The Decision

“Yet another way we can practice our Third Step decision is to continue with our recovery by working the remainder of the steps.”

I had to give up the idea, and surrender to the fact, that nothing I do in life will be perfect. My only option, having made in to the rooms, was to not use, and keep my feet moving in the solution.

It is the living in recovery that got me. Every decision caused grief due to me trying to over analyze and manipulate outcomes. I would spend hours upon hours mentally exhausting myself with scenarios of what could be, what might be, and want wouldn’t be. When I shared these things with my sponsor, or in the rooms, a quiet chuckle was an obvious sign that I was not alone. Even with that quiet acknowledgement there was something in me that made me felt less than. I believed that I should just operate like a “normal” person and that seemingly insignificant events in my life should not have such huge impacts on my emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The lies I was telling myself had to stop. That I had to be perfect, or that I had to be “normal”.

I had a hard time understanding why my sponsor kept asking me where I was in my steps, how many meetings I was hitting, what service work was I was doing, and how my prayer and meditation were. I realize now that a big part of the Third Step surrender was just forward progress. I had to separate my idea that the surrender was not only to my HP, but understand that it was also to my Higher Power’s care. That care had set me in the rooms of NA. As I nurtured that system, showed that it was valuable and necessary, my relationship with my HP grew as a result. The more I focused on my actions in the rooms, and my work in the program, the greater my faith in a loving Higher Power became.

Following the simple suggestions, participating in the institution where I found hope, and having faith that my Higher Power will guide me, was the care I so desperately needed. That care came about in many ways. Honest sharing, getting rides, and people showing concern for me. Other people practicing their Twelfth Step was the care of my God, and by making a decision to allow them in my life, it greatly improved.

The actions I take today in the rooms of NA are a reflection of my surrender to my Higher Power’s will for me. The way I care for others is an important part of me giving back that same concern that was shown to me. I care for this institution because it is my direct line to my Higher Power. The simple act of continuing the footwork of this program has given me a relationship that I cannot show my gratitude for enough.

Tony R. Indianapolis, IN

Helping the Poor (Humor)

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A Vision of Hope Concerning Special Interest Groups (Reprint with Commentary)

We would like to give a brief history of special interest meetings and discuss how they relate to our Steps, Traditions and Concepts.

“The WSC Ad Hoc Committee on Special Interest Meetings was formed by vote of the 1988 World Service Conference (World Service Board of Trustees Bulletin (WSBoTB) 1988 #18).  The intent of this motion, as stated in the WSC minutes, was ‘to help us as a fellowship come to grips with and perhaps [come to] a solution to the issue of special interest meetings’…” (WSBoTB 1988 #18)

“Sometimes specialized NA groups form to provide additional identification for addicts with particular needs in common.  For example, many Men’s, Women’s, Gay, and Lesbian Groups exist today.  But the focus of any NA meeting—even if it’s conducted by a specialized group—is on recovery from addiction, and any addict is welcome to attend.”  (Group Booklet Revised, p.4)

“Some addicts will hear the message of recovery better in one type of meeting, while others prefer another format.  An NA community that offers a variety of meetings is more likely to reach a broad cross-section of addicts.” (It Works How & Why, p.153)  “We find that the stronger our individual members are, the more strongly united our fellowship becomes.”  (It Works… p.216)

We printed this article (in part) in our newsletter on November of 2003.  At that time we were meeting on Thursday at 7:00 pm.  Today, we are meeting on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at 1424 North Central Avenue.  The name of our group is Oasis of Hope and we are a Men’s Group.  We were the 1st Special Interest Group in this Area.  We had our first meeting on September 11, 2003 and aside from a brief five (5) month stint, we have been meeting for over 14 years.  We study the Steps and Traditions out of the Basic Text & It Works How & Why, the 12 Concepts out of the Concepts booklet, and a section out of the Living Clean book each week in rotation.

Some of our members agree with Special Interest Groups and some do not.  Some of our members will have “Sponsorship” or informal meetings to discuss NA’s steps, traditions and concepts, but those same members will not support a Men’s Group that has been on the NA Meeting Directory doing the exact same thing.

