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  1. #1
    ashley80 Guest

    Default First NA Meeting

    I thought I'd post this, for anyone who is thinking about NA, and hasn't tried it. Not claiming to be an expert, as I've only attended one meeting (#2 tonight is planned).
    Monday night, for no reason, I walked out of my house at 7:50, drove up the street to a local church, parked, and walked into the church rec room where I used to attend Brownie meetings with my girls. On the way there, I told myself, I'd just "drive by" and check it out. For some reason, I parked the car...
    Walked in the room, saw a bunch of people, different ages, different styles of dress, etc. Had no idea if it was the right place. Sat down next to a man, and asked him, "is this NA? Am I in the right place?" He just looked at me, and said, "you are in the right place, hon." That was my welcome.
    Then came some readings from the big book. Then the leader handed out chips to those who were celebrating "clean anniversaries." There was one for "1 Day," but I couldn't get it, since I used on Monday.
    We broke into groups, and I just picked the one that looked the least scary. Nobody at the meeting looked much like me, middle-aged suburban mom. A guy read the "Just for Today" reading which was about Gratitude. Then we went round the circle, saying what was on our minds. My turn came, but I was too choked up with tears to say more, than, "Hi, I'm "Ashley" and I'm an addict. I want to be clean, and I'm really scared." A young man handed me a box of tissues. Talk about humiliation. Across the circle, a man said something confrontational to me about why should I be crying, I should be happy to be there. Then the meeting broke up. I was still crying (quietly).
    A young woman came up and hugged me, wrote down her phone number and told me to call her. I walked out, and at least 5 other people came up to me, all encouraging me to come back. A couple more hugs. Another phone number.
    I drove home, still crying, and my husband took one look at me and said, "how was your meeting?" I had never told him where I was going. Don't know how he knew.
    I haven't cried that much since I can't remember. Probably the last time I was clean. I had enough opiates that day to block out most anything, so I don't know how the tears broke through.
    Haven't been able to get the experience out of my head ever since. I don't know what it was, but I felt like I had the weight of the world lifted off me for that hour.
    I am sure you all think I'm a soppy, sappy, crazy lady. You are probably right. But something clicked, and I am going back to find out more. It can't hurt, right? I've been fighting this alone for so long.
    This is [u]way</u> too personal, so I'm probably going to delete it, or at least edit it. But if anyone is thinking of attending an NA meeting, I would recommend giving it a try. It takes (at least for me) a lot of courage to walk in alone. I don't know if I will keep going or not, but I'm going to try another one tonight, and I'm taking a box of tissues, just in case, although I hope I don't do that again (the crying thing). I'm not normally a "crier." So I can't really explain it. Anyhow, I hope this gives somebody the idea or courage to try it out. Speaking for myself only, it is REALLY tough to beat this ball-and-chain of addiction by yourself. Sorry this is long!!
    Ashley (Boo Hoo) [:I]

  2. #2
    Mic Guest

    Default

    Ashley-
    I am SO PROUD OF YOU!! It takes so much courage to walk into your first (or 2nd or 3rd) AA/NA meeting. And I'm so excited that you at least heard enough to come back to another meeting. I personally attend AA, cuz much more sobriety in my area. Oh, did I tell you? I happen to be a drunk in addition to being a dope fiend. I know you've heard this, BUT: Look for the similarities, not the differences, avoid contempt prior to investigation, get a sponsor! Asking for a sponsor may be difficult, but you will feel Sooo much better when you have someone who can help you through the steps. And, most importantly, read "The Promises" LISTEN TO EVERY SINGLE WORD of those promises. It is no BS. It just works. It just works. It just works. It just works. And lastly, again, if NA isn't "floating your boat, try AA". I'm dying to know how this works for you on a daily basis. Please keep us posted. GREAT JOB. Best, MIC

  3. #3
    ashley80 is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks Mic. What are the promises? ARe they in the big book?
    I'll let you know how tonight's meeting goes. I like what you said about it just works. That helps too. Thanks again, my friend.
    A

  4. #4
    Mic Guest

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    Ashley-
    I'm going to recite them here, even though I'm a slow typist, it's very important!
    " If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom, and a new happiness. We will not regret the past or wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience will benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not! They will always materialize if we work for them."

    I'm not sure where you stand on the God thing? But... don't trip. You go through the steps IN ORDER, and all you need right now is WILLINGNESS to believe there is a power greater than you. Shouldn't be too difficult. Would you not agree that opiates are a power greater than you? Anyway, do you see my point? TTYL. Best, MIC

  5. #5
    Mic Guest

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    Forgot one thing, as usual.
    When you really, really get right down to it, isn't the reason we self-medicate is to get "peace of mind"? We'll say, no, I wanted to get high, or I wanted to escape, or I wanted oblivion, or I just wanted a little buzz. I think this is all the same as wanting "peace of mind". It just takes a while for us to see that. Best, MIC

  6. #6
    mallomar is offline Senior Member
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    Everyone's first NA meeting is rough, awkard, and uncomfortable- I would say what happened is a good indication you are in the right place. Stick around a little longer and you will see more people have that experience at their first meeting, it's not uncommon.

    If you tell them it's your first meeting, you get a welcome hug, a key chain, and a pamphlet that outlines NA but also has the numbers of same-sex people with over 90 days clean. So at your next meeting, if you didn't say it was your first meeting, you might wanna do that. I understand it's uncomfortable to be the center of attention for something like this, but everyone does it.

