting someone else’s beliefs. But just as no one else can recover for us, so no one else’s spirituality can substitute for our own. We must honestly search for an understanding of God that truly works for us.
Many of us begin that search with prayer and meditation, and continue with our experiences in recovery. Have there been instances where we have been given power beyond our own to face life’s challenges? When we have quietly sought direction in times of trouble, have we found it? What kind of Power do we believe has guided and strengthened us? What kind of Power do we seek? With the answers to these questions, we will understand our Higher Power well enough to feel safe and confident about asking it to care for our will and lives.
A borrowed understanding of God may do on a short haul. But in the long run, we must come to our own understanding of a Higher Power, for it is that Power which will carry us through our recovery.
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Just for today: I seek a Power greater than myself that can help me grow spiritually. Today, I will examine my beliefs honestly and come to my own understanding of God.
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Unread 02-15-2011, 09:09 AM   #137
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February 15
An awakening of the spirit


“The last thing we expected was an awakening of the spirit.”
Basic Text, p. 49
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Few of us came to our first Narcotics Anonymous meeting aching to take a personal inventory or believing that a spiritual void existed in our souls. We had no inkling that we were about to embark on a journey which would awaken our sleeping spirits.
Like a loud alarm clock, the First Step brings us to semi-consciousness—although at this point, we may not be sure whether we want to climb out of bed or maybe sleep for just five more minutes. The gentle hand shaking our shoulders as we apply the Second and Third Steps causes us to stand up, stretch, and yawn. We need to wipe the sleep from our eyes to write the Fourth Step and share our Fifth. But as we work the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Steps, we begin noticing a spring in our step and the start of a smile on our lips. Our spirits sing in the shower as we take the Tenth and Eleventh Steps. And then we practice the Twelfth, leaving the house in search of others to awaken.
We don’t have to spend the rest of our lives in a spiritual coma. We may not like to get up in the morning but, once out of bed, we’re almost always glad we did.
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Just for today: To awaken my sleepy spirit, I will use the Twelve Steps.
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Unread 02-16-2011, 08:56 AM   #138
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Default February 16

February 16
Faithful feelings


“When we refuse to accept the reality of today, we are denying faith in our Higher Power. This can only bring more suffering.”
IP No. 8, Just for Today
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Some days just aren’t the way we wish they would be. Our problems may be as simple as a broken shoelace or having to stand in line at the supermarket. Or we may experience something far more serious, such as the loss of a job, a home, or a loved one. Either way, we often end up looking for a way to avoid our feelings instead of simply acknowledging that those feelings are painful.
No one promises us that everything will go our way when we stop using. In fact, we can be sure that life will go on whether we’re using or not. We will face good days and bad days, comfortable feelings and painful feelings. But we don’t have to run from any of them any longer.
We can experience pain, grief, sadness, anger, frustration—all those feelings we once avoided with drugs. We find that we can get through those emotions clean. We won’t die and the world won’t come to an end just because we have uncomfortable feelings. We learn to trust that we can survive what each day brings.
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Just for today: I will demonstrate my trust in God by experiencing this day just as it is.
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Unread 02-18-2011, 07:18 AM   #139
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February 17
Carrying the message, not the addict


“They can be analyzed, counseled, reasoned with, prayed over, threatened, beaten, or locked up, but they will not stop until they want to stop.”
Basic Text, p. 65
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Perhaps one of the most difficult truths we must face in our recovery is that we are as powerless over another’s addiction as we are over our own. We may think that because we’ve had a spiritual awakening in our own lives we should be able to persuade another addict to find recovery. But there are limits to what we can do to help another addict.
We cannot force them to stop using. We cannot give them the results of the steps or grow for them. We cannot take away their loneliness or their pain. There is nothing we can say to convince a scared addict to surrender the familiar misery of addiction for the frightening uncertainty of recovery. We cannot jump inside other peoples’ skins, shift their goals, or decide for them what is best for them.
However, if we refuse to try to exert this power over another’s addiction, we may help them. They may grow if we allow them to face reality, painful though it may be. They may become more productive, by their own definition, as long as we don’t try and do it for them. They can become the authority on their own lives, provided we are only authorities on our own. If we can accept all this, we can become what we were meant to be—carriers of the message, not the addict.
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Just for today: I will accept that I am powerless not only over my own addiction but also over everyone else’s. I will carry the message, not the addict.
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Unread 02-18-2011, 07:24 AM   #140
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February 18
The recovery partnership


