Wow, it has been awhile since I have highlighted some books from the Store! Judy is always finding more and more great reads for our patients, their families and our alumni. Here are few that caught my eye last week.
By: Shelly Marshall
By: Barbara Cole
You can also write your own gifts of sobriety book. It was recommended to me to keep a journal of all my “God stories”. As you know, we alcoholics have a short memory span. So, when I am feeling like nothing ever happens in life I can go back to this book and be reminded of all my personal gifts of sobriety. I love this idea, although, to be honest, I am not always that good about writing everything down. :(
What Is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?
“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. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away.”
My experience was that the only time that I was able to stop using was when I attended those darn meetings. After a few relapses and reading this chapter a few times—I must say I had passed over it with a minimum of concern—I finally became open-minded enough to want to know what it was that I was getting myself into. So, for the first time I began to read the Narcotics Anonymous text like it was talking about me. These few sentences helped me to get an idea of what NA was about and made me feel welcome. Being a newcomer at the time, I needed to feel important and I had to be told that this program worked. It took me a while to get the part about the principles, which today I personally find to be the most important part of my recovery.
I was listening to the Crazy Heart soundtrack the other day; it always reminds me of being in the throes of alcoholism. I thought about other movies that portray addiction and recovery and thought it might be neat to highlight here. In some of the movies, the characters get recovery and in others they don’t, kind of like real life.
Joe hands out a flyer with these websites to the patients, but if you guys are anything like me most of my La Hacienda pieces of paper ended up in a file cabinet. I thought this would be a great reminder of the resources on the web. I will post more in the coming weeks!
This is a letter that has been going around AA for a very long time; Ed recently reintroduced it to me. I have seen it before and always knew it was written anonymously, however, I did a little research online to see if I could find some more information on its origins. I only found one site that claims this speech was given by Judge John T. at the 4th Anniversary of the Chicago Group on October 5, 1943. Every other site said author unknown.
“God in his wisdom selected this group of men and women to be the purveyors of his goodness. He went not to the proud, the mighty, the famous, or the brilliant; he went to the humble, the sick, the unfortunate. He went straight to the drunkard, that so-called weakling in this world. Well might he have said to us:
‘Unto your weak and feeble hands I have entrusted a power beyond estimate. To you has been given that which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my priests or ministers have I given this gift of healing other alcoholics which I entrusted to you.
It must be used unselfishly for it carries with it grave responsibility; sometimes the difference between life and death. No day can be too long; no demands upon your time can be too urgent; no case too pitiful; no task too hard; no effort too great. It must be used with tolerance for I have restricted its application to no one race, no creed, and no denomination. Personal criticism you must expect; lack of appreciation will be common; ridicule will be your lot; your motives will be misjudged. You must be prepared for adversity for what men call adversity is the ladder you must use to ascend the rungs toward spiritual perfection. And, remember, in the exercise of this power I shall not exact of you beyond your capabilities.
You are not selected because of exceptional talents. Be careful always, if success attends your efforts, not to ascribe to personal superiority that to which you lay claim only by virtue of My gift. If I had wanted learned men to accomplish this mission, the power would have been entrusted to the physician and the scientist. If I had wanted eloquent men, there would have been many anxious for the assignment, for talk is the easiest used of all the talents with which I have endowed mankind. If I had wanted scholarly men, the world is filled with better qualified men than you, who would be available.
You have been selected because you have been the outcasts of the world and your long experience as drunkards has made or should make you humbly alert to the cries of distress that come from the lonely hearts of alcoholics everywhere.
Keep ever in mind the admission you made of your profession in A. A. – that you are powerless and that it was only with your willingness to turn your life and will unto My keeping that relief came to you.’”
CIRCA 1940 – Origin unknown
Certain things followed as we continued to use. We became accustomed to a state of mind that is common to addicts. We forgot how to work; we forgot how to play; we forgot about social graces. We acquired strange habits and mannerisms. We forgot how to feel. -Narcotics Anonymous book, pg. 6
We had to reach our bottom, before we were willing to stop. We were finally motivated to seek help in the latter stage of our addiction. Then it was easier for us to see the destruction, disaster and delusion of our using. It was harder to deny our addiction when problems were staring us in the face. - Narcotics Anonymous, pg.7
When I first began this journey called Recovery, I wandered into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous thinking that I just had a drug problem and if I could just get my drug use under control I would be all right. That misinformation was dismissed the first day that I stepped into treatment, however, I can’t say that my belief around that whole thing was changed. When I first read these paragraphs, and probably numerous times of reading them afterwards, I just didn’t get it.
At the age of 26, when I finally decided that I needed some help with my drug problem, I didn’t notice that I was unable to hold a job. I didn’t notice that not everyone’s morning began at noon after not sleeping at night. I didn’t notice that there were people that didn’t use while drinking to have fun or play. I also didn’t notice anyone or anything outside of the 10-block radius I called my hood. Feelings were a waste of my time and energy and had no place in my life.
Once I started working the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous and stopped using drugs, I was able to see that the drugs were just a symptom of my problem. My real problem was the disease of Addiction. By practicing the principles in the steps, I was able to experience a spiritual awakening. For me that is what happened when my spirit was awakened, I began to have more than just three emotions, I got better at expressing myself and became more Honest. I started to understand that Humility really only meant that I am human. I began to have fun and laugh again. Slowly I began to develop a work ethic and became Open-minded. As I look back at those early years in the beginning of my journey (Recovery), the literature planted the seed in those chapters before the steps. I needed to know what it was that I was dealing with before I began the spiritual transformation.