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Old 08-09-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Default Spiritually Clean

It is human nature to identify strongly with what we do, how we feel or the way we do things. Society-at-large reinforces the belief that these attributes when taken together make-up our personality. Nothing much is indicated about how we could change those parts that have a consistently negative function as well as those that have little or no use. We developed these ideas and attitudes in response to things that happened while we were using. Changing these things makes us feel like we have lost something and we even experience a brief period of disorientation. We forget that changing things that are hurting us is for the better. We change for our happiness and in the end; we suffer no actual loss at all! We should learn to pay attention to the feelings that tell us when something is wrong or hurting us. Our addiction may make us think that we are experiencing relief when we ignore our instincts but in reality, whatever is hurting us just goes on to do more damage. It is quite healthy, not defective, to experience pain when something is not right! It's a signal that our internal guidance systems are working and won't stop until we correct the situation. We addicts require extra help with admitting fault, gaining a belief system, and evaluating what's happening. Once these concepts become realities for us, we can begin to adjust to the accurate perceptions that we gain. We find that whether we are mad, glad or sad - we can see the sources for these feelings in reality.

We stay clean even when our diseased feelings tell us to die. We survive all of the emotions that go along with a personality change. We have felt such immense and dangerous pain that we can't even imagine our lives ever getting better. We have gained an advantage by differentiating ourselves from the way we are when we are using from when we are clean. After we get clean from drugs, we can now begin to get clean in other ways. We remove anything that holds us back unreasonably or that makes us feel dirty or unworthy. We have learned that it is okay to back out of a bad deal and that it doesn't make us a quitter. Because of our backgrounds, we don't realize that we're repeating past mistakes until the situation gets bad. We learn to recognize the actions and patterns that have brought us pain in the past. We may not believe it yet but it's perfectly all right to say, "Yo! Wait a minute. I gotta be somewhere else." We can then leave, walk, run, or go away. If our partners in the drama choose to go on without us, so be it. If they put us down or laugh at us later - so what, we stayed clean.

The concept of being clean is not restricted to 'not using'. Being clean is a state of mind. It is a conscious choice. It's about keeping our spirits clean as well as not doing drugs. When we have these two things in place, the rest comes. We can undertake being clean in order to explore our new lives fully. Cleansing our bodies, environments, habit patterns, and removing what is not a part of us allows us to see that what remains is often better than we expected. Being clean is making new again. Clean is removing the accumulated dirt that is a natural part of life. One difficulty we face is that a relapse can undermine our willingness to the point that the fear of going all the way to the bottom again can make staying clean seem to be difficult to impossible. We keep returning to the power that we found in our initial recovery and we get results. If we find it hard to turn to that power, we talk about it at meetings and with supporters of your recovery.

When we take a closer look at our lives, we find some of the things that we thought we had lost forever. Courage dispels cowardice. Honesty replaces living in fear. It wouldn't be loving for God to make us want things that we can't have. We can play around with this but the reality is that all forms of self-improvement are possible if we only take the time and make the effort. Most things are available to us if we only have gratitude, pay the price, and take care of them. Our relationships improve when we give freely and fall apart when we just take. We have an internal witness called instinct that keeps track of these things. We can't really lose these potentials or abilities but we do forget where we put them at times. Our addiction then makes it hard to find them even when they're nearby. Being clean means being able to maintain the focus of our attention and act consistently with our values. Being clean allows us to act in ways that make sense to us.

When we have relationships and inflict no harm, we obtain sufficient growth and vision to go our way in peace. We have to learn how to live without creating debt. Actually, having fun is now possible for us. We use spiritual principles to eliminate distractions and character defects. We gain the ability through application of mind, body and spirit to get to a desired reality or to draw those objectives to us.

