What Works

Mark - Yelm, Washington
Entered on January 23, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: addiction, change
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

On May 11, 2008 I smashed head first into the harsh realization that my life had to change, or I was going to die. After 16 years of severe drug and alcohol abuse, along with countless attempts to control or stop my using, I surrendered and accepted my need for outside help. Armed with the knowledge that “my way” of trying to change always ended in failure, I made the decision to try something new. Badly beaten, bruised and battered from the years of self-inflicted physical, mental and emotional neglect as a result of using, I sought the help I so desperately needed through the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Stepping through the doors of NA for the first time, into the open arms of recovery, was exactly what I needed. From my very first meeting, I knew the fellowship and 12 step program NA has to offer was going save my life. During my first hour and a half meeting, listening to others share their experience, strength, and hope, I found myself feeling very much at home. The sense of being a misunderstood outcast from society slipped away. It was replaced by comfort along with a sense of belonging. I was surrounded by people who had shared in my pain and misery as an individual suffering from the disease of addiction. I quickly identified those who appeared to have a certain level of serenity, as well as a quality of life I was attracted to. Through the reciprocated connection shared with other members of the fellowship, I came to believe that the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel.

Before coming to the fellowship of NA, I was powerless over my addiction, that my life had become unmanageable. I was ready to have God punch my ticket. Today, with eight months seven days clean, I have found a new way to live. I gather strength and hope from the experience of other addicts who have something I want: clean time, serenity, and a quality of life that only comes from working the steps and practicing the principles in all of their affairs. For this addict, I believe that each moment I remain clean and sober is a miracle, and that each miracle is a direct result of the power of Narcotics Anonymous.