TO THE NEWCOMER AND SPONSORSHIP IN NICOTINE ANONYMOUS
It doesn’t matter in what form you have used nicotine or how many times you may have tried to quit. If you have a desire to live nicotine-free you are welcomed here. We have found that as we attend meetings regularly, we come to believe in the shared experience of our fellow members. Sharing together creates hope and helps us to keep an open mind. We suggest attending a number of meetings to discover for yourself how the caring support of others and the daily practice of Nicotine Anonymous principles has helped us experience the gift of freedom from nicotine.
Deciding to Stop Using Nicotine
Most of us smoked cigarettes. It is the most efficient way to get nicotine to our brain—through our lungs. There are other means of getting nicotine such as cigars, pipes,
dipping and chewing. Then there are the withdrawal aids: inhalers, the patch, and gum. The common element in all these is nicotine. Each of us had our “reasons” for using nicotine, even if only to temporarily relieve the continuous craving. Many of us have used nicotine to lessen physical and emotional pain.
Now that you have made a decision to stop using nicotine, you might feel some anxiety as you begin this process. For many of us, early recovery was difficult. However, with the group’s support, our worries were eased and our struggle was often less than we had anticipated.
Most of us have used tobacco for years, and it was hard to imagine living without our “constant companion.” A sense of isolation is at the core of our addiction. We receive strength and understanding from our fellow members, which especially helps when we feel we might be “losing it.”
You Control Your Attitude
Make freedom from nicotine a challenge! Look at the process as an adventure. Use the “bumps in the road” to strengthen your skills and spirit to smooth out the next “bump.” As your connection with fellow members develops, new attitudes are learned. Anxieties may appear, but only for moments. Keep in the present; that’s where the gift is. Start living “One Day At a Time.”
Ask for Help
This is a “we” program. We work together to help ourselves and each other reach our goal. We experience Step Two, “a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” in action when listening at meetings.
Make a commitment to call your sponsor before you put any nicotine in your body again. Talk to another member after a meeting. We don’t have to wait for a major problem to develop before calling someone. Making a call will usually put off a craving until it passes. Calling before a craving even starts is good insurance toward abstinence. The phone list keeps us connected to a true source of support.
Step Two, “came to believe,” becomes an even more intimate experience when we ask for help from a Higher Power of our own understanding. This is all part of a recovery process toward your own spiritual awakening and a life with more hope, joy, and peace.
The Urge Passes Whether You Use Nicotine or Not
We’ve learned to dismiss the lie that we “must” use nicotine to function. Our addiction is a disease that progressively gets worse if we don’t stop. The only way to truly be free of nicotine cravings is to stop putting that drug into our bodies. Each nicotine dose insures the next physical craving cycle. Withdrawal is difficult, but unpleasant symptoms decrease with abstinence and time. Our own faith in recovery grows as we witness the freedom and joy in others, then ourselves.
If You Debate It, You’ll Lose
A slip starts in our heads before we put tobacco in our hands. To accept Step One—that we are “powerless over nicotine”—is to also realize that using is not negotiable. For many of us, living nicotine-free takes several attempts. We only fail when we stop trying. If we pay attention, our trial runs can teach us a lot about what triggers our “need.”
Make a List of What You Want from Recovery
Many of us may have set aside certain goals or dreams by medicating our anxieties and disappointments with nicotine. We settled for less. Our continuous nicotine use limited our possibilities. Now recovery offers us new hope to change old patterns and accept new opportunities.
Make a thorough list of reasons not to use nicotine, such as increasing your self-esteem, taking deep breaths, having more energy, really tasting food again, etc. Rereading your own words can be a source of strength, especially during times of stress. Leave room on the list for new hopes. Freedom from nicotine creates new possibilities.
Get Involved in Nicotine Anonymous
Our addiction does not take a day off. What we do today to stay nicotine-free does not guarantee our recovery tomorrow. Make your return to abstinence and sanity easier: Get involved. Come to as many meetings as you can during the week, or start a meeting. Share your experience, strength, and hope. You have a valuable story for the newcomer and old-timer too.
Commitment creates change. Be of service to the group or another member. Help to set up, put out literature, or clean up after the meeting. Consider anything that needs to be done for the group to function. Service is gratitude in action. Gratitude can be a gateway to a peace and serenity that can help you remain nicotine-free and have a more joyous life.
We invite you to join and enjoy our member supported program of recovery. Over time, by using this program of recovery to abstain from nicotine: physically, we achieve better health; emotionally, we become more serene; spiritually, we find hope and courage where there was doubt and fear. Our respect for each other is evident in our commitment to not criticize, gossip, or offer unsolicited advice. Members can work this gentle program at their own pace, but we strongly suggest newcomers select a sponsor as a source of help and guidance.
SPONSORSHIP IN NICOTINE ANONYMOUS
Who is a sponsor?
A sponsor is someone you ask to help guide you through the Twelve Steps. A sponsor is usually someone who has successfully stopped using nicotine. He or she has firsthand knowledge and understanding of what you are going through. Sponsors are members willing and able to share their recovery experience.
Why have a sponsor?
Getting and staying free from nicotine is not easy and most of us need all the help we can get. Most of us have problems with how to live life. Sometimes we need guidance and understanding on a more personal level. Sponsorship can be a big help to us as we learn to apply the Steps to our lives. We are always learning.
When do you get a sponsor?
Get a sponsor as soon as possible, even if you haven’t quit using nicotine. A sponsor is valuable at any stage of the recovery process. A sponsorial relationship can begin on a “temporary” basis. However, it is important to work at developing a sponsorial relationship based on trust and honesty. This helps improve our other relationships.
What are the benefits of being a sponsor?
Many of us used nicotine to separate ourselves from our feelings and from others. Sponsorship is an opportunity to realize new rewards in a personal relationship. Health and recovery are wonderful experiences to share. Sponsoring someone can remind us of what it was like when we were quitting. This helps us to maintain a healthy respect for nicotine.
By being a sponsor, we are given a chance to work the Twelfth Step. We also receive a fresh opportunity to rework our own step process and further our own spiritual awakening.