Recovery Times is ONLY available online. It is not a home delivery syndication. If you or your company would like to volunteer the means to home deliver RT we would be happy to have you on board.


Take 12 Recovery Radio


AA World Service Office

(212) 870-3400



MADD homepage
MADD 25th Anniversary sticker

STP main logo.gif (9535 bytes)

Step 1 of Narcotics Anonymous



By Terry



            The 1st Step on Narcotics Anonymous requires us to admit our powerlessness over our addiction because our lives have become unmanageable.  When I came to Narcotics Anonymous and began working the 1st Step, a total transformation occurred in my life.  I began to feel alive again.  No longer did I have to live in chaos and negativity.  My life had undoubtedly changed for the better, and for that I am forever grateful to the program of Narcotics Anonymous.  Before coming to NA, I lived a destructive lifestyle full of lies, anger, hopelessness and guilt.  I felt separated from my true essence, and I knew that I couldn’t go on living in this manner.  I discovered the 1st Step on NA, which began my progressive journey of recovery.


            I finally admitted my disease of addiction and became willing to follow the simple guidelines of this proven program.  I learned that I had to become honest with myself, my addiction, and with my complete powerlessness.  I had to surrender my will, my addictive patterns, and my self-centeredness to begin anew.  I was finally tired of always feeling inadequate and unworthy; and, most of all, I was tired of living a meaningless existence separated from God.  I came to realize that surrender, acceptance, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, and trust were essential for the process of recovery to begin.  Surrender is the foundation that all other spiritual principles and growth derive from.  Daily, I had to surrender my powerlessness and unmanageability to set the stage for personal growth to transpire.


            As I practiced applying these spiritual principles, I gained a new freedom and peace that I had never dreamed possible.  I honestly started working and applying the 1st Step to my daily life.  I discovered that I wasn’t alone in this fight for ongoing recovery.  I didn’t have to face this by myself.  The loving Fellowship of NA had my back.  I was filled with hope, and a true desire for change.  As my recovery progressed, I began to feel alive like never before.  I began to learn how NA works.  I noticed that other members were living happy, successful lifestyles.  And if they could do it, then I knew that I could too.  I dedicated my life to grow spiritually, mentally, physically, and re-align myself with my Higher Power.  I obtained the drive and strength necessary to continually move forward in my recovery.  My journey commenced, and I haven’t stopped growing since I began working the 1st Step.


            After applying the 1st Step of Narcotics Anonymous, I learned to focus my attention upon the truth.  No longer did I have to deceive myself.  I was positively driven to emerge victorious in the battles I faced as I began to live life on life’s terms.  With clarity of mind, I could now align my energies toward righteousness.  It became apparent that concentrating my mind on doing right brought me continuous success.  I learned to rid myself of all degrading, impure and negative traits that would hinder my forward progress.  I was compelled toward righteousness.  I had finally awakened from my drug-induced haze that I for so long couldn’t live without.  Total abstinence was priority.  As I embarked on this journey, my obtainable horizons expanded, providing me with endless opportunities for further growth and achievement.


            To successfully complete Step 1, I had to be totally honest with my addiction and myself.  I had to adhere to the suggested guidelines in order to stay clean one more day.  I had to be credible for my actions, and how I carried myself.  I had to be straightforward in order to fully receive the direction I needed to remain clean and serene.  As I was open and sincere on my journey, I gained the strength and knowledge necessary for fastidious allegiance with truth and uprightness.  I gradually became genuine and forthright in my search for personal freedom.  I honestly applied the suggestions offered in NA to better my life, and all aspects of my being.  My inner spirit awakened, finally emerging to assist me in my journey.  My true essence came forth, overcoming all obstacles that held me in check for so long during my addiction, and self-centered existence.  Displaying acts of candor and decency became admirable traits.  My new, positive moral values ascended beyond the limitations of my past.  Righteousness took the wheel, steering me towards an unknown land full of opportunities and chances to excel.  After working Step 1 of Narcotics Anonymous, I began to notice the positive changes that were taking place.  All of this had occurred in my life because I became truly honest in all aspects of life.


