Recovery Lessons from America’s Pastime

For a certain kind of baseball fan, the winter months are hard. Sure, plenty of other sports are going on, but some baseball enthusiasts are counting down the days until Spring Training gets underway—and after it, the summerlong season. For this kind of fan, Opening Day is akin to a national holiday.

But even if that kind of fandom sounds a little (or even a lot) silly to you, baseball still offers some lessons that can be applied to your journey if you are in recovery from a substance use disorder. 

So, batters up! Let’s take a look at how what happens on the baseball diamond applies to your ongoing efforts to stay sober.

Home Runs are Exciting, but There is so Much More to Celebrate

It is certainly the case that home runs get the crowd up on their feet and cheering. A ball flying off the bat and soaring over the wall is easily one of the most exciting things that can happen at a game. And many stadiums double down on the excitement with fireworks and the like. 

On the recovery journey, it can seem like the “home runs”—reclaiming your sobriety, staying sober for 100 days, staying sober for a year, and so on—are the only things that truly matter. But home runs are the result of lots of less exceptional moments. 

Sometimes a baseball team just needs to get a runner to second base to give them a better chance of scoring. The bunt that gets that done might not be exciting, but it is important. In the same way, sometimes you might just need to successfully weather a craving. You might employ the mindfulness approach known as urge surfing. It is not flashy, but it can be vitally important as a strategy for maintaining your sobriety. 

So, resist the temptation to only focus on the big moments. The little moments can be equally important to ongoing success.

Baseball—Like Recovery—Has a Long Season

No other sport has the kind of long regular season that baseball does. Each team plays 162 games each season. That does not include Spring Training games, playoff games, or the World Series. A season that long is going to seem grueling at times—even when things are going your way, but especially when they are not.

You have probably felt that way during your recovery journey. After all, the goal of recovery is to stay sober day after day after day and so on. Even when you are not feeling particularly tempted to return to drug or alcohol use, it can still feel like a daunting task. And when you are struggling with temptations or mental health issues or just the ongoing stresses of life, it can feel impossible to keep adding days to your running total. 

Hanging in there is worth it, however. The long season is a challenge to be sure, but it is also its own kind of reward as you continue to push through.

You Never Take the Field Alone

There are lots of sports where everything rests on the talents and efforts of a single individual. But baseball is not one of those sports. Instead, it is a team game—one in which the players support one another and work together to reach a goal. When one player struggles—maybe they strike out when a hit would have driven home a run—the announcers will often say something like, “Let’s see if the next batter can pick him up.” That just means the next person at the plate will try to do what the first person couldn’t—not to show anyone up, but to show support and the importance of teamwork.

You might think of your 12-Step (or other recovery program) peers as your team—there to support you no matter what. Your recovery center also plays this role in your life, ready to pick you up if things fall apart.

Maybe Baseball is not Your Sport of Choice

We understand that not everyone loves baseball. Maybe you prefer a different sport. Fortunately, we are fond of a good sports metaphor in this blog. Explore the ways in which soccer and basketball connect with your recovery journey.

Our Game is Helping You Get and Stay Sober

At Wooded Glen Recovery Center in Henryville, Indiana, we are a highly skilled team of recovery and mental health specialists committed to helping you get back in the game of your life free from the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

We provide medically supervised detoxification to ensure you can get sober in a safe environment free from temptations. Rehabilitation—which includes group and individual therapy as well as treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety and panic, the various kinds of depression, and issues grounded in trauma—follows detox and provides strategies and resources for staying sober. Then we provide a continuum of care so that you can start your recovery journey secure in the knowledge that you have access to ongoing support and resources. 

If you have been benched by drugs or alcohol, don’t give up. We can get you back into sober shape so you can get back on the field.