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Success stories

A young addict...

All addicts can find recovery in NA...including a fifteen-year-old girl from a south Florida island who learned to drink coffee and hang out with a crowd of thirty-year-olds. Because she knew her recovery depended on these people — even as they hit on her, teased her for getting clean so young and told her how lucky she was not to have to experience real pain — while she kept silent suffered from her past: sexual abuse, overdose, promiscuity, arrests, violence, loneliness, guilt, paranoia. She would have loved to say that her pain was just as destructive as the pain of a homeless junkie or any other addict - even if she was different (younger) in her eyes. She was ready to stop; she asked for help. But some NA members told her she was too young to be an addict. Others avoided her or rejected her. Thank goodness there were also those who told her that she had earned her place on Narcotics Anonymous and that she should stay and fight for it.

I remember hearing the message of recovery for the first time. As so often happens, I stumbled drunk into my 9th grade high school English class after class had started. Something was different that day. The class was silent and a woman was talking to the teacher.

I crept back into the corner. The other students avoided me because I often became aggressive. I was wiping the sweat off my sunglasses when the teacher introduced the woman. The visitor is a former drug addict who would tell us about her drug problem. The other students laughed their heads off when I asked her if she had brought us some drugs.

When she started talking about her childhood, I sucked on paper pellets and shot her with a straw. Someone threw a crumpled homework sheet at her as she discussed her arrests and overdoses. I laughed and fired up the others to be as disrespectful and annoying as possible.

Even though we were teasing her the whole time, her voice stayed even and calm. Even though I pretended not to care at all, I heard every word she said, every single word.

I'd tried, wanted, and promised to quit, but always to no avail. It might sound unbelievable, but I come from a wonderful family with loving parents and two older brothers who I admire. My closeness to them was slowly being destroyed and I felt utterly unable to do anything about it.

A little later that day, two non-addicted friends approached me. They had tried many times to help me quit by lying for me, dragging me to and from class, begging me to stop, taking my drugs away from me, or threatening to snitch. Now they asked me to skip the next hour to meet someone. When we walked into the room, there she was - the woman who had fascinated me and scared me to death at the same time.

Before I left, she told me that she would like to take me to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. What she said later proved comforting to me. She said with confidence, "Just for today, you never have to do drugs again."

At the end of that first meeting, I was standing in front of the door holding a plain white poker chip. I later learned that this white poker chip is a symbol of my surrender and should remind me that if I threw it away I was gambling with my life. Strange as it may sound, at my age and without knowing anything about NA, I felt that I had found something that would change my life forever. For some reason I knew I was safe, that I had found help.

Thus began my journey of recovery, taking me to places beyond my imagination. Over time, I learned about the traditions and the NA service structure. Little did I know back then that I would one day enjoy doing service. Today I make phone calls, greet newcomers, hand out literature, set the table and chairs, make coffee, take out the trash and wipe the floor after the meeting.

Despite the pressure from the other teenagers who were just "doing their time," I was blessed with the willingness to find a sponsor and develop a relationship with her. Little did I know that I myself would sponsor many women over the years as I had something of value to give and was willing to give because it was given so generously to me too.

It was a gift for me to take my recovery seriously. I listened and stuck to the "winners" just as I was told. I confidently followed my sponsor's suggestion to attend the World Convention in Chicago. There I met addicts from around the world and shared my recovery with them. Some of them are still clean today and I consider them my brothers and sisters. I have seen many addicts die that I love.

Little did I know that the woman who shared her story with me in that classroom would relapse after three years clean and die of an overdose. Little did I know that one day I would be celebrating twenty years clean at the meeting she started, which is still my home group today. I had no idea how lucky I was to meet NA, not only because I was so young myself, but because NA was still young.

I believe deeply in NA's message, not only because of all the gifts of recovery, but also because of the excruciating pain I went through in my recovery. There were lonely, awful times I didn't want to go through and times when I couldn't do anything anymore. God, the XNUMX Steps and other recovering addicts got me through this clean.

The message of Narcotics Anonymous, which I try to keep alive in my heart every day, is as relevant to me today as it was the day I heard this woman - the woman who had the courage to tell her story to anyone Sharing a class and saying "addicts, all addicts, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way of life."

All addicts, including you!

Story from: Basic Text 6th Edition, Copright Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Chatsworth, California