Died suddenly on April 29, 1999, from Liver Cancer
-- Hepatitus C. Greg was the first NA Purist, or we should say the first NA member committed to serving NA, an NA Service Junkie.
Greg showed up at his first NA meeting wearing a three piece suit. At one point I remember a story where he was so addicted to pulp fiction that he would read while driving, just one more chapter.
Greg wrote the I.P., imformational pamphlet, the Triangle of Self Obssession. I gave Greg all my NA archives from the 1980's because I believed that this would be the safest place and that the most people would have access.
You have to give it away to keep it. Recovery is a gift from God.
This is a prayer that Greg came up with some years ago. I thought it might still be appropriate for all of us. I believe that Greg's work here was done and that he passed on the mission to others in the program. Knowing Greg, I also have a feeling that he's probably asking God about starting an anonymous 12-step program for the angels. Greg was always ready to listen to any who called or came over - he might not agree with them and debate the issue, but he always listened. As the day-at-a-time book says for today, I will face the future with faith in God for today.
God bless all of you - and if you want to pass this message on to others that I have left off the list, please do so.
Dear God, protect me and provide for me.
Guide me and illuminate the path of my pilgrimage.
Grant me courage, commitment, and strength.
Teach me to care and give without reservation.
Make me aware of gratitude and principle.
Help me recognize your presence around me.
And let my life be a reflection of your love.
Subject: Re: Request for Information To: "Christopher Keeley, LICSW"
On Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 9:47 AM, Lois Richards <...@yahoo.com> wrote: Chris, you are correct - this is my email (and has been since sometime in the '90s). I appreciate you sending this on to me because I am happy to know that others appreciate the spirit of Greg's prayer.
In fact, there is no reason that this prayer cannot be reprinted in recovery literature. This prayer is something that many people have seen and is part of their spiritual program. As Greg always expressed, he was "just another NA member" who usually remained anonymous in the NA written word (except to those of us who knew who really wrote the stuff!). So Daniel, if you do use the prayer, I just ask that you list the author as "Greg P." - because I personally believe that sometimes people should have acknowledgement of their accomplishments, and yet let it reflect Greg's attitude of anonymity also.
Here is contact information - I would like to hear from you both! Lois Pierce Richards (married Steve Richards 10/9/2004) Phone: 423-278-8153 Greeneville TN 37743-1004 Blessings! Lois
Written by Greg Pierce, 4 December 1987
Greg's story is in the little white book and the Basic Text, "I Was Different". He told me he was one of the first people to identify as simply an addict.
Greg had a lot of organizational skills and became fast friends with his sponsor Jimmy K.
Together they shaped a course for this fellowship. Greg wrote the NA Tree, which was our very first service structure.
He had a vision of linking all the NA groups in the world in a structure like a Willow Tree who's branches all hang to the same level of service. He got to sit in the very first Area Service Meeting in California and watch the dream become a reality.
One day when he was self obsessed, he sat and wrote the triangle of self obsession, wow! How many of us have taken great solace and peace from this little IP.
On a road trip from Oregon to Pennslyvannia to speak at an early East Coast Convention, Greg stopped in Tennessee to see the World Literature Treasurer Joseph P. Greg had been writing along the way on a draft for a guide to step 4 in Narcotics Anonymous.
Joseph asked if he could borrow it and Greg said sure.
Joseph arrived at the Convention with a box of several hundred copies marked, A Guide To Step 4 in Narcotics Anonymous, Review Draft. This became our 1st 4th step guide in NA.
Greg's other works include, Living The Program, the daily inventory IP with questions you can answer each day to do an simple 10th step. His work on the Basic Tex was invaluable, in that we might still be working on it if it hadn't been for Greg's dedication and being at the center of power when the book was being written.
Greg's presence gave the book it's full legitimacy. He also sponsored several of the key players so his spiritual guidance was behind the project in ways we will never ever see.
Greg wrote the entire tradition portion of the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous! When the Literature Committee was finishing the Grey Book rough draft of the Basic Text, they only needed the Tradition Portion to complete it. Greg was in Oregon and they were in Memphis, Tennessee! They chose to get a woman who typed really fast and they held a phone to her ear as she typed out the entire tradition portion from Greg's notes and editing as he shared it to her.
The phone call took 9 hours!!! When it was over, the Lit Committee voted to turn that portion over to the Board of Trustees, as Guardians of the Traditions, to review and approve. The section came back with barely a single change.. it was the least edited portion of the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous Wow!
The way it came out of Greg's mind is basically the way you read it today.
Greg at an NA WAY of LIFE writing Retreat
Love you brother......
Greg P. ' s Last NA Talk
Greg P. got clean on October 25, 1970. Greg' s story is in the Little White Book entitled: "I was different" and the NA Basic Text, He also wrote the informational pamphlets, "The Triangle of Self-Obsession, " Living the Program", the first fourth step working guide which was called: "An Approach to Writing the Fourth Step", and the NA Tree, which was the first service structure in NA.
Greg P. gave his last NA talk in a small North Carolina town and died on April 29, 1999.
