On the night of April twenty-first, I attended my first anonymous twelve-step program meeting. The meeting was held at Fullerville Baptist Church, and was an open discussion for an all age group. The meeting was to help those with addictions regardless of: age, race, or any means. Narcotics Anonymous is an organization or society meeting to help recuperating addicts to stay clean from their addictions; therefore, they encourage members to stop using, and to have an open mind when entering a meeting. This allows members to know they are in the same position as other people in the room, and it allows a more comforting environment, as they are not to be judged. In the meeting they had twelve principles written on a dry erase board to those whom are willing to put effort in recovering.
The principles were stated to the members by a speaker, they read aloud the twelve steps to recovery: Number one, “Admit to being powerless over your addiction”, Number two, “Believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us”, Number three, “Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God”, Number four, “Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”, Number five, “Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another of our wrongs”, Number six, “Be entirely ready to have God remove all these flaws of character”, Number seven, “Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings”, Number eight, “Make a list of all the people we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all”, Number nine, “Make direct amends to such people wherever possible”, Number ten, “Continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admit it”, Number eleven, “ Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God”, Number twelve, “Have a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps”.
These steps were a realistic approach to get rid of addiction, and to make other addicts help one another. The members sought help because they knew they needed it, and they were willingly open to their personal lives as we went along the twelve steps. It was such a new experience for me, as I am someone who doesn’t understand the emotional and physical struggles of being an addict; The members helped exemplify with their own personal experience to help people like me to understand. The individuals who were seeking help for their addictions were able to take responsibility for their actions and themselves, and it was really amazing to witness. After having a speaker talk to us as a whole, there was a set table for newcomers, such as myself; I had went over their with my sibling, and we had sat down with the rest of the newcomers. We had been assigned to read the very first chapter of a handbook for the Narcotics Anonymous group.
The first chapter was about changing our thought patterns, changing the way we think, because that was the only way we were able to change our lives. The chapter continued on with stories of addicts who have suffered and how they could not function because their life was in shambles. After we were done reading, it was now open for us to discuss and share. The person next to me decided to share, and they were passionately speaking about their addiction; They continued on sharing how they were grateful for having an addiction, because without it their life would be ordinary. It was a colloquy between them of how their lives are extraordinary, and how they were able to set goals: have an amazing job and family. It really made me think of how there are many ‘regular’ people out there such as myself who do not have an active addiction, and it made me question: What are we doing for our lives? What are we doing to create an extraordinary life?
What goals are we setting for our lives? I myself is living the mediocre life the person beside me did not not want, and because of the person’s addiction they were able to be an active member of society. They were able to bump into people who are trying to recover, and extend their hand to them. It was such an evolved group, and they were able to strike many chain of thoughts in me. It made me think of how we as people are able to judge rather quickly. For example, when we see a homeless person, or someone who is high or drunk, we come to a quick conclusion that we should not help them because we think they got themselves there. We may not be addicted to drugs, alcohol, or any chemical substance; however, we can be addicted to negative thoughts, shopping, food, ect. The list goes on but it just shows how we all turn to something in order to hide the pain, and for those who have attended the meeting it was a substance that took the pain away momentarily.
The meeting was a great reminder to hold back our judgements or to just let them go, and to reflect them upon ourselves of how similar we are with one another. In conclusion, It was the willingness from the recuperating addicts that made the experience special. It was the willingness to let go, their willingness to leave the past behind, their willingness to take responsibility for their actions, their willingness to start over, their willingness to make amends and to ask for forgiveness, and this all was presented at the end of the meeting. At the end of the meeting we all huddled up into a circle, and then we all were told to put our right foot in, and our left foot out. We had created a circle of support and trust, the right foot represented taking a step into our future, and the left foot out represented leaving our past behind and our past mistakes. Then we were asked if there is any name we wanted to say to put in the circle, and we all had names to say, because we all know an addict. The tenants and steps I learned that night were something all of society can benefit from, because it does not matter if we are addicted to illicit substances we could all learn these tenants and steps. It was a pleasure attending the Narcotics Anonymous meeting and I learned more than any other meeting I will ever attend.
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