The goal of recovery is progress, not perfection."
The key idea here is not to focus on perfection, but to focus on progress. It is completely normal for people to have slips and relapses, especially in the beginning of their journey. Every slip can be dangerous and can potentially be life ending, but they do happen and the best way to handle it is to keep moving forward. Although each slip will make recovery harder, being overly hard on yourself about it will also make recovery more difficult.
When slips happen just remember to be compassionate toward yourself. Instead of saying, "I drank last night. I am a failure and will never be able to stay sober" you can say, "last night was a mistake, but it is in the past. All I can do now is learn from it and move on with my recovery and progression." Having compassion for yourself is not the same as minimizing or justifying your actions (saying, "it was no big deal," "I didn't hurt anyone by doing it," "I deserved that drink."). You don't want to justify the slip, but you don't want to beat yourself up about it either. When you are harder on or mean to yourself, it can also make you want to use even more.
Focusing on being compassionate towards others and yourself will only help your recovery process. If you are having trouble with this, try being more mindful of what you say to yourself when you mess up. Try saying/doing things like:
- "If I loved myself, what would I say to myself right now?"
- "If a friend had the same problem, what would I say to him/her?"
- "If I were really listening to my deepest needs, what would I say to myself?"
- Use kinder language, like a mother to a frightened child.
- Put it to practice!
Remember, no one is perfect! The goal of recovery is to progress, not to be perfect. When the slips happen, take them seriously, but don't forget to be compassionate to yourself and the situation you are in. The slips are all a part of the journey and will continue to teach you lessons. Just be mindful of them and beware of them. The goal is for the slips to continually get further and further apart until they don't happen anymore.