Most of us arrived in Narcotics Anonymous with a very poor ability to listen. But to take full advantage of "the therapeutic value of one addict helping another," we must learn to listen actively.
What is active listening for us? In meetings, it means we concentrate on what the speaker is sharing, while the speaker is sharing. We set aside our own thoughts and opinions until the meeting is over. That's when we sort through what we've heard to decide which ideas we want to use and which we want to explore further.
We can apply our active listening skills in sponsorship, too. Newcomers often talk with us about some "major event" in their lives. While such events may not seem significant to us, they are to the newcomer who has little experience living life on life's terms. Our active listening helps us empathize with the feelings such events trigger in our sponsee's life. With that understanding, we have a better idea of what to share with them.
The ability to listen actively was unknown to us in the isolation of our addiction. Today, this ability helps us actively engage with our recovery. Through active listening, we receive everything being offered us in NA, and we share fully with others the love and care we've been given.