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Progress Not Perfection in Recovery

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In recovery, you need to have realistic goals.

This is because although people think of rehab as something that must have the result of sobriety, relapse does happen.

This means that during your addiction treatment you should focus on being the best you can be, but not striving for perfection.

The purpose of rehab and recovery is to aim for being the best you can be.

You should attempt to overcome whatever is pulling you into the dark place of addiction, and work to complete your sobriety journey.

Life can be difficult, but having realistic goals greatly improves your chance.

Put less pressure on yourself, and work through your recovery calmly.

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What Happen When You Expect Perfection in Recovery

If you expect perfection from yourself, or if someone else expects perfection from you, you can fall into serious problems.

These problems might include:

  • Disappointment: No one is perfect, and if you expect perfection from yourself or others, someone will always end up disappointed.
  • Perfection blocks progress.
  • Setting yourself up for relapse: Because pressure can be a trigger, you might be setting yourself up for trouble. Sometimes you may use your lack of perfection to fall back into old habits.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Setting goals for others or yourself to be perfect is unrealistic. Most people do relapse, so this can be very difficult to achieve.
  • It is exhausting: Being perfect is overwhelming and exhausting. It can be hard to stay motivated if you have too much pressure. If you aim simply to progress, you will never feel unmotivated or exhausted because you will have achieved something.
  • Not able to enjoy sobriety: This is one of the major issues that occur when someone tries to be perfect. If you do not celebrate your small wins, you may not even enjoy your sober life.

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Failure in Recovery

Failure is inevitable most of the time in recovery. This is ok because it is a part of life and something you must accept to be successful. Anyone who is successful in life can tell you that they never would have gotten where they were without failure. This is all too true and when failure happens you must learn from your mistake and move on.

If you are afraid to fail, then you may never find success. Facing failure is a positive thing because of a few reasons.

Failure is Motivating

Although you might feel down at the moment, failure should only motivate you to do better next time.

Failure Forces You to Think in Different Ways

You will be able to try different methods, and maybe find an even better solution than you ever planned to. Your life is not all about accomplishments, but rather about how you get to them.

Failures Teach You

Plain and simple, failures help you to avoid what you should not do in the future. Failures also allow you to go in different directions and learn more in the process.

Failures Test You

If you really want to achieve something you have to push through all of the failed attempts to do so.

You Will Grow

Failing provides you with the opportunity to grow through your success. Pain can be more impressionable than a small reward.

Mental Illness and Recovery

Striving for “progress not perfection” is actually a concept from 12-step programs. These programs are most commonly known as Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA, and Narcotics Anonymous, commonly known as NA.

When you have a mental illness at the same time as an addiction, it means you have co-occurring disorders, known as dual diagnosis. Having a dual diagnosis makes it very important to be a part of a group therapy program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

These programs can allow you to understand why you should attempt progress not perfection, as well as many other aspects of recovery. Your disease requires a lot of effort to be placed on recovery, but recovery will not be possible without treating your mental illness at the same time.

Focus on Progress Not Perfection in Addiction Treatment

Focusing on progress in recovery is better than achieving your end goal. Although you may be able to become sober quickly, you need to keep that sobriety and turn it into a lifestyle. Focusing on progress is important for many reasons.

  • Avoid feeling frustrated and disappointed: Progress is always achievable, regardless of where you start from or where you are going.
  • Motivation: Progress helps to motivate you. Even if you aren’t reaching all of your goals daily, you can celebrate the small victories in recovery.
  • Less stress: If you focus less on your goal, you may push yourself a bit more evenly. This is important because you can put less pressure on yourself and achieve your goal more smoothly.
  • Realistic expectations allow you to understand that you can do your best and it is enough. You are human, you make mistakes and can learn from them.

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How to Progress in Recovery

Making progress in recovery takes a lot of effort. Despite this, when you see results it will be worth it. There are specific ways that you can ensure you will progress in recovery, these include:

Understanding Why You Need Recovery

Although many addicts do not understand why they need recovery, this is an important part of your success. If you do not think that you need recovery, this might hold you back from putting in your full effort, thus stunting your recovery.

Make a Commitment to Recovery

Making a commitment is necessary for recovery because you will need to change your entire life. Whether you choose inpatient treatment and leave your responsibilities behind, or you choose outpatient and are required to maintain sobriety in a less controlled environment, you need to make that commitment.

Hold Realistic Expectations

Because change is something you work towards, it can be frustrating if you do not achieve sobriety right away. Falling into old habits might hold you back, but if you set realistic goals you will be motivated.

Keep a Journal

This might feel a bit odd, but it can be very helpful to motivate you in the future if you keep a journal. Read back on where you were at the beginning of your journey, and see how far you have come.

Learn to Cope With Failure

If you cannot be ok with your failure then you will never be able to experience detrimental failure without relapsing in the future.

Follow a Spiritual Path

Whether this is the path of god, or one of meditation and getting into your own mind. This is a place you can go to for positive energy and relaxation of the mind.

Become a Part of Recovery Groups

This can be a group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. This helps you to progress with the support of others going through the same thing as you.

Enjoy the Process

You should enjoy recovery instead of loath the idea. Aim for a change of pace in your life and look at the positives that can come out of it.

Keep a Good Attitude

You must have a good attitude while in recovery in order to get through the difficult times. You should always be willing to learn, grow, and challenge yourself.

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Alexa Iocco

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