NADA is not like a pill. A pill doesn’t have wisdom – but acupuncture has wisdom from the very first. Pills do the same thing every time, but very few things in life are like that. Acupuncture is nothing like that. It works in animals and plants – it is balancing, normalizing and restorative. In the field of addiction and trauma, acupuncture helps people survive in the first days of recovery. It doesn’t necessarily solve anything, but it puts people in a useful space.
ADA is a foundation. A foundation is the basic part of having something done successfully – you can build many different types of houses on it. It is also a demonstration of what sobriety is, of what a person’s own value is. A patient says, “I don’t deserve to relax.” Acupuncture tells the person that “Nature forgives you ever day – you’re not broken, there’s a possibility for growth.” You don’t tell the person, the person perceives it.
And, moreover, NADA is a gift. Clients are very needy but it’s hard to give them anything. It’s hard to give something to people who have low self-esteem – they don’t know how to accept anything. Acupuncture looks like you’re bringing something from the outside, but what the patients are getting is the ability to use parts of their own mind and spirit that they weren’t able to use before – it gives them a part of themselves that was always there.
And NADA is sharing. Part of this sharing is the group Qi effect. The treatment should be done quickly to allow the Qi to move easily. Clients feel they’re being judged all the time, they think they don’t deserve to relax. But you put in a needle and, within a few minutes, the patient is feeling more comfortable. Initially the clients don’t trust you – they don’t trust themselves, why should they trust you? – but, because the treatment is non-verbal, this doesn’t make any difference. They begin to realize for themselves that they’re not broken, that something works – and it works because they’re alive.
The The NADA protocol started with one needle plugged into a machine and an addict turning it up high for the buzz. It started with heroin addicts and alcoholics who said this would help them though doctors were saying that acupuncture wouldn’t work for them.
When you first meet a client, you have about five minutes to help them – to make them realize that they are alive and that something good is possible. You give them acupuncture, and you have offered the knowledge that they have life and potential. There is not much that’s important to a using addict so you have to make what you do count. NADA gives them self-validation and is a treatment for their Spirit.
Interaction and richness is what works. Your message must be variable – it’s what you bring to the situation. Keep it simple so complicated things can happen. Make it complicated and the client won’t understand. If you want to change a person’s life with a 10-second message, it has to mean something to that person. Intelligence and wealth and process is inside the client, not inside the practitioner.
Acupuncture is a living thing. It’s like a message or a lesson – once the body learns the lesson, you don’t need the treatment. It’s a whispered suggestion – when you speak to a client, speak so that the person can take it in. Say similar things, not unique things. Don’t tell people new ideas – make them safe and then let the ideas pop up. Make what’s already there rich – help to value and honor it.
The Spirit of NADA is service – people grow and we grow through the people we serve. We’ve done a great deal to have gotten to this point where we are today. But now we must hand off our knowledge and this is not always easy. But we must begin to plan how it can be done. Yes, I really appreciate what we’ve done so far, but I appreciate even more what we might do.