The NA program saved my life twice, once when I first got into recovery, and then again when my father passed away back in 2011. I was asked to write an article about my father’s passing away. This article is about how I used the principles of our NA program to not relapse, stay clean, and continue my recovery during this crisis.
My dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Although I was shocked and in bad shape emotionally, I was able to find gratitude. I was grateful to those addicts who had shared experience, strength, and hope, especially about losing loved ones in recovery. I was grateful to my sponsor whose guidance through the steps has always been very helpful to me. I was grateful for our literature which is a great source of knowledge about recovery and dealing with crisis. I was grateful for myself, for making the right decisions to pursue recovery. And I was grateful for my higher power and the relationship I had developed with him.
By going through the steps, I was able to learn about the spiritual principles and gain experience living these principles before my dad passed away. One of these principles is faith. When my dad passed away, I was able to tap into my relationship with the God of my understanding, and benefit from my decision in step 3 to turn my life over to his care.
When my dad passed, I had already gained great experience in living the principles of surrender and acceptance I first learned about in Step 1. When my dad passed away, I had to surrender that I had no control over what was happening and I certainly had to accept what was happening as well.
When my dad passed away, I had already gained great spiritual awareness, which I was not aware of when I first came to this program. This awareness has come to me from working and living the steps and learning about the God of my understanding. From this awareness, I believe my father is still with me spiritually. Since his soul is no longer constrained to a physical body, in some ways I feel that he is closer to me now than he was before.
One of the things that I learned is that gratitude is an action, which brings up the spiritual principle of service. If I am grateful for our program saving my life twice, I can take the action of doing service work. This is why I write articles like this for the newsletter, share at meetings my experience, strength, and hope about losing a loved one in recovery, and do other service work.
I have learned that I can’t wait for a crisis to happen to react by going to meetings, and/or talking to my sponsor. Things happen that may be unpredictable. I need to remain strong and experienced with the spiritual principles at all times.
Finally, I have learned that life is an experience and it’s possible for what’s “bad” to have at least some “good”. My father’s passing helped me make my recovery stronger overall. It gave me the opportunity to help other addicts going through similar experiences. And it helped strengthen my relationship with a higher power. I don’t wish anyone to lose a loved one, but I hope my experience is helpful to others.