Our addiction tells us that our character defects are just pleasant or whimsical likes and dislikes that only lend color and variety to our life. It leads us to believe that they are only personal touches that may be strange or mildly irritating but certainly not harmful. We continue this delusion even when getting clean. Our disease tells us that those who complain about these particular aspects of our personalities are not our friends or that they don't love us. If we have experienced more good results than negative behind these characteristics and are pleased with them, we ask, "Why should I change?" Why would we even consider it? However, if we aren't happy, totally happy, we may view change as a way to get out of a trap or a series of traps. If we have hurt, suffered, failed, and adapted to a life of pain or felt lost and beyond hope, it might just be time to revise the way we live.

By discarding the ideas, habits, and ways that helped us get by in the past, we can take time to re-examine ourselves and begin to move in other directions. If we have feelings or thoughts that disturb our peace of mind, we now have several ways to deal with them effectively. We write it down, talk about it, listen to others, check the recovery literature, pray, meditate, inventory, make amends and get with our sponsors to resolve the problem. We surrender, develop new beliefs, admit our faults and make amends. Then we seek through prayer and meditation to find the strength and guidance that we need. The objective of learning and using spiritual principles is to eliminate suffering. Being clean means freedom from having to do things that we don't like - for people we don't like - for reasons we don't agree with - for rewards that are meaningless, distasteful or dangerous to our safety and well-being. Instead of only having rough edges, many of us wear our character defects like protective spikes or thorns. We get clean by wearing these spines down to the point where we can hug someone without them screaming in pain.

Then as if from 'outer space' we hear the voice of hope from within. We remember that life will get better if we continue to work the Steps. We know from our collective experience that it's okay to simply hang-on to abstinence until the crisis passes and we regain the will to live. We alter, correct, rework and amend to make reality better in thousands of ways. If the source of a problem is in a poor or incorrect understanding, we study in order to become more informed. If we determine that action is required, we act. If the source of difficulty is with another person, we start by discussing matters with our sponsor or friends or we go directly to the other person. Even when no resolution seems possible, we learn something from each experience that we come through clean. If the source for a conflict originates from a place, event, or circumstance, we need to sit quietly, review what happened, decide what we would've preferred, and what if anything, we can do about it now. If we were distracted or overwhelmed, we need re-affirm our commitment to staying clean and push ourselves to resume the course of action that best provides success in accomplishing our concept of doing the right thing. Whether we can do this, months or even years later is unknown but we must be willing to continue the effort. Clean gives us the strength and determination to keep trying, no matter what!

When we find a way to raise our spirits through practicing spiritual principles, helping others and freeing ourselves from the chains of active addiction, we are growing spiritually. As we grow in recovery, we find our standards changing. There are things we used to do that never come up now. There are things that were impossible for us that have become easy in our new lives.

Diversity is fine as long as we don't get lost in it. In freedom from active addiction and distraction, we study the puzzle of life. We penetrate the maze until it becomes a plain path to us. Very important to the kind of spirituality that can help us is to constantly bear in mind that God, not us, works the miracles. If we were to identify with the divinity that works the miracles, we would feel and appear very powerful. This would be a lie. Such dishonesty would confuse people and they would look to us for the answers rather than follow our example and look to their own spiritual condition. We share what comes to us individually and find a commonality that will work for us.

We can't live clean without an increased recognition of and alignment with the truth. In other words, increased capacity means increased responsibility. The more we can do, the more we will do. This is important because many of us have tried to get the benefits of recovery without the willingness to do our part later on. Others have found out what it is like to try to help someone who doesn't want help and won't allow us to help them. If we see a problem, and don't do our part to resolve it, we will find our powers sinking back down to the level we fell to in active addiction.

When does doing the right thing for the right reason make the transition from a practical way to avoid pain to that point of freedom we enjoy as a spiritual awakening? Do we necessarily need to look back to realize progress? Is not hope a re-evaluation of facts and faith a new evaluation of life to come?

