Friday, June 24, 2011

“Practicing Perseverance”

Go to meetings, stay sober, work the step or die, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, thanks for reading.

Naw, I’m just kidding :)

It’s a warm Friday afternoon and I’m in the shade of the patio outside my favorite coffee shop. They’ve got a new drink here I just had to try. It’s sort of like a root beer float--a can of A&W, a dash of half-and-half, and two shots of espresso. It’s supposed to come with whipped cream too, but I told the guy to hold off on that. It’s pretty good.

Grabbing my drink, I noticed there are a lot of good-looking women here today. I thought briefly about planting myself on the couch to observe the field, but what would my blog turn out like? I can see it now... “Working the steps is crucial to brunette in a really tight tube top.” “Going to meetings is the best way to pretty blond in a short skirt.” Yeah. Exactly.

Yes, I am in a good mood. And not because of the women, or even the tasty root beer concoction. No, today just feels like a good day. Yesterday I did a lot of exercise. I pushed myself on the weights. My shoulder muscles haven’t been keeping up with everything else so I worked those extra hard. Then last night it cooled off really nicely and I couldn’t resist going for a jog. I did a two and a half mile route, ran my usual 1.1 miles of it, but I pushed the speed up. This morning I stepped on the scales and was pleased with the reading (no, I’m not going to share what it said). I’m trying real hard to not stress too much over the weight loss not happening as fast as I’d like, trying to remember the point is to be healthy, be exercising. But on the days where the scale is down, I feel really good. And of course, on the days when it’s up, I get furious with myself. No surprise there.

The weight is coming down, regardless of how fast. That’s a good thing and something I am proud of, but the more important point is that I’m exercising every day. I was trying to remember the last time I missed a day and it’s been awhile. The weight is coming off gradually, and I know that’s because I’m keeping at it and persevering.

Ah, you knew a spiritual principle was going to show up, didn’t you?

I was talking with one of my sponsees earlier today. He’s going through a rough patch where the disease is just kicking his ass from all sorts of angles right now. We talked a lot about how this is one of those times where the tenth step comes into play full force. Life is hard. Recovery is hard. That’s what is. For those of us who’ve managed to put together some time, apathy is our worst enemy. We have to keep on working the program, keep on climbing that hill. We have to Persevere. Those of us with the disease have something of a catch-22 when it comes to life. Life is hard, so we became addicts; because we’re addicts, life is even harder. But it doesn’t get easier, not exactly. I shared with him one of my favorite metaphors for working the program and dealing with life:

Say you pick up a new instrument, like the violin. At the start, you need someone to show you how to do everything--where to put your fingers, how to hold the bow, etc. All you can play is some ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ bullshit and even that sounds terrible. But with time, with patience, and with practice, you move on to harder and harder pieces. Eventually you’re able to play world-famous concertos. The pieces didn’t get any easier, you’ve just gotten better at playing. As you become more and more practiced, you’re able to play more difficult pieces.

The metaphor works with lifting weights, too. At first, you can’t lift very heavy weights and you can’t do it for very long. As you keep at, keep practicing, as you persevere, you’re able to handle longer workouts and lift heavier and heavier weights. In time, you get a nicely toned body.

With Recovery, it’s life that we’re practicing; it’s our spiritual selves that we’re toning up. As we keep on keepin’ on, we get better at handling life itself. And just like working out or lifting weights, if we miss a day, we can feel our regression. We have to keep going, keep moving forward. We have to work the program on a daily basis, one day at a time. We don’t always see the effects, just as how going to the gym once doesn’t get us bodybuilder bodies. But if we persevere, we will see the results. They aren’t reflected in the mirror, but in the shape of our lives and the people in them. We are transformed and the change is undeniable.

1 comment:

  1. Catching up on your blog and this one resonates with me. There's so much to be gained just by sticking with it, and I appreciate the reminder!