Monday, August 14, 2017

take heart

A dear friend is struggling with an addiction.  He has remarkable self-awareness but still slips and falls sometimes.  Like we all do...

Today he was angry at himself.  He said he didn't know why he kept failing. He knew what his goal was, he explained, but felt like a "loser" for not being able to reach it.  "I want to win", he said, tearing up, "I have been working on this for years and I should know better".

Rarely have I seen such ruthless honesty, and I found him brave.  He didn't choose his life, his challenges or his addiction- but he was facing them all and choosing freedom.  I had only admiration for his quest.  Yet he was so hard on himself.  Talk about setting yourself up for failure.

Then I realized that part of the "loser" mentality was framing sobriety in terms of a battle you win or lose.  I saw something else and told him: courage.

The root of the word "courage" is heart, the ability to face obstacles especially when you feel pain or fear.  It is not winning.

It's keeping on keeping on.


  1. "It's keeping on keeping on." I like that compared to the alternative view of having won or lost, as though our struggles are finite, unchanging, unchallenging once "beaten".

    1. The struggle never ends and sobriety just keeps getting... more sober ;)