Two ways to run is all about choice and perspective. You can run away from something, or you can run toward something. Sure, you might think that in recovery, you do both at the same time, but guess what? You dilute your effort if you are not focused on one or the other.

Think about this. Running away from something usually means an element of fear is your motivation. Running toward something is usually because whatever it is, you want it. So let’s see . . . what are the components of two ways to run?

Running away feels like something is trying to catch you, and there is a chance you might get caught. This is stressful because if you are caught, you are on the losing end. If you are running away from using, you know how stressful that is. The pressure to keep ahead is all-encompassing and tough.

Running toward something, if you have decided to be in recovery, means you are trying to get to a better place. Running toward your goal is also stressful because you wonder if you have the right stuff to succeed, but that is normal and OK. Here, though, you know what awaits you if you keep on keeping on, and it’s good. Real good. Sure, life brings sweet and not so sweet, but you function and face things clearheaded and proud. Running this way cannot foretell the future, but it gives you a say-so in your destiny. You need to reflect on why you have chosen this way. Tell yourself why you are running toward a lasting recovery. Be specific.  Sometimes this way is difficult, and you have to be clearheaded to remind yourself just why you will stay persistent. Reminding yourself of the rewards is what you need to do each and every day. Remember, you are taking positive action.

Running away from using puts you on the defensive. Personally, I like offensive. I like positive. I like happy. Running away vs. running toward is a way of viewing what you are doing. Putting thoughts into a positive framework has measurable benefits. Optimistic people are happier. Some people have told me that running toward sobriety is running away from using, and yes, this is true. It is a matter of what perspective you wish to embrace. I’d rather be running toward my goal than running away from anything behind me.

Don’t worry if you are inexperienced. Everyone starts out somewhere. No one is born experienced in anything.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and in this way you walk (run) into your future, whatever you want that future to be. No guarantees about what the future holds, except that you will be clean, straight, sober, and sane. That’s a pretty good glimpse into how you will revitalize your existence. You become your own reward.

So keep your eye on the prize. Choose running toward. Or just plod, carry on, go slowly but surely, persevere, push, do whatever it takes. Your future waits. Plow through. Join so many others that plugged away and kept on. Choose your way.