It’s a safe bet that you have a lot going on right now. We all have busy lives that are always changing, especially in recovery. There is always some 12 Step work to do, a meeting to attend, or somebody we can help! Particularly for those who are new to recovery, it may seem like things are changing all the time or there’s almost too much going on. But just as often, even with all the changes in our lives, we can’t stop ourselves from thinking about all the stuff that we wish we could change. As if there wasn’t enough happening already!
Those of us in early recovery fall into this trap a lot, but anyone in recovery at any point can get caught up in rushing after a whole bunch of changes that we want to make. We see the things that we wish were different and we want to tackle them all at once, right now! I mean, haven’t we said a million times that recovery is all about living a happy, full, and meaningful life? We still say it, because it’s true. But it’s important to learn to walk before we can run. We need a firm foundation if we’re going to build a life beyond our wildest dreams in recovery.
For most alcoholics and addicts, patience is not a virtue that we have in abundance. Things are changing and we may not like it, so we might as well change everything at once! Things are going better in recovery but there are still a few sore spots, so let’s fix everything right now! We’ve grown a lot in recovery but still have a long way to go, so let’s rush after everything we want to improve about ourselves! There’s nothing wrong with these goals. In fact, they are great goals and we encourage you to pursue them wholeheartedly. But let’s work smarter, not harder. We can’t take it all on at once and we can’t will ourselves to grow. We only grow if we’re willing to be patient and practice the work.
So, let’s slow down a little bit. Let’s take a look at how we can have a little more patience with ourselves.
Acceptance Is the Key
You may have heard this recovery adage before. Even if you haven’t, it’s true. We can’t change ourselves or our lives until we accept the reality of where we are. If we hate everything about the present, we are likely exaggerating or not seeing things clearly. There is plenty to be grateful for right here, right now. We need to learn to see the truth so we can accurately appraise our next step. It may sound harsh, but if we can’t show up to work on time for the job we don’t like, we’ll probably never get hired at a better job that we might love. When we blind ourselves and refuse to accept the present (in this scenario, blaming the job for making us late and quitting in a rage), then we get hurt even worse in the future (no one else will hire us). A situation like this could be avoided with a little patience and a lot of acceptance. Starting where we’re really at helps us see the things we need to work on more clearly, but also helps us make a smart choice about our next step. The path to a beautiful life is walked one step at a time, from one right thing to the next right thing. Acceptance helps us see our next steps clearly, and it makes our present position a lot nicer, too.
Careful What You Wish For
There’s another old recovery saying: “Never pray for patience, because if you do you’ll get it.” If we truly want patience, we probably will get it, but it may involve some waiting. This old phrase is really more of a joke, and praying is never a bad idea! Patience is a hard thing to acquire, especially for us alcoholics and addicts. So, how can we be more patient with ourselves? The short answer is practice. The long answer is practice, 12 Step work, and more practice.
Patience is considered a virtue, but most people find it unappealing at first glance. In reality, patience is the ability to work and wait without having our peace disturbed. Maybe it’s taking longer than we hoped to get in shape, but with patience we can keep going to the gym, improving our technique, and awaiting results without losing our serenity. If our significant other is struggling, patience allows us to stand by their side, supporting them and loving them through the tough times without joining them in depression or anxiety. These are just two brief examples, but hopefully it’s easy now to see what a great thing patience can be.
How We Become More Patient
Patience takes time to develop. Remember to breathe, and work the 11th Step every day. Get involved in prayer and meditation, which both help us slow down, grow in acceptance, and learn to be present in the moment while being patient towards others and the future. We can’t rush the future — it will come in its own time. But what we can do is be present with the work, the people, and the life before us, right here and now.
Jaywalker Lodge believes that recovery is possible for anyone who is willing to do the work of the 12 Step program. Even if you’ve struggled to get sober or remain in recovery in the past, Jaywalker can help you make the breakthrough you so desperately need. We ourselves once struggled to maintain recovery. Having overcome the vicious cycle of relapse, we stand prepared to help you do the same. Please, be patient with yourself. As long as you’re breathing, there is hope. Recovery is about living a life of purpose, happiness, service, and joy. We want to show you how to experience this life for yourself — you deserve it. No matter how long the road has been in the past or how far you still have left to go, have patience and keep hope alive. If you’re ready to get started, we’re ready to help you. Call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.