This is a saying that one hears quite often in 12 Step meetings. Addicts are quite results oriented people and like to control the outcome of any given situation. That is, they want to know how a given situation is going to turn out before it even occurs! Well, this is impossible in most situations. The situations we are referring to here are ones in which the outcome is unknown.
Things such as applying for a job, doing your taxes or paying your bills can all have unknown outcomes. The addict wants to know if he is going to be hired even before he goes on the interview. Usually their second question is how much PTO and holidays will they receive. These things are unknown before the interview. The footwork the addict is to do is to go on the interview taking all requested documents with them. Participating in the interview and then politely leaving the interview. It is as this point the addict may start obsessing over whether or not they got the job. This is when the addict must stay out of the results or risk having very busy thoughts which could lead to a relapse. We are to leave the situation alone to the best of our efforts and do the next indicated thing. The next indicated thing is to probably return home.
Anther area in which an addict may get bogged down in their thoughts is when a medical test is performed. We go for the test and that’s that. We may begin to catastrophize the outcome of the test. This can leave us restless, irritated and discontented. We are not known to be people who patiently wait for anything! We may begin to speculate the worse outcome of the test which may lead us once again to a relapse. We simply have to stay out of the results and consciously turn our thoughts in a different direction. We once again do the next indicated thing.
Footwork may be likened to following a recipe. We add all the proper ingredients, mix and stir and put oor mixture into a baking pan. We hope it turns out like the picture on the package in which the mix came. We place the pan in the oven and set our timer. Staying out of the results would be to do the next indicated thing such as washing our preparation dishes. We then stay out of the results and resist opening the oven door every five minutes to see how our project is doing. It is doing fine without our help. In fact, opening and closing the oven door too often could result in improper heat distribution and our cake may suffer from this. This is why we are admonished to stay out of the results. By trying to force our desired result on something we may actually cause the result to be not what we wanted after all. This is why it is so important to leave a situation alone after we have done all of the necessary footwork.
Addicts tend to obsess over the simplest of situations as well as the more complicated situations which they may face. This causes our minds to be too busy and may cause us to become overwhelmed and let our guard down. This can then lead to a relapse when one is new in sobriety. The new person may have all types of wreckage to deal with from their using and drinking days. This can only be dealt with one thing at a time. We must learn how to prioritize tasks and to know when we have done all we can in any given situation. This comes about by practice as we stay sober. It does get easier than it was in the beginning to do so. The bottom line is to stay out of the results.