Striving For Progress
“Progress, not perfection” is a common saying in the rooms of Twelve Step recovery fellowships. We recognize that we are fallible and imperfect people, so we focus on consistent spiritual growth and development rather than perfection. If we expect perfection from ourselves, we may face disappointment when we are unable to live up to the impossible standards we have set for ourselves. Instead, we choose to aim for progress in our development and maintain a mindset of gratitude for how far we have come in our recovery.
The idea of progress over perfection comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. After listing the Twelve Steps, the Big Book states: “Many of us exclaimed, ‘What and order! I can’t go through with it.’ Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress.
Progress Over Perfection
We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” Recovery is simple, but not easy. We will never be able to live entirely by spiritual principles in every moment of our lives. We will have good days and bad days. Rather than beat ourselves up over the bad days we have, we look at where we fell short and use the knowledge to make necessary changes.
We learn from our shortcomings and we continue to spiritually progress. We continue to do our best, even if it falls short of perfection. Drawing on ancient Toltec wisdom, Don Miguel Ruiz explains in his book The Four Agreements, “Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best—no more and no less than your best. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough.
When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets.” When we do our best, we are able to grow spiritually. However, if we aim for perfection, we will inevitably fall short and open ourselves up to all kinds of negative and self-judgmental thoughts. If we aim for spiritual progress, on the other hand, we will be amazed by how much we grow and develop through the process of recovery.
Your life can be one of mental, physical, and spiritual progress in sobriety. You can begin the rewarding journey of recovery by making the decision to seek help now. The Lakehouse Recovery Center provides holistic care that is individualized, non-institutional, and cost-effective. Our highly qualified clinicians and substance abuse counselors are dedicated to providing you all the tools necessary to build a happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 762-3707