When we were children most of us like to play. We would run around for hours on end. We ran because it gave us happiness and excitement. Along the way relationships, responsibilities and other life stuff got in the way and exercising was a happy memory of our childhood.
When we first started drinking and using, most of us liked it and could moderate. We would sing and laugh and think the party would never end. Along the way physical craving took hold, we compromised our values and we found our life spiraling out of control. Moderately drinking and using was a happy but elusive memory we were trying to chase.
Exercise and addiction recovery have many parallels. Think about this: When we first get clean our eyes open to a refreshing world. When we start to exercise/run again we lace up our shoes and get some good vibes. Both exercise and addiction recovery are both intimidating at first because the gym equipment has changed, the people are different and we are not as powerful as most of the people there. Day by day, we show up and increase our reps (steps), we talk to people (fellowship), find commonality and start to feel comfortable. As more time passes, we begin to spot people (sponsorship) and see gains (spiritual growth).
Then, we hit the plateau and the pink cloud has left us. Going to the gym (meetings) is still a daily habit but now instead of doing all the tough work (setting up, talking to newcomers, sponsoring) we instead hang on the gym equipment, flex our muscles (ego) and talk to other lame-o’s who are flexing their muscles (false safety). We have fallen into the trap of settling for the plateau. IF we stay here long enough we will find reasons not to go to the gym (meetings) and start the steady decline of our muscles (the work we put into our recovery). There are now two sad scenarios: hang at the gym and be a flashy, toned individual that is there just for vanity/image or you leave the gym (sober) but wander about the community, talking about the good old days and trying to show off your now deflated muscles (spirituality).
What happened? How do we avoid the trap? The moment of truth is the moments of pain. When we put in the work it is painful but we see the gains (happy, joyous and free). The gains bring us purpose and we accept the pain because we value the price we pay in pain for the purpose we receive. We continue to this trend because it gives us peace. We do get to the plateau and we must make a choice: endure the pain or coast. THIS IS NOT A ONE-TIME EVENT…THIS IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!
Spiritual growth is painful. In order to get more (gains and spirituality) we must let go of what is comfortable and not stop pushing ahead. It’s okay to coast to enjoy and repair your gains but if you do it for too long, comfort becomes normal and the pain of change becomes less attractive.
If you have the ability, push ahead. If you have the knowledge, make the change. If you have recovery, flex your muscles and spot the next guy coming up!