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Finding Your Secret to Success

"Ask yourself the secret of your success. Listen to your answer, and practice it." - Richard Bach, American writer best known for Jonathan Livingston Seagull, widely popular in the 1970s (born 1936)Everybody loves a secret or, to be more accurate, everybody loves to be in on a secret. When we are privy to a secret, we feel in the know. We have an edge, or we believe we do, and that edge both spurs us on and helps validate what we're doing.

In recovery, we each have a secret to our success as well. We may not think of it as such, but it is a secret, nonetheless. How so, we might ask? Let's look at recovery and what it takes to succeed.

It takes a number of different things, the kind and variety and combination of which are unique to each individual. Definitely, hard work is required. There's also a willingness to put our trust and faith in the God as we know Him - or our higher spirit or whatever we prefer to call that higher consciousness. But there are many more requirements for success that pertain to some of us, but not all of us, and always in a uniquely individual way.

If we take the time to analyze what it is that works for us, and if we acknowledge what works and continue to practice it, we will find the secret to our success. But here's another tip: It changes over time. What works best for us in early recovery may change or morph into a slightly different course of action after we have been clean and sober for many months and years.

That doesn't mean that everything will change, just that how we approach certain activities and tasks and how we look at our life in sobriety may change. For one thing, the more firmly grounded we are in the foundation of recovery, the easier it will be for us to be able to withstand challenges, to overcome temptations and fight off cravings and urges, to deal with stress and tension and the uncertainties of life.

If we can give ourselves one bit of advice, it would be this: Be flexible. With a less rigid approach, we will allow ourselves the ability to look at our daily routines and short and long-term goals with an eye toward incorporating more of what works best, gives us the most joy and satisfaction and streamlining, changing or eliminating those tasks and pursuits that do not result in any improvement in our recovery.

This kind of critical judgment is something that we get better at over time. For now, we should just allow ourselves to concentrate on figuring out what it is that seems to hold the key to our ability to make progress in our recovery. Is it going to daily 12 Step meetings? Is it adhering to a carefully constructed daily routine so that we aren't left with gaping time holes during which our minds wander back toward how it feels to use? Later on, is it spacing out our daily recovery practices to incorporate some time to develop new pursuits, take classes, learn a new skill, meet new people, and begin to help others new to recovery as they make their way into the 12 Step rooms?

The answers are there within us. All we really need to do is have a talk with ourselves and start listening to the answers we come up with. But really listen. Don't allow ourselves to blurt out falsehoods, just to hear ourselves talk. And this doesn't mean literally talking out loud. We can have this conversation within our thoughts.

The secret to our success will also change over time. We should remain flexible - there's that word again - so that we're able to recognize the new direction that our success takes, and therein find the secret that helped us get there.

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