When it comes to sobriety, we have to accept the fact that everyone’s path is uniquely their own. As long as you maintain a steady pace towards progress and have the desire to stay sober, you don’t have to beat yourself up when things don’t turn out just right. Sometimes, it’s helpful to take a step back and fully appreciate things being right where they are, regardless of any imperfections that may make for a zigzagged path.
To help you gain some perspective, here are 8 aspects of life where you can finally stop comparing paces with others and realize that—perfect or not—you are doing quite alright.
1. In Trusting Your Higher Power
One of the core concepts of the 12 Steps is the willingness to trust in a Higher Power, even if that trust just begins upon joining AA. However, having full confidence in putting your life in the hands of something greater than yourself is an idea that takes hold gradually. If you find that you’re still not quite there yet, know that it’s a process that will see improvement over time.
2. In Your Family
There’s nothing like the love of family and friends to put your spiritual principles to the test. Whether it’s your child, parent or significant other, they know you far better than you know yourself and, sometimes, it may feel like they’ve made it their job to find and push your buttons. But the key to this dilemma is in accepting them just as they are right now. If you see their flaws and love them anyway, then that’s the kind of relationship that beats perfection any day.
3. In Releasing Your Character Defects
The Big Book clearly states that there are some defects of character we want to hold onto while others need to go immediately. Maybe you have an issue with gossip, anger, jealousy or dishonesty and it gets you into trouble. As you work towards bettering your character, don’t expect yourself to always be perfect and instead practice always taking responsibility for all of your actions.
4. In Giving Your Forgiveness
If you’re struggling to make amends and forgive a certain person in your life, know that this is normal. Some amends are tough and the only thing you have to do for now is be willing to apologize for what you’ve done wrong. Eventually, you’ll have to take action, but you will know once the time is right. Making those tough amends is what opens the door to finally being able to forgive.
5. In Prayer and Meditation
Meditation and prayer are tools that nourish the soul, but it’s not uncommon for people to shy away from them because they seem shrouded in perfect rituals; this doesn’t have to be the case. There is no right or wrong hours to meditate and you don’t have to sit in a special posture to experience its benefits. This is your time to commune with your Higher Power and it’s fine to use an affirmation if you don’t know a prayer to say. Try meditating for just one minute if that’s all you can do in the beginning. It’s not about how much or how little time you spend in meditation and prayer but rather your intention and sincerity.
6. In the Workplace
The workplace can be the perfect breeding ground for resentment and sore feelings because it often requires being competitive, interacting with strong personalities and complying with things you don’t agree with. As a result, it’s only natural that you’re not going to handle every situation that arises like a spiritual master. Nonetheless, the 12-Step teaches reflection, solution and surrender which are tools you can use to help improve your spiritual life.
7. In Your Quest for a Perfect Life
Life is an up and down journey that is riddled with change, so you’re not always going to see through rose colored lenses. If you work on your sobriety, the only thing it really promises is you freedom from drugs and alcohol. And while there can certainly be extended periods of good times and “pink clouds” to remember, nothing ever lasts. So instead of expecting a perfect life, remind yourself that recovery is an inside job. Fix your perspective, manage your expectations and commit to being your best self just for today.
8. In Carrying the Message of Recovery
It’s true that sobriety is gained and kept through the selfless act of carrying the message of recovery, but even in this area, no one is flawless. Not everyone is going to be a dynamic meeting speaker or have tons of people to sponsor. While there are no hard set ways to work this 12th step, every opportunity to be of service—whether it’s speaking on a panel, taking meeting commitments, or answering phones at the central—are one and the same. If you remain open to giving back in any way that you can, then you are spreading the positive message of a new life.