Just Say Yes

Just Say Yes

In our using days, it was easy to say yes … we constantly said yes to more drugs, more consequences, more suffering.   There wasn’t anything we wouldn’t do to get high.  Now that we’re clean, we’re learning to say yes to recovery.  For the newcomer, this might mean saying yes to joining a home group or saying yes to our sponsor when we’re asked to read the Basic Text.  For those of us who have been around for a little bit, it could be agreeing to chair a meeting, make coffee, set out the literature, or answer the phone when another addict calls.  And if we keep coming back, we’ll be asked to be a Sponsor, give a lead, serve as our home groups’ GSR or Secretary, and bring meetings into jails and institutions.  Every time we say yes to a new opportunity in NA, our roots deepen, broader connections form, and our recovery strengthens.  Service work allows us to really grow and become active members of NA society.  The next time someone asks you to serve in NA, whether it’s big or small, if it is at all within your power to do so … just say yes!

Are You Homeless?

Are you homeless?

Maybe you’ve been to some meetings, but you show up just as the readings start and leave before the hug circle is formed. You haven’t felt comfortable sharing. You have not added your name to the home group list in the binder that is passed around in the meeting … or maybe you haven’t even opened that binder. You are a member of NA when you have the desire to stop using drugs, but until you add your name to a home group list and make a commitment to attend at least one meeting a week, you are homeless. There are many benefits of having a home group. You have the opportunity to do the most basic service in NA by showing up early to your home group, perhaps to help make the coffee, set up chairs, put out the literature and greet other members. As you get more comfortable in your home group, you start to join them for dinner or coffee after the meetings, and this is where the real fellowship starts to grow. You ask someone to be your sponsor. You open the binder and learn about upcoming NA events, and you ask a fellow home group member if you can join them at those events. You get to really know the other addicts in your area, and your circle of support widens and friendships deepen. If you don’t show up to your home group meeting, your friends call and text you to make sure you’re OK. And then the time comes when you really are in trouble, when you are obsessed with the desire to pick up that drug. Using the tools you’ve learned in NA, you choose instead to pick up the phone and call your sponsor. But what if your sponsor isn’t immediately available? You now know that there are other addicts whom you can call. You’ve gotten to know them, had dinner with them, been to cookouts with them … so it’s not so hard to call them when the time comes. The point is that you’re no longer homeless in NA. No one has to do this alone, you have a family who loves you and wants to help you. Please use the comments to share your own experiences with finding a home group, the benefits of having a home, and why you may have had to change home groups over the years.

Cell Phone Usage in Meeting

What do you think about usage of cell phones in meetings? Example – I go to a large candlelight meeting where there may be 100 people attending. The lights go out and you can see 20 faces glowing from use of cell phones. Personally, I don’t care what people are doing (facebook, playing games, etc.). When I go to a meeting I try to be present; listen to hear a newcomer that might need help or someone’s message that might help me that day. But, I have been at meetings where people have taken pictures of other addicts in the meetings. That is not cool and is expressly prohibited. In a discussion I had with someone recently he said “cell phones shouldn’t be allowed in meetings” for that very reason. What do you think?

7th Tradition

Back in the day (25 or 30 years ago) as we do today, we would pass around a basket at  NA meetings observing our 7th tradition in the hopes of raising enough money to sustain our  meetings; purchasing literature, paying the rent for the meeting space, buying coffee and other expenses.  Contributing is part of paying back what was so freely given to us.  For decades we have been asking addicts to contribute a dollar to the basket.  One dollar doesn’t go very far these days.  And if we consider the gifts given to us after years of recovery some can certainly afford to give more than others.  If you are clean a few years and earn a decent living I would hope you consider giving part of servicing the community that gives us life.  Many groups struggle because they don’t have the number of people to really pay the bills or struggle for other reasons.  Our area groups need to support one and other by giving more and ensuring more money goes to area and onward to carry the message to addicts here in Indy and around the world.  If you are clean (especially for a few years and earn a reasonable living) and don’t give toward the 7th tradition – I am curious why.  I heard someone say “I feel like I have done my part”.  I don’t get that.  What do you think?

