Live In Faith September 23, 2014

“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.

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Live In Faith September 22, 2014

“Life takes on a new meaning when we open ourselves to this gift.” NA Basic Text p107

listenListening was never a strong point for me. I could tell you what you needed to do, but I wouldn’t listen when folks said I need some change in my life. Most of the time I just heard. Hearing means in one ear and out the other. As I grew in recovery through NA rooms, I began to use this free gift of listening.

Remember that part of the spiritual principles in NA is to have an open-mind. My mind was closed from the get-go because of this Higher Power talk. Once I knew it wasn’t about religion, I began to be open-minded and actually listen to what members were sharing. Listening to their recovery stories and what got them through. Listening to what they understand their Higher Power to be.

Listening led me to open up my mouth in meetings and ask questions. Listening helped me to develop a relationship with a Higher Power of my own understanding. Listening also led me to begin sharing openly in meetings about my disease and my struggles in recovery. In return, members were listening to me and offering assistance.

Like any other spiritual gift, we must be willing to give it away. An addict will only listen if another addict is talking from the heart. Once an addict listens, they become more involved in their own recovery. If it were not for listening, I know I wouldn’t be where I am in my recovery today.

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Filed under September 2014