Practice Makes Perfect

Posted on September 19, 2015


5adf813b54e7e448e7ed342d22ee3254One of the things I have an awareness of in my twisty little addicted brain, is my ability to be so hard on myself. As they say, we are our own worst critic… or something like that.

Over the years of sobriety and recovery one of the things I have come to know is that I am not a broken person. I am not f*ed up beyond repair, or defective, or crazy, or any of the other things I thought about myself.  The truth is, I spent a lot of years practicing really bad habits and I got really good at it.

I was a masterful liar and manipulator. I was a great actor when I needed to be. I was a very dedicated drunk with great commitment to perfecting my drinking skills. I was a great big baby who would throw a fit the very second I did not get my way and I was stubborn to a degree that I could be unbearable. These are the skills I practiced from the time I was a teenager, all the way through my twenties, and into my thirties. That is a lot of dedication and a lot of practice.

What I think is funny, is that when we get sober it’s like we have these expectations of ourselves to be all fixed. Like when I stopped guzzling tequila all of a sudden all of my bad habits, behaviors, and character defects would magically vanish. It simply is not realistic.

As a sober person, I have to learn new skills. First, I have to allow some space to be teachable. I have to be willing to learn new skills. Then, I need people with experience to teach me these new skills and new ways of doing things. Then, I have to practice.

If I look back over my years of drinking I can clearly see that how I drank at the end was very different from how I drank at the beginning. In the beginning a few drinks went a long way, by the end I drank 3 at a time. All of those years in between I was practicing.

It has taken me years of practice to get good at my new skills. I have practiced autonomy rather than co-dependence; honesty rather than lying; sober instead of drunk; acceptance rather than judgmental. But that doesn’t mean that I am always good at all my new skills.  It means that I am practicing and sometimes I will make mistakes. The important thing is that I continue to practice and become better at being the person I want to be.

Practice makes perfect.

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