Many of us were confused by religious standards. The religions may be fine but usually our perceptions twisted what was workable spirituality into unworkable patterns. Many of us were agnostic to begin with. We claimed spiritual bankruptcy, disregarding inner spiritual standards that so badly it hurt. We felt guilt and remorse from harming ourselves and others. Often emptiness, despair and general disinterest in our future was one way to deal with the denial in our lives. The self-centeredness of our disease tells us we are to be judged by the physical evidence of our actions.

Regardless of how we felt about them, this judgment was the origin of our slow execution. We couldn't see our disapproval as evidence that forces beyond our control created many of the situations in which we found ourselves, though we hated who we were and what we were doing. Only by changing, can we escape the terrible course on which we set ourselves. When we get clean and stay clean a short time, we begin to see that our pain was caused by our inability to live up to the spiritual standards we didn't know we had. We can then begin to get a sense of who we are rather than merely define ourselves by what had happened to us. This is not a clever rationalization of the damage we did. We just acknowledge to fact that clean we don't do what we did using. And the longer we are clean, the more we take up new ways.

It may be impossible to collect written material on this subject without seeming conceited or presumptuous to those who seek but have not yet found their own spiritual reality. We hope for simplicity in the knowledge that what is hard today, may come more easily in time. None of us is perfect and we all have to decide what we can live with. Spiritual principles work where nothing else can. What we learn determines how much better it gets for us. Our basic belief is that we are better off just being clean; our spirituality enhances our basic cleanliness. None of us are perfect and we all have to decide what we can live with on a personal basis.

Standards affect outcomes. When we sink into sloth and laziness, we may think we're able to coast on our past accomplishments. They run out and we may find ourselves weakened by our inertia. Living up to the standards we set for ourselves may make the difference for us. Naturally, much of this gets done automatically if we follow the admonition to keep coming back. We focus inward through prayer and meditation on a daily basis. Many of us keep a journal to see our growth. As we develop our own system of standards, we begin to see our spiritual growth. Love, compassion, empathy and growth become useful words to consider our spiritual standards. Add your own as you continue to grow.

We think, we project, therefore, we fear. Our projections are as flawed as the rest of our thought processes. Unless we feel certain that the other parts of our minds are in full working order, it may be best to stay close to those who love and understand and put off projections into the future. Planning allows us to provide, within reason, for what may happen. Projection insists it will happen, and we justify fury if it does not.

It may be that spirituality and fear occupy the same niche. Spirituality can replace fear and fear can replace spirituality. Spiritual existence allows intimacy in our lives. Fear of others, their opinions, judgments and beliefs prevent us from being open. This makes is impossible to be intimate. Being spiritual allows us to be human. It allows us to make mistakes and to do the right thing for the right reasons. Spiritual standards allow us to reconfigure our lives. We can compare our present standards with those that might give us more freedom and joy. This is where we need the strength and guidance of our higher powers. As addicts, we lived in lonely desperation. Isolation was a way of life. Today, we hug. In countries where hugging is out, they have ways of expressing appropriate affection.

A safer 'less' is familiar. It is something we know. We may hurt; we may hurt a great deal. But we will not pick up over these feelings if we can maintain our connection with a power greater than ourselves. It may take a great deal of time before we can face the fear and try again. But when we are tired enough, sick enough and bored enough, we will do it. God did not bring us this far to drop us now. Whatever our higher power has planned for us is far better than anything we could dream of under our own steam. Faith and trust is the basis of our spiritual beliefs. Without that basis, we have no spirituality in the sense of a power greater than ourselves. God is not a deal we make to get our way.

While almost any degree of spirituality seems a great blessing for us in the pain and defeat of initial recovery, we may find ourselves in time wondering how far to go personally with spiritual aims and commitments. Should our standards cripple us in competition with others in the work place? How are we spiritual and as spiritual people, how do we deal with worldly concerns?

It may take a while for spiritual to become as practical as worldly. The same laws govern both yet the spiritual rules over the worldly. If you want something to happen outside, get it to happen inside first. If we are not getting the results we want, it is up to us to review our understanding and locate flaws that may prevent our effort towards spiritual achievement from coming to fruition. Surely, if we have surrendered to the fact of our addiction and unmanageability, we will accept the difficulty of learning as most likely blocked by our own ego rather than the power of the God of our understanding.

