Be the Tortoise.

It’s easy to quit drinking: I’ve done it number of times, but it is hard to stay quit.

For those of you who have struggled with drinking, please let me offer some words of encouragement and a little bit of advice. BE THE TORTOISE! You know who wins the race in the end right?

If we use the analogy of life being a race, then let’s think about it like an ultramarathon. It requires endurance, resilience, training and unwaivering faith to make it to the end.

So, if you happen to be someone who is new to recovery and you came out of starting gates like a rabbit, feeling empowered, inspired, motivated and confident, only to find yourself relapsing within a few days or weeks, please keep this in mind… it’s a good thing that you have been feeling so pumped! The excited feeling is what helped you to fall in love with sobriety. It’s like the feeling of being infatuated with a new lover (well maybe not that good). Point is: to get hooked on recovery, you need to have a honeymoon period.

But there is always a bump in the road. It may not be a full-blown relapse, but inevitably you will find yourself losing steam. Old patterns or stress will tempt you to give up on your new lifestyle. You might want to give up and just step out of the race altogether.

This is not an option friend, and here is why. You have already entered the race. You have already taken steps toward creating a better life. Everything you have learned and experienced up until now is still with you, regardless of any setbacks. Of course we want to avoid relapse, but if it happens, be sure to use it to your advantage. Use it to learn about the course and how to steer around obstacles next time. Use your mistakes to improve your running style. Let relapse help you to become a more solid in your sobriety.

Relapse invites you to take a good, honest look at your strengths and weaknesses. It serves as a starting place for digging into your root issues. Maybe your recovery plan needs some tweaking? Maybe you need to acknowledge that you need support or help in some way from friends or family? Maybe you need a pit crew?

Keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving in the forward direction. Just like the tortoise, if you shift into ‘slow and steady’ gear, you are bound to win this race.