With the risk of sounding like a broken record playing the same old cliché, the virtue of patience continues to be the key to success in practically every aspect of a person’s life; this includes a triumphant battle against relapsing post rehab. It is fair to point out that, ever since the early days of childhood, our minds are programmed against the concept of patience.
To put it simply, the focus placed by western civilization on immediate gratification and fast results is hardwired into our brain. During recovery, this approach is particularly harmful for the former alcoholic because the absence of fast, tangible results translates into disappointment, which represents the cornerstone of failure.
What Exactly is this “Patience” You Speak of?
As far as the formal definition of this character trait is concerned, it suffices to say that it is the ability to weather all the unpleasantness, pain, and misfortunes with a smile on your face. The patient person is a beacon of calm who knows that no matter how bad things appear now, the storm will pass and the dark skies will eventually let the sunlight shine through. A calm person who always thinks before acting, knows how to visualize the outcome in a realistic manner and how to take the good with the bad. Sadly, few of us recovering alcoholics can proudly boast this healthy attitude.
What Else Distinguishes the Archetype of Patience?
If there was a single reason, among many, to recommend training yourself to become a patient individual, then it would have to be the process orientation specific to this state of mind. In other words, a characteristic that sets a patient man apart from his brash counterparts is his ability to enjoy the process without focusing all attention on the results.
Process Orientation and its Relevance in Recovery
Many of you might be familiar with the idea that “recovery” is by no means a target that you can reach and be free of all temptation, but rather an ongoing progression towards a better, alcohol-free life. This is exactly why patience and its associated benefits are important for the recovering alcoholic. Instead of focusing all of your energies towards that mirage of unwavering sobriety and unfaltering willpower, don’t lose sight of the road towards it.
The journey is filled with numerous moments of happiness and small victories against your enemy (alcohol) that, once summed up, paint the picture of a better life. All of your new projects and hobbies don’t just represent stepping stones that you can skim over to a state of happiness; your project/hobbies are the components of your happiness, if you learn to see them for what they are.
How to Become More Patient
Start off small, and set realistic and tangible achievements for every single day. Refrain from taking shortcuts because they constitute the traps back into the unhealthy goal-oriented attitude. Try out hobbies that imply perseverance and patience to obtain results (gardening, woodworking, playing a new instrument etc.) Don’t sacrifice the satisfaction of the process simply to reach the results faster. In other words, whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it every step of the way!