“As long as I take it easy and make a commitment with my Higher Power to do the best I can, I know I will be taken care of today.”
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Many of us feel that our fundamental commitment in recovery is to our Higher Power. Knowing that we lack the power to stay clean and find recovery on our own, we enter into a partnership with a Power greater than we are. We make a commitment to live in the care of our Higher Power and, in return, our Higher Power guides us.
This partnership is vital to staying clean. Making it through the early days of recovery often feels like the hardest thing we’ve ever done. But the strength of our commitment to recovery and the power of God’s care is sufficient to carry us through, just for today.
Our part in this partnership is to do the very best we can each day, showing up for life and doing what’s put in front of us, applying the principles of recovery to the best of our ability. We promise to do the best we can—not to fake it, not to pretend to be superhuman, but simply to do the footwork of recovery. In fulfilling our part of the recovery partnership, we experience the care our Higher Power has provided us.
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Just for today: I will honor my commitment to a partnership with my Higher Power.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 07:22 AM   #141
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February 19
Reservations


“Relapse is never an accident. Relapse is a sign that we have a reservation in our program.”
Basic Text, p. 79
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A reservation is something we set aside for future use. In our case, a reservation is the expectation that, if such-and-such happens, we will surely relapse. What event do we expect will be too painful to bear? Maybe we think that if a spouse or lover leaves us, we will have to get high. If we lose our job, surely, we think, we will use. Or maybe it’s the death of a loved one that we expect to be unbearable. In any case, the reservations we harbor give us permission to use when they come true—as they often do.
We can prepare ourselves for success instead of relapse by examining our expectations and altering them where we can. Most of us carry within us a catalog of anticipated misery closely related to our fears. We can learn how to survive pain by watching other members live through similar pain. We can apply their lessons to our own expectations. Instead of telling ourselves we will have to get high if this happens, we can quietly reassure ourselves that we, too, can stay clean through whatever life brings us today.
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Just for today: I will check for any reservations that may endanger my recovery and share them with another addict.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 07:23 AM   #142
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Default February 20

February 20

Powerlessness and personal responsibility




“Through our inability to accept personal responsibilities, we were actually creating our own problems.”


Basic Text, p. 13


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When we refuse to take responsibility for our lives, we give away all of our personal power. We need to remember that we are powerless over our addiction, not our personal behavior.
Many of us have misused the concept of powerlessness to avoid making decisions or to hold onto things we had outgrown. We have claimed powerlessness over our own actions. We have blamed others for our circumstances rather than taking positive action to change those circumstances. If we continue to avoid responsibility by claiming that we are “powerless,” we set ourselves up for the same despair and misery we experienced in our active addiction. The potential for spending our recovery years feeling like victims is very real.
Instead of living our lives by default, we can learn how to make responsible choices and take risks. We may make mistakes, but we can learn from these mistakes. A heightened awareness of ourselves and an increased willingness to accept personal responsibility gives us the freedom to change, to make choices, and to grow.

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Just for today: My feelings, actions, and choices are mine. I will accept responsibility for them.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 07:25 AM   #143
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February 21
Self-pity or recovery—it’s our choice


“Self-pity is one of the most destructive of defects; it will drain us of all positive energy.”
Basic Text, p. 80
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In active addiction, many of us used self-pity as a survival mechanism. We didn’t believe there was an alternative to living in our disease—or perhaps we didn’t want to believe. As long as we could feel sorry for ourselves and blame someone else for our troubles, we didn’t have to accept the consequences of our actions; believing ourselves powerless to change, we didn’t have to accept the need for change. Using this “survival mechanism” kept us from entering recovery and led us closer, day by day, to self-destruction. Self-pity is a tool of our disease; we need to stop using it and learn instead to use the new tools we find in the NA program.
We have come to believe that effective help is available for us; when we seek that help, finding it in the NA program, self-pity is displaced by gratitude. Many tools are at our disposal: the Twelve Steps, the support of our sponsor, the fellowship of other recovering addicts, and the care of our Higher Power. The availability of all these tools is more than enough reason to be grateful. We no longer live in isolation, without hope; we have certain help at hand for anything we may face. The surest way to become grateful is to take advantage of the help available to us in the NA program and to experience the improvement the program will bring in our lives.
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Just for today: I will be grateful for the hope NA has given me. I will cultivate my recovery and stop cultivating self-pity.
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Unread 02-22-2011, 07:34 AM   #144
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February 22
God’s will, or mine?


“We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
Step Ten
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In Narcotics Anonymous, we’ve found that the more we live in harmony with our Higher Power’s will for us, the greater the harmony in our lives. We use the Tenth Step to help us maintain that harmony. On a daily basis, we take time to look at our behavior. Some of us measure each action with a very simple question: “God’s will, or mine?”
In many cases, we find that our actions have been in tune with our Higher Power’s will for us, and we in turn have been in tune with the world around us. In some cases, however, we will discover inconsistencies between our behavior and our values. We’ve been acting on our own will, not God’s, and the result has been dissonance in our lives.
When we discover such inconsistencies, we admit we’ve been wrong and take corrective action. With greater awareness of what we believe God’s will for us to be in such situations, we are less likely to repeat those actions. And we are more likely to live in greater concord with our Higher Power’s will for us and with the world around us.
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Just for today: I wish to live in harmony with my world. Today, I will examine my actions, asking, “God’s will, or mine?”
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Unread 02-23-2011, 08:55 AM   #145
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Default February 23

February 23
Messages and messengers


“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”
Tradition Twelve
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The Twelfth Tradition reminds us of the importance of putting “principles before personalities.” In recovery meetings, this might be paraphrased, “don’t shoot the messenger.” We often get the message confused with the messenger, and negate what someone shares at a meeting because we have personality conflicts with the person speaking.
If we are having problems with what certain people have to share at meetings, we might want to seek the guidance of our sponsor. Our sponsor can help us concentrate on what’s being said rather than who’s saying it. Our sponsor can also help us address the resentments that may be keeping us from acknowledging the value of some particular person’s recovery experience. It is surprising how much more we can get out of meetings when we allow ourselves to do as our Twelfth Tradition suggests, focusing on recovery principles rather than personalities.
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Just for today: I will practice the principle of anonymity in today’s NA meeting. I will focus on the message of recovery, not the personality of the messenger.
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Unread 02-24-2011, 09:28 AM   #146
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February 24
A new influence


“Personality change was what we really needed. Change from self-destructive patterns of life became necessary.”
Basic Text, p. 15
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In early life, most of us were capable of joy and wonder, of giving and receiving unconditional love. When we started using, we introduced an influence into our lives that slowly drove us away from those things. The further we were pushed down the path of addiction, the further we withdrew from joy, wonder, and love.
That journey was not taken overnight. But however long it took, we arrived at the doors of NA with more than just a drug problem. The influence of addiction had warped our whole pattern of living beyond recognition.
The Twelve Steps work miracles, it’s true, but not many of them are worked overnight. Our disease slowly influenced our spiritual development for the worse. Recovery introduces a new influence to our lives, a source of fellowship and spiritual strength slowly impelling us into new, healthy patterns of living.
This change, of course, doesn’t “just happen.” But if we cooperate with the new influence NA has brought to our lives, over time we will experience the personality change we call recovery. The Twelve Steps provide us with a program for the kind of cooperation required to restore joy, wonder, and love to our lives.
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Just for today: I will cooperate with the new influence of fellowship and spiritual strength NA has introduced to my life. I will work the next step in my program.
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Unread 02-25-2011, 07:45 AM   #147
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February 25
Sick as our secrets


