How Can I Be on My Own Team?


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Many of us are blessed with a team of “cheerleaders” behind us. There are people in our corner, people who believe in and want the best for us, who will help us when we need it, and who trust us to learn our lessons and do our best. Strangely, so many of us take these people for granted, without even realizing it. Of course, there are people we feel the same way about. We’d do anything for them, and we love when they’re happy and successful and learning and growing. We might often fail to realize just how special this is, too.

This is not a guilt trip, but it’s worth taking a minute to realize just what a stark difference this is from how life was in active alcoholism and addiction. If anybody were rooting for us, we’d long ago driven them away. People in our corner had to cheer from afar, but they were likely more busy fearing for our lives. Nor did we have many companions in our disease who we could trust or who trusted us. Recovery adds many blessings to our lives, but the community of people who love us and cheer for us — and who we feel the same way for — is one of the greatest gifts we could ever get.

The Value of a Support System

Having a support system is priceless. Not only does it teach us how to be part of a team and give us people we can provide mutual service to, but it teaches us how to be responsible for our role in a community. It lifts us when we can’t do it alone. It helps us weather the storms of life and gives us people we can share the victories with. It’s often overlooked, but it’s easy to stop and be grateful for it again.

Now that we’ve done some reflecting and see the beautiful gift of having a cheering section and support system, we likely feel that we owe something to our cheerleaders. But what can we give to people who love us conditionally?

Also, why don’t we feel the same way about ourselves? We freely return love and support to our cheerleaders, but we don’t feel that way about ourselves. So, what can we do for those who love us, and how can we love ourselves the same way they love us? The answer is simple: we need to get on our own team. We need to be in our corner the same way our loved ones are and show up for ourselves the same way we show up for them.

Why People Cheer Us On

People cheer us on because they love us, want the best for us, and believe in us. Why? Because they think we’re worthy of love, and they know we deserve to be supported, even if we don’t feel the same way about ourselves. But here comes the trouble — when people love us, but they see us always down on ourselves, always hopeless and ungrateful, it hurts them. Of course, they don’t want us to be hurting either. But they care for us, and it causes pain to see us not giving ourselves the love they know we deserve.

Sometimes the reason for this is more serious than just not believing in ourselves. If we suffer from severe depression or any other mental or emotional health issues, we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to seek, receive, and follow professional help. Getting healthy is as much a gift to us as it is to the people who love us.

So Many Reasons to Join the Team

Taking proper care of our mental and emotional health is one way to be on our own team, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Being on our own team is great for us, and it may change our life. But what it really does is say to the people who have always helped us out, “I’m listening. I honor all you have done for me. I love you, and I will learn how to love myself. Thank you for believing in me.”

The truth is that being on our own team does help us. But more importantly, it helps us get better so we can be of better service to all the people in our lives. The 12-Step recovery literature says that the real purpose of recovery is not just to get our own lives in order (though that will likely happen due to the 12-Steps). The real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and the people around us.

So, besides taking care of our mental and emotional health in the right way, what else can we do? If we’re an alcoholic or addict, we can make the 12-Step recovery program the foundation and center of our lives. We can focus on our recovery and thrive on the road to happy destiny. As we work the 12-Steps, we will be introduced to a host of new attitudes, directions, tips, and tools to support ourselves and better navigate life. The program of recovery presents us with a design for living that really works. By taking the 12-Steps continually, we can learn to be better in all areas of our lives, help people, and become the best version of ourselves. Then, we can join our cheering section and proudly be on our own team.

It is not uncommon for alcoholics and addicts to lose hope, give up on themselves, and become isolated. Depression, anxiety, and hopelessness are common side effects of untreated alcoholism and addiction. But there is a solution — the 12-Step program is designed to produce the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience that bring about freedom and recovery. As we continue to work on the 12-Steps, there is no limit to the improvements we can experience. We learn how to stop hurting the people we love the most. Even more than learning how to show up for ourselves, we learn how to be there for our loved ones and serve them as best we can. Focusing on serving others can change our lives in remarkable ways and is always a sure step towards greater freedom and fuller life in recovery. If you are ready to begin your journey in recovery, Jaywalker Lodge is ready to help you start on the right foot. We’re on your team. Call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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