Greg Pierce's Last NA Talk
April 17, 1999
"My name's Greg and I'm an addict. We're all going around around, around and around?" (chuckles) (talking about cassette recorders)
Well alright. I'm real glad to be here to help you celebrate your anniversary, and I'm tickled to death that we have so many new members, because I very strongly believe that the newcomer is the lifeblood of this institution, the lifeblood of this thing we call Narcotics Anonymous. The lifeblood of this society, whatever you want to call it. For those of you who are new, you can probably discount about ninety percent of what you learn. I believe that recovery over a period of time is a process of simplification.
We learn a lot of stuff about recovery, you'll come in here, and you'll do worksheets, you'll read books, you'll talk to this person, you'll talk to that person, you'll get sponsors, if you can stick with the basics you have a chance. It's real easy to get lost in all the… the gimmicks.
We have a brand new set of wonderful step writing guides- but you can work them diligently, and they won't help you stay clean. We have a Basic Text- you can read it every day, and it won't help you stay clean. We have a book called It Works How and Why that gives you lots of information about the steps, and the traditions. You can learn it perfect, and it won't help you stay clean. It's what you do with that information. It's the way you take that information from all sources and apply it to your daily living and use it to find this thing called recovery. And recovery's a very precious gift.
This is liable to be an interesting talk tonight. Umm, because in the last couple of months I found out that I have cancer of the liver and uh, I don't feel real good, but you see I'm an NA member and the day I found out I had cancer of the liver, I called my sponsor and went to a meeting. That's what NA members do!
That's part of how this program works. We don't isolate. We don't hide. We don't disappear into the woodwork when things get tough. We reach out to the fellowship. We reach out to our sponsors, we reach out to our meetings, we reach out to those around us that we've come to learn to love and depend on. Umm, that's a big part about how this works.
This is a place where we take turns saving each other's lives. And you know, the people that come after you that you meet in recovery- treat them real well, cause you never know when your life's gonna depend on 'em. And you'll meet people that come after you- even though there were… it seems like a whole bunch of brand new people here- stay clean… hang around- give this thing a chance - keep the faith. There's something very special happening here. You know some of you who introduced themselves as being new have probably been here before. Some of you have probably never been here before.
Ah… give yourself a break. Try this way of living- what have you got to lose? If you're like me - you don't have much to lose. If you're like me - you didn't get here 'cause things were going good in your life. Those of you who are here for your first meetings- you know - I know where you lived- it's called Hell. 'Cause that's where NA is - go to Hell, and turn left. That's NA.
You're not here because you're good at holdin' down a job. You're not here because you're good at stayin' out of trouble, you're not here because you have successful relationships. You're not here uh, because you're uh, you know the candidate for poster child of mental health. You're here for the same reason that I'm here. You're here because you're none of those things.
You're here because you're in a trap that you can't get out of by yourself. And despite all the things you've tried, you're still in that trap. In other words, in desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous. In desperation we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous. And it doesn't make any sense. Doesn't make sense that we can get together, a bunch of losers, and anybody'd stay clean. But we do.
You know I've seen NA grow from 20 meetings to 40,000 meetings. I don't even know how many there are now - that's a guess - maybe more than that. I've seen NA meetings grow from perhaps uh 150 - 200 people attending, and maybe a quarter that many involved, uh, to look around the room - there's as many people here tonight as were in NA when I got clean. And here we're in Winston Salem, North Carolina of all places. The birthday of a group- all together. You know what - there's another meeting in Bombay isn't there? And there's one in Denmark- I had the opportunity to speak not too long ago in Denmark. There were nine hundred NA members from Denmark there. Nine Hundred members from Denmark!!
You know I didn't know when we had one from Arizona, or one from Carolina, or one from New Jersey. There were times when there weren't any anywhere. Umm, we got people staying clean living this way of life all over the country. And there's power here- there's miracles here- there's magic here, if you will. But it isn't going to work unless you let go, and let it work. One of the things I've learned over the last twenty- eight years is there is no substitute for surrender. If you want this thing to work - you're going to have to give up. You're going to have to give up being a dope fiend; you're going to have to let… give up you know, being hip slick and cool. You're going to have to give up standing on the corner.
You're going to have to give up all those things that sometimes seem so attractive when you're not hurtin' too bad. And reach out for help. First of all to an NA member, second of all to a loving God. There is no substitute for surrender. There is no therapist that you can go to that's gonna make everything OK. There is no church you can go to that's going to fix your addiction. There is no book with all the magic answers in it.
There is no medicine that'll take care of your addiction. When I say my name is Greg and I'm an addict it means three things and they're very simple. Number one, when I put drugs in my body, I lose the ability to control how they react in my body. I lose the ability to predict where they're going to take me. Number two, I have a tendency to get strung out on anything. I'll take wonderful things and make them self- destructive.
You know - its reading - I got a book - I didn't read it much on the way down - 'Cause I wasn't feeling all that well. I was catnapping in the car most of the way. I love to read! I didn't read before I got clean. But I've learned it's a great escape. But you know what? If I pick up a book and get into it, I may… might have to finish it before I set it down. Now I might be able to set it down, in the meantime, but I have no way to determine that. I'll get strung out on all kinds of weird stuff. And thirdly, when I say that I'm an addict it means that I carry this spiritual illness that separates me from you. Separates me from every other human being. It separates me from God, it separates me from life and reality. And uh, that's difficult.
