Double Overtime“Double overtime. One second on the clock and we’re still one point behind. Will she make it!?” he taunts. He piles on the pressure as I dribble the ball three times. My toe is nearly touching the free throw line. He imitates a crowd of thousands with his low-in-the-throat white noise roar. I imagine the cheering section thunderously stomping the wooden bleachers in rhythm to, ‘We’re number one! We’re number one!” I start to yawn. ( I always yawn when I’m nervous.) Studiously avoiding his eyes, I stare at the rim over the top of the barely orange abused ball. “State tournament finals and it’s all on you.” He reminds me. I let go with the shot, aiming for just inside the rim. The blurry ball is wide to the left. I’m in tears.
So goes another episode from my childhood. My brother and I playing ball, being ourselves: me a clutz under pressure and him a tease. I love my brother. If he were the last good guy left, he could still save us from the bad guys. We’ve played it out hundreds of times, so I know he would.
There have been plenty of times when he’s helped me or I’ve helped him. But when It comes to addiction, as we all know, it’s a battle with self. The fight is not one with an enemy that someone else can conquer. It’s not even one that we can conquer.
One of my favorite recovery truths is:
But it seems there is no way we can overcome self-will without God’s help. This principle is very simple: if we realize that there are only two wills on earth, human will and God’s will, then self-will can only be overcome by God’s will. Self-will cannot overcome self-will. ~ The Steps We Took, 1990, Joe McQ, Loc 319
My greatest problems in life have been caused by me. Then they have been prolonged and aggravated by my trying to fix myself. I doesn’t work.
I cannot overcome my own issues. I can’t will my problems away, work them away or banish them by my efforts. No matter how much willpower I muster, it’s never enough. Never will be.
- I focus on the problem
- I try a wrong solution
- I fail
- I try harder
- I get frustrated and try even harder
- I fail
- I get mad at myself or others, maybe even God
This cycle kept me going in circles for over 50 years. I was of the firm conviction, having been raised by a hall of fame coach, that success was directly proportional to effort.
So, if my effort cannot give me results, what can? Step One tells us that we’d be further ahead if we just stop. That’s it. Stop. Don’t try to fix anymore. Admit defeat.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over…, that our lives had become unmanageable. ~The Steps We Took, 1990, Joe McQ, Loc 71
When my life story reached a double overtime in my 50s, I had to stop. I was never going to be able to fix myself. That’s when God got me to the tables.
PS: When it comes to sports, the relationship between success and effort is sometimes true, more often – not. Do the math. How many of the ‘losers’ of the State Championship title spent their youth trying to become number one?