I take care of other people and their problems. It’s part of my character makeup and it’s part of my job. And it’s a good thing, until it isn’t. When I started realizing how good I was at recognizing what was going wrong in the lives of the addicts I know, and how bad I was at recognizing what was going wrong in my own life, I got scared. I knew my relationship with my family wasn’t the secure relationship I’d assumed it was, with my frail, inflated ego calling the shots. I might be good at helping other people with shattered lives, but I was this close to shattering my own life.
That’s when I quit seeing the principles of recovery – admitting my life’s unmanageability, getting honest with myself and God and others, getting myself out of the driver’s seat, etc. – as something good for chemically dependent people, and I started seeing them as vital for my own life. That’s when I quit talking in safe generalities and started talking about my own specific defects and shortcomings. And that’s when I started letting go of my hope of being perfect, and I started seeing progress – “Progress, not perfection” became more than a recovery slogan to me. I thank God, and I thank the people who are brave and caring enough to be honest, open, and willing to change and to show people like me the path.