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

Recovery from addiction is always an imperfect process. There is often an expectation that the process of recovery should be linear and move in a consistent direction, but it does not. This expectation is often supported by the practice of counting consecutive days of abstinence from a substance or behavior. Even if one adheres unerringly to their abstinence goals, however, 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 part of the psychological 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 a process of simple abstinence, 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 can only avoid failure by not trying, but if we don’t try, it’s impossible to succeed. So we must learn to embrace our failures as an inevitable part of successful recovery.

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