One of the most common character defects we have as alcoholics and drug addicts is our desire for immediate gratification. We want and demand everything RIGHT NOW! We tend to be very impatient people. We’re always in a hurry to get somewhere, even when we don’t know where we want to go. We want it fast, and we want it now!
It’s important to remember that sobriety is a journey, not a destination. In fact, all of life is a journey without any clear destination. All we have is today. We have to train ourselves to be calm and patient and enjoy each moment, even when every fibre in our body is screaming for an instant fix of some kind. We want everything yesterday and tomorrow’s too late.
One of the best books I have ever read is called the “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I highly recommend it to anyone in recovery. It teaches, in a very clear and simple way, that our lives exist in the moment, and we should appreciate and enjoy each current experience without worrying about the past or the future.
This concept holds true in every part of your life, including your diet and health. It’s important to take your time and remember that the world won’t change in a single day. Learn to slow things down. Take it easy. The only thing that we can do is try to improve a little each day. Over time, the cumulative effects of our actions are what make the difference.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nor will you rebuild your life in a day. Eat well. Exercise. Meditate. Go to 12-Step meetings. Hang out with family and friends you love and trust. Stay in the moment and let tomorrow arrive without worrying about the results of today’s actions. Take it easy and enjoy life, right here, right now.
Perfectionism is a Killer
We often refer to certain people as “perfectionists.” Usually, this refers to someone who is obsessive in their pursuits, refusing to accept any standard short of perfection.
Want to know the fastest way to drive yourself insane? Try being a perfectionist. The problem is you can never win. You can never reach your goal. You can never find or achieve perfection because it doesn’t exist.
When it comes to your health in sobriety, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as perfection. As the saying goes, “perfection is the enemy of good.” There is only your best effort, and your best is good enough.
As addicts and alcoholics we’re often very critical of ourselves (and certainly of others). We think that everything we do has to be better than anyone else can do it or else it’s a complete failure. The truth is we tend to have narcissistic personalities. We’re born believing that we’re extremely special, gifted and unique and that everything we do is important and deserving of recognition and praise. We expect a trophy every time we pass gas. As we get older, reality sets in and we discover that our cosmic awesomeness is more of a self-created myth. Unfortunately, we usually cling to the idea that if we just work obsessively enough at something, we will achieve the perfect outcome and our lives, and the universe, will all make sense again.
But this type of obsessive focus usually results in disappointment. We will never, ever achieve perfection in anything we do. Perfection is for God, not humans.
When we set out to achieve a goal, like improving our health or maintaining our sobriety, it’s important to always remember that we can and should do our very best each day. But it’s equally important to remember that we’re imperfect and make mistakes. Some days we’re great, some days we’re mediocre, some days we completely screw things up. However, as long as we’re giving it our best shot each time, we’re always succeeding. Success is in the effort, not just the result.
What does all this have to do with sobriety? The effort you put into it every day is what matters most. You’re not going to be perfect at this. Do your best, forget the rest.
- Try to eat healthy every day
- Try to exercise daily
- Try to get enough sleep
- Try to relax or meditate each day
- Try to learn about your body and what makes it healthy
Try every day, but don’t get discouraged if the results you seek don’t happen immediately. Recovery from addiction is a one-day-at-a-time process, forget about doing it perfectly because no one ever has or ever will. Go easy on yourself and leave perfection to God.
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