You know we know what it's like to be alone. One of the things I remember before coming to NA was the loneliness of addiction. The loneliness - even when you're in a room full of people. And some of you sitting here tonight, in a room full of people, are about as lonely as you can stand. Nobody knows it, because you haven't let anybody in - because you're afraid. Cause of all these things. I came around the program - Now I did what pretty much what we do-I mean there aren't a lot of different ways, we think we got some unique handle on how we do this program, but there's not.
And I come around here and the first thing that happens is I start going to meetings and I stop using and you know, it's kinda like I start getting high off of not being high. It's almost like not using nothing's a new drug. And then after a while I'm going to these meetings, and I'm listening to what people are reading and all this stuff - You know, I kinda memorized that stuff. Couldn't read very well. And I know people who've come around to NA without being able to read at all, who learn to read by listening to the readings in the meetings. Again and again and again and again and hearing them, and seeing them at the same time. If you have a problem with reading, get yourself a little white booklet, and as the readings are being read, follow along with it. And that can teach you how to read.
It's taught a many many people how to read. Um, you don't have to talk to anybody about having a reading problem- lots of us have reading problems. But read along - learn the words. And at ninety days, I had all the answers. I had 'em all! I had this shit down. I'd tell ya- ask me any questions- ask me a question - just go ahead.. I'll tell ya. And I'd spout this stuff about the "Therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel." I didn't have any idea about what I was talking about. Or I'd say something like , "there's one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery, this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles." Do you think at ninety days I had any idea what that meant? It sounded good- you know - it made me feel like part of - and people would accept me - they'd pat me on the back saying Oh you're doing good- but the reality is I didn't know - I didn't have a clue - I just memorized the words!
And I thought I had all the answers - you know the funny part about it is I did have all the answers - I just didn't know which were which - and which went with the which questions. You know or what they meant or how I could use them in my daily living - that's the biggie. Our twelfth step says, "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs." And I'm big into practice these principles in all our affairs. You know once you find out about how this program works, start using it in your life! In every area of your life. You know, don't withhold anything. Don't reserve anything. You know reservations are the kind of the things I told God "Hey God I'll handle this one, you just leave me alone. I can take care of it, I can handle it."
And I'm in trouble. Because I can no more handle my life than the man in the moon. You know, if I could handle my life, I sure wouldn't end up sitting up here in front of you guys with cancer - I'd be bouncing around the room you know- finger poppin' talking long shit. But I'm here tonight because I'm an NA member. I'm here tonight because this is part of how I live. This is as much about a part of the way I live as turning my will and my life over to the care of God, or writing an inventory or making amends or any of the other things the program teaches me to work.
Over the years, our programs change, you know I got to that point where I was talking about knowing all the answers - and that only lasted about a month before the roof caved in. You know the big blue bird of feelings flew over and took a healthy dump and I figured out - "Oh! This is why I used." And I had no way to cope with those feelings- I had no way to cope. And what'd I do? I turned to the program. And I can remember at six months going "Oh my God it's not the drugs."
Cause I thought drugs were the problem. I really thought the drugs were the problem. And had you asked me I would've told you I was powerless over heroin and it had fucked up my life. And that's what the first step said. But that's not what the first step says.
The first step says we're powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable. And again addiction is a three fold disease- it's physical, and that has to do with the drugs that we used, but its also mental and spiritual. And my experience is the mental part and the spiritual part are much more devastating and much more far reaching than the physical part of our disease. Now once we clean up and kick a habit, the physical has pretty much taken care of itself. The mental and spiritual aspects of our disease continue throughout our recovery. The potential for the physical continues on for our recovery.
But in reality the mental and spiritual aspects are things that you'll have to deal with all your life. And again the tendency we have to get strung out on anything, take wonderful things and make them self - destructive. And number two, lack of faith, lack of hope, lack of trust, inability to (unclear), self obsession, low self- esteem. Those things are things that we have to cope with on through time, and things that I have to struggle with today. The most difficult thing in my life today is the third step. The most difficult thing in my life today is the third step. To really make that decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him.
As I continued, and approached a year I got into the - what they call the birthday crazies, where just before a year where, where, you're into sabotage, you know? Oh my God I'm a sick man another three weeks I'll have a year and I'll have made it, what'll I do now? How can I, how can I wreck this? Or just after a year when you're going, "Whew! Boy I'm glad I made that, now I can get back to looking like a real person." The reality is that I've been looking like a real person. You know, or the step that happens at eighteen months, when we find ourselves bored with the program and it says it in the white booklet we get tired of repeating our new practices or that, uh, that sometimes in those times are when the greatest changes take place within.
I'd get tired of this. I you know, I'd discovered that there were other things to do other than go to meetings. I mean, I found Star Trek on the TV, I found books, I found hobbies, I found things I enjoyed doing, I thought, I found things that were fun. Certainly not a whole lot more, certainly a whole lot more fun than listening to you guys.
