Written By: Fiona Stockard
The Basic Text Broken Down – Part Five
Narcotics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other recover from drug and alcohol addiction. It was founded in July of 1953, just celebrated its sixty-first anniversary, and boasts over 60,000 meetings worldwide.
NA’s central literature is the Basic Text. With a sponsor, the Basic Text, and a workbook, NA members work the twelve steps. Through working these steps, NA members learn that “Just for today, you never have to use again!” (xxiii)
Today, we’re going to examine the Step Two section of “How It Works.”
Step Two is when “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” (23).
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not always! I didn’t think I was insane. I didn’t think I needed God or a Higher Power or whatever you recovery weirdo’s wanted to call it.
It urns out I was insane! “How It Works” makes my insanity pretty clear. “Insanity is using drugs day after day knowing that only physical and mental destruction comes when we use” (24).
See, us addicts and alcoholics have strange minds. We’re able to convince ourselves that we’re not behaving in a crazy manner. Did I pawn my mom’s jewelry? Yep. Did I try to steal checks from my dad? Yep. Did I take anything my friends didn’t nail down? Yep.
Not to mention the physical and mental pain I inflicted on my loved ones and myself. I didn’t think I was insane at the time, but oh boy I was definitely insane! Lesson learned – active addiction equals insanity. What about God, though?
The chapter goes on to say, “Even when we admitted that we needed help with our drug problem, many of us would not admit the need for faith and sanity” (24).
Yeah, f**k faith! I can stay sober all on my own. I don’t need God, meetings, or sober women. I don’t need any of that crap! Well, that didn’t work out so hot for me. Case in point –
“In this program, the first thing we do is stop using drugs. At this point, we begin to feel the pain of living without drugs or anything to replace them. The pain forces us to seek a Power greater than ourselves that can relieve our obsession to use” (24).
That was my experience. When I tried to stay sober on my own, I felt like s**t. I felt so bad that I relapsed. See, drugs and alcohol aren’t my problem. I’m my problem. Drugs and alcohol are my solution to living life. Drugs and alcohol are my solution to existing with my thoughts and feelings.
So, through pain, I came to believe that I needed a Higher Power. What was that H.P. going to be, though? “How It Works” says,
“Our understanding of a Higher Power is up to us. No one is going to decide for us. We can call it the group, the program, or we can call it God. The only suggested guidelines are that this Power be loving, caring and greater than ourselves” (24).
I liked reading that! I was told it didn’t matter what I believed in, as long as I believed. Now, I was also told I couldn’t make a light bulb, a chair, or any other stupid stuff my Higher Power. Remember, I needed something greater than myself. A chair was NOT greater than Fiona, even active addict Fiona.
I believed in the group. I believed in my sponsor. I believed that maybe, just maybe, if I did what they said, I’d get better. To put it another way, I accepted that I needed to believe.
The chapter addresses this idea of accepting before trusting. It says, “As we see coincidences and miracles happening in our lives, acceptance becomes trust” (25). That was so true for me!
Step Two says, “came to believe.” Came. As in, it’s a process. As in, it doesn’t happen all at once. As in, I didn’t wake up one morning and say “gee, I believe in God now!” I trusted others. I took some action. I started trying to help women. Guess what? I started to get better.
One of the really cool things about having faith in a Higher Power is that your Higher Power starts to work before you’re aware what’s happening. NA says, “We can use this Power long before we understand it” (24).
That was certainly true for me. God started to work in my life before I understood it. Hell, I still don’t understand it! I just know that if I do good things, if I try to be a little bit better each day, life is pretty awesome!