    The more you go, you'll meet people- I think most people rush out of their first NA meeting as soon as it's over. If one meeting does have the crowd you want, you'll find one that does- I never thought I'd be hanging out with people from an NA meeting, but I have. Coffee and chain-smoking at nearby diners is the NA way hehe.

    NA's about different things to different people- so maybe the comraderie of other recoverying addicts is what will help you (that's the part that I appreciated the most) , or maybe you like the semi-group-therapy approach, or maybe the steps are your thing. Just take what you need and leave the rest. I think it's important to find meetings with people in similar circumstances and age, though- might make the stories have a lot more weight to you.

    &lt;insert NA saying here&gt;

    Congratulations though on going to your first meeting.

    mallomar

  7. #7
    ashley80 is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, Mic. I copied the promise and pasted it into a file. I'll read it again when I'm detoxing later this week. Maybe it will help. Thanks for your input, too. I am very grateful for your concern and interest. You didn't say how [u]you</u> were doing?
    Mallo, I hear what you say about finding people who are like me. I am going to have to shop around. I didn't get my key chain at the meeting since I'm not clean for one day yet. But I'm looking forward to it.
    I think going to a meeting beats sitting around the house by myself, taking pills. At least that's how I feel today.
    A

  8. #8
    SeanO is offline Member
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    I think that "The Promises" are specific to A.A. I've not heard them recited at any of the N.A. meetings in my area.
    I've attended both NA and AA. I actually prefer AA. I have nothing against NA, I just seemed to have made better friends at a particualar AA meeting that I attend regularly. It's also funny because there are more folks that are heroin addicts at this particular AA group than at the NA groups I've been too. A majority of the people in NA around here dealing with crack and methamphetamine addictions.

    Ashley, it's great that you gave it a try. You may find it to be a valuable tool in your recovery. I know that I do. I go just about every day. It's also pretty common knowledge that those that attend meetings regularly are more likely to stay clean.

    sean

  9. #9
    Hopeful is offline Member
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    Ashley, Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I was so moved by your honesty. Let's face it: it is really tough to be an addict. BTW, you write really well. You express your emotions really nicely. Do you write for a living?

    My first NA meeting was much like yours. I got out of the car and some people were hanging out in front of this church. One guy said to me, "Are you one of us?" and I said "Yeah" and he hugged me and said "I'm Bobby." That is how first meetings go. Just like that. One of the things I like about NA over AA is the hugs. Sometimes when you feel like an addict piece-of-s***, the hugs can be really good. I think the alkies (boozers, rummies, same difference 'cause pills are solid alcohol. I know, I know, there are reasons to have separate groups (sigh)) don't hug as much because addiction (to drugs other than alcohol!) is really stigmatized more than alcoholism. It is really easy for an addict to feel like dung. Alcoholics have it rough, too. Ah, we're all in the same boat, right? Try to stay clean and sober. Anyway Ashley, wonderful post. Keep us updated on the meetings if you feel comfortable, k? Hopeful

  10. #10
    rikaard is offline Senior Member
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    Hey Ashley, way to go girl,

    I admire your honesty and theres NO humiliation in crying and getting emotional, I just wish so much that I could get emotional, Im just emotionally dead at the momment.
    Anyway its GOOD to get in touch with your emotions, Im sure No one minded at all, heck they probally admired your courage.

    its hard going to your first NA meeting and even harder to sumon the courage to go alone.
    The first one I ever went to was years back I was just passing this Church Hall and I saw people going in and I sussed it was NA so I went in, Id never felt so uncomfortable in my life,
    I just wanted to get the hell outa there and as soon as it ended I bolted for the door,
    maurice Greens got nothing on me,anyway as I was just out side this girl ran out after me and said hi and dragged me back in for Tea and after a while I felt so much better, she spent nearly an hour telling me what its all about.

    Recently I have been going now and then. at the start it was only to please my Girl but Ive sorta got into it a bit, as far as I can tell it seems to be the people that use the meetings that stay clean, so Im like you Ill try ANYTHING to stay clean, as they say "It works if you work it"...

    Im sure if you give it a real go then you will start to feel more comfortable, there are people there who care, who want to spread the message of recovery, you dont have to share if you dont want to, you do it at YOUR OWN pace.

    Anyhow Im happy that you are at least giving it a go and that you are getting real with yourself.
    Well take care..Rich

  11. #11
    Mic Guest

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    Ashley-
    See what you started!! I'm getting the sense that you're BIGGEST struggle is behind you. Take a deep breath, think of "all of us thinking of you"!!!!
    Best, MIC

  12. #12
    londonchick is offline Junior Member
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    hi Ashley, thats a really big step! as you know im just facing up to my prob now, and have no experience of the meetings, what I do have experience of however is the feeling of not normally being a crier and finding that change. I cry at every pain doc appointment/back doc appointment/drug counsellor appointment I have ever had. For me a lot of is is frustration, and a lot of it is being scared. What I have learnt about this is each time I tell myself I won't cry and momentarily get cross with myself when I do. Then I remember what my personnal counsellor said to me once, when i was not wanting to go out with my freinds in case I got tearful. She said ok so you dont want people to see you crying, but what would happen if you do?...my response was well nothing awful, i guess they'll just see what i normally try to hide from people. It helps, its easy to say dont try to stop yourself, but i know it isnt as simple as that, a lot of us hold emotions in for various reasons. What I will say is I'm finding life much less stressful now I give myself permission to cry in front of people. Sure it drains you, but the alternative is worse than the crying. Sorry for the waffling guess it just struck something in me.
    C XX

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