You know we come in here, you know meetings don't change too much, from day to day, year to year, you know every once in a while there's something spectacular that happens, but basically year in year out, people say pretty much the same things. Newcomers ask the same questions, people's responses to those questions are pretty much the same, you know, uh, and it's not a thrilling existence, it's not, you know the thrilling part comes in watching someone's eyes, the thrilling part comes when you're talking with someone after a meeting, and you can see a change take place. See someone begin to live, where once they were dying. That's the thrilling part.
The thrilling part's at a convention, uh when you finally, something clicks. You're going, "Oh WOW now I understand that!" Or at someone's house, becoming a part of someone's life. Those are the thrills of Narcotics Anonymous. You know, NA to me is not about an hour, an hour and a half in the evening. An hour, an hour and a half in the evening are fine, but NA is so much more than that. It's a way of living. You either live this way or you don't live this way - it's ok if you don't. It's ok if you don't.
Ah, I've had to give people permission to reject this way of life. Because, uh, you know the reality is that some do, and it hurts when you care a lot about 'em. We're not in recovery in isolation, we affect each other's lives. And when someone you've cared about, and you've spent time with, and you've invested your spirit with, goes out, it hurts. I can remember saying um, God, - please don't let me love another addict, cause it hurts too bad when they leave. And you know what - that isn't the answer either. That was too much like the death I had using, not being able to care about anybody. At three years I found myself in a situation where uh it seemed like all the things I'd used to try to fix myself quit working, substitution quit working. And uh, I was in trouble, and I had to dive into the program on a new level.
At four and a half years it seemed like the program quit working. The things you taught me about NA, um the gimmicks; the write the inventory, the call your sponsors, the work with your newcomer, all those things seemed to quit working. And I had to get right with my Higher Power; I had to come out with a new relationship with God. I had to turn my recovery over to the care of God as I understood him. I couldn't just turn the symptoms over. I had to turn the real deal over. I had to work the third step for the first time. For real. My understanding of the steps has changed over time.
You know like I told you about the first step, I originally thought that meant that you know. that I admit that I am powerless over heroin, that it had screwed up my life - that was obvious. But um I've come to believe in this three fold disease. Perhaps the most change has come in the second step, particularly in the last few years. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. And I thought originally that meant I'd come to believe that God could fix me. You know maybe God can fix me. But I don't think that's what the step says. I had to look at this idea sanity and what did that really mean. And I went back to the simple stuff - a person who is sane is a person who is in touch with reality. A person who is insane is someone who is out of touch with reality. And what's reality, ultimately reality is God - the universe, all things.
So, my second step changed to where I come to believe that a process- these twelve steps- can put me back in touch with reality, can restore my spirituality, and restore my relationship with God. And that's really changed all the rest of the steps. I used to think the third step was about making a commitment, and saying the words- they had a third step prayer I used to repeat. It was a really good prayer.
Um today, my third step is about trying to live life, as if I really believed there was a loving God trying to take care of me. I mean, what if there really was!? What if there really is someone taking care of you? And it's ok to risk living. What if there really is a loving god out there working for you and you don't have to try to control all this shit? And you don't have to try to make the unmanageable turn out the way you want it. What if?? It'd be a different world, wouldn't it? I know it's been a different world for me when I can believe that.
The fourth step, instead of being show and tell you know, has been a matter of really taking a look at who I am, and seeing the ways that I've separated myself from God. You see and those things that I've done throughout my recovery that keep me from growing spiritually - the patterns I've fallen into, the mistakes I've made, and even some of the successes, which have kept me from surrendering. You see if you give me a quarter inch of success, I'll ride it for a mile and a half. I try one thing, and it turns out OK, I'm going to try it a hundred times, just to try to make it come out OK again. Except I forget the first time it turned out OK it wasn't because of my doing, it was God's doing. I forget that. So my fourth step has become an exploration of me, and how I relate to God. It's become a lot about humility. You know we talk a lot about humility in the later steps, but there's a lot of humility in the fourth step, knowing who and what you really are. Only by knowing my patterns can I avoid them.
In the fifth step, to me it's become a time when I can gain some clarity about that. Get someone sitting down with me who doesn't have a big interest in who I am. You see, I am incapable of being objective about myself. Everything I think about me is tied up in my hopes, my prayers, my fears, my shit, my issues, my past, my present, my dreams, and you know, I'll tweak anything. Lois brought home a thing one time from a meeting saying "we're the kind of people who from a single tree can create a mighty forest in which we immediately get lost." It's True! That's the kind of stuff I need a sponsor for. He can say "hey dummy this is just a tree!" This ain't the world! Who is not prejudiced about Greg. Who can see me objectively and say "hey- this pattern here- don't you see this?" and I go "no.." And uh, that's what my fifth step has turned into. Getting some perspective on what I learned in the fourth step. Getting some unprejudiced, outside opinion about what's going on… What's really going on in my life.
