Biggest Little Area in the World

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May 22, 2024
Symptoms of a spiritual awakening
Page 148
"The steps lead to an awakening of a spiritual nature. This awakening is evidenced by changes in our lives."
Basic Text, p. 49

We know how to recognize the disease of addiction. Its symptoms are indisputable. Besides an uncontrollable appetite for drugs, those suffering exhibit self-centered, self-seeking behavior. When our addiction was at its peak of activity, we were obviously in a great deal of pain. We relentlessly judged ourselves and others, and spent most of our time worrying or trying to control outcomes.

Just as the disease of addiction is evidenced by definite symptoms, so is a spiritual awakening made manifest by certain obvious signs in a recovering addict. We may observe a tendency to think and act spontaneously, a loss of interest in judging or interpreting the actions of anyone else, an unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment, and frequent attacks of smiling.

If we see someone exhibiting symptoms of a spiritual awakening, we should be aware that such awakenings are contagious. Our best course of action is to get close to these people. As we begin having frequent, overwhelming episodes of gratitude, an increased receptiveness to the love extended by our fellow members, and an uncontrollable urge to return this love, we'll realize that we, too, have had a spiritual awakening.

Just for Today: My strongest desire is to have a spiritual awakening. I will watch for its symptoms and rejoice when I discover them.
May 22, 2024
The Generosity in Being Vulnerable
Page 147
"Recovery is a gift, given freely, passed from hand to hand and heart to heart."
Guiding Principles, Tradition Eight, Opening Reflection

While it can be easy to think of our Traditions as nothing more than rules or guidelines to keep us in check, the truth is that they describe the way our Fellowship is able to enjoy tremendous freedom. The NA approach allows us to carry our message in whatever way suits us best; no degrees or specialized training necessary—simply our personal experience shared in our own way. One speaker laughed about our Traditions: "I heard 'nonprofessional' and 'ought never be organized,' and I knew I was in the right place! Then I had the experience of sharing a total mess, crying and cussing and crazy, and people came up afterward and told me that they got a lot out of what I shared."

Sharing who we are and where we are—no fronts, no filters—is an act of generosity. Especially for secretive addicts like us, giving other people a chance to glance behind the curtain and see what's really going on can be a precious gift. We are able to do so much for other addicts when we get honest this way. When we tell on ourselves, we let other members see they're not alone in what they're going through. "They told me I can't save my face and my ass at the same time," one addict wrote. "I realized later that if I try to save face while I help an addict, I won't do a very good job doing either."

We never really know which of our words or actions will break through and reach the addict who is suffering. It could be that one kind gesture, a hug, a particular experience shared, or all of them taken together. NA isn't treatment or therapy or any other type of place where professionals can offer a diagnosis and plan. Instead, we share freely the way other addicts shared with us, and we connect with others on a heart-to-heart level.

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Getting vulnerable when I share opens my heart to other addicts. I will freely give what was given to me: the gift of recovery.