This is my favorite chapter from the NA Textbook. Early on it was suggested to me to read chapters 1,2, and 3. When I came across this chapter and it’s title my first reaction was….”Finally an out, there is a graduation looming in the distant future”!
I would find out later in reading that we can never fully recover no matter how long we stay clean…..damn.
I was asked to speak at a literature study group last night. The addict picks a piece of NA literature for the group to read then shares their experience on it. I picked this chapter. This chapter has saved my life on more than one occasion. The preamble was written by Jimmy K. whom many feel was the founder of the NA fellowship, although he never referred to himself as that. He said he was a co-founder because we all have a stake in NA.
The definitions of obsession and compulsion, the statement that at some point the addict himself will no longer tolerate the old saying of “Once an addict, always an addict”, the understanding of finding it essential to accept reality and life exactly the way they are, all of this I find compelling, hopeful, and most of all life changing.
It talks about lost dreams awakened, the capacity to feel human again, and how a simple loving hug can make all the difference to someone on any given day. All of these things combine in an explosion of emotion for me. A majority of the chapter was written before I was born but is timeless as is all of our literature. To stop and think that someone felt and acted the same as I did before I was even born is surreal and humbling.
A lot of times I want to try to read between the lines for something extra. Some spin I can put on something to make it sound original or unique based in ego. I reminded myself out loud and to the group last night that it all comes back to the basics. It all comes back really to the same things I was taught early on. The addition I can add to things can only be based out of experience. I shared about loneliness, anger, and fear. I spoke of how my perceptions have changed slowly over time and I am now able to make better decisions. I talked about having received the greatest lost dream awakened of all…..The gift of feeling like a human being again.
After the meeting I spoke to my sponsor who sat there with that stupid grin on his face. We talked about some of the things I have been telling you. The events of Monday, my daughter, and thinking of changing our lives. I talked, he listened as it always goes. He told me that it is all a big deal, that it is a major change. I told him I felt like I had the ability to make an informed decision about things….He looked at me and smiled, and said I believe you do to.
When I got home I talked to my wife. I told her we needed to do something, I just wasn’t sure how big or drastic the something was. I told her I knew she was unhappy, that some of our problems with Lorna are where we live, and I was not happy with course that our lives are going.
She then asked me what I wanted………
It’s the first time in a long time I felt like I could give a proper response not based in self-centeredness. I told her I wanted what was best for everyone. In my heart, I feel like anything is possible, that I have the ability to do whatever is necessary. I haven’t felt like that in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, it is a big deal. It is a life changing deal and I have some fear, but I am not paralyzed by it.
I want what is best for everyone, I know it will be difficult, but not impossible.
My wife’s aunt is going into a house this weekend to take some pictures of it for us and email them. I have no definitive time line for things, and am taking it a step at a time. I will keep you posted.
Take Care….Bob D.