Do the Thing You Need to Do or…

Player trying to hit the ball with the bat while playing softball on a field in central park.
Player trying to hit the ball with the bat while playing softball on a field in central park.

Do the Thing You Need to Do or…

“You hit home runs not by chance but by preparation.” – Roger Maris

Do the thing you need to do or…
get yourself ready…

What do you need to do?
Do the thing you need to do or get yourself ready to do the thing you need to do. If you need to go to treatment, then go to treatment. If you need to finish school, then go back to school. If you need to return to work, move out of your parents’ basement, or find a new job – then do it. Or get yourself ready to do the thing you need to do.

Preparing Takes Time
People often come to our intensive outpatient treatment programs struggling, defeated, and feeling bewildered. They want to get their lives, hope, and dreams back. They come for restoration, confident they will get stronger. This process takes time as the benefits of support, counseling, medication, rest, and sleep all take hold. They are coming to get themselves ready to do the thing they need to do.

Successful Recovery
Preparing for recovery success takes time. In most sports, art forms, trades, and occupations there are fundamental skills that must be learned. These skills can be honed to such a high degree that they become automatic or second nature – muscle memory. Foundational elements of recovery can also be developed and refined and can be relied upon to kick in automatically. These instinctive elements may include: acceptance of the problem, the acknowledgement that help is needed, and the desire to do whatever it takes to change your life. Remember, your life cannot be changed by repetition of the very behaviors that created the problem in the first place. And for that matter, the mindset that produced those behaviors, must also be altered. Find the fundamental skills you need for your recovery and practice them until they become a natural reflex.

What holds you back?
What keeps you from identifying and practicing the fundamentals mentioned above? Perhaps it’s the time or effort necessary to practice. Or maybe it’s negative thinking and the lack of support from others. Over the years, I’ve also heard some people say: “I can’t.” “I can’t afford treatment, I can’t take time off of work, I can’t forgive, I can’t stop, and I can’t change.” What’s your “I can’t”? Often ‘I can’t’ is a coded message for, ‘I won’t’. It isn’t a lack of ability, rather, it’s a lack of willingness to do the thing you need to do; those few fundamentals that when identified, practiced, and applied-change your life forever. I’ve heard it said that success comes in cans – not I can’t.

Getting Ready
You are worth working on and this is worth doing. It’s worth the effort and hard work that it takes to reach your goal. As you practice your recovery skills, a new mindset emerges. You may feel inspired and encouraged, motivating further practice. With your skill level highly-tuned, you can almost automatically identify enticing temptations, see triggers coming a mile away, spot your vulnerabilities, and avoid relational pitfalls far in advance of any serious trouble. One man told me he started treatment, dreaming how he could walk out soon enough and immediately start using meth again. That was the old goal. It had always been like that. This time however, in the middle of his fifth treatment, he began to develop a new attitude, a new outlook and new goals. He practiced his recovery mindset until it was no longer a labored afterthought, it had become second nature.

Hitting it out of the Park
With the foundational fundamentals firmly in place, your careful groundwork starts to yield huge results evidenced in every area of your changed life. Past strikeouts are ignored and become mere lessons to sharpen future skill. You have developed resilience, motivation, and a keen eye for what works. Now, it isn’t because you got a lucky recovery home run, but because you did the preparation necessary to make it happen.

Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!