We believe firmly in the principles embodied in the NA’s Steps, Traditions, Concepts and the teachings in the Living Clean; The Journey Continues Book.  We believe fully in the Narcotics Anonymous Program.  If you’re not busy on a Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. please come to 1424 North Central Avenue (In the Basement) and support the only Narcotics Anonymous Men’s Group in Indianapolis.  Thank you…….Oasis of Hope

Breaking Point

So now what? I’ve been in the hospital for close to two hours. The doctors, nurses, interns, and other random people in generic blue scrubs have been kind enough. Still, I can almost hear their thoughts settling over me like some kind of malevolent fog. I’m just another overdose. I’m a dope fiend they have squandered resources on. They have given me another chance to live, but they recognize that it is really only a brief reprieve. They know, with a certainty born of too much experience with too many others just like me, exactly how my story will end. I know too. They will see me again if I’m lucky. Sooner or later, they will get to me too late.

The youngish doc standing over me is polite, but disengaged. It’s more than professional detachment. I understand why. It’s much harder to watch me self-destruct if I have a personality and identity beyond a name and date of birth on a chart. I recognize him. He has saved my life before. There’s a dreadful resignation in his bright green eyes when he looks at me. Also pity. Some have looked at me with disgust, and now I wonder which is worse. I pretend to rearrange the myriad wires tethering me to the hospital bed so I don’t have to make eye contact. In a few minutes they will release me. Which leads me back to the question at hand: So now what?

What I have chronicled is a rough sketch of a brief moment in time. It’s a recap of the internal monologue of an addict at his breaking point. That was the last time I got high. The people I found in Narcotics Anonymous told me I never had to use drugs again. I had nothing at all to offer when I came into the rooms of NA. Fortunately, no one seemed to expect me to. They were ok with my brokenness. They encouraged me to surrender. Since I had nothing left to lose, I took their suggestions. With the admission of powerlessness, my spiritual journey began in earnest. It’s early in the process of recovery. There is so much every day to learn if I only stay open minded. I feel pain, sadness, exhilaration, pleasure, and a plethora of other emotions I can’t even identify. Sometimes they threaten to overwhelm me. I’m just so used to feeling numb. There are rare moments of real joy and I hold on to those moments like my life depends on them. More than anything, I never forget that last time.  And just for today, I don’t have to get high.

– Christopher B.     6/22/18

One Word Theme to Live by in 2016

I have meditated at length on what my word to live by in 2016 would be.  After talking to James H., I have decided on Surrender.  I was going to choose Healthy but James twisted my arm and mind (jk) however, he pointed out if I Surrender, the byproduct will be Healthy.  Imagine that!!

I’ve done my work.  Now members,  let’s get those “one word theme for 2016” submitted.


Jada J.

Should Our Area Split?

The following is submitted by the Oasis of Hope home group.

~ NaNewsIndy

Motion: To research the feasibility of splitting up the Central Indiana Area of Narcotics Anonymous.
Intent: There is clear disunity within our Area. By splitting up, we will become more unified.
But Why Divide???

“Our common welfare should come first. Personal recovery depends on NA Unity.” 1st Tradition. “The unity underlying our common welfare requires personal commitment and responsible action.” IWH&W, Pg. 93.

