The Road To Recovery

By Assessments By Yount | Mar 17, 2016

One of the rites of spring for many Americans is the annual fascination with the Road to the Final Four — college basketball’s drama that leads to the ultimate goal of being crowned champion for one lucky team. It occurs to me that the Road to Recovery shares many traits with the road to the Final Four.

Both journeys start with hopeful anticipation of getting the prize in the end. The path to victory in both cases has many pitfalls, detours, side roads and distractions that can and do take the participants away from their desired goal.

In both cases, multiple paths can lead to the final prize. In basketball, it may be the team that puts it all together in the conference tournament and earns that coveted spot to the Big Dance after having had many false starts throughout the year. Similarly, in recovery, most folks with whom I’ve been acquainted, have a number of starts and stops along their paths to sobriety.

Practice makes perfect applies in both scenarios. The better a basketball team becomes at working together and developing positive team chemistry, the better their chances of success.

In recovery, “practicing” staying clean and sober one day at a time is the time-proven method for successful negotiation of the paths to recovery. No single super star can lead an entire basketball team to the coveted championship and no individual seeking meaningful recovery gets to their ultimate goal solely on their own effort.

Whether it is the Fellowship of AA/NA, the support of local church membership, or simply a close group of knowledgeable non-using family and friends, all individuals on the road to recovery need the assistance of their team.

In recovery, it is imperative that individuals learn and develop new skills in order to negotiate the potholes along the way to recovery. Just as an injury to a key player can change a basketball team’s trajectory, so can an unexpected event in the life of someone on the road to recovery.

The daily practice of recovery skills can help offset the danger of those unexpected events. Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral techniques are some of the state-of-the-art skills that have been developed to make the road to recovery a success.

In basketball, there are many “false prophets” that can lead members of a team astray. Corrupt school boosters have derailed more than one team in the past and unethical professionals surrounding the players can lead to delusions of grandeur by young players that get entire teams off track.

In the recovery world, “false prophets” can be recognized by their assurances that “just one won’t hurt."

In the next few weeks, we will crown a national basketball champion. The good news on the Road to Recovery is that we can and do crown individuals every day as they attain life affirming and sustaining sobriety.

Cecil E. Yount, MA., LCAS, CCS is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist and Certified Clinical Supervisor in private practice in Haywood County. For more information, contact Yount at 246-9886 or via email His office is located at 66 Walnut St., Waynesville.