Persistence in Life and Recovery

Persistence in Life and Recovery

image of a seedling pushing through asphalt to symbolize persistence in recoverySo we are now about two weeks into the New Year. That’s long enough that the great enthusiasm we had for our 2018 goals has dimmed a bit, or worse. So now what?

Life is a continuing challenge of balancing short-term and long-term satisfactions, as SMART Recovery’s 4th Point, Lifestyle Balance, reminds us. Your goals for the year were very likely about enhancing your long-term satisfactions. Of course, we easily get side-tracked. Something shiny, fun, escapist, or whatever side-tracks us, and off we go, setting aside, for now, the long-term goal.

This brief blog is a reminder that even if it is set aside, the long-term goal, and the satisfaction it will bring, is still there, still worth pursuing, and still worth having even if it takes us a long time to get there or even if we don’t get there all the way.

Just as in life, persistence in resolving a problematic addictive behavior is a great virtue, perhaps the greatest. However, “virtue” implies that this word is about your character. Rather, think of persistence as a behavior, not a character trait. Persistence is not something you have or something that is within yourself. Persistence is what you do, how you behave.

You can behave persistently even if you are not doing as much as you could. It is exhausting to “go for it,” with complete effort, all the time. No one can operate that way. Even when running a 100-meter dash (an event lasting about 10 seconds), there are a few seconds when the runner re-groups, and prepares for the final push.

If you are not moving forward very well at present, there are still small steps you can take. Take a moment to consider what they might be. Even doing one will make you feel better. If you want to feel even better, write down what you did: Made the bed, drank more fluids, straightened up a drawer, complimented a friend, etc. In time you’ll love looking at that list. All of these actions form a foundation for a bigger push for change, and help prepare you for it.

If you are doing well, these small steps are still meaningful, because there are always new goals to take on. May you have many satisfactions this year, big and small!

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