We may not have had a word of the week at SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT yet that aptly describes what is required to maintain lasting sobriety that also encompasses so many of the past words we have featured here in this segment up to this point; this week we are going to talk about perseverance. Typically, I wouldn’t spend too much time giving dictionary definitions in these blog posts but I really like how this one applies to our word this week in relation to recovery. Perseverance is defined as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” The reason this definition, in particular, sticks out to me is its emphasis on maintaining tenacity through a process despite actually reaching a goal. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we can’t achieve successes and reach milestones throughout recovery, but I am saying that the happiest amongst us, I believe, have come to realize that sobriety is about the journey and not about the destination. It is not about how many days, months, or years we can put together, but rather what we can do during that time. Quality not Quantity. Of course, the quantity is generally indicative of the quality because during this time sober if we have created a life that isn’t worth going back to a life of suffering and misery where drugs and alcohol are our only solace, we are more likely to keep trudging through, even during the most difficult of times, and that is perseverance.
Throughout our lives, and especially within the realm of the recovery process, we face many obstacles. As someone who has familiarized himself all too well with how not to deal with these unavoidable barriers life puts up, I can say assuredly that I have learned that there is one technique I try now to avoid as though it were the plague, and that is to maintain an attitude of indifference. “It works if you work it”; we all know the mantra, but do we meditate on how true this statement really is? We’ve all been told that if we really want something, all we need to do is work hard for it and it can be ours. I don’t necessarily believe this to be true for most things. For example, as much as I wanted to be a professional basketball player growing up, and as hard as I possibly could have worked, I don’t believe it would have happened. I’m too short, I don’t jump very high, and quite frankly, I’m just not that talented. I’m not trying to paint a bleak picture or tell people not to strive for their dreams, but I am trying to make a point which is this: If we want success beyond our wildest dreams in regards to recovery, all we really have to do is work for it. The key to our success in sobriety are the action steps we take towards it and the integral action throughout the entirety of this process is perseverance. John Adams said it this way, “Perseverance has a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” Another way this has been told to me is that there is no substitute for hard work and perseverance. When battling addiction, this is no exception. As addicts, if we can keep pushing forward and have faith that during the process of recovery the promises will come to fruition, we will surely find that we will eventually reap what we sow, for better, and for those unwilling to apply perseverance, for worse.