Finding out what we really like clean - and building that into our daily lives - is how most of us set spiritual standards for ourselves. Going further with this and trying to improve the way we feel and act is a valid goal in recovery. Many find themselves unfulfilled and bored because they look at spirituality as a matter of right and wrong instead of a process of becoming our best selves. It takes allowing ourselves to aspire to the 'best' to arouse the desire we need to power the recovery process. We do better in recovery to seek simple ways to understand and work our program than to get into platitudes that sound good but are impossible to live up to in real life.

We know that if we do not consider our resources, we may not be able to back off from expending all our resources. We run the risk of running out of gas before arriving at our destination. To commit and exert ourselves on a par with other people our age and background, we need also parity in terms of back up systems. With support we may risk giving our 'better,' even our 'best' efforts. If those we are compared with are not as committed as we, they will alienate and condemn us for having even tried. There is no fair basis for comparison. What then is it that keeps us from giving our best? Why do people settle for a safer less? It seems worth mentioning from our experience that failure hurts. Great failure can kill us. Stuff that we really 'like' agrees with us and doesn't sicken us or make us feel bad. For some reason, addicts, even those who have been clean awhile, seemed shocked when they find themselves still identifying themselves with beliefs and behaviors that were adopted and taken in during active addiction. What power should these sad entries in our personal journals have over us today? Self-destructive thoughts, beliefs and actions continue to operate in our lives until we shut them off through working our Steps.

Power, the ability to define or change reality, is related to our spiritual growth directly. It has to do with what is meant by powerlessness. We all have it to some degree however mangled and torn it may have become through our addiction. The ways we had to exert our energy to supply our addictive needs are the ways we need to change. We can moderate, eliminate and replace the ways we go about living so that we have more fun, peace and less hassle. All members face the moment when they discover again the power of surrender: when we stop struggling, what we want comes to us seemingly of itself.

When we say 'love' in NA, we don't mean low energy, no effort love. Our giving love takes much effort. In fact, sometimes we're loving just to see if it works better than our defensiveness. Still, the standards we can reasonable set and occasionally live up to rise because of the ways in which we back each other up.

Living in the moment keeps us centered spiritually. If we surrender on a daily basis, life is good. Diseased self-will has always led to a slow painful death. Spiritual growth daily keeps us free. Sincere thinking about God is a daily habit. We discover the power of this when life tests us. Our redirected lives put us on a different course and what is ahead for us is totally different from what we leave behind. Still, our steps must be taken in the present and we cannot help stepping on the ground that surrounds us on our way out. The unconditional love we give and accept among our fellow members, takes us out of our self-preoccupation. We discover our new lives in the process of giving away what was so freely given to us. Our new attitude and behavior are the most sustaining changes that keep us from falling back into our old patterns.

The ten thousand issues that plague mankind may resolve down to reputation, sex and gold. Can these outward symbols satisfy our inner needs? What has your experience been with achieving ongoing satisfaction with having money or emotional security as vested in another person? Was it enough? In time clean, we want to become clear as to what is real and important and what is unreal and inconsequential.

The goal of the spiritual life is to be comfortable in life, spiritually centered, and ready to face life on life's terms. We learn who to seek out and who to avoid, what to say and do and when to hold back and find another way. To be calm, effective, attentive, sensitive, without much effort through habit backed up by inclination. To be able to quickly find your way back to these things when life knocks you on your a$$. To be able to enjoy things of the world without being enslaved by them. To remain faithful and constant to those you love and care about without falling into boredom and a deadening routine. All these are why we quest for spiritual growth. This certainty is the stillness inside that allows us to identify with the eternal.