The sixth step; becoming entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, to me is about getting ready. It's about learning about those defects, and taking the step I learned about in the fourth and fifth step, and really taking a look at it. Why is this a defect? What does this mean? What is it all about? It's about learning more about humility and it's also about preparing to do the seventh step. One of the things that has been very… become a big favorite of mine in the sixth step when I'm working with someone is asking the person I'm working with is to write their own personal individual unique seventh step prayer. And something that means what they really want it to mean.
And in the seventh step going and following it through, and taking a look at the effect of it on their lives. Writing a journal. I'm a big believer in writing, although I don't think writing's the only way. Writing a journal about how this step is working in your life; how this prayer, this seventh step prayer, that you've begun to use daily, is working in your life. The amends have changed dramatically for me. Um, but before I talk about those, you know, our defects and shortcomings, I used to think of those things as like symptoms and things like that, but I think back to that, what I found in my fourth step. Those have to do more with the things that separate me from God. My defects and shortcomings are those things, which separate me from God, which separate me from sanity, which keep me sick.
And the eight and ninth step are the primary way, other than humbly asking God to remove those things that I can contribute to change. I make a list of how I have separated myself from God. All those things I used to stay off track, 'cause I was afraid of me. All the things I've used that have kept me from growing spiritually. And I take a look at 'em. And I plan how I can amend that. What can I do about this? You know the ninth step says " we made direct amends whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." There's a couple things off the top that for me, I've learned about that step. Number one is I'm not others. I'm not one of these members that says, "well you don't do nothing that could place you in jeopardy as part of your ninth step. That's not what the ninth step is about to me. It's not about placing anyone in jeopardy. It's about trying to amend and restore where I've gone off track spiritually. And um, the second thing I've learned about the ninth step, I feel real strongly about is uh, you make amends. If possible you make direct amends. If not possible, you still make amends. You just can't do it directly. I myself have used this idea well I haven't had the opportunity to make direct amends so I must not need to do anything about it this year or next to avoid some of the things I had to do. You know I think we make amends, and to me, the process of making amends is to take positive action to put myself back in spiritual balance. Take positive action to restore my spirituality. Taking positive action to try to see how I've gotten off track, and bring myself back on track.
Uh, the tenth step is really neat step. And the tenth step has to do with um, for me, has to do with balance in our lives. Staying on track, here in the eighth and ninth step we kinda, seven eight and nine - we've kinda gotten back on track. Some. Uh, through our amends, through humbly asking God to remove our shortcomings, we've gotten kind of back on track, and one of the ways we stay on track is through the tenth step, and that's by keeping track of how we're doing on those things. And I've learned for me, you know, checking out the day at the end of the day don't cut it. But I have to do almost a constant monitoring to see how I'm doing throughout the day, and make adjustments. And when I head off, you know the tenth step says when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. And I, for years I thought that meant well when I do something to somebody I apologize for it. I read it in my head, and when we were wrong, promptly apologized for it. You know, today that's so much broader. When I start heading the wrong direction, I need to come back on track. I have to admit that I'm heading off in the wrong direction, and bring my, and do what I can do to come back on track. When I fall into one of my patterns, self- destructive patterns, whether I involve someone else or not, I have to recognize that I'm headed the wrong direction. And take action to come back on track, to maintain that spiritual balance. So, for me today the tenth step is, uh, about maintaining spiritual balance.
Eleventh step, we sought through prayer and meditation to improve or conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for the knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out. To me, that has to do about growing spiritually, has to do about keeping ourselves on track in the future. It's about discovering what God has in store for me. Being open to God's plan, not just my plan, and having the courage, and the power to follow that plan, not my plan. Follow up, and work the program! Work God's program. You know, prayer and meditation are two of the important ways we do that. I'm telling you that life is all about prayer and meditation! What if everything you do is a prayer? What if every sleazy thing we did was a prayer? What if every generous thing we did was a prayer? What if every negative thing we do is a prayer? What if every positive thing we do is a prayer? That scared the shit out of me at one time. 'cause I started looking at my life, and I wasn't real thrilled about some of the stuff I was doing. And my prayer was not a very positive prayer. So I believe the eleventh step is about making our lives a prayer. Is your life a prayer? That you're proud to give to God? Or is your life something you're embarrassed about, or feel guilty… I suspect that if you're embarrassed about your life or feel guilty about the way you act, you need to do some changing. And that's part of the eleventh step. We need to change the way we live, and make our lives a positive prayer. And if everything I do is a prayer, then maybe everything I think is a meditation. And I honestly believe that if I can come into a room looking for the presence of a loving God, aware that God will be speaking through whoever's speaking, I'll hear God's will for me. I'll hear what I need to hear. A lot of you guys have experienced that- gone to a meeting in a blue funk, and some newcomer said something so outrageous that it just blows you away. And they have no idea what they're talking about, and it's so profound. It really is! They, in that one moment of time, become a vehicle of God. And are able to say something in a way that you're never ever been able to hear it before. And the light goes on inside you, that, you have a spiritual awakening. You know, you can experience that around here. Out of the mouths of babes.