• At this writing our Regional Convention ISNAC is lost to Merrillville for at least the next five (5) years. The largest area in the region can no longer host a convention that started right here in Indianapolis. A clear sign of complacency, indignance and lack of unity.
• The Area is too large. We have 109 groups on the current meeting directory. 10 groups go over the Steps, Traditions, or concepts. 47 groups read some type of our literature, and the remaining 52 groups are Open Topic/Discussion. We resemble more of a social club than a 12-step fellowship. We have great recovery in Indianapolis, but the members that have substantial clean time got their recovery a lot different than what we currently have today. Typically, 65-90 GSR’s show up at Area, but when it’s time to conduct the “business” aspect of the meeting there are normally less than 20 GSR’s left. This is not a true Group Conscience. If the Groups are OK with this type of behavior, let’s just open a Service Office where GSR’s can purchase literature 5-6 days a week. Basically, Area Service needs a major restructuring. This restructuring can be purpose driven, group focused, defined by geographical boundaries, collaborative, and flexible. A new service structure has been created through our World Services that I have attached to the end of this document. Some of the language has changed. The GSU (Group Service Unit) has now become the GSF (Group Service Forum), but the essence is the same.
• CIACNA was formed 12 years ago. This is our Area Convention. There was a lot of dissension amongst members initially, but there was more Unity. The first three conventions were very successful. CIACNA contributed a major sum of money to the Area (paying back the $500 we asked for initially for CIACNA I and much more). CIACNA was actually the major contributor that rescued the Area from financial hardship at that time. Members would rather drive 200 miles away and support a convention that gives absolutely nothing back to our Area, than support the Area Convention in their own back yard. Out of the 12 years in existence, there has been a motion to change or dissolve the convention in 7 of those years. Over the years, when there was a threat that CIACNA may need some money to help pay for the convention, Area donations were mysteriously at a record low. Coincidence? Yes, members have a choice about what they choose to support, but we ask you, “Is this a sign of unity?” If there is an issue with Trusted Servants, Finances, Music, Speakers, or Events at the Area Convention that turn you off, let’s discuss it. Again, this is our Area Convention, not some separate entity like ISNAC.
• To say we are not divided by race is absurd. I believe as members, we are naturally drawn to people that look like we do, but one of the disease’s greatest strengths is division. What’s sad is most of the division is not from without our particular race, but from within. There’s a Narcotics Anonymous Men’s Group that meets right here in Indianapolis, but members are more apt to have their “Men’s meetings” at someone’s house, than to support a NA Men’s group in their own Area. Some of these same members don’t believe in a NA Men’s Meeting, but they’ll share at a Men’s Rap at a Convention or Speaker Jam… The contradiction is mind-boggling, but “It’s difficult to see the picture when you’re in the frame”. Women’s meetings start and die within a year. Our female members within 5-8 years clean mostly leave the fellowship. In some circles, CIACNA is known as BLACKNA. “Sponsorship families” put on specific events to undermine other events that are going on in the Area. Just look around you at the next Area and observe how we are seated…Why is so much emphasis put on the “Personality and not the Principle”? The program of NA does not teach that. Maybe we are just romantics, but it’s my understanding, “we are a spiritual fellowship, with high ideals”.
• An Area Office was created in 2005 complete with a copier, mail machine and storage facility (it was very small, but at least it was ours). This was the precursor to Area purchasing its own building. A place to hold meetings, Area Service, functions and events. A place to house our Service Office where members could purchase literature. A place for members to fellowship. Currently we are scrambling to find a place for this function, or find a place for that event. We’re content to send every penny over the prudent reserve to Region & World instead of building up and cultivating our own Area first. We’d just as soon pay some outside facility $150 per month for three (3) hours of service than to create a legacy for our Area. Why? “Because that’s the way it’s always been.” The Area Office is gone and with it the dream of bigger and better things for our members and the addicts yet to come. Are we fully self-supporting through our own contributions? What’s holding us back? Fear? Control? Lack of trust in the process? Lack of Unity?

Lastly, like it or not, we are divided. If we can’t do anything to address our fear, lack of knowledge, disunity and cumbersome Area processes, a division will bring us closer together. Some believe that this is not possible. Divided, we will still be left with the same people, with the same belief systems. We disagree, we believe we won’t be controlled by mindsets that want things to remain as “they have always been”. “Recovery is an ACTIVE change in our ideas and attitudes”, but two of the basic aspects of the disease is fear of change and fear of the unknown. “This fear, based in part on past failures and disappointments in solving life’s difficulties, prevents us from making meaningful choices; choices which, if acted upon, would remove the very fear which blocks us.” IP #5.

Let All Hear Our Message

I am personally concerned with a practice that seems to be prevalent at many meetings that I attend. It is the issue of talking during our readings and over the person who is trying to read. This (our readings) is a critical aspect of our recovery and it would seem that it should be granted the highest respect by all of us.

“Unity Is A Must” and our readings at the meetings set the pace for such to occur for all of us, especially for the new member. “As long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would tear us apart, all will be well.” “Our common welfare should come first. Personal recovery depends on NA unity.” “Our primary purpose is to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.”  All of these phrases are from our literature and directly deal with such disruptions as stated above during our readings.

We can get and use numbers to catch up with other members. We can get with other members after or before the meeting. We can utilize the burning desires portion of the meeting if appropriate and within our spiritual principles. We can allow the newcomer to be able to hear from the literature Who Is An Addict, What Is The Narcotics Anonymous Program, Why Are We Here, How It Works, and The Twelve Traditions of NA. For this addict, it is what I take in that will come out in some way. When the solution comes out, that works the miracle for me. Can we please respect the meetings, the message and those of us who attend?

Thank you. WE DO RECOVER!!!!!

Ken C.

