"We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
As we heal in our social and spiritual relationships, we are in touch with more people that we can get along with. Recovery lessens our fear and reduces the number of people that we try to avoid. Through working the Steps, we invite God as a spiritual force or being to move in and exert a force in the direction of our personal betterment and health. A surgeon may sew an open wound together but only the spirit of life we call God can actually make the separated skin, muscle and tissue grow together again. Healing is a miracle. For some of us, amends are like stitching the wound together so that the healing can take place. We know it is getting better when old wound starts itching as the new skin begins its function. The word heal is an important focus to our recovery process. There is so much out there in the world to discourage us and force us to pay prices for stuff that we did when we were out of our minds. We discontinue our errors and replace them with positive alternatives thus accomplishing a healing. How we earn our living, how we look at other people and how we provide for those who depend on us must all change in time. Helping others to heal gives us a steady flow of unforeseen breakthroughs and self-awareness. Areas in which we need help that might have been invisible to us for the rest of our lives, will often snap into focus if we see someone else making a similar mistake. We may say, "Oh, no!" when we see them doing what we do, but our whole lives begin to change. Perhaps we should say, "Oh, yes!" Many times these are the little life lessons we should have learned as children but we missed out on them while we were in active addiction. While other people were experiencing life, we were out to lunch. Healing for us is filling those areas we missed out on and moving into those areas where we've never been before. It is the increase of our life on a solid footing.
‘Adepts’ is a term frequently used to describe spiritually experienced persons. This means that they are adept at practicing spiritual principles. The spiritually inexperienced person may perceive the process to be an illogical bunch of hocus-pocus. Fear and superstitious dread play a role in preventing our growth. We dread change and have trouble believing change will be for the better! As a member of NA, we each have the important right to our own belief systems. We accept, appreciate and fully understand that if we don't believe something, it will not work for us. If you think you don't believe - yet find something working - one possibility is that we have an unconscious belief that is strong enough to produce results. This may be difficult to recognize especially when we lack some of the sensations that other people might experience. Our best move is to focus on our belief and let it become more clear over time. Sometimes the belief of another we love and trust can help us get started. But we have to walk enough of the mile alone to call it our own experience. Otherwise, our foundation is not based on experience and may crumble and fall. Prepare for it like any other journey. Start praying and expecting results. Focus forward on your newfound belief and not back to the unworkable past. Clean and healthy, lots of things get easy! We encourage one another to be sensible and keep spirituality simple. What is simple may grow more complex as time goes by, that’s to be expected. It is better to stick to that which is true and works than to subscribe to a belief that for the most part remains unclear.
Practical spirituality emphasizes our spiritual experiences. As our experience grows, we increase our capacity to share. On the Ninth Step, we only put people on our list when we gain the awareness of our need for freedom from those ‘bad feelings’ that we cannot otherwise resolve. We aren't looking to complicate matters so we don’t go looking for trouble. We simply need to wipe out some more of the leftover pain from our active addiction. The Twelve Steps deal with these internal issues and help us establish a solid spiritual foundation. In Eighth and Ninth Steps, we move out into the world around us and begin to clean up some leftover messes. Some of these may be relatively minor problems that are more felt and imagined than potential hazards to our health or threats to our life. Where a serious problem actually exists, common sense generates a prudence that cautions us to go slowly and ask others for help. We should consult our sponsors instead of plunging wildly ahead. Many have made the decisions to go ahead alone and some have paid a dear price. Remembering the slogan, "Easy Does It" is most appropriate in this Step. Some of us use the concept, "When in doubt – Don’t" and call our sponsors or get to a meeting to get a reality check.
If you know of someone who may be experiencing pain or confusion from past events, situations or circumstances that you know something about let them know. So long as it causes no further harm to anyone, including yourself, it may alleviate someone's suffering. And that will give you a lift.
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