Twelfth step. Having had a spiritual awakening, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and practice these principles in all our affairs. And uh, the bottom line of that is live this way. You want to be an NA member? Be a fuckin' NA member. Do it right! You want to follow a spiritual path? Commit yourself with abandon. It's the only way it works. This is not a half - ass program. Having had a spiritual awakening, a rebirth, enlightenment. And I believe in Narcotics Anonymous, this twelve step path we're on, is just as sure a road to enlightenment as any philosophy or religion. And does not exclude any philosophy or religion. But, having had that awakening, You know it's kinda like when someone turns on your light, let it shine babe! Don't cover it up! When you get enlightened, when you have that spiritual awakening, don't hide it! Let it shine forth! And share with others so it can grow! So it can be nurtured. So it can shine even brighter! Carry this message to addicts. What's the message? The message is hope. The message is spirituality. The message is all these things. And practice these principles in all our affairs. Um, that's a big part of the message- live this way. You know, I can say all kinds of stuff about the steps. I've learned a lot about the steps and traditions and Narcotics Anonymous in twenty-eight years. But the message I show you through the way I live is the real one. Kinda like don't tell me how good you're doing show by the way you live. How am I living? How is my life today? How's my program today?
I'm coping with a very serious illness. Some days I do pretty good with it. Some days I don't do very well with it. Yesterday, I sat and told Lois, I'm so tired of being sick. I was struggling with being sick. Some days my relationship with my Higher Power is strong. I have not fallen into the trap of Why Me God, thank God. I'm pretty much convinced that this is an opportunity rather than a punishment or a curse. And God has got wonderful stuff in store for me. And I've experienced part of that. Last weekend there were three guys over to the house. All from different parts of the country. And they had an experience. They had a number of experiences, which may have changed their lives. NA members - one from the Midwest, One from New Jersey, one from Indiana, who didn't know each other. But were brought together for a common purpose. And they worked together, and they laughed together, and they told stories together and they shared together. And the barriers came down and they sat out in the woods, and uh, they experienced something.
My dream for a lot of years was to have a place where that could happen. And it's happening. In spite of me. Don't know what the future holds for me. I don't know whether, like anybody else, I don't know whether I'm gonna buy the farm tonight on the way home, have six months, two years, ten years, fifteen years, I don't know. What I do know is that I have had a good life beyond my wildest dreams in Narcotics Anonymous. I have been given the great gift of having had a chance to touch some spirits. Get to know people just like you. And contribute to their recovery, and have them contribute to my recovery. And that's what this is about. It's about touching spirits. It's about giving you a little bit of my glow in exchange for a little bit of your glow. And both coming out brighter in the process. It's about…it's about being there for each other when no ones ever been there before. It's about learning how to love when we never knew how to love. It's about learning how to give instead of take. It's about all those things. And it's a helluva trip! I have a good life. I have had a good life. I continue to have a good life. And uh, I ain't done yet. So I thank you for asking me down, I with you.
End of transcript
Transcriber's footnote: This was recorded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in a small church, and about thirty people were present. Fifteen or so out of the thirty were newcomers.
Greg P.’s Last days The second weekend in April 1999 a close friend accepted an invitation to come stay with Greg P and who had been my sponsor for about two years at the time. He had also invited two other addicts for the weekend just to hang together and help do some work around the Hill, as Greg was not physically able to do it at the time. No one knew just how sick he really was and I’m not sure he knew. I did not have a job at the time so he asked me to stay on for a while and help around the house and look for a job in the meantime. We talked about it some and then he asked me a Question I had no answer for “What have you got to lose?” so I agreed to stay.
That week was filled with Doctors’ appointments and beginning to apply for Social Security Disability. Greg was becoming weaker by the day so we started having meetings at his house and called it the Acorn Hill group aka “A bunch of nuts on a hill”. Greg talked much about writing a book and starting a place to have a retreat for addicts.
He was concerned as to how to finance such a project. I had the opportunity to watch his disease go active and how he responded. A speaking engagement was approaching the next weekend in North Carolina that was to be his “Last Talk.” He was very excited about making this trip and going a day early to talk to some addicts about his idea for a retreat. Lois and others had concerns that the extended trip would be too much for Greg to tolerate as weak as he was becoming.
The next week Greg had an MRI appointment at Vanderbilt Hospital. I was asked to drive Greg to Nashville while Lois continued to work. I didn’t know it at the time but it was the last time Greg was to leave home alive. On the way we stopped at a Waffle House to get a bite to eat and some coffee and I noticed that his mouth was bleeding, he was aware of it and dismissed it so we went on to the hospital hotel where we spent the night. He became very despondent when he saw yellow fluid seeping from his feet and legs. We got to hospital on time and at the right place but the MRI machine was for the head and Greg took one look at the machine and said “I’ll never fit in that” I talked to the nurse about some of the symptoms I was seeing and she thought he needed to be seen by a Doctor right away and would probably be admitted. Greg and I talked about the 3rd step and decided that Lois needed to be there and I should go to the house and see to things there. The next thing I heard was from Lois, Greg was in kidney failure.
I stayed at the house and received calls from many concerned friends and kept others informed as best I could; those who talked with Greg directly was told a very optimistic Greg line “I’m doing Fine, I’ll be out in a couple of days.” But the reality was, his kidneys had failed and was on dialysis during the week he was in Nashville.
