On Studying the Twelve Steps

“Many of us exclaimed, “What an order!  I can’t go through with it.”  Do not be discouraged.  No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.  We are not saints.  The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.  The principles we have set down are guides to progress.  We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” – The Big Books of Alcoholic Anonymous, pg. 60

There are many times we strive to do things perfectly.  We set those around us and ourselves up for a failure of magnificent proportions based on our idea that whatever it is we’ve set out to accomplish will be performed nothing short of perfectly.  When this happens, many times, after the first major mistake, we shy away from any action remotely resembling the initial failure.  In effect, we are being paralyzed by our fear of getting it wrong or doing whatever it is we wanted to/meant to do less-than-perfectly.

One of the problems with this is that our subsequent fear of failure creates this idea that if it can’t be accomplished without a flaw it shouldn’t be attempted in the first place.  This pattern of inaction keeps us at the bottom of the river, wearing cement boots & drowning in our own expectations.

As we move forward in our Recovery, we learn that making mistakes is par for the course.  That, not only is it expected, it is actually okay.  We learn not to set ourselves up for the unattainable, which is based on our expected ideal of a failure-free action.  Through these moments of trial and error, we actually learn and grow.  Our mistakes become our teachers and our ideas of perfection shift to actions of progress.  With this, we move ever closer to our goal of being an effective, valuable member of society

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