It is now January 2, 2014 and the world is pretty much as it was in 2013, about 48 hours ago. As I write this, the noise of breaking New Year’s resolutions is deafening. Just turning the page of a calendar changes nothing. It takes a lot more than a superficial commitment to change your life.
My daughter, Nika Gorski, drives this point home to me every time I watch her play soccer.
– She is committed to the game, trains hard, listens to her coach.
– She gets in “the zone” by concentrating on the game and blocking out distractions.
– She supports her team and does her best to play whatever position she is assigned.
– If she falls down, she gets back up.
– She expects to get some bruises and doesn’t whine and complain when she does.
– If she gets injured she takes time to heal.
– She thoroughly enjoys the challenge of the game and uses it to keep becoming a better person.
As I watched her play, I realized that soccer, and most other team sports, are really a metaphors for both life and recovery. There are no New Year’s Resolutions in soccer, in life, or in recovery. Just making a New Year’s resolution is a half-measure that never works out in the long run.
You don’t become a good athlete by making a superficial commitment to play when you feel like it. Athletes play whether they feel like it or not. Staying sober when it feels good is easy. It takes people with strong recovery programs to stay sober when the cravings hit.
Being a good athlete requires an ongoing and well-developed plan that unfolds, one day at a time, over years. It requires conditioning your mind and body. It means consistent training and practice. It means doing what you need to do even if it’s not easy and even if at that moment you don’t want to do it.
To accomplish anything worthwhile in life requires people to develop a plan, and then work the plan over a long period of time. There seems to be a general formula for success. This formula applies to succeeding at soccer or sobriety. Here is a brief sketch of what it takes:
1. Getting involved with a team or group of people committed to working collaboratively toward a common goal;
2. Choosing the right goals to produce the desired change;
3. Considering the consequences on all involved before setting out on the road to regrets;
4. Developing the best plan possible, working the plan; and making mid-course adjustments as needed.
5. Persisting one day at a time;
6. Bouncing back from adversity and temporary set-backs; and
7. Maintaining the changes once the goal is accomplished.
Good athletes train year around. They don’t let their conditioning go in the off-season. When it comes to living a sober and responsible life, there is no off-season.
There is no magic formula for making good things happen in life. It takes consistent work over time to change. Even then, there are no guarantees that it will last.
People who are persistent and resilient stay committed to growth and change. They dig in and work the plan even though there is no guarantee of success and they do it everyday, especially when they don’t feel like it. This is what the combination of faith and courage is all about.
We can have what we build. We can keep what we maintain and protect. Don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Build a sober and responsible life every day.
LIVE SOBER – BE RESPONSIBLE – LIVE FREE
Understand How To Build A Plan For Recovery
Straight Talk About Addiction By Terence T. Gorski