Sunday, July 16, 2006

Those who forget the past . . .

are destined to repeat it.

I spent several hours this weekend at an AA convention, the first I've attended in my 21 years sober. I thank God that I came into the rooms through Narcotics Anonymous, so that the focus of my disease was removed from the substances I used and instead placed on my "addiction." Over the years, I've watched far too many AA members believe that they can use pain medication for various ailments, almost always with disastrous results.

When I moved to the midwest, I found NA adolescent and cliquish and began going to AA. But I digress.

I still go to both Fellowships and I carry a clear message. If I'm in AA I identify as an alcohlic and focus on my problems with alcohol, and they were many. If I'm in NA, I identify as an addict and talk about my addiction. It's pretty simple. And although over the years I've sponsored many women in NA and had only NA sponsors, I am no longer asked, at least in this state, to speak or to sponsor in NA because I attend both programs. I can live with that.

What I find hard to live with, though, is the feeling that I lead a dual life. I did that when I used: By night I was a public nuisance while during the day I was struggling to keep a job in the insurance industry. I refuse to live a lie today and if I hide the fact that I attend both Fellowships, I am living a lie.

I was in an NA meeting in Arizona in December, where I got clean. I heard a member with about seven years share from the podium (he was the speaker) my least-liked phrase in NA, that he works a "pure NA program." That would have been enough to make me shake my head, but then he went on to add that he believed (and when people say the word "believe," just forget about arguing with them because they've made up their minds)that if it hadn't been for AA, it would have been something else and that NA would have still been founded. I almost fell out of my chair because it was simply the boldest case of hubris I've seen since the day I practically crawled, (as did he; I remember) through the doors of our rooms.

I'm having trouble putting in links, but if you want to read some awesome recovery, go to I steal, and I hope it meets with his approval, from Dick's site with these words: "A.A.’s former archivist Frank M. often said: 'Whenever a civilization or society perishes, there is always one condition present. They forgot where they came from.'

The Fellowship of NA saved my life and I will always be grateful. But today, I don't have time to put up with a bunch of nonsense in my life; I need to speak and live my truth. And the truth is, NA owes it very existence to Alcoholics Anonymous. I bet my life on it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I understand negativity in not receiving the message of recovery at a meeting of NA, however, those of us with time have a responsibility to those without time. When I asked my sponsor the simple question, when do I share? He said "When you have something to say or to correct some misinformation." He went on to say nothing irritated him more than someone that has nothing to say but takes twenty minutes saying it.

What's the hurry? Do I need the message the way I want to hear it every time or what I need to hear when it happens? Let's face it, a guy with seven years clean is full of shit, I know, because I was that guy as you were that girl; program arrogance and a pitch for every topic and always very articulate (translated as "what an asshole").

Never ceases to amaze me how people believe everything is created in a vacuum of ideals or experience and somehow magically appears in its present state for us to take advantage. You are right, it is religious and not spiritual and a seven year old's belief is bound to change with time because when the shit hits the fan and life knocks to your knees you will embrace the program or head out the door to follow the three terminal path: jails, institutions or death.