“In accordance with the principles of recovery, we try not to judge, stereotype or moralize with each other.” NA Basic Text p11
The mentality that kept me away from meetings originally was due to shame. I didn’t want to be judged, either by how much I used or what I used. I felt like perhaps I wasn’t as bad as the other addicts and therefore did not meet the requirements to be in their program. Thank God the only requirement is a desire to stop using……period. I didn’t know that at the time.
My first meeting was a harrowing experience. I walked in not knowing anybody in the room. A gentleman asked me my name and wanted to know if I would like coffee. We got coffee and he introduced me to some of the members. Although I was still a bit nervous, I began to think I could stay in the meeting.
We all sat down and went through the business motions of the meeting. Well, it’s what I called the business motions, but I know now it is the pulse of each meeting. We had a moment of silence for the still suffering addicts and the Serenity Prayer. We did the Seventh Tradition which is collecting the contributions that help pay for the meeting space and supplies. Then we got into the heavy stuff.
Our Chairperson decided that the meeting would be from the Just For Today book. Ironically it was todays’ message. Then the cold sweats started because people were….sharing. I am not a public speaker, nor did I have any intention of opening my mouth. But I did listen intently to the stories of the old timers and the struggles of newbies. Everybody in the room shared except for one person. Me.
I don’t know exactly what I said or if it even made sense. However, for the first time in my life I felt like I belonged to a family. I just couldn’t shut my mouth. We are family. We all suffer from the same damn disease. There is no judgment here in the rooms of NA. First of all judging is not up to us in the first place. Secondly, how can anybody judge another when we are all in the same boat. The recovery boat.
If you have not been to a meeting due to fear of being stereotyped or judged, go to a meeting today. Everyone in that meeting is just like you and I. We are recovering addicts journeying together in this life.