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It’s Not Perfection, It’s Practice

July 28, 2020

Putting off the decisions to make changes will come up throughout the recovery process, especially if you strive for perfection. This can cause you to delay making decisions for important changes because you seek advice for how someone else did it, thinking it will help you do it the “perfect” way.

During the recovery journey, it is crucial to remember that the best time to make changes to your behaviors is now. By realizing this, you can get the roadblock out of them and can move on from accepting excuses and begin to acknowledge the reasons you should act.

Change Requires More than Information and Education

Changes take more than just having the right information and the right education; it also takes action to make it happen. Someone may recognize they need to change their behavior by replacing their negative thinking with positive thinking to treat their depression.

This shows that they have taken the proper steps to acknowledge their depression and have received information about how their negative thinking contributes to their depression. This information also helps identify the negative thinking patterns and shows they have decided to change the behavior that contributes to this problem.

Knowledge provides a person with more information than before, but it only has the potential to change the person. Actual change requires the action and effort of working on a plan. You will have to work to begin to replace the negative thoughts with more positive ones, continuing to do so until they become second nature.

How Excuses Delay Change

It is common for a person who has an unwanted diagnosis, such as addiction, to find a way to get out of treatment. Common excuses may be finding faults in the treatment team, the approach of a specific counselor, or the treatment rules. If the person doesn’t like the message they hear, it becomes easy for them to disregard or poke holes in what the therapist or treatment center is telling them. This allows the person to develop the excuse that if the treatment is wrong, then maybe their diagnosis is wrong.

This way of making excuses lets the person find a reason to leave treatment, without making the effort of changing their behaviors. