While it’s perfectly healthy to strive to do your best, searching for perfection is a surefire way to sabotage your recovery. After all, one of the gifts of recovery is knowing that some days you might mess up, and that’s alright because we’re trying. This is the gist behind the 12-step saying “progress not perfection.”
Perfectionism in early recovery can involve being overly critical of any setbacks and/or going to extreme measures to avoid mistakes. As anyone with lasting sobriety will tell you, the road to recovery has lots of potholes. It’s important to have patience with the process and with yourself.
For many people, perfectionism can prevent them from seeking help in the first place. Perfectionists may have the false impression that they can conquer addiction on their own – and that getting help is a sign of weakness. And when they fail to stop using on their own, this can cause feelings of shame and guilt and drive them deeper into their addiction.
It can also cause someone to give up during recovery. For example, perfectionists may quit after realizing that they can’t do recovery “perfectly” – we all know there is no such thing!
Take heart: There are steps you can take to tame your inner perfectionist and combat any black-and-white thinking standing in the way of your recovery:
- Celebrate small victories. To maintain the hope and motivation needed to succeed long-term, you’ll need to recognize and celebrate the small wins as well as your ability to keep trying even after a setback.
- Focus on the big picture. You’ll be less likely to obsess over being perfect and beat yourself up over little things if you focus on creating a better, more fulfilling future for yourself. This means doing the activities you love, learning new skills and being of service to others.
- Take it slow. Recovery is a process for good reason. It takes time to gather your recovery tools and build a strong foundation for lifelong sobriety. Each day is another chance to get better at living life without drugs and/or alcohol. Take your time, focus on each day and do your best not to worry or obsess about what may or may not happen in the future.
- Lean on your supports. Talking to your recovery peers and counselors will help you learn from others who have made mistakes and who have had successful – not perfect – journeys toward recovery.
Letting Go of Perfectionism at Makana Path
Has perfectionism sabotaged your recovery in the past? Our programming seeks to heal clients from within by improving spiritual wellness while laying the groundwork for permanent recovery. To learn more about our holistic approach to relapse prevention, call us today: 866-905-4550