Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Recovery, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Open-Mindedness and Slacks

I have a business trip coming up in a couple of weeks for which I need some navy color slacks. So, over this past weekend, we went shopping for a pair or two.

When I saw the retail price my jaw dropped. We were at Old Navy, a store known for reasonably priced clothing. So, I naively thought I would be able to pick something up for around $20 a pair.

Nope, the price was double what I had expected. Then there was the issue of finding my size. None were to be found. So, we left the store empty handed.

I decided that I would just shop at my favorite store in the coming weeks to find some navy slacks. What is my favorite clothing store you ask? It’s Goodwill. That’s right, my favorite store for men’s clothing is America’s largest supplier of hand-me-down clothing.

There, the most I ever pay for a pair of slacks is $6. My closet is full of slacks, shorts, jeans, and shirts from Goodwill.

Any time I think about Kent in a Goodwill store I chuckle. You see, not too many years ago I would have been embarrassed to have been found shopping there. After all, what would people think? What about my reputation? My image? My pride?

I think I was truly hooked on Goodwill the day I found a pristine Brooks Brothers shirt at a Goodwill store for $3.50. It was an Oxford dress shirt that would have retailed for $150! I’m no math wizard, but that was a savings of like a bazillion dollars!

Suddenly my mind was changed where Goodwill stores are concerned. Reputation, image, and even pride could all take a backseat to fine men’s clothing at low low prices!

Today, I’m not sure my car is able to pass by one of these stores without veering off the road and into the parking lot. My purchases are not limited to clothing either. Nowadays I find all kinds of treasures there. Need a pie dish, go to Goodwill. Paper shredder? Chances are that Goodwill will have one. Don’t even get me started on fine china!

Sometimes I will think about all the money I could have saved if I had started shopping at Goodwill sooner. It’s odd, because today I can afford to shop wherever I want. There were times, though, when money was much tighter, and I could have really benefited from all the savings.

Oh well, no sense in dwelling on the past. I can’t change it anyway. No amount of wishing would bring back all that money spent at retail.

My experience with Narcotics Anonymous is similar to my experience with Goodwill. The signs of my addiction were present years ago. First, it was alcohol. My inability to moderate it’s use was an early sign of things to come. Then the pills came, followed by even harder street drugs. My disease progressed, and I did nothing about it.

I didn’t look for a solution. After all, why should I? It was everyone else who had a problem. Besides, what would being associated with a twelve-step program do to my image, reputation, and pride? No way, not for me thank you.

Thankfully my path did eventually lead me to the rooms of NA. Like my long-held biases against shopping at Goodwill, it took some open-mindedness to give the NA program a chance. Had it not been for Amanda’s enthusiasm for recovery, I would likely never have even considered it.

As recovering addicts, we often speak of that “gift of desperation” that brought us into the rooms. For me, that gift came when I was willing to set aside pride, image, and reputation.

At first it was like it had been walking into Goodwill early on. I’d look around to see that no one who knew me was around before quickly sneaking inside. Over time, however, I have grown comfortable with NA. I arrive at meetings, ready to visit with friends and greet newcomers. I feel at home at meetings, and appreciate the diversity of our fellowship.

Practicing open-mindedness toward Goodwill has saved me tons of money over the past few years.

Practicing open-mindedness toward NA has saved my life!

Have a remarkable day!


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