Sober since April 6, 2006


Friday, June 02, 2006

Progress, not Perfection

Yesterday, a young lady shared in the AA meeting that she drank again, and that she needed to start over. Boy, could I identify. I've done that twice.

I'm a perfectionist. When I was in school, I made straight A's and a few B's. For those of you who are familiar with "Harry Potter", I was very much like Hermione Granger. Getting a 99% grade on an assignment was disappointing for me. So screwing up this sobriety thing was a huge slap in the face.

First of all, it was upsetting. Damn upsetting. I said things that deeply hurt my friends and fulfilled the role of the alcoholic "tornado" mentioned in the Big Book. I hated that. I didn't want to cause other people pain.

Second, I failed. Failure is hard for everyone. It's especially difficult for people who obsess about doing things perfectly. I felt like a complete hopeless failure.

Probably the biggest thing that helped me was a passage in chapter 5 of the Big Book (thanks for the chapter correction, Anonymous!):

Do not be discouraged. No one among us has achieved anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

The "perfection" of this program is based on making progress. Notice the word "mistake" is not mentioned. "Failure" is not criticized. It's not about "not screwing up" -- it's about growing spiritually even if you DO screw up.

One of the great promises of working the twelve steps is:
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

And thank God for that. Otherwise I'd be too discouraged to keep trying.

Today, I'm grateful for:
  • being 57 days sober
  • my dad -- it's his birthday today!
  • my family and sweet puppy
  • my AA friends, online and off
  • the people who read my blog
  • coffee ... and chocolate :D
  • the beautiful weather
  • God's unconditional love
  • and today, I'm most grateful for being in a relationship with someone who makes me finally understand why Tom Cruise jumps on couches :)
  • couch repair shops :D

PS -- If you like your couch, don't let me near it :)


Anonymous said...

Hi nice lady.Hey?Its which chapter?.Im a perfectionist also------:-). Know what else I see? How it works is not in the chapter titled "How It Works".How it works is the next chapter "Into Action".Now isnt that funny. :-O.

tkdjunkie said...

Oops! It's chapter 5! My bad :P

Thanks for the correction -- making progress again :)