“The chances of success are greater if you get your mind off the final outcome and onto the rituals the make up the process.” -Dean Smith
One thing that the great basketball coach Dean Smith never did at the beginning of the year was to tell his team he expected them to win the national championship. He felt that this was counterproductive and put undue pressure on his players. The same can apply to the process of recovery work. It isn’t useful to say you’re going to stay sober forever – it just puts undue pressure on yourself. To increase the probability that one will stay sober is to focus on the daily rituals of recovery work (Daily planning sheet) and get away from big claims of lasting sobriety. Such claims increase the probability of acting out and making one feel more foolish. Confucius once said, “The safest course to take my friend is never to make any claims until the deed is done.”
Recovery work is a process and not an event. One of the greatest illusions in life is that if we reach a certain point or gain a certain thing that everything will then be alright. It is like we are striving to reach a point where we don’t have to struggle anymore. Often I have heard others say, “If we can just get into this house,” or “Everything will finally be all right when I graduate from college.” Etc. There is great purpose to having goals to strive for but be careful that you don’t buy into the illusion that when you achieve your goal that the journey is over. The journey is never really over. Learning to embrace this truth can help one more fully live in the wise mind. Life is about learning from our experiences and mistakes. I love a quote by Dean Smith who was the coach of The University of North Carolina basketball team. I believe he was so successful because he taught proper principles to his players. He said, “I never substituted for mistakes, because sometimes making a mistake is part of the process.” Don’t give up on yourself when you are less than perfect but learn from it and keep moving forward. Have faith in your capacity to move beyond your weaknesses. Don’t take yourself out of the game if you make a mistake. If that happens that is the time to work harder and learn from it.