The Virtue of Patience in Recovery — and in Life
You can’t overestimate the importance of patience in recovery. You just can’t. In fact, the ability to endure difficult circumstances is the very key to successful recovery. That goes for day-to-day difficulties, as well as those of long-term variety. And people in recovery face more than their fair share of both.
Adding a pandemic to the equation can easily turn things from bad to worse. So it’s essential to attack each difficulty with an extra dose of patience. Yes, that’s right. Use patience as a weapon. Make it the trait you wield whenever anything threatens to upend your recovery. And be proactive about it too. Going into a battle fully armed and confident is the best way to ensure you emerge victorious.
Okay, so it may be easier said than done. Then again, so it pretty much everything worth doing. But once it is said — aloud, repeatedly, and in earnest — you’ll be surprised how much easier it becomes to do.
For instance: you know isolation increases the risk of relapse. You also know we’ve all been advised to quarantine. Rather than bemoan the fact that you’ve been directed to stay at home alone, schedule a few meetups with friends and/or family via FaceTime, Skype or Duo. A steady stream of engagements will get you out of your head. It will also increase the bond between friends and fam.
The same applies to recovery meetings of course, which have Zoomed to the top of the charts. Alcoholics Anonymous has an inexhaustible array of offerings, for every make and model of person. So do splinter groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Cocaine Anonymous and many more. No, they’re not quite the same as sitting around a real room and chatting with a buncha like-minds. But they do offer many of the benefits found IRL, including camaraderie. And isn’t that what we attend for anyway?
Practicing Patience in Real Life
Never before have we needed patience more than now, writes Harvey Mackay in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. And we couldn’t agree more. The world is testing everybody’s patience, daily, if not hourly. And the more the world tests our patience, the greater becomes the need.
But patience doesn’t come easy. In fact, counsels Mackay, “it takes some work.” And the best way perhaps to do this work is to approach patience in a very familiar way:
We treat patience as a habit.
That’s right. Treat patience as a habit. If we treat patience a habit, then we’re much more likely to make patience a habit. (The same goes for impatience of course. But that’s a habit we’ll wanna kick.)
“Studies show that it takes 21 days to create or to break a habit,” writes Mackay. That goes for good habits as well as bad habits. Of course, good and bad habits are equally addictive. But good habits are “a lot more rewarding.” Mackay suggests that changing your impatience habit will do nothing less than change your entire life.
We agree. Again though, it won’t come easy. “Patience requires self-control,” counsels Mackay. And “it doesn’t help to complain, whine or stomp your feet like children.”
Patience “requires practice. Practice, practice, practice. Start by waiting in line. Or waiting in traffic. (It’s better to be patient on the road than a patient in the hospital.) [If we take] control of our emotions in small situations,” larger situations will become much easier to handle.
We should also “have realistic expectations,” writes Mackay. Whether it’s projects or people. Don’t expect the moon and the sun and the stars. Not all at once anyway. Be content with one at a time. “If you have unrealistic expectations, your stress and anxiety can increase.”
Remember, you’ll experience rejections. Everyone does. “Rejection is a part of life.” It cannot be avoided. And it should never be taken personally. Simply “move on and prepare for the next challenge.”
And if you fail, fret not. Like rejection, it’s gonna happen. So why not make it a plus? Turn it into a learning experience. “Analyze every failure,” writes Mackay, “but never wallow in one.” Mackay always wants to know why people say no. So he asks. Simple as that. The feedback has become invaluable.
If you hit a bleak spot, try recalling former glories. Summon up a big win. “Look back to your past successes,” counsels Mackay. “How did you feel?” More importantly, how long did you have to work before achieving that feeling? Recalling yesterday’s accomplishments “will help ease today’s rejection.” It’ll also help put the current disappointment in perspective.
Finally, don’t hesitate to “take a break when you feel yourself losing patience. Step back. Take a deep breath. Walk away from the work. Do something distracting. Or relaxing. “Exercise, read a book, listen to a favorite song. Just don’t stay away too long.” Otherwise you’re simply procrastinating. And that unleashes a whole ‘nother set of difficulties.
Healing Properties has been practicing patience in recovery since 2002. Since then we’ve helped thousands upon thousands of men succeed in sobriety. If you or someone you know and love is having difficulties with any kind of substance abuse, Please give us a ring at 561-563-8882
Guns N’ Roses Showed Patience — You Should Too!
The immortal Guns N’ Roses released the hit single “Patience” in 1989. That also happened to be the year that Axl Rose threatened to quit the band if certain members didn’t quit “dancing with Mr. Brownstone.” The legendary ultimatum took place onstage at the L.A. Coliseum during the first of GNR’s four shows opening for The Rolling Stones. And while Slash was able to kick his heroin habit, drummer Steven Adler didn’t have as much luck and was fired from the band the next year. The situation nevertheless did exhibit a remarkable amount of patience; patience that begat Use Your Illusion I and II, as well as The Spaghetti Incident?. If notorious hard rock heavies such as GNR can show some patience, surely you can too! Healing Properties asks that you think about it while you revisit the classic track’s clip (which btw was shot at L.A.’s fabled Ambassador Hotel).