Keep Up Your Strength in Recovery

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi, Indian philosopher, statesman, lawyer, politician, internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest (1869-1948)

If strength does not come from any physical capacity, how can we keep up our strength in recovery? There are two ways of looking at strength. There is physical strength, which refers to our ability to lift and stretch and tow and handle activities that require a certain physical capacity. There is also spiritual strength, or strength of will. In recovery, we actually use both kinds of strength.

We need to keep up our physical strength with proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and appropriate physical exercise. This helps us to maintain our pace in recovery and gives us enough energy to accomplish the tasks we’ve set out for ourselves.
But we also need to pay heed to keeping up our spiritual strength – perhaps even more so than our physical strength. With physical strength, we know pretty intuitively what we need to do – eat right, sleep 8 to 9 hours a night, drink plenty of water, get out in the fresh air, and so on. With spiritual strength, however, we’re sometimes at a loss to know how to replenish it, build it up, or draw on its reserve. We can help this process by meditating, doing instructional reading, going to 12-step meetings, seeking the advice and counsel of our spiritual advisor, and calling on our Higher Power. Any and all of these methods are good places to start.

We can also talk with our 12-step sponsor and communicate at length with our spouse or partner and other loved ones and close friends. If there’s someone whom we admire that seems to model strength, we can try to emulate what that person does. It is important to keep in mind, however, that each person follows a unique path in recovery. We may need to work at this a bit to figure out what the best formula is to build up our strength reserves.

We do know this. Recovery is a lifetime process. It isn’t a race, where physical endurance is required. But it does involve having strength to make it through the inevitable rough patches that we all experience. Whether it’s day one or 10 or 20 years from now in recovery, strength is a necessary ingredient for lasting sobriety.

Remember that healing in recovery requires a balance of body, mind and spirit. When we are strong in all three areas, we are well on the road to effective long-term recovery.
 

Posted on April 24th, 2011

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