How many of us have found ourselves reveling in the spiritual growth we have attained through NA, only to have our disease blind side us with self-doubt? One minute we can be happy and content with our concept of recovery and our grasp of the spiritual principles we are applying to our lives. The next minute we feel all of that flying away from us when we ask ourselves, "Is this what I really believe?" Our disease lies in wait looking for that split second of self-doubt or slip of faith. The addict mind runs with the thought and the spirit within shines less bright. We have a choice at this point to ask ourselves, "Is this the way God would have me think, act, or believe?" Believing that God's will for us is freedom and happiness, am I following that path by thinking this way? We can put our lives and thinking back into perspective when we remind ourselves just who we are. We are addicts and always will be.

Some of us find something hard to define that is very real to us. That reality just is. I accept that I can't do it alone. There are some times when even loving, caring people can't help me cope. By trusting our yearning, we find something that had been buried in the rubble of our addiction. A spirit! This spirit just may be the reason we are alive today. All the times we wondered what got us through that one or this one. Inventory is how we catch ourselves before we make the next big mistake. We can learn to easily and naturally access our higher power. We call that conscious contact. Getting and maintaining conscious contact is the biggest part of what grants us the new life clean. We can't get it under our own power, so we get in touch with a higher power. Our lives are filled with unaccountable miracles. Through the Twelve Steps of NA, we come to live by the grace of a loving and caring God.

The messages we are sent by a higher Power come through many modes of communication. We begin to get in touch with that inner light that is used to guide us in our recovery. By taking a posture of love and humility, by asking for knowledge of God's will and the power to carry it out, by meditating and listening for the answer, we are touched and our inner light becomes a beacon rather than a flicker. As our beacon shines, we find peace in the messages we are sent. It may be that we need to turn loose of control. We may have a child struck down by a life-threatening illness; our spouse may become disabled; our mother might have a heart attack; or all of this could happen. We may have been flickers of light, but as we accept our inability to control, we become beacons of God's will. This light grows brighter with each surrender; and the truth in the process of recovery is seen by others. We find the quality of our communication determines the quality of our life. If we give out loving concern - that is what we will get back. Communication is not only what we transmit but also what we're capable of receiving. What we can say and hear is a blueprint or layout of our personal condition. It is a reflection of the reality of what we can realize or experience.

Our Tenth Step gives us a constant reminder to focus on self-improvement. One of the first blessings we receive in recovery is a new viewpoint. We identify with those who admit their need for help and are willing to do something to benefit others. Our wrongs no longer supply us with anything we need. They only cause us problems and embarrassment in our newly awakened lives. Where we have gone wrong, we are able to correct ourselves and make amends to those we have wronged without letting the problems grow into massive concerns. By regularly going over what we do and how we do it, we make steady inroads on the type of behavior that used to typify us as addicts. Now a days, we have clean addicts! The willingness to act, behave, and think in new ways is crucial to our recovery. We accept that there are times when we may have doubts about who we are or what we should be doing with our lives. We could not remain as we were.

Our Eleventh Step allows us to enter into the world of spiritual reality and accumulate real spiritual experience that we can use to guide us past activities that used to waste our time and energy. We can explore thoughts and feelings in ways that used to sound like fiction. We can aspire to and attain spiritual fitness that seems reserved for people who were 'better' than us. Prayer gives us a way to look at what we're asking for. Prayer may open a hole in reality to let our dream come through. It certainly opens our hearts to accept the dream if it should come true. Meditation serves the place of prayer for many members and allows us to take a walk with God inside or take a spiritual excursion while conscious and wakeful of what is happening to us. Meditation may come to refer to a whole range of experience instead of sitting with your eyes and legs crossed.

The Twelfth Step takes us from the internal struggle into the world of application. We actively apply the principles we have been using in our personal recovery to all areas of our life. Just as our world shrank in active addiction, our world expands in recovery. We each get a steady flow of new ideas to absorb, situations to deal with and demands to satisfy.

