Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
-Winston Churchill

Recovery is an imperfect process. There is often an expectation that recovery should be linear and move in a consistently positive direction, but it does not. Even if one adheres unerringly to their abstinence goals there are always other stumbling blocks and emotional hurdles associated with learning to live without the dysfunctional aides created by our addictions. This concept can be exacerbated by perfectionism, often a feature of the emotional defense profile for those with addiction problems. But it is important to return to the fact that recovery is not perfect and doesn’t need to be to be effective. Recovery is a learning process much more than it is an abstinence process, and all learning processes are fraught with mistakes and missteps. So instead of trying to avoid all mistakes, it is important that we learn to deal with our inevitable stumbles by responding to them properly and effectively. We will need to address our perfectionism, allowing ourselves to be human and fallible. If we do count our days of consecutive abstinence and do falter, then we must learn to respond and process our emotional disappointment constructively. We cannot avoid failure. So we must learn to embrace our failures as an inevitable part of successful recovery.

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