Author Topic: An Atmosphere Of Recovery  (Read 2755 times)

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Offline John Morgan

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Re: An Atmosphere Of Recovery
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2011, 06:16:18 PM »
Andy, I read your article. Good work. I wish you all the best.
John M.

Offline Monkey

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Re: An Atmosphere Of Recovery
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2011, 10:08:41 AM »
Very true.

Offline CD

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Re: An Atmosphere Of Recovery
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 09:49:01 AM »
 8) 8) 8)  We should always create a good atmosphere of recovery for the newcomers and for other addicts a like .  8) 8) 8)
Being stuck way up north I read literature do service in my area,region,and homegroup.New friends new ways of life.Left old friend out there same old story they have .Like helping newcomers , I was one once,have to give back what was freely given to me .

Offline CD

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An Atmosphere Of Recovery
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2011, 05:27:11 PM »
AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY

AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECOVERY (written in '02)

Quite often I find the phrase “if a solution isn’t spiritual it isn’t practical,” to be the motivating factor propelling me in the direction of truth. Step One helps me find my place in this world by introducing perceptions of humility through powerlessness. Today, though I may be powerless over nearly all people, places, and things, I understand I do possess the power to change the world as God would have it, through the power of example, and in sharing my experience. Steps Two and Three have offered guidance and direction when the obsession arises to ‘control’ my surroundings. Yet, when an apparent need emanates to exert my issues of control, I have found turning these issues over to God being the simplest solution.

In this letter I would like to address the question of how to define “an atmosphere of recovery” within the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. In the active addiction that caused so much pain and misery in our lives and the lives of most everyone we came in contact with; was it not the selfish, self-centered fear driving us into an isolated death of mind, body, and soul? Truly, it was fear, manifested in our thoughts and feelings, creating our problems. It was our lack of faith, not the drugs; using was only a symptom of our dilemma. Therefore, true recovery lies not in the arena of abstinence, but rather the surrender to a spiritual way of life. Incidentally, could we not substitute the phrase “atmosphere of recovery” with “atmosphere of spirituality?”

Assuming the practice of spirituality lies in the application of spiritual principals, I would like to offer this perception of substitution. If true spiritual principals are never in conflict; any or all ought fit the phrase “atmosphere of recovery,” offering the same perception and application. To demonstrate, lets take any or every instance where the phrase “atmosphere of recovery” can be found and introduce a series of spiritual principals in place of the word “recovery” (i.e. an atmosphere of acceptance... an atmosphere of patience... an atmosphere of tolerance... of unconditional love, open-mindedness, willingness, surrender, compassion, empathy etc.) If when using this phrase “atmosphere of recovery,” that the exchange of spiritual principals does not compliment the initial perception of recovery, a revised definition should be introduced.

I have studied letters, articles, and bulletins stating perspective and opinion in relation to “an atmosphere of recovery.” Many have points of interest and raise questions in regards to how, we as a fellowship, can maintain and support this atmosphere, in order that any addict anywhere has the unbridled opportunity to carry or receive our message of freedom. I have come to the conclusion that compliance and adherence to the principles embodied in our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions offer a truly guaranteed solution to these questions. Often situations arise due to differing perceptions of NA Tradition. The subsequent information may aid in their understanding; NA Traditions are comprised of spiritual principals which are never in conflict, they compliment one another. Therefore, a correct interpretation will have all Twelve Traditions working in compliance with one another. If contradiction exists, most often one or more of the initial perceptions were incorrect.

As for membership in NA; our position ought be one of unrestricted and inclusive participation. We ought never erect even the slightest barrier between ourselves and the still using or suffering addict. More often than not, these addicts will come to us as non-conformists. Few among us today can claim to not identify with that position. Hence, we ought neither insist nor suggest that they conform, not even that they meet us at the half-way point. These individuals are often too sick, weak, and frightened to overcome any obstacles. Consequently, in erecting them, we may be sentencing them if not to death, to many more years of dereliction and institutions. Grateful for our lives as protected by a loving God, we ought never hesitate to venture into the darkness where they are, as they are, and demonstrate that we truly do care and understand. Not having the power to impose conformity, we do have the power of example. Unable to spiritually control their thoughts, feelings and actions, we can rely on our faith in God that they will come to their own understanding in the time He has allotted. Eventually all addicts will conform to the principals that guarantee their survival, if not, they sicken and possibly die. This is our truth and our reality. Practical application of this viewpoint will provide “an atmosphere of identification and empathy.”

The preceding depicts one of the more frequently contradicted traditions in our fellowship, our Third Tradition, the only requirement, no buts, and no exceptions. Quite often misinterpretations of other traditions lend justification to this dilemma. I have seen the “complete abstinence” issue brought up as justification to exclude from, or withhold a full membership status. Along the same line the phrase ‘if you have used in the past twenty four hours we ask that you participate by listening only...’ may lead one to believe that ‘desire’ is not enough. These ideals are believed and used by some members and groups to supposedly maintain an atmosphere of recovery. Consequently, they raise barriers and promote controversy. They offer encouragement to stray from, rather than adhere to, our Ninth Tradition through the implementation of special rules and extra membership requirements or, if you rather, creating a “second class” of membership. These ideals may also invite some members into a position of government through the apparently justified enforcement of... promoting deviation from Tradition Two and blurring the principles embodied in our Third Tradition. In effect, carrying a mixed and confusing message by implying our traditions are somehow negotiable.

