Progress not Perfection – Is that the Problem?


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I have been reasonably quiet of late in blogging.  I have just come through a rather hectic work life, my wife and my personal existence is chaotic to say the least as we both transition toward our retirements – although she has just opened a new storefront and I am lining up projects that will keep me nearly as busy as I am today.

In my 30 years of sobriety, two of my favorite AA clichés have been “Process not an Event” (hence the name of this blog) and “Progress not Perfection (the title of this post).  Both concepts are mainstays of my recovery.  They remind me that if I continue living into recovery, then I will continue to make progress every day.  I should not expect perfection just because I no longer drink or drug.  Rather recovery is all about process, the growth.  I can very honestly reflect back on any period of time and see where that growth has occurred – consistently and without question.  Like almost everything else in recovery, these sentiments permeate all aspects of my life.

That leads me back to the topic of this particular post – and I am wondering – when is it good enough?   I don’t mean this as a matter of resting on our laurels and proclaiming myself “cured” of alcoholism.  But as an employee in higher education, and I am certain this holds true in many or most careers these days, I am wholly bored with the notion that what we produce is never good enough – that there is always one more class to teach, one more article to publish, one more conference to attend – in that perpetual progression toward an unattainable perfection.

Instead, I am coming to see the process less as a conscientious move in a progressive direction but rather, simply being one with the progress.  That is, perhaps it is time to stop pushing and dragging on the progress process, but simply and actively being the process along a nonlinear circuitous path.  I am grateful that recovery has provided me with that opportunity.

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