The Importance of Commitment(s)

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A lot of people have issues and fears surrounding the word “commitment,” whether they are in or out of recovery. People can struggle with committing to long-term relationships, new jobs, or even lengthy cell-phone contracts. Commitment can be a challenge in our modern world, as we race our way through hectic days and change our minds at rapid speed. But for alcoholics and addicts, we can look back and see that we spent a great deal of time very committed to our disease. Feeding our alcoholism was typically the one thing we didn’t miss for anything. We rarely, if ever, skipped a day or missed an appointment with our drug of choice if we could help it. So maybe we don’t really have commitment issues — maybe we just need to look at things the right way and focus our energy on other endeavors.

Committing to Recovery

If we can see that we never had a problem committing to our disease, it might help us see the value of committing to our recovery. It may well determine the success and joy we experience in our new way of life, if we can embrace sobriety with that same level of investment. We can benefit a lot from getting on our own team, so to speak, and putting ourselves fully into our recovery. It can change how we see things if we think of ourselves as someone we love and need to take care of. We may find committing to help “myself, this person I love” feels as good as when we help others. However, feeling good is not the whole point of commitment. 

Some people may look at commitment as the “willingness to be inconvenienced for the greater good” or “doing what I said I would do, even though I don’t want to.” But there are better, more truthful ways that we can frame commitment. We can look at common negative behavior patterns from our past for clarification. How often in our disease did we quit when the going got tough? How often did we fail to continue practicing healthy routines because we got discouraged, sidetracked, or simply didn’t want to? Now, let’s think about how often those actions paid off. Did skipping out on doing the right thing ever pay off? Did it ever teach us anything, help us grow, or make life better for those around us? Probably not. Quitting is seldom the best move, except of course when it comes to drugs and alcohol.

But even then we couldn’t just quit. We had to have help, and that help is readily available in the 12-Step program and the recovery community at Jaywalker Lodge. Yet it is still up to us to commit to taking the 12-Steps, to commit to our recovery, and to commit to seeing it through. We must do this on a daily basis, always keeping our feet and our minds in the present. We recover one day at a time. Every day of sobriety carries with it the chance to renew our commitment to our recovery and our community. One of the most foundational ways that we can practice this dedication is through honoring our commitments.

Honoring Our Commitments and Ourselves

Every meeting, even in the online age, has at least some necessary positions to help it keep running. These are often called, literally, commitments. We can ask around for meetings that need positions filled and then we can do everything in our power to do that job well. We can show up early, perform our task with helpfulness and enthusiasm, and never miss a day. This may seem like a small thing, but our attitude and our dedication can pay huge dividends. 

For example, we learn how to be of service by doing things like this. We learn how to become reliable, trustworthy people. We are seen every week or every day in the same meeting, doing our work with a smile, and we become known in the recovery community. When an alcoholic or addict needs help, they know where to find us. Many lives have been saved when someone finally got desperate enough to ask for help, and they knew exactly where to find a friendly face to ask for that help. Suddenly, getting the coffee-maker commitment at a weekly 12-Step meeting becomes outright heroic. The commitments we get in recovery aren’t all about us, and they can have huge impacts on the people around us.

Always showing up and keeping our word can have reverberating effects on our whole way of life, not just for our 12-Step meetings and recovery community. Over time, we learn that we can trust ourselves again. The more we learn to commit to our higher power and the 12-Step program way of life, the more dependable we become. It may be difficult at first, but reach out to people in your community, find a service commitment, and then honor it. Continue to stay the course, and soon you will see the many gifts that commitment can bring.

Alcoholics and addicts often have a hard time remaining committed to things. We are typically seen as unreliable people, even though we wish to be trustworthy. If we are earnest in our desire for help, we must face the fact that it is unlikely we can recover on our own. If we ask for help and take the solution seriously, we can not only repair our reputation, but also learn how to become the people we always wanted to be. If you are struggling to achieve or maintain long-term recovery, but honestly wish to do so, call Jaywalker Lodge today 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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