The news came that there was nothing more they could do at Vanderbilt hospital and recommended to Lois that it be best to transfer Greg to Johnson City Medical Center so he could be closer to the kids and friends. Greg was treated at JCMC for three days drifting in and out of awareness until early April 29, when he passed away in his sleep.
A few “Old timers” came to Acorn Hill that day and the next one of them wrote a beautiful obituary for the local newspaper . The WSO was also notified but had some difficulty getting thru as the conference was in full session. Greg had already made plans for many sponcee’s and others to gather at the house to work on the archives on May 16 so it made sense to wait and have a memorial service then to be less disruptive to peoples schedule.
Greg’s sister arrived the day before from California and she helped with the final arrangements. It was Greg’s wish that he be cremated. Lois, Greg’s sister, Carl Deal, and myself went to the funeral home and brought Greg home one last time. To me it was so ironic that I drove him away alive and aware and then to return his ashes to the home he loved so much and had such hopes for.
Greg’s sister had to return to California the next day so she to part of his ashes home with her as he wanted them spread into the Pacific Ocean. The rest were spread during a very private ceremony overlooking one of Greg’s favorite vistas in the North Carolina mountains not far from where he lived. Lois, Clay, and Lori used a coffee mug from the original “Rabbit Meeting’s” to spread the rest of his ashes.
Eight years is a long time, but this is a very emotional story to tell but one I suddenly felt compelled to share. I don’t know how this will be received I’ve witnessed addicts viciously attack and ridicule one another this was not Greg’s way, I remember sitting with Greg at the hospital with another addict while he was asleep and dreaming and suddenly he shouted “CAN”T WE ACT LIKE GROWN UP”S AND GET ALONG”. The other addict and I chuckled and said he must be at a service meeting. This is my last memory of Greg Alive Dreaming of Unity in Narcotics Anonymous, his last day with us he died the next morning around 4A.M.
I hope this will answer some questions perhaps raise more questions.
Recovery doesn’t hurt Resisting Recovery hurts like HELL Greg P.
Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 1:03 PM subject greg pierce
Hi, I found your website on accident... I was trying to find Greg Pierce to tell him that I'd made it...
Greg was working in a treatment hospital my mom sent me to when I was just 14.
The whole program was supposed to be about 90 days but they kept me for nearly a year, I guess I was quite the mess.
Greg was my case manager... towards the end of my stay he admitted to me that when I was first assigned to him he didn't want me, was too afraid that I wouldn't make it, didn't want to lose someone as young as me... the last time I saw him would have been very near the time he wrote the prayer you included on your page.
I moved away and ended up in all kinds of trouble again... really messed up my life.
In the end of April 1999 I had a "fireworks of realization" moment. Out of nowhere, but very deeply, I knew that I had to get out of the situation I was in and make a better life for myself. I moved 2,000 miles away... went back to school...
got a Master's degree and finally "made good" on a life that started out so fucked up.
I wanted to write to Greg and tell him that I had never forgotten him. That I remembered the things he had said to me, and that it had taken me awhile, but I finally made it. I knew he would be happy and proud. I knew he would remember me even though it had been so. so long ago...
I am terribly sad to read that Greg is gone.
I don't know what I believe about death and "the afterlife" or even if I believe that there is one...
but I wonder if maybe Greg's spirit was the spark that made me get up and move, that gave me the courage to leave my husband and everyone I knew and pack my baby and my cat into a pickup truck and drive halfway across the country towards a better life.
Thank you for including him on your page.
Send elisje email!
The quotes were transposed the day Greg passed away onto his PC by Carl Deal who passed a few years later in NC...
"ARP" is one of the things that makes it possible to live the traditions. 3/6/99
√ The therapeutic value: Ours is for fun and for free - others have a vested interest in us one way of another.
Giving up, quitting, etc. are passive things. Surrender is an active principle.
It is part of all things and defmes all things it is part and parcel c the fabric of the universe from the most infinate to the most miniscule it is space - this is the closest I can come to defining God - But god is no - thing and non-sense 10121/97
I am working a step when I embrace the ideas and principles of the step and apply them to my daily living
With our basic text we don't need old timers to teach us anymore - also It Works How and Why and step guides 8/29/98
Just for Today decreasing our need to have a creative relationship with God!
Don't worship God he is not separate - watching everything
There are many long ways around, but there are no shortcuts. 8/30/98
Giving up, resignation, quitting, etc., are passive things surrender is and ACTIVE principle.
Defects of character are those things that separate us from God 10/89
Shortcomings are misunderstandings or misapplications of principle 10/89
A persons "character" is based on their morality or sense of right and wrong. Defects of character are points of misguided morality inappropriate beliefs and morals at odds with principles morals that contradict spiritual principles or are in conflict with reality. 10/89
Conflict is absence of serenity. Serenity is the lack of conflict. 10/89
You may be the only Basic Text a person sees. 5/89
Freedom doesn't mean that we get to choose what happens in our lives, it means we get to choose how you respond to what happens in your life. 5/89
Gods last word on every step is "No Sweat, here's what I want you to do!" 5/89
Live life abundantly, follow a spiritual path and give of yourself along the way 5/89
Quote from Pepe A. Any issue, controversy that takes the atmosphere love, fellowship and recovery from the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous is not an issue worth defending or being involved in.