Service Committments in NA

Service Commitments in NA
There are so many ways a person can do service and give back to NA. Giving to the 7th tradition is doing service. Sharing is doing service. Helping an addict (giving your number out, welcoming a new comer, giving a hug) these are all ways of doing service. I have said many times that the Indy area has the strongest, closest fellowship that I have ever seen (and I have experienced the NA fellowship in many different areas/states). But, in my opinion, we also have a very low percentage of addicts involved and participating at the area level. There are always so many positions open in the Indy area. How do people take so much and not give back? If someone gets clean in NA and after 1 or 2 years doesn’t get involved it just seems wrong to me. Even at the group level, it’s hard to get people to commit to GSR and/or Secretary positions. Part of this might be better driven if the sponsors in our area expected more commitment from their sponcees. In other states groups hold elections (in their “business meetings” or “group conscience meetings”)and addicts often have to run for those positions. Sometimes 3 or 4 people will run for Chairperson or a secretary position – just at group meeting levels. Coffee makers cling to their position almost for dear life. They are trusted servants often holding keys to the place where the meetings are held. They have responsibility to the group; finding speakers, showing up early and setting up, breaking down and closing up. It’s an honor to serve NA in any way. If you don’t have a commitment – why it that? If you do (sponsors), maybe this should be forward to your sponcess. I’m just sayin. . .

e-cigs use in meetings

e-cigs have become very popular. People have taken up this activity in fad-like fashion. There are arguments on both sides regarding the safety and potential health risks of e-cigs. There is also a lot of controversy over the “correctness” and even legality of using e-cigs in an indoor environments. Many NA meetings have utilized their group autonomy and voted to prevent e-cig usage in their meetings. I just don’t understand why e-cig users think it’s ok to use these things in meetings or in any indoor and/or public places. I have been in meetings where 4 and 5 people were sitting together using these things at the same time. They exhaled a warm, moist and scented air on to me and others without considering the possibility that someone might be offended by this. How about the person using e-cigs in the restaurant. They bend down and sneak hits. It looks like their smoking crack or something. I mean, if they have to sneak the hit they obviously know that it might be offensive to others. So, to the e-cig user . . . I would like to know why you think this behavior is acceptable. From others . . . what do you think about e-cigs in meetings?

“Sharing and caring the NA way”. What does this mean?

On Mentioning Specific Drugs.

When I first came to NA it was important for me to hear people share about a wide variety of experiences so that I could hopefully identify with them.  It was helpful for me to hear people share about the specific drugs they used and hearing stories that included experiences relating to specific drugs.  Particularly enjoyable were hearing stories that included paranoid and delusional episodes.  I remember one guy sharing that he heard voices and was sure “it was coming from the freezer so “I opened the freezer door and looked behind the pees”.  Funny and crazy it sounded but I loved hearing that stuff.  In some areas (like Indy) there are many people that think it’s not sharing the NA way to speak about or mention specific drugs. That may be true but, it helped me to know I was in the right place when I heard people talk about the insanity.  I heard people that did things that seemed unspeakable to me and others that seemed “lightweights” compared to what it did.  Nevertheless, without hearing it all I wouldn’t have found the identification that I so much needed to hear in order to believe I might find help in NA.  For others, they get so squirmy  when they hear specific drugs mentioned or hear about experiences people have on specific drugs.  I understand this too.  The thing we have to be careful about is caring the message “the NA way”.  We want to make sure we are carrying the message and not the mess.  We also have to be careful not to present our opinions in a meeting as “gospel”.  It’s not acceptable for me to say in a meeting or here in this Newsletter that one way or the other is right or wrong. 

Hoosier’s an addict

Hoosier addicts are not unique but the Indy area definitely has it’s uniqueness to it.  As someone who has experienced recovery in several states I find many things interesting about Indy’s fellowship as compared with other area. Here are some examples;

Indy has huge sponsorship families. (Addicts in some other states have never heard the term “sponsorship families”).

Talking about specific drugs and mentioning specific drugs seems to be considered “Taboo” by many in the Indy fellowship. (Not the case in most places I have experienced recovery).

Indy has a very large youth population and participation in recovery – even a Recovery based school. (Never seen such large youth population participating in the fellowship)

Indy has a very few people willing to participate in area level and group level service commitments. In other states there will be elections, even at the group level for secretary, chairperson and even coffee commitments. In Indy, many area level commitments go vacant for full terms. I wonder how this could be improved. Maybe sponsors could help by encouraging their sponsees to participate more. What is the reason for Indy’s lacking interest in service commitments? Why are Hoosier addicts so less likely to give back (their time) and serve?