Do you feel like using because you just lost something? Losing is a common trigger. The most effective strategy I have learned to deal with losing is to redefine winning. Today I define winning as dealing gracefully with the outcome. If I can maintain a peaceful, yet resiliant attitude when the outcome goes against my will, then I have truly won. I also tell myself that it is God’s will not mine that counts. I tell myself that God knows what is best for me, and that he has not yet given me anything that I cannot handle. I also allow myself time to appropriately grieve the loss. I am allowed to feel sad or angry for a few seconds even if I only lost something as replaceable as my car keys or as meaningless as a chess game. I even remind myself that I do not always know whether something I really wanted in the short term is what is really best for me in the long term. For example, when I graduated from law school, I wanted nothing more than to be hired by a prestigious law firm. I spent nights dreaming of the money, benefits and glory of being associated with a renowned firm. But of the seven or eight firms I applied to, not one of them extended an offer. I was forced to go out on my own. I did so not with a sense of dejection but with a sense of adventure. And ultimately, owning my own firm has yielded for me incredible success and pleasure. Failing to get what I first wanted, a big firm job when I graduated from law school, was one of the best things that could have happened to me. When I don’t let feelings of loss discourage me, I have courage to keep heading in a successful direction. I take the "dis" out of discourage, and get my courage back. True victory is maintaining serenity regardless of whether we win the trophy, or qualify for the loan or see our face on the television or sell the book or get the applause. It comes from our relationship with our Higher Power and others. It comes from within. As the recovery saying goes, “happiness is an inside job.” True happiness does not come from trying to control the outside world. In fact, constantly trying to control the outside world is a prescription for misery.
When discouraged, sad, depressed or generally dissatisfied, TRUST that your Higher Power has a better plan than what you are planning. You will never have to use over losing if you redefine winning as dealing gracefully with the outcome.