Progress not perfection…

My own personal favourite slogan and ingrained adopted philosophy from the big book.  It is in Chapter Five just after the steps are introduced.  For me this was a key phrase in my early days, and still now, since I have a perfectionist streak but not in the anal-retentive perfectionism of Freudian basis.  My perfectionism is … “I’ll not be able to be good enough to be at the height of what I consider the top of this activity therefore I’ll never start it”.   This has over my life cost me several opportunities where I’ve walked away.  I still do.  For example.  I don’t dance.  Never ever… I’m just not good enough for me so I won’t attempt.  I wish I could “dance like no-one is watching or cares.”

Anyway – also it is a great philosophy for keeping going.  Even if the progress is one more day where I do or don’t do something, obviously for me in the early months just another day clinging on not drinking was progress.

I was completely reminded of this though this weekend.  I was invited, along with Mrs F, to a friend’s wedding reception.  He’s been sober a few years now and I remember him coming around and struggling and slipping then getting it.  I particularly remember his excitement at hitting 1,000 days sober.  There on Saturday he was all suited and booted, married with his little boy refusing to go to sleep etc.  Progress, not perfection, but boy what progress!

Lovely family too – really warm, friendly and welcoming.  I was asked a few times “How to you know each other?”  His sobriety is no secret in his family but even so we still seem to speak in code, it’s the default anonymous protection isn’t it.  “We’re members of the same tea drinking club” was my response.  His Dad in particular was immediately gushing in his thanks.  Funny how I’m seen as having helped him since I’m a bit longer sober.  It don’t work like that – he has kept me sober as much as I’ve helped him.  That’s truly how it works, someone a day sober helping someone who has 50years sobriety is the norm not the exception.

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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4 Responses to Progress not perfection…

  1. Only two likes so far? One comment? This should be read far and wide.

  2. Yes!
    It’s so true. I keep finding that out the longer I am sober.
    I love this slogan, too.
    It’s one for everyone in the whole world!!

  3. ainsobriety says:

    I have a similar streak. My sister once told me she disliked me because I always “over-achieved” in everything I do. I don’t just practice yoga, I teach, etc…

    I jokingly replied it was because I only choose to do thinks I know I will be good at…but it is actually true. The fear of coming up short limited many of my decisions.

    I try to be more open minded now. To be brace and try new things. Progress, not perfection.

    You are right. We all help each other. I like the saying – the person with the most sobriety is the one who got up the earliest.


  4. Paul S says:

    I still struggle with this, Graham. My oldest is like that too. It worries me. But he is more open to things that I am, and that is where I learn from him and the youngest, who is up for *anything* and even laughs at himself when he inevitably messes up. Fears surround me! But at least I see it, and perhaps I can edge out of my shell a bit more. Thanks for this, Graham!

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