There comes a time in any kind of psychiatric recovery, when one has to ask, “Am I really willing to give this up?” Whether it is the hyper-vigilance of a nasty case of post-traumatic stress disorder, a drug, or the feeling a drug gives us, we have to decide that it is time to move on or go back to living our lives as they once were. Each vice gives us an illusion of a positive. For example, the hyper-vigilance gives an impression of safety and drugs give us the illusion of comfort through escapism.
In my recovery, I’ve been trying so hard. I decided and have become a survivor and not a victim. I have truly said goodbye to my drugs of choice and know that there is no going back. I have stopped clinging to my depression like a security blanket, and surprisingly experienced moments of true happiness and peace. However, now I find myself clinging to a perfectionistic ideal of how my recovery should be.
My concept of becoming whole has become unrealistic, and I judge myself harshly for my mediocre and questionable behaviors. I feel like I’ve been clinging to a fantasy. In reality, I will be sober, but I won’t ever be “all better.” I will always struggle with other psychiatric illness even if they’re significantly better than what they once were. I will always struggle with my past to some degree. I will always have visceral reactions of terror when I feel my post-traumatic stress disorder is triggered. The goal is not to fix these things or make them go away, but to be okay with them.
At this point in my recovery it is necessary for me to rid myself of the perception of perfection being an attainable goal in sobriety. My perfectionism increases levels of self-loathing when I find I cannot hold myself to the level of perfection I envision for my life. It is time to ask if I am really ready to give my perfectionistic ideal up. It means that I will have to accept that I am no better than the girls in my sober living and no better than the average 12-step meeting goer. It increases my humility and allows me to truly work on myself. It means admitting that I am fallible on an emotional, behavioral, and psychiatric level. It means admitting that I am not only powerless over a drug, but over me myself. Is it even possible to admit that level of powerlessness? I believe I am ready to accept the mediocrity of my emotional recovery and sobriety on the whole. While giving up the image of perfection, I take a step towards more emotional growth and healing.
By Emily F.
Filed under: Featured, Recovery, Spirituality · Tags: 12-step, Acceptance, Alcohol and Drugs, depression, emotional growth, emotional recovery, goals, healing, mental illness, perfectionism, post traumatic stress disorder, Powerlessness, PTSD, Recovery, sober, sober living, sobriety