Addiction / Christian Church / Christianity / Faith / Hypocrisy / Life / Religion / Thoughts

My First Narcotics Anonymous Meeting

Hello my name Sacred and I am not an addict. I am the daughter of one, that’s all. I went to the meeting in the United Evangelical Church to support my mother in her effort to leave her drug use behind. Once I got past feeling very out of place and uncomfortable, I started to listen to the stories they were telling. It’s quite an interesting thing to have a meeting of drug addicts in a church after all. The setting and the people certainly were an interesting contrast. That night the church definitely more closely reflected the mission I think churches should have. It’s unbelievably different.

The thing that really fascinates me about it is the amount of respect the group had for the church building. A few swear words here and there definitely wouldn’t be out of place at all in a group like this. In fact, there were a couple almost swear words that were quickly caught and exchanged for more innocuous words. The chairs that we rearranged were meticulously replaced in their original positions and the floor was swept several times due to someone’s muddy boots. The man next to me was extremely cordial as he explained that he would only use the rooms and leave the church to other people as he had seen so many pastor’s who just can’t seem to practice what they preach. I heard respect for beliefs in God and a peaceful respect for those who had none.  No one raised their voice or judged anyone else. No one was told that they were wrong and all were encouraged in every small success and pushed forward in every failure admitted. Would this kind of respect have existed had they been in a bar? Or would these people be a little less respectful toward each other? I can’t say for sure, but I got the sense that the amount of respect given to the building and to each other was a way of giving respect to the hospitality given by the church for inviting them in. Not only did the church people invite them to use a space, but they trusted a group of previously untrusted individuals to be completely unsupervised in the space. We had full access to the church. We could go anywhere in the church. No one was watching the group to make sure they took care of the space or put things back the way they were. Giving that kind of trust unwarranted engages the receiver in a different kind of relationship than we usually don’t find in church.  In my experience, I’ve felt watched, judged, and utterly untrusted in churches since I was a teenager. Why is it that a group of addicts has more respect for others and God’s house than those who call themselves God’s people?

After listening to several stories of these people repeating the same ideas of church as unwelcoming and hypocritical, I looked around and thought they’ve got it all wrong. It’s not the building that makes up the church it’s the people, and that night, the people sure were a good reflection of the One’s house they were in. I only wish that were true more often. I only wish that we could learn from the addicts how to be gracious, and how to be respectful and loving. No wonder Jesus wanted to spend more time with these people. They really get it. They really understand the God of the crossroads.

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2 thoughts on “My First Narcotics Anonymous Meeting

  1. “No wonder Jesus wanted to spend more time with these people” – now I haven’t heard it put quite so well before. This is a beautiful piece – thank you!

    😉

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  2. Yes, I really appreciated this post too. More than a decade ago we attended a Uniting Church here in Australia (maybe not too different to this United Evangelical Church. WE met in a converted factory building, and AA met each weekday and several nights there, and NA, Alanon and CODA groups (all 12 step groups) met weekly. I never attended the meetings, but I knew many of those who did quite well.

    It was much the same as you describe. These groups treated the building with respect, always going outside to smoke, etc. And they certainly treated each other with respect too. We ran a Sunday evening “cafe church” type “service” which some attended, and we made it a mixture of the type of meeting they were familiar with, and a home church meeting and a family dinner. They brought a good humility and acceptance to this time – mostly, there were certainly occasional exceptions too!

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