How To Keep Your Head in the Game?

Man playing basketball.

How To Keep Your Head in the Game?

In sports, sometimes scoring a point or two or winning a single game is enough to establish your spot on the team. In recovery, though, you need to earn your place again every single day by establishing and keeping your daily routines. Recovery is like mentally training for your sport every day. You win when you live your life by keeping your head in the game.

Recovery Is More Than Just a Single Win

Unlike scoring in a big game or securing the win or a trophy for your team, recovery is more than just a one-time event. Some people think you can just go to treatment, be “cured,” and then move on with your life. However, recovery is more than a one-time event; it is changing your way of life.

Just like athletes do not train to win a game and then stop training altogether, your recovery process will continue just like an athlete’s career continues long after the lights in the stadium go off. Athletes who win wake up the next morning and start all over again, training just as hard to score the next points, win that next game, or lift that next trophy. Recovery is more like that.

Staying Mentally Fit in Recovery

Just like a winning athlete needs to maintain their overall fitness, you will need to focus on staying mentally fit in recovery. Much like a physical fitness routine, this requires discipline, attention to detail, and doing your mental fitness routines every single day.

Your mental fitness routines will be discovered in treatment and developed as you continue in your sobriety. Your routine will likely involve some form of daily check-in, at first with a sponsor, and eventually independently. You should also have some time for meditation or reflection, or possibly journaling, every single day to clear your mind and focus on being present, alert, and emotionally in the moment. Your routine may also include a good sleep routine, exercise, self-care–including things like yoga, therapy, attending support meetings—and other activities that help you stay strong in your recovery.

The Importance of Daily Routines

You can always see when an athlete has missed training due to illness or injury; it takes some time to get their game back. Ideally, they would never miss a day of training. Recovery is similar in that your daily routines are crucial to keeping your head in the game. When you start missing meetings, skipping exercise, or not going to therapist appointments, you have likely already emotionally relapsed and are seriously at risk of physically relapsing.

Your daily routines are what keep you in the game and keep you from relapsing. Every time you take that 20 minutes to take a walk or meditate or do some yoga, you are training for your big game–the game of your life. Every meeting you attend, every time you check in with your sponsor, even just getting to bed and waking up on time can make a difference in your game.

Training Every Day for Your Life

Athletes train to win games, trophies, or seasons, and eventually, they retire. Your recovery is different in that you are playing this game for your life, for the rest of your life. Every day that you wake up, train hard, and keep fighting is another win, only there is no retiring from this game.

Does it get easier? For some people, yes. When you really work hard and do everything you can to keep your daily routines and take good care of yourself mentally and physically, the cravings should get fewer and farther between. Over time, practicing things like mindfulness meditation can actually strengthen your mind, giving you more power over your thoughts and, therefore, your actions. Recovery will always take effort, though.

Winning When It Is Most Important

Like the star athlete that comes in clutch in the big game, you get to be the star of your own recovery. Only you get the chance to come up big every day and post a win when it is most important. You get to be the one to keep your head in the game.

Keeping your daily routines may not be as exciting as scoring the game-winner for the championship, but the little things you do every day may be just as important in your recovery. Every time you push yourself to do the little things each day that keep your recovery on track, you may just be avoiding a big relapse. Every day that you can mentally check off your list at the end of the day and know that you won another day in the battle of sobriety, you also win the daily championship of your recovery. That is winning when it is most important.