Carrying our message gives us a clear direction where we had none. We can't avoid painful experiences entirely. They are part of life. We can get better at dealing with them. Ours is a savage disease of selfish pleasure. It betrays us by seduction. Just by knowing this, we have a chance. Then the idea of God ignites our desire for spiritual knowledge, certain fission occurs. It begins to achieve a life changing energy level. While the gravity of everyday worries will exert a drag on our spirituality, we need always keep contact with the eternal. While we don't ignore the gravity, there are other forces in our lives. As we become a part of life, we need to fit in with what is happening around us. If there are other good people around, we will want to be known and recognized as a positive force.

As we begin to grow in this way, we realize this is what we were hungry for all along. Our disease robs us of people as much as peace of mind and body.

As we reinforce and expand the positive connections we have with other people, it is actually the beginning of a new life. We are bound to pass through a series of growing experiences, some painful. There will usually be those who have gone before to help us and our growing spiritual awareness will rescue us many times. At some point in our growth, we will begin to use our minds to do our part well and be less critical of others. The recovery process leads us from hopelessly despondent and rebellious to positive, spirited wakefulness. We are free to go our way where we had become lost. Our spirituality is born of acceptance of God's will for us and our growth is proportionate to our willingness to live that life.

Much of the Narcotics Anonymous program has the effect of countering our negativity. This is why we feel badly when we miss meetings. Our inventories give us a chance to re-examine our boundaries and in some cases remove barriers that no longer have function or purpose in our lives. We can go more places and do more things clean than we ever could using. Loaded, we could hardly keep our attention focused on subjects that bore no direct relationship to our next usage. Taboos, by definition, are ways we avoid certain things without thought or choice. They come from a fundamental social wisdom or feeling so deep, we can't even talk about them. This doesn't mean that taboos are always right. Usually, they are based on emotional issues that at some past time became unusually important either through a powerful leader or a disaster. Fortunately, the similarity to other defective phases of our lives carries through here. We can talk, at least with home group members or sponsors, about anything that may be bothering us. Don't blurt out something as a test to those who may be suffering as badly as you. Just don't let something keep bothering you without seeking relief.

Most addicts are blessed with the ability to see what someone else should be doing. If we are sincerely asking for help, an answer will come. Maybe not in the form we would expect or from the person we would like, but it will come. Cultural taboos have a valid place in human culture. The taboos we're bringing into the area of discussion here are unrealistic boundaries set in active addiction. "I can't talk to my boss about the raise I was promised" may have the vague air of a taboo. That to be open with our boss may bring us 'bad luck.' While timing can be important, we shouldn't wait to ask forever. Certain dysfunctions in families are treated as if discussion of a family members effect on our lives is taboo. We may need to line up support before crossing some of these lines. Sponsors can help us decide if we have a point or are just complicating a simple issue.

Maybe there was a moment when we were happy years ago. Perhaps it was in our childhood or as teenagers. Maybe someone was kind or respectful to us after a childhood of shame or neglect. This memory is associated with feeling real, counting for something and being a vital part of life. Our mistake may be to seek to replicate the past or avoid replication of something painful.

These two keep us from dealing with the ordinary reality right in front of us. It is likely that we found our moment of memorable happiness as a by-product of growth and other activities that may have seemed unconnected to the good feelings we enjoyed. Do we want to be chained to our recalled happiness forever, bound by fears, taboos and missing out on life today? Can we not learn to enjoy life again on a daily basis and build up our capacity to accept good things into our lives?

What got us to recovery? Our spirit! What is our spirit? Is it that part of us that has the instinct and will to survive and prosper? Our disease wants to destroy that part of us at all cost. The reawakening of that spirit through our recovery can be exciting, inspiring, and frightening all at the same time. It wants to live; it wants to prosper; it wants to grow. But how? Our addiction was a wall that prevented us from a constant contact with the God of our choosing. Instead of contact, we chose the total self-indulgence of our addiction. It takes time we are told. Let your spirit speak; let your addict go; get with God and He will be with you. When He does, a wonderful thing happens and if continued, something even more wonderful will happen.

