May is National Recommitment Month

May is National Recommitment month. I was unfamiliar with this recognized month, so I decided to do some research. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, commitment is “a promise to do or give something.” The prefix “re” means “again” or “again and again.” Together, recommitment is the idea of continually dedicating oneself to a cause or activity. This naturally led me to ask why May was national recommitment month. Further research gave no definitive answer, so I can only presume. Through my own observations, I’ve noted the local Planet Fitness is no longer swarmed with the New Year’s resolutions crowd. And I’m not ashamed to admit that some of my own resolutions are floundering in non-committal abyss. So perhaps to the makers of commemorated months, May seemed like a good time to look back on each of our goals and resolutions, to examine the progress or lack thereof towards meeting those goals, and to recommit.   In an era where Whole Foods is the new McDonalds, and green juice is the new Wonder Bread, we make commitments for healthy living on a regular, if not daily basis. We commit to being a better son or daughter, to being a better partner, to hitting the gym at least every other day, maybe to smoking less cigarettes or eating less processed sugar. But, to me, the idea of commitment seems misleading.  Commitment is perfection. Recommitment is human nature.   The idea of commitment and recommitment may best be illustrated as it relates to recovery from substance abuse and addiction. Those of us in recovery have all hit some kind of “jackpot,” an experience, or series of experiences, where our lives had hit bottom. This bottom can be of a physical or spiritual nature, and like fingerprints, no two bottoms are the same (though the feelings are often similar: defeated, broken, hopeless, regretful). When the metaphorical blinds are opened, and the morning sun is shining through, we make a commitment to recovery: “I” need to make a change in my life. “I” can no longer use or drink safely. That commitment only needs to be made one time. But for a long-term sustainable recovery, the key is recommitment.   A person in drug treatment does not need to relapse to recommit to his or her recovery. I’d prefer to think of recommitment as a level of awareness – identifying that a certain aspect of the individual’s recovery is lacking, and making a choice to do something about it. Maybe twelve-step meeting attendance at your rehab center has been down, maybe spiritual growth is stunted, or maybe phone calls to the sober network are minimal. These are all areas where recommitment can be beneficial and maybe required.   So here we are in May, and we are reminded by the populous at large that now is a good time to slow down, take a breath, and examine our commitments both small and large. Take this opportunity to question: Am I calling my sponsor? Am I attending enough twelve-step meetings? Am I being positive member of my community? And while this month is especially dedicated, try doing this everyday: Am I doing what it takes to establish long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol?