Addicts have those impossible dreams of half measures. How about we work a great program for a month and then rest on our laurels? How about we just white knuckle our way through recovery? How about I receive the gifts but don’t do any service? As long as we’re hoping, why not throw in free relapse with no consequences.
Unfortunately, we have no facility with coasting. My recovery needs to make progress, otherwise I will backslide. Let’s face it, if coasting would work for us, we would already know that, because we’ve tried it so many times. That means ‘progress not perfection’ can be read two different ways – we can’t expect flawless recovery, but also, our program is at its best when we take a step every day, make some progress, however small that step may be.
Small steps lead to big changes.
“Life's a mess, dude, but we're all just doing the best we can.” --Terri
As addicts we have high expectations. We’re not being treated well enough, we aren’t being recognized enough, we don’t have it easy enough. And these are exactly the kind of thoughts that bring us back to addiction. Life is just not fair, and taking our comfort is a way of evening the karmic scales; that hit, that joint, that pill, that man or woman, that binge is what we’re entitled to because of the injustice we face.
And the answer is not that we’re wrong. The truth is that life is often very unfair, and that the pain of that unfairness is real and harsh, and seemingly unbearable. But all we have to do is limp our way through that pain, feel the emotion, and on the other end, we can find acceptance. If I try to accept a cold, hard truth before I’ve felt my feelings about the truth, it’s a bit like expecting a flower to bloom before the stalk grows. Once I’ve felt my emotions, then I can move to acceptance, and realize that the people who I think have let me down, are themselves just doing the best that they can do in a world that may treat them just as we are treated.
As I trudge the happy road of destiny, I have the option to feel my feelings rather than numb or avoid them.
"There’s nothing that can’t be done" --Usual Suspects
Coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves even exists, much less can restore us to sanity, that’s a tall order. Considering what we’ve seen in addiction – the pain, the humiliation, the repeated return to abusive experiences, the trauma, the death – how can we be expected to believe in some power that’s doing good.
What’s even crazier, those very same experiences can be the evidence of that power. Whatever has happened to us and our loved ones, whatever consequences we have initiated with our insane addictive behavior, whatever the sorrow we have experienced and caused, we made it to program. We learned a new path. We admitted our powerlessness and suddenly found options where there were none. We continue to survive our addictions every day we reach out to program. That is miraculous.
Believing in a power greater than myself is not easy, but my higher power supports me in my struggles.