The famed and oft-quoted New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said, “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”

We agree. We also think baseball provides some lessons that are applicable to the recovery journey. After all, sobriety ranks right up there with love and baseball.

(One note: You might enjoy a good sports metaphor, but maybe baseball is not your game. How about hooping it up with some recovery lessons from the basketball court? Or you might get a kick out of these recovery lessons from the World Cup.)

Focus on the Fundamentals

Each year before the Major League Baseball season starts, the players report to Spring Training—a period of practice and exhibition games designed to help everyone sharpen their skills for the long season ahead. During Spring Training, players and teams focus on the fundamentals—the little but essential skills that can make a good team into a great team. Players practice fielding ground balls, for example, or turning the double play. These are all things players at this level know how to do, of course, but maintaining focus on the fundamentals provides a firm foundation to build off of during the competition to come.

When you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, there are some fundamentals that firm up the foundation of your sobriety—and so ongoing practice of those fundamentals is extremely important. Here are nine recovery fundamentals—one for each inning of a baseball game:

  • Going to 12-Step or other recovery meetings on a regular basis
  • Identifying and practicing techniques for withstanding cravings
  • Eating healthily
  • Exercising regularly
  • Creating and maintaining a consistent, restful sleep schedule
  • Building mutually supportive relationships and ending toxic relationships
  • Finding various ways to address and reduce stress
  • Tapping into a sense of purpose and wonder in day-to-day life
  • Cultivating a spirit of gratefulness and service

Staying committed to the fundamentals of recovery is an excellent way to shore up your sobriety.

Lean Into to Your Individual Skills

There are a lot of different ways to be a high quality baseball player. Maybe you have the skills and stamina to be a starting pitcher. Maybe you have a blisteringly fast fastball that serves you well as a relief pitcher. Maybe your ability to make strong accurate throws helps you succeed at third base or in right field. Maybe you are really, really fast and are a threat to steal second base anytime you are standing on first. Maybe you hit a lot of home runs.

These individual skills are not enough in isolation, of course—that is why the fundamentals are so important. But high-level skills can be difference-makers for a player and their team.

What does that look like in recovery? Maybe your interest in healthy eating leads to new hobbies—like gardening, cooking, or hosting friends—that can support your sobriety. Maybe your commitment to service in recovery leads to opportunities to really make a difference in the lives of others, which is an excellent way to really make a difference in your own life, too. Maybe you simply discover that a new-found love of exercising has benefits that extend to your ability to get restful sleep. 

Whatever is really working for you in recovery is worth building on. Just like no two pitchers have identical windups, no two people in recovery necessarily need to have identical approaches to staying sober. The important question—both in baseball and in recovery—is whether your approach helps you accomplish your goals.

Rely on Your Teammates

Baseball is a team sport. No matter how skilled a player is, they cannot win a ball game all by themselves. Sometimes the same thing is true in recovery—it takes a team to keep the game going in the right direction and your sobriety intact.

Who is on your team? Your team might include:

  • Supportive friends and family members
  • Members of your faith community
  • Your doctor, therapist, sponsor, and/or recovery mentor
  • The members of your recovery program
  • Your treatment center staff and alumni of the program

Knowing who you can count on is important in recovery. So is being the kind of person others can count on.

We Will Do More Than Just Root, Root, Root for You

At Wooded Glen Recovery Center—located in Henryville, Indiana—we are committed to helping the people we serve regain and maintain their sobriety. Our personalized approach to treatment is built on a foundation of expertise, excellence, evidence, and empathy. That means we don’t just root for you to succeed; we have the skills and insights necessary to ensure you get sober and have the tools and strategies you need to stay sober. Reclaiming your life from drugs or alcohol is nothing short of a home run. We can help.