            Open-mindedness is another quality that must be practiced to remain clean and sober.  Being open-minded unlocks the doors to success.  We become tolerant and inclined to absorb all ideas, thoughts, behaviors, and actions that will bring us growth in our recovery.  Being open-minded means being receptive of suggestions that can elevate us to a different realm.  Being lenient and easygoing during our journey will allow us to adhere to the principles that will enhance our ability to remain clean.  Being open-minded means that we are accepting towards anything that will promote our new, healthy way of living.  Open-mindedness is important in the process of change and positive growth.


            Once we become open-minded, it is necessary that we acquire the willingness to act upon the positive influences that we encounter.  To obtain willingness is to be favorably disposed in mind; to be ready, and prompt to do the necessary tasks to enhance our well-being.  We must contain the willingness, and desire for change in order for us to follow through in action to achieve positive change.  We must not be reluctant, but eager and without delay to do what is necessary to remain in recovery.  With enthusiasm we venture into the realm of life, and all that it entails.


            Another positive attribute of Step 1 is the process of acceptance.  With a consenting mind we step forward, unafraid of failure, but courageous in nature.  We receive with favor the many facets of our disease.  We come to understand that we are addicts and learn about our disease, knowing that we have the ability to make the required changes that are necessary to move onward in our recovery.  We learn to adjust and coexist with reality.  We endure the trails we encounter, always remaining in hopeful expectancy and anticipation that good will prevail.  Remaining long-suffering and uncomplaining we march on, ready to battle the perils of life, while armored with the spiritual principles of Narcotics Anonymous.


            During the first stages of my recovery, it was very difficult for me to set aside my pride and self-centeredness.  Through patience and diligence, I learned the importance of acting with humility.  Being humble is to be free from pride and arrogance.  Humility is the act of submission.  It is to have a consistent mildness of temper, while lacking conceit.  Acting with humility is to be subservient, to be obedient and compliant with spiritual principles and the Steps of NA.  As we yield to our Higher Power, we gain freedom from our excessive pride.  I learned to be compatible with living these principles.  To be humble is to have a lack of vanity, and it is to be menial.  When I learned the true nature of humility, I finally obtained serenity and peace of mind.  I never thought I would be able to reach a true state of serenity.  Well, I did!  And it was quite simple too.  While being humble, accepting, open-minded, willing, and honest I began to notice and feel all of the positive changes that were occurring in my life.  From that point on, I knew that recovery was surely for me, and that through the suggestions and guidelines of NA and the 12 Steps, I could obtain success and fulfill all of my deepest desires.  All of this understanding and enlightenment took place after applying the 1st Step of NA to my life.


            Through personal reflection after first entering the rooms of NA, it was made clear that my powerlessness over addiction was uncontrollable.  I had to accept responsibility and take charge of my recovery.  Open-mindedness and willingness enabled me to apply the spiritual principles of NA, and provided me with the tools necessary to honestly work the 1st Step.  As I recognized the destruction and horrific qualities of my addiction, I came to understand the importance of surrender, acceptance and honesty.  The 1st Step allows us the opportunity to stray away from our selfishness, and learn to become God-centered.  Becoming less self-centered encourages new, healthy ways of living without the insanity of obsession and compulsive behavior.  No longer does fear, doubt, isolation, confusion and the feeling of separation from life has to control us.  In recovery, we strive to get back the sanity that we lost in our addiction.


            When I came to NA, I always heard the familiar slogans: “Let go and let God,” “Keep coming back,” Easy does it,” “One day at a time,” and “Don’t leave before the miracle happens.”  These sayings made a lot of sense, especially in the first stages of recovery.  Through these simple suggestions, I discovered new ways to adjust to life on life’s terms.  Through time, I started to reclaim control and hope, while obtaining the ability to detour around temptation, isolation, seclusion, and alienation.  Strength of mind and spirit enabled me to attain the power to live.  By observing and listening to the experience, strength, and hope of other recovering addicts is an indication that miracles do happen to those who devote their energies and focus towards ongoing recovery.