Self worth is based in humility - Ego is based in pride.4/89
All consciousness is a form of meditation - All action is a form of prayer. 3/89
Power based on corporate structure is artificial- power based in spirituality is unasailable
The steps are a gentile process I am self limiting in my relationship with God. 3/89
Things are as good as I allow them to be.
Spirituality is an expression of our relationship with the truth
Spirituality is the manifestation (expression) of our relationship with the truth.
Spirituality is a state of surrender (acceptance)
Spirituality = my communion with the universe/reality
Respect based on position is empty.
The way I respond to powerlessness is the true nature of my unmanageability. My inappropriate response to powerlessness is the source of my unmanageability.
Recovery is not an intellectual exercise.
Commit yourself with abandon - there is no other way.
God don't make no money.
We take turns saving eachother.
My defects are compulsions and my shortcomings are actions
Com-Passion = with-feeling or with spirit
Spirituality is a person's relationship with reality and their beliefs - our communion with the universe.
An angel has no memory. God only exists in the present. (barberella)
"Love is anything that is done selflessly" 2/89
In my using I used people and valued things - this was backwards - the program has taught me to value people and use things. 2/89
Life is prayer and meditation and the thoughts I have. My actions are a form of prayer and my
consciousness and awareness are a form of meditation. 2/89
Only those who are powerless and have no Higher Power need to manipulate and control. 2/89
When a person becomes a model for other peoples lives he has moved into the sphere of being mythologized. 1/89
If you don't like the way your life is going, change the way you live. 1/89
The purpose of using is insanity. 1/88
Resentment is an attempt to bring the past into the present - projection is an attempt to bring the future into the present - both are attempting to control & change reality.
Spirituality is both a relationship and an attitude - behavior.
The falacy of "demanding respect" = Recognize the God in someone & treat them accordingly - it is inappropriate for me to "Demand Respect" respect is something you give not something you get - how can I demand that you perceive me a certain way? Particularly, how can I demand that you recognize my divinity?
Nature of our wrongs Wrongs are not just when we've harmed - they are also when we've acted wrong, diviated from or path, violated our morals, ignored spiritual principles, moved from spiritual to selfish etc.
S.H.A.R.P. Surrender or Sponsorship Honesty or Hope Acceptance or Action Reciprosity or Responsibility Prayer
A reservation is something that I reserver for my own control something I am unwilling to trust God with.
In the Steps & the Trads . identify the problem, identify the solution, try the solution
A meditative life is when every act is a confirmation of a relationship with God.
Spirituality is a relationship: between the individual and the beliefs. Based on attitudes and actions, That is expressed in our attitudes and actions with God, Reality and or beliefs and the truth that is expressed in or attitudes and actions.
The greatest prayer we can offer up to a higher power, any higher power or God is the way we live. "
"thats fine, dont do it...as long as you can stand it!"
"Recovery doesn't hurt Resisting Recovery hurts like HELL."
"Their's No substitute for Surrender "
'"There is nothing external about Recovery"
Conscience -> Con/science
We'er trying to Quantify and Qualify something that can't be quantified or qualified
Group conscience 11th Step
Gods will and the power to carry it out
Group conscience = step and traditions
Ultimate Authority -You can't fuck with a spiritual program ,How bad are you going to Fuck God ?
Group Conscience - How can You Tell ? Spiritual principles are never in conflict .
Leadership - personal inventory "Don't take yourself to seriously"
Trusted servent - is their any such thing ? trust is tied to people other than the servent .
the group ultimatly fullfills the needs of it's members. Don't complicate it Just Do it.
Photographic Memories - Arts - Washington City Paper
Hey Wonderful Person, be Happy Joyous and Free.
If you are an addict ?
You Don't need (have) to S M O K E anything , EAT healthy ,
Don't DRINK any Methadone , Moonshine
or SWALLOW any PROZAC, Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, (ANTI-depressant) tablets , SSRI (Selective Serrotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), Luvox (OCD),
HUFF Anything, Take X
or use any of the new drugs that are being invented everyday,( Anti-Anxiety Drugs, Anti-Psychotic Drugs, Anti-depressant Drugs, Mood Stabilizing Drugs).
The PDR keeps getting fatter each year,
the answer is
Spiritual not Chemical
TRY GOD (SPIRIT) instead
stay clean and find a new way to live ,
there is hope for any addict.
You are no different,
we can survive our emotions clean together and grow. TRY clean first.
The chances are you are the problem and and total abstinence is the cure. Changes will happen overnight.
Once you are clean and you still can't face life without drugs, then any psychiatrist can load you up
with the latest chemical and the viscious cycle will progress to misery,
degradation, dereliction, jails , institutions and death.
If you keep doing what you are doing, you'll keep getting what you are getting.
Help is a call away.(202) 299-4919 .
The Last time miracle growth occured on any of these pages was around 12.28.2009…
Have a great Day!
And remember God (SPIRIT) Loves You
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