Perfect is The Enemy of The Good.
Updated: Oct 8
We often refer to certain people as “perfectionist.” 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 or your 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 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 medal 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 are 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 your 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 stay healthy
· Try to go to a 12 Step meeting every day
· Try to talk with other alcoholics or addicts every day
· Try to read sobriety literature every day
· Try to meditate and pray every day
· Try to speak with your sponsor every day (if you have one)
· Try to be of service to others every day
· Try to be grateful every day
Try every day, but don’t get discouraged if the results you seek aren’t always perfect. As long as you stay sober, you’re doing everything correctly. Take it one day at a time, forget about doing it perfectly because no one ever has or will, and go easy on yourself. And leave the pursuit of perfection to God.
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