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Progress Not Perfection: All We Can Do Is Try. 27 Sep 2016

Progress Not Perfection: All We Can Do Is Try.

The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection”

Pg 60. Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

One of the many joys of sobriety is the fact that we no longer have to be in control. We get to find a higher power of our own understanding, and we get to relinquish our strangulating grip on our own lives. Some days we will mess up, and that’s alright because we are TRYING. This is what is often referred to in 12 step room as progress not perfection. Today we can know that as bad as one day may be, it will never be as bad as it was when we were drinking or drugging.

The definition of the word Progress is – the process of improving or developing something over a period of time.

That is exactly what we are, we are a developing process.

Day by day we learn new ways of improving, some that work and some that don’t. This is called life, and we are all feeling our way through it in our own ways.

The beauty of the fellowship is that we no longer have to do it alone.

Why We Practice These Principles of Progress Not Perfection

When we first came into the rooms, we were broken, spiritually, mentally, and physically. We knew right from wrong, but our addictions created monsters within us that abandoned our morals and good will. We knew what the right thing was, but we knew we needed to feel better more. We did whatever we had to do to get that next drunk or high. We were spiritually bankrupt.

The fellowship is the exact opposite of our addictions. It reprograms us into loving and compassionate human beings again. It teaches us that we no longer have to be in control, it teaches us that as long as we are making progress, it’s okay that we are not perfect.

“That We are to Practice a Genuine Humility…”

Bill Wilson described humility as, “the clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to be what we can be.”

Some days, we may achieve greatness, and other days, we can’t even bear the thought of changing out of our pajamas. As long as both days were opened and closed with prayer, and we helped another drunk, both days were perfect.

Sometimes we feel that we have to conform to these perfect ideals set down on us by society, our families, our friends, etc. When we fall short, we tend to beat ourselves up about it. These are what we like to call expectations, and a good alcoholic knows that all failed expectations are future resentments.

When we fight and struggle to lead these perfect lives, everything may seem for nothing if we fall short.

This is why the saying progress not perfection is so vital to our recovery.

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Keys to a Full Day

Everyone has different responsibilities and commitments they must achieve on a daily basis, however, to know that one is working a full program, a few crucial tasks are helpful

  • Devote time for prayer and meditation in the morning. Ask God for help, and accept his will for you. Daily Reflections and Just for Today are also a great way to get positive perspective for the day.
  • Attending a meeting. Some days are just too busy and that’s okay, but meetings get us around newcomers, and helping another alcoholic is our primary purpose.
  • Esteemable acts. Do something good for someone else. It could be small, or large. If you do at least one good thing for someone every day, you should feel accomplished.
  • Close your day with prayer and meditation. Thank God for your day, and keeping you sober. Be sincere, because there is no greater gift than the life we are living.

Don’t Be So Damn Hard on Yourself

This a common struggle amongst recovering alcoholics and addicts. Many of us have a hard time balancing out our ego and our self doubt. Our ego tells us we should be a certain way, and our self doubt guilts us when we don’t achieve it.

Try to be comforted in the fact that you are growing, spiritually and mentally. Heck, even physically! If you didn’t wake up hungover or withdrawing today, you’re progressing. If you didn’t have to wonder where you were going to find money to get drunk or high, you’re progressing.

The key to taking it easy is having perspective. Our worst days today can’t even compare to our worst days using. Sure, we might not be able to check off every task on our to do list sometimes, but at least we have a to do list today, even if it is just to not drink or drug.

It’s All About Gratitude, Baby

What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.”

Pg 85, Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Faith and trust in our higher power is all we need today. Giving thanks that we even have the opportunity TO fall short today is a simple gesture of gratitude.

If you are anything like me, then you probably should have died a long time ago from this disease. The fact that we are alive and given this opportunity to change our lives is astounding. So we should be grateful, even on days that suck.

Give thanks that today we have the opportunity to make progress and that we aren’t perfect. Our imperfections and failures are what will give us experience, strength, and hope for the newcomer.

Freedom From Addiction

If you have found yourself suffering in addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Holistic Recovery Centers can help. We give you the jump start to recovery as well as teach relapse prevention including learning healthy outlets in sobriety . Our program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-723-7117 today.