Personal accountability is a crucial aspect of one’s journey in recovery. Being accountable for what we say we are going to do, and holding ourselves to a code of being good for our word. The trick is to keep it within that personal accountability realm, and to not chase perfectionism. The chase of perfectionism can be an addiction in itself, and we must uphold realistic and healthy goals when it comes to our own personal accountability.

This credo is not to be confused with our old way of life in addiction. That old way of living, where accountability may have been a distant thought, or did not exist at all – is over and done with. In recovery, we must be personally accountable.

However, we must also be gentle with ourselves at times when stretching and growing within our recovery. Holding ourselves to an unrealistic standard of perfectionism is not only counter-productive, but can be relapse inducing destructive.

“Put down the bat”

As we work on our recovery and hold ourselves accountable to do what we say we are going to do, and be where we say we are going to be, remaining healthy and realistic in those areas is important. Overextending and then getting upset when you don’t succeed is counter-productive. Essentially, getting upset at yourself for being a human being who is attempting to grow and not succeeding 100% of the time, is an unhealthy practice.

I was one of those people early in my recovery. I had unrealistic goals for my own progress, and would be upset when I didn’t succeed. The thing is, personal growth in recovery takes time. It takes as much time as it needs to, and it is different for everyone. And when we make mistakes, or stall some – learning from that and moving forward is what we do. We do not beat ourselves up for being human, for making a mistake. In recovery, “put down the bat” and do not beat ourselves up anymore. We do hold ourselves accountable, but we do not beat ourselves up and chase perfectionism.

So, do yourself a favor and yes hold yourself accountable, but don’t beat up on yourself, when you are not perfect. No matter how great you truly are, no one is perfect, and chasing perfectionism is like chasing a ghost. It is a false concept, and does not belong in recovery.

Work hard and make course corrections

Don’t be a perfectionist. Simply work hard within your program of choice and make course corrections when you hit a bump in the road. If you find you are being hard on yourself, for whatever reason, try this practice:

“Imagine walking through a park, on a warm spring day. You look ahead and see another version of yourself sitting on a park bench. It is the version of you that just made that mistake, you are beating yourself up for making. Now, imagine yourself sitting down next to that version of you, and giving yourself a huge hug.”

Life in recovery can be beautiful, we just have to put in the work and “put down the bat.”

This blog was written from the experience and perspective of one alcoholic/addict with long term recovery.

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