“It would be tragic to write [out an inventory only to] shove it in a drawer. These defects grow in the dark and die in the light of exposure.”
Basic Text, p. 32
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How many times have we heard it said that we are only as sick as our secrets? While many members choose not to use meetings to share the intimate details of their lives, it is important that we each discover what works best for us. What about those behaviors we have carried into our recovery that, if discovered, would cause us shame? How much are we comfortable disclosing, and to whom? If we are uncomfortable sharing some details of our lives in meetings, to whom do we turn?
We have found the answer to these questions in sponsorship. Although a relationship with a sponsor takes time to build, it is important that we come to trust our sponsor enough to be completely honest. Our defects only have power as long as they stay hidden. If we want to be free of those defects, we must uncover them. Secrets are only secrets until we share them with another human being.
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Just for today: I will uncover my secrets. I will practice being honest with my sponsor.
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Unread 02-28-2011, 07:59 AM   #148
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February 26
Remorse


“The Eighth Step offers a big change from a life dominated by guilt and remorse.”
Basic Text, p. 39
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Remorse was one of the feelings that kept us using. We had stumbled our way through active addiction, leaving a trail of heartbreak and devastation too painful to consider. Our remorse was often intensified by our perception that we couldn’t do anything about the damage we had caused; there was no way to make it right.
We remove some of the power of remorse when we face it squarely. We begin the Eighth Step by actually making a list of all the people we have harmed. We own our part in our painful past.
But the Eighth Step does not ask us to make right all of our mistakes, merely to become willing to make amends to all those people. As we become willing to clean up the damage we’ve caused, we acknowledge our readiness to change. We affirm the healing process of recovery.
Remorse is no longer an instrument we use to torture ourselves. Remorse has become a tool we can use to achieve self-forgiveness.
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Just for today: I will use any feelings of remorse I may have as a stepping-stone to healing through the Twelve Steps.
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Unread 02-28-2011, 08:00 AM   #149
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February 27
“Pure” motives


“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
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Imagine a daily meditation book with this kind of message: “When you wake up in the morning, before you rise from your bed, take a moment for reflection. Lie back, gather your thoughts, and consider your plans for the day. One by one, review the motives behind those plans. If your motives are not entirely pure, roll over and go back to sleep.” Nonsense, isn’t it?
No matter how long we’ve been clean, almost all of us have mixed motives behind almost everything we do. However, that’s no reason to put our lives on hold. We don’t have to wait for our motives to become perfectly pure before we can start living our recovery.
As the program works its way into our lives, we begin acting less frequently on our more questionable motives. We regularly examine ourselves, and we talk with our sponsor about what we find. We pray for knowledge of our Higher Power’s will for us, and we seek the power to act on the knowledge we’re given. The result? We don’t get perfect, but we do get better.
We’ve begun working a spiritual program. We won’t ever become spiritual giants. But if we look at ourselves realistically, we’ll probably realize that we’ve been doing better than we’ve been feeling.
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Just for today: I will examine myself realistically. I will seek the power to act on my best motives, and not to act on my worst.
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Unread 02-28-2011, 08:04 AM   #150
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February 28
The greatest gift


“Our newly found faith serves as a firm foundation for courage in the future.”
Basic Text, p. 96
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When we begin coming to meetings, we hear other addicts talking about the gifts they have received as a result of this program, things we never thought of as gifts before. One such gift is the renewed ability to feel the emotions we had deadened for so long with drugs. It’s not difficult to think of love, joy, and happiness as gifts, even if it’s been a long time since we’ve felt them. But what about “bad” feelings like anger, sadness, fear, and loneliness? Such emotions can’t be seen as gifts, we tell ourselves. After all, how can we be thankful for things we want to run from?!
We can become grateful for these emotions in our lives if we place them in their proper perspective. We need to remember that we’ve come to believe in a loving Higher Power, and we’ve asked that Power to care for us—and our Higher Power doesn’t make mistakes. The feelings we’re given, “good” or “bad,” are given to us for a reason. With this in mind, we come to realize that there are no bad feelings, only lessons to be learned. Our faith and our Higher Power’s care give us the courage we need to face whatever feelings may come up on a daily basis.
As we heard early in recovery, “Your Higher Power won’t give you more than you can handle in just one day.” And the ability to feel our emotions is one of the greatest gifts of recovery.
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Just for today: I will try to welcome my feelings, firm in the belief that I have the courage to face whatever emotions may come up in my life.
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