Recognizing Progress In Our Programs

In recovery, I believe, we tend to talk more about the things that can go wrong with our programs than about the things that indicate growth.  I hear a dozen conversations or shares about how to spot relapse for every one about progress; about spotting things that are going right instead of wrong.

So I thought I’d write a couple of posts about ways we can take an inventory of our changes, new behaviors and general progress toward sobriety.  Most of us know what alcoholic/addict behavior is, but how often do we think about signs of recovery?  So here goes…

I think one of the most valuable concepts we can get into our heads is what sobriety means to us. I’m not going into detail about that, because we all have our answers if we bother to think about the matter (and besides, I pretty much covered my idea of sobriety in the previous post).  But I will say that it’s pretty hard to achieve a goal if we have no internalization of what the goal might be. But on to measuring the success of a program. 

Following suggestions: are we still trying to do it our way, despite the undeniable fact that our best thinking got us where we are?

Do we assess our program with the help of a sponsor and our other supports?  Do we actually have those things?

Are we expanding our lives to include enrichment and fun, or are we still plodding down the road to happy destiny?

Do we consult others when our sobriety is challenged, or do we go it alone?

Do we embrace change, accepting it as an opportunity to grow, or do we hang on to old ways of living until there are claw marks all over them?

Have we learned to rely on our higher power for help, whether it be God, our supports and sponsor, or our recovery group?

Have we learned our limitations: the things we cannot change and the things we can?

Are we able to accept reality, instead of trying to change it into some kind of wishful thinking or fantasy?

Are we bringing balance into our lives: fun as well as work; rest as well as activity; quiet time as well as frantic “progress”?

Do we approach our program with acceptance, instead of arrogance or fear?

If we can truly answer “Yes!” to these things, we are well on our way; if not, we need to reevaluate our program and our understanding of it.  We are doing something unskillfully.  What are we afraid of giving up?  We’ll talk about that next time.

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