How am I doing? Am I making any progress? Am I improving quickly enough? How do I match up to other addicts in recovery?
These are all questions we tend to ask ourselves yet it’s difficult to provide constructive criticism when observing our own behavior. We judge ourselves more harshly than anyone we know.
It’s all too easy to start comparing ourselves to others who are on the path of recuperation. We forget that each of us travels this journey at different speeds. Comparison to others can lead to feelings of discouragement, hopelessness and, sometimes, even superiority. None of these emotions work to advance rehabilitation.
Yet, self-evaluation is a requirement in order to be successful in recovery. You must look at yourself square in the eye and be honest. Only you truly know how far you have come, how close you are to meeting your goals and how much more you desire to accomplish.
This may require a regular check-in with yourself every three months and asking yourself some tough questions. Otherwise, you may not be able to recognize if you’re stuck at any point or facing the same obstacles over and over again.
Self-evaluation is not a rigid questionnaire or “test.” Nor are there correct (or incorrect) answers during this review—it is simply a tool to help gauge your progress. Here are 3 things to do to ensure you have a healthy self-appraisal.
1. Gauge Your Growth
You most likely wrote down short and/or long-term goals for yourself at the start of recovery. Continue to use them as your guide. Measure how close you have come in the past three months to achieving your written objectives. By engaging in self-measurement on a regular and consistent basis, you can accomplish your ultimate goals in due time.
2. Accept the Flaws
If you are honest with yourself, you may find that you occasionally take a step back in unwanted behaviors. Whether or not you are an addict in recovery or just an “everyday Joe,” we all have setbacks. Be patient with yourself. In your evaluation, make sure to do the following:
- Examine where you fell short.
- Take responsibility. That means, do not blame others. Practice patience on yourself and others by examining your own thoughts rather than the flaws of others.
- Develop a clear strategy with concrete, short-term steps.
- One-by-one, commit to accomplishing your goals by your next three-month review.
3. Reach Out
Although this is a self-evaluation, it is extremely effective to work with a sponsor, therapist or member of your support group through the process. Often, you may be too close to the situation to have a clear view of your own progress or lapses. A professional or someone who understands your road to recovery firsthand can give a fresh outlook and provide insight, tactics and guidance that you may not be able to have on your own.
The most important thing to remember in all this is to be patient with yourself. You did not become an addict overnight and reversing months or years of abuse will take a good amount of time. Patience is a coping skill that indicates the evolution from selfishness to selflessness and when you are able to stay calm and centered, you will be amazed at all the areas of your life that will also improve.