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Progress not Perfection

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

The A.A. Big Book states a key part of sobriety and spiritual growth on pg. 60. This is Progress not Perfection. This is a key phrase that has stood out to me in my track of recovery for one main reason. If I stop progressing that means I am becoming complacent. Complacency means I am resting on previous accomplishments and don't see a need to continue to grow. This simply means relapse so I have to constantly progress.

But the question is, how do I track my progress?...

Well scientifically we feel good when we complete something. This actually releases dopamine in the brain when we track progress and have meaningful results. So in order to feel our achievements, we have to document and track advances in our results. This also avoids complacency

As addicts, we may feel that we are no longer progressing and this can become discouraging. I know for me this hit at about 4 months. I felt this way even though I had found spiritual peace, a support network, maintaining employment, and I was sober for 4 months ! Prior to this I was on the other end of spectrum but I still didn't feel like i was progressing.


  1. Visualize goals

  2. Write down goals and aspirations (Complete the 12-steps in 2 months, Awakening and Retirement for 90 days, Restore relationship w/ mom in 1 year, maintain employment for 6 months, create a support network in 1 week, etc.)

  3. Break Down Day-to-Day Actions (Complete 12-steps- Read at least 10 pages of the Big Book, Talk to sponsor daily, Attend at least 1 meeting)

The breakdown, one day at a time, will make our contributions feel worthwhile...

Daily Tracking Tip- Write in a journal for a couple minutes each day to review what you have completed and what you need to do next. Also, add some setbacks and some mini victories !

Personal Experience

My recovery started with simply wanting to quite heroine and crack-cocaine. However, this progressed to so much more... My relationships with loved ones are restored, I have conquered traumas, I have overcome social anxieties, I have conquered public speaking, my depression has ceased, I have sponsored/mentored several individuals, I have created the fellowship I crave, I sleep good and my family sleeps without worry, I have maintained employment for over 2 years, I maintain mindful exercise and eating (191 lbs lean), I quite cigarettes, I started a blog, I received 9 mental health certifications, I teach Mental Health First Aid, I started a recovery coaching organization. This is all to simply say, that one day at a time, I took action towards the goals and aspirations God put on my heart. I tracked the progress, it feels good, and it reminded of all God is doing, so that I don't become complacent.

To this day, my main goal is a closer relationship with God. My daily break down is to go to God first thing in the morning for at least 20 minutes(usually 1 hr), listen to worship during the day, pray during the good and the bad, talk to people of God, and check myself at the end of the day to see areas that might be disconnecting me. This is the main connect and the rest comes from using the brain he gave me!

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