Realizing we have a choice about using and recovering from the disease of addiction is often the first and fundamental spiritual awakening. Sometimes this is taken for granted. It is only in retrospect that this realization becomes tangible. Our experience has shown us that our steps, prayer and meditation, and sharing with each other allows us to grow. Sometimes this growth is painful. Letting go of the only way we knew was painful. Fear of the unknown and blind faith doesn't go together well, but we must go through it and let our spirit get in tune with the spirit we call God. Basic living lets us move beyond some of the simplistic problem areas that once overwhelmed us. By solving the basic problems, we graduate to other problems. The vitality of ordinary reality is essential for spiritual growth. Stagnation is the beginning of regression into old patterns of thinking. Plato said, "I think, therefore I am." Realistically, I am what I think. Addicts say, "I think, therefore I am confused." So, if I am not vital into the heartbeat of spiritual progress, I set myself adrift. Old character defects resurface and rear their ugly heads.

Ordinary reality gives us chances to practice spiritual principles. Sometimes we will fail in making what we feel are 'correct' choices. The reality is that the 'failure' is a spiritual lesson that can direct our behavior. At the end of our drug use, we were forced to find a new way of life. That moment of choice was vital. We knew without a doubt that the drugs were killing us. Other lessons are not quite as important. The term 'learning to live' implies we will experience some short-term failures. When we become aware of better spiritual living arrangements and do not wish to regress, a new way of life becomes a more attractive alternative. As our daily living choices improve, new adjustments and goals will change. We will seek out new horizons and possibilities. Things that were only dreams before now become reality: we start relationships, buy houses, maintain jobs, get involved in civic activities, etc. The new reality is ours to have. We no longer have to live in the woods, under bridges and at the mercy of the elements. We have to read the spiritual road signs. Those events in our lives that shape who we are, what we are and where we are going.

Speaking for many of us, an addict shares, "Lately, I've found one of the keys to freeing myself spiritually is to take the next logical step. I do the next right thing, telling myself that God has already taken care of it. This helps me to overcome whatever reservations I might use to inhibit myself. The willingness to 'just do it' instills a sense of accomplishment and helps open our eyes to more of the life we seek through the steps.

"In the past, I've allowed procrastination to shut me down. Good positive action, no matter how minor it may seem, leads to a heightened awareness. As I do my part and allow others to share what works for them, more is revealed."

We may come to a place in our recovery where we realize everything that has happened to us has had a purpose. Nothing has been wasted. The seemingly random occurrences were all parts of a pattern we could not see while it was happening to us. It is knowing this that may help us surrender and continue to do our part even when all looks hopeless. Once we admit we are powerless over our addiction; that our lives are unmanageable, we have nothing left to lose. Powerless in recovery, all good comes from God, as if God is a great river. Recovery allows us to become part of the river. After we do so, we can see it is all one river. This vision is what makes us seek phony, unsatisfying substitutes for the real thing. It's when we let go that we can begin a spiritual path of freedom. This is the freedom to make choices with the tools provided in the Steps.

This process holds the keys to all the things we've been missing. The trick is there is no trick! We pay the price, earn the degree, qualify for the job, whatever we want and we can have it clean. Spiritual principles work. We have all progressed towards goals only to find, at some point, our way blocked. This is when we are forced to back off and reconsider things. We spend time considering our belief, finding out from other people how they approach spirituality. All prayers and meditations lead us out of the darkness and into the light. Before we got clean, most of us had some rather strange notions of what a spiritual life consisted of. With the reality of our personal experiences of NA recovery, a spiritual life comes to maturity. Many of the things we sought in the outer world turned out to be available only in the inner world. Peace of mind is a condition of spiritual sufficiency, not worldly plenty. The quest for wisdom is always a slow and painful process. We can always change our lives by changing our minds. Our possibilities are only limited by our spiritual condition.

- Moultrie Literature Conference - (March 24, 2001)
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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