When I first entered recovery, I faced a question so many of us face, now what do I do? I gave myself a choice. I could sit on my hands and hope that time sped up and my boredom would somehow just magically disappear on its own. I chose a different path. I joined a softball league. Profound, huh? So softball keeps me sober. As silly as that sounds, it has, it does, and it will. But it goes beyond just the game for me. It is about challenge. It is about community. It is about being connected to something greater than myself. Let’s take a look.
I knew in early recovery I needed to get connected to something. I knew that sitting on my hands and waiting for life to come to me to me was going to be a game plan for disaster. I had few friends in my early days of recovery, as many of my old “friends” were still caught up in a lifestyle I wanted to leave behind. I was shy, and wasn’t sure how to approach others in my new found life. I wanted to try something new, something exciting, something that would challenge me. Yet I was afraid to put myself out there, afraid of failure. Insecurity and fear, two pillars of my addiction. So I did just the opposite of what the “old me” would have done, which was succumb to those insecurities and fears. But I found that one shred of courage I had built up, I took a step into the batter’s box, and everything changed.
This is not a story of the new guy who walks out onto the field and hits a home-run and wins the championship. Nope, I stunk. I really was a bad softball player. With the attitude and principles of recovery, with a goal, a purpose of trying something new and meeting new people, I stuck it out. I kept putting the work in to be a better player. I kept showing up to the games, I kept asking questions, watching and learning from the veteran players. It was hard not to be critical of myself, but I learned to laugh when I screwed up. I learned that one mistake doesn’t ruin the game, and that it is always a team effort. I found something I enjoyed. I found something that challenged me. I found new friends and connections. I felt a part of something. Do any of these principles I found in softball sound like any other principles we practice in recovery. I think they do….
Show up. Ask for help. Don’t beat yourself up. Do it together. These are the principles I practice in my daily recovery. These are the attitudes and actions I want to exemplify in my life. Softball has given me a playing field where I can practice these principals and apply them to my everyday life away from softball.
Game on, Recovery!
The Jim Gillen Teen Center
The Jim Gillen Teen Center is an environment that celebrates, and helps facilitate recovery through dynamic programming, shared lived experience, and peer support.