A spiritual, not religious program

Like many before me, when I first came to NA I was exhausted, beat up and empty. I did not trust my own instincts, and I had no idea how to ask for help. I was confused when first confronted with the 12 Steps and all those references to a Higher Power and God … I did not grow up with any religion at all, so I really did not know what to make of all that. Would I have to become a Christian to stay clean? Would I be expected to go to church? My family is Jewish, maybe I should go to temple?? So many questions! Thankfully I found a sponsor early on who helped me find some answers. Getting in touch with my Higher Power is not the same thing as believing in God, although that’s what many choose to call their Higher Power. For me, my Higher Power is the force in my life that does not want me to suffer in active addiction any longer. It’s the sun on my face, the hugs I get when I walk into a meeting, the joy I experience in helping a newcomer. It’s about being a part of a bigger whole, which then fills the hole inside of me. No one in NA has ever told me to go to church or to follow the teachings of any religious organization. I have been advised to pray and meditate. For me this means taking time out of a busy day to sit quietly with my thoughts, allowing myself time to be grateful for all the good things that have happened in my life since I’ve been clean, thankful for the love and support I have received. My prayers start with saying thank you to my Higher Power, and end with asking for the honesty, open mindedness and willingness to know what my Higher Power’s will is for me and the power to carry it out. Sometimes what comes in between is a hot mess of sorrow and pain, sometimes it’s more gratitude, and sometimes my only prayer is “God damn it!” I don’t mind if others want to talk about the importance of God and their own religion in their recovery journeys, just like they don’t mind if I don’t.   I love that NA is a spiritual program and has taught me how to feel connected to something greater than myself, without ever making me feel like I had to follow any religious teachings.   I’d love to hear other people’s experiences with the spiritual nature of our fellowship, so that newcomers can see that they don’t have to be afraid of “the God thing” that still keeps so many from taking these steps. Please leave a comment below!

Unity is a Must

I’m an addict called Jada J. Hi family!! I am a member of the convention committee for CIACNA XII. The primary theme for the convention is always “Unity is a Must.” I started thinking, yes I know that’s dangerous, but I wanted to hear from the fellowship: What does unity mean to you and is it really a must?

Meredith B. states: It means we band together no matter what. That no matter what NA meeting I go to anywhere in the world, I am welcome as we all are, coming together with the common bond. It is a must if we are to continue recovering as a fellowship.

Lisa F. states: Unity is a must. We are all working together for a common goal; to stay clean. One addict helping another. Our area issue is that we are racially divided. That is where we lack unity.   I asked Lisa how we can come together. Racially that is…   Lisa: That is the magic question. If we could answer that, we would solve tons of problems.

Jeff B. from Kokomo states: Unity means our identification as addicts is as important to the individual as well as our unity. The clarity of the NA message is the foundation of our unity. (I personally like this answer)

Fred G. from Chicago states: Unity to me means coming together for the goodness of others, an agreement or alliance to form a union or bond. Being a member of NA, I feel strongly that unity is a must when it comes to recovery. Mainly because it brings addicts together that most likely would not even associate with each other.   We are able to come together to help the newcomer which is the most important person. We can also agree to disagree at anytime but can agree to help the still suffering addict. When I was a newcomer, seeing the unity in the members that was in the rooms, gave me something to strive for. I wanted what they had. We must live and work together as a group to ensure that in a storm our ship does not sink and our members do not perish. With faith in a power greater than ourselves, hard work, and unity, WE will survive and continue to carry the message to the addict who still suffers which is “AN ADDICT, ANY ADDICT, CAN STOP USING DRUGS, LOSE THE DESIRE TO USE AND FIND A NEW WAY TO LIVE.” OUR MESSAGE IS HOPE AND THE PROMISE OF FREEDOM which is helped by sharing unity.

Sheila J. from Cincinnati states: Unity means collectively, the WE of the program broadens my base. It helps me to keep an open mind. Yes it is a must if I want to stay sane and manage my emotions!

Nikki B. states: When I think of unity, I think of the integration of single parts that function without the knowledge of needing each other, but, when blended together as a whole, function better when integrated, although each element is different. Unity makes us seem to belong together instead of separate. This exemplifies the miraculous principles of the Narcotics Anonymous program.

Fellowshipping is also what unity means to me, which is a must. When I think about the elements of my life, I am of mind, body and Spirit. Each entity operates of its own accord within its own scope and spectrum. But, within the unity of the NA fellowship, the elements of me…my heart, mind and Spirit come together on a subconscious level of integrating on one accord, unifying the mind, body and Spirit of others in the name of peace, love and compassion.

To sum up, this is why unity is a must. When I experience elements of myself becoming unified as a whole, so we as vast individuals of the fellowship become one as a whole. Each of us, from all walks of life, are shining sparks of our Higher Power. We as beams shine individually, but, blended within the love our Higher Power, we unify as one, a beautiful rainbow of many colors.

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!