Gaining the Courage to Step Up Your Recovery Efforts

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.” – Jesse Jackson, American civil-rights leader, Baptist minister, and politician (born 1941)

Do we ever look at the seemingly impossible odds someone has overcome and wondered where they found the courage to tackle such challenges? It happens every day somewhere in the world we inhabit, even – and perhaps especially so – among those we meet and know in recovery. In fact, since we’re in recovery, the example of someone who models courage can be a great help in stepping up our own recovery efforts.

What is the opposite of courage? Some say that it is cowardice or laziness, but others say that the opposite of courage is conformity to standards which are disagreeable. When we speak about courage in recovery, we’re not talking about conforming to the plan we’ve set down for ourselves that comprises our recovery goals. Those are not disagreeable standards. Well, to be honest, they may seem a bit disagreeable at first, but that’s because we are seeking to change our entire mindset and behaviors to those that are healthy and conducive to maintaining our sobriety.

We need a goal to focus on. This should be a long-term goal, bolstered by numerous short- and mid-range goals we work toward in the process of making our way to our long-term goal. If we can see the goal, envision it in our minds, we then have to believe that we can achieve it. If we can’t believe in our ability to achieve the goal, it will forever remain out there undone somewhere ahead of us. We need to gradually build up our self-esteem by accomplishing first this small goal and then that one. Keep a forward momentum, celebrating our accomplishments briefly and then tackling the next item on our list.

When we feel as if we’ve gotten our sea legs, so to speak, and are ready to move up to something a bit more challenging, our first connection should be with our 12-step sponsor. This is particularly important if we’re going on to the next step in our 12-Steps. It may make sense to skip around a bit, rather than stalemating on a step that we’re having trouble with. Remember to keep the goal in sight, envision it, believe that we can do it, and we will be able to step up to the challenge.
It’s okay to sometimes doubt. We all have those moments. They’re usually not long in duration and serve as a sort of reality check. Just keep pushing forward, seek support from our allies, and believe that we have what it takes to persevere.

Posted on April 26th, 2011

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