As for NA opinion; should we, as a fellowship, attempt to define “using” or “drugs?” If our fellowship were to present a definition for these words the result would seem immanently self-destructive. It would invite controversy through individual language interpretations, professionals and other organizations. All of whom may find differing definitions. A practical solution could be for NA groups, boards and committees to have no opinion on this terminology all together. In respect, it can be left to the individual members to interpret for themselves these terms and conditions, as they come to their own understanding in Gods time.

I have seen some argue the difference between medicinal use and substitution of drugs. While there may be a difference, my experience has taught me that addiction is a treatable not curable disease. In many instances, any number of substitutions can occur in our members programs of recovery; such as food, sugar, caffeine, sex, relationships, working, spending, and gambling. If we were to have an opinion, where would we start, and could we ever draw a line? For example, if our movement were ever to begin being “politically correct” in this matter, there should be one absolute - an opinion on nicotine. Not too often does an addict find themselves in jails or institutions directly related to this substance, but the death rate attributed to it out weighs all other drugs used by our members combined. Now, if NA were to have an opinion on nicotine for instance, that encouraged excluding these addicts from equal and active participation along with all other service to our fellowship, the results could be devastating. Yet, having an opinion on one drug and not others seems almost hypocritical. Point being, drugs themselves ought be viewed by our fellowship as an outside issue. This perception works because it not only avoids external controversy it eliminates internal strife as well. It presents the opportunity to adhere to our tradition of non-professionalism through exercising a discipline in having no opinion. It also offers an understanding of Tradition Ten than compliments our Third Tradition by allowing the simplicity of “desire” to be the all inclusive benchmark for equal membership; this encourages fellowship unity.

As for participation; often an individual’s personal experience may be misinterpreted as an “outside issue” or “endorsement” as these terms are defined in our traditions. Although this sharing may in itself be an outside issue or endorsement of themselves, these individuals themselves do not represent NA. It is not the sharing of our members, but rather our fellowship and service literature (including meeting formats) that expresses the collective conscience of Narcotics Anonymous. It would be these forms of expression, carefully compiled by our committees who are organized for these services, that ought have neither opinion nor endorsement. The principals of Traditions Six and Ten offer direction to our groups, boards, and committees. These Traditions do not imply restriction to member participation, in effect, complimenting rather than contradicting Traditions Three and Nine. This understanding allows any addict with a desire to stop using, the opportunity to share openly and freely from the heart, without any need for direct or implied management or control. It is our responsibility to communicate our collective conscience within the boundaries of our tradition, not in attempting to create an exclusive mandate in spite of.

Taking the forgoing into consideration: could we actually be doing our fellowship a disservice if we were to exclude or withhold our experiences outside the realm of NA? Does NA have a monopoly on God’s knowledge or His will? Is it not possible that an addict’s experience with recovery outside NA may aid in freeing another member from the horrors of addiction? In respect, who among us would take the side of being politically correct over an opportunity to save lives? Most often in these instances, even if our message were not spoken in letter, the spirit, if listened for, can clearly be heard. Understanding this ought lead us to the conclusion anything having an impact, positive or negative, on an individuals recovery is material for sharing. This perception works because it eliminates fellowship opinion, rules, and judgment while encouraging our members to think and experience for themselves, develop their own opinions, and express those opinions as they see fit. In effect, we are creating “an atmosphere of freedom, grounded in tolerance.”

On a personal level; I have a disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis. Even with advanced treatment my condition can become extremely painful and disabling. If I were to abstain from medication not only would I be unable to care for myself, the pain alone could move me to insanity or death. Can any person comprehend such absolute desperation? To many, I presume the answer would be “yes.” Keeping my experience in mind; would any member wish demoralization on me, or that I ought be excluded from sharing and service in NA? I surely hope not. In respect, to generalize "abstinence from all drugs," would be in many cases very insensitive and quite often inappropriate. This is just one more important reason why NA ought have NO opinion on which drugs are appropriate and which are not, hence our Tradition of non-professionalism. Addiction has very little to do with drugs, but rather the resulting symptoms, consequences, and motives underlying their use. In effect, raising questions whose answers ought be left to the individual to contrive for themselves.

In closing, I believe in the atmosphere of spirituality for our fellowship, the practice of unconditional acceptance, and inclusive participation of our members. I believe in having no opinion on another person’s program of abstinence, especially in the presence of prescribed medications (including methadone or anti-depressants). In a circumstance when my recommendations may be solicited where I have no experience, not being a professional, I would rather refrain else suffer the consequences of passing misinformation that ultimately has the power to kill. Although, having experience with the horrors of addiction and severe, physical pain, I believe if I encountered another individual suffering with both I would share with them what had worked for me, with the hope of providing, “an atmosphere of recovery.” Isn't that what it’s all about?

andyaddict
Being stuck way up north I read literature do service in my area,region,and homegroup.New friends new ways of life.Left old friend out there same old story they have .Like helping newcomers , I was one once,have to give back what was freely given to me .