            To completely surrender, I had to yield to a Higher Power, while admitting defeat as I whole-heartedly abandoned self.  By surrendering, we release the chains that bind us.  Those things that we cannot change no longer have to torment us.  Surrender becomes victorious over our powerlessness.  Open-mindedness removes us from the pits of despair.  Uncertainty no longer has to cloud our vision.  We can now move in the direction we choose.  We must never become “powerful” again, or we will fall back into our old ways of chaos.  Acting responsibly severs the course of insanity that controlled us.  Remember, if nothing changes, then nothing changes.


            As we move forward, we become aware of our triggers and all situations that initiate our demise.  We learn to steer clear of all circumstances that would hinder our further growth, and spiritual advancement.  In our recovery, we improve our well-being, our happiness, and we rise above the seclusion of the past.  We gradually begin to act out of love, respect, and anticipation that out Higher Power will see us through.  When we let go and let God take over, a newfound strength emerges from the awakening of our soul.  I’ve learned that spiritual advancement necessitates enduring the things that we cannot change as we surrender, learn, and apply the Spiritual Principles offered in the program of Narcotics Anonymous.  We can be assured that by NOT practicing spiritual principles, we would be cut off from further growth.  Applying spiritual principles will seize unsound patterns of self-absorption and intemperance.  Expanding the quality of our uprightness, gaining enlightenment, becoming aware of our spirituality, and by releasing fear we transform into spiritual beings.


            During my active addiction, my spirit seemed inaccessible.  I had separated myself from all life.  I discovered that NA is full of practical advice and suggestions that help us get out of our own head and recognize our disease of addiction.  I learned that by removing my destructive thought patterns, behaviors, and qualities that promoted my insanity, I could uncover my true nature, get to know myself, and become a power for good.  A sense of meaning and purpose was finally reachable through the uplifting process of spiritual growth, awareness, enlightenment, understanding, and personal freedom.  Commitment together with action leads to transformation and conversion from impure to responsible.  Positive expectations overcome misery and anguish.  Faith in our Higher Power to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, brings us assurance and hope that the impossible is possible.


            For the newcomer working the 1st Step: Keep it simple, surrender, admit defeat, abandon all destructive forces, form new beliefs, heighten your strength of mind, be honest and open-minded, willing, faithful, and hopeful.  By living in the moment, we receive the ability to be strong, firm, steadfast, and dedicated to the renewal of our mind.  I hope that my personal experiences and beliefs regarding the 1st Step of Narcotics Anonymous has brought you enlightenment, and knowledge of this first step that begins our journey of recovery.  Next time I will discuss Step 2 of NA, so until then, I am glad to be of service.  Thank you, my name is Terry, and I am an addict.

  Step Two ->


 © Recovery Times. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/06/07

RTv3.1 © Recovery Times 2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2006
All personal stories and graphics are copyright of the © writer themselves unless otherwise indicated.
Recovery Times only publishes with their permission. Please do not post these articles or stories on another site or publication without the explicit written permission of Recovery Times and the author.

Recovery Times has but one purpose and goal, and that is to carry the message of 12-Step Recovery  -- as written and practiced in its founding organization's (AA's) unaltered 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, and 12 Concepts for World Service, but not limited to only AA-sanctioned material (such as The Holy Bible, The Koran, The Upanishads, etc.). Recovery Times is not affiliated nor approved with or by any 12 Step organizations.

Recovery Times publishes only each author's opinions or positions on all matters, and doesn't necessarily agree or disagree with anyone on anything. Our Principles and Protocols are expressed beautifully in the Prayer of St. Francis (p.99, 12-Steps and 12-Traditions).

Webmaster Walter 

Site best viewed at 1024 x 768 with Internet Explorer 6.0 or Netscape 7.1 or Higher or

 Hit Counter