When it comes to maintaining your sobriety, it can be all too easy to get in your own way. Here’s how to manage the road to recovery.
Maybe you accept an invitation to hang out at a bar where you used to drink or to go to a party at a place where you used to score drugs. Maybe you skip a 12-Step meeting (or a series of 12-Step meetings) for no particular reason. Maybe you let feelings of guilt or shame fester instead of dealing with them in healthy ways and moving forward. Maybe you drift into the habit of letting your inner commentator talk trash about you.
These sorts of things can, of course, pose a significant threat to your recovery. As a result, it is important to lean into a couple of character traits that can help you get out of your own way so that you have a greater likelihood of staying sober.
Those traits are perseverance and resilience.
What Are Perseverance and Resilience?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines perseverance as, “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.”
So a person in recovery benefits from a spirit of perseverance when it comes to both big goals and the smaller steps needed to achieve those goals. You need to persevere through difficulties in order to maintain your sobriety—and you need to persevere, for example, in attending your recovery meetings even when you don’t really want to.
Meanwhile, the dictionary definition of resilience (when the word is applied to a person) is, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”
A person in recovery who can learn to be resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks gives themselves the best opportunity to maintain their sobriety over the long term. If, for example, you are resilient in the face of job stress or relationship issues or any of the many challenges life offers up, you are far less likely to turn back to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
That’s all well and good, but you may be wondering just how you are supposed to go about developing perseverance and resilience in your own life.
How to Build Up Your Perseverance and Resilience
“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.”
So says author and educator Gever Tulley. His comment refers to providing children with challenges to overcome and problems to solve as part of their education because doing so allows them to develop much needed skills and traits.
But we think the quote is useful in the context of recovery, too. After all, a substance use disorder is a difficult problem—which means getting sober is the first essential step toward building up your personal reserves of persistence and resilience. The process of going through detoxification and rehabilitation and then beginning your recovery journey provides the groundwork on which you can build going forward.
It is your perseverance that will keep you going to meetings even when you don’t feel like it. It is your resilience that will get you through a tough day of cravings or other stressors. And each time you persevere or are resilient, you are fostering your skill set for the next time you need to call on these important traits.
Perseverance, Resilience, and Relapse
We would be remiss if we didn’t include a few words about how these concepts apply when a person in recovery experiences a relapse. It might seem like they don’t apply at all. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you relapse, you will need to dig deep into your stockpile of perseverance and resilience. After all, you can’t call it quits after a relapse. Instead, you need to persevere and return to treatment so that you can get sober and relaunch your recovery journey. And you’ll need your resilience to overcome the setback and look toward the future with hope and resolve.
We Can Get You Started in the Right Direction
At Wooded Glen Recovery Center in Indiana, we are committed to helping you regain your sobriety so that you can reclaim your life. We offer medically supervised detoxification, personalized treatment during rehabilitation, and a continuum of care that will help you start your recovery journey with confidence. There will be plenty of need for perseverance and resilience along the way, and we will make sure you have the resources and strategies necessary to build up those traits while maintaining your sobriety.