NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only one requirement for membership, the desire to stop using. We suggest that you keep an open mind and give yourself a break. Our program is a set of principles written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives. The most important thing about them is that they work.
"Poor me; woe is me; look at me, my life is such a mess! I've fallen, and no matter how hard I try, I continue to fail." Many of us came to NA singing this sad refrain.
Life isn't like that anymore. True, sometimes we still stumble; at times we even fall. Sometimes we feel like we can't move forward in our lives, no matter how hard we try. But the truth of the matter is that, with the help of other recovering addicts in NA, we find a hand to pull us up, dust us off, and help us start all over again. That's the new refrain in our lives today.
No longer do we say, "I'm a failure and I'm going nowhere." Usually, it's more like, "Rats! I hit that same bump in the road of life again. Pretty soon I'll learn to slow down or avoid it entirely." Until then, we may continue to fall down occasionally, but we've learned that there's always a helping hand to set us on our feet again.
September 27, 2023
Vigilance and the Path of Recovery
|"We can get stuck in patterns so quickly. Vigilance is necessary to keep old patterns from resurfacing."|
|Living Clean, Chapter 2, "Connection to Ourselves"|
|We used to get utterly stuck, didn't we? We were caught up in impulsive patterns that seemed impossible to interrupt for any length of time. Our first real hope of breaking free from the grip of our disease came when we found NA. When we admitted our powerlessness over our addiction, the possibility of new, stable, productive patterns of behavior became a real possibility.|
It's a relief to be off the toxic path of our past, but staying on track with our recovery requires vigilance. It takes practice to break out of destructive patterns and develop new, healthier habits. The good news is that we can now see our disease coming and can usually head off old behaviors before we're in deep trouble. Still, times of intense struggle or humdrum complacency bring thoughts of instant relief to mind. Rather than risk going back to our old ways, we sometimes find new distractions disguised as recovery. "I quickly found new bad behaviors to give me that same rush, even ones that seemed helpful on the surface. One minute I'm taking on a service commitment, or maybe two, and the next I'm completely obsessed, ignoring my family and other responsibilities." The member continued, "Practicing vigilance is serious business. It reminds me that there's danger out there and in my head."
How do we stay vigilant? Sharing what's going on with us is crucial. We learn to be vulnerable and open to suggestions. No matter what Step we're officially on, we can do a spot-check inventory and talk about it with a friend or our sponsor. We can branch out in our approach to working a program: talk to more newcomers, end a commitment without re-upping on the same committee, or take on a new challenge. Or hit our lit—work the Traditions in Guiding Principles or reflect on these entries every day.
As with much of recovery, we don't practice vigilance alone. Often, it's NA members we're close to who notice—before we do—that we are veering off into the wilderness. It's a fellow member's keen, protective eye and each other's wisdom that help us keep what we have and give us courage to walk down a different path. We create new patterns. Again.
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|Vigilance keeps me on guard, on track, and free. I will examine my choices, open up to another addict, and be open to suggestions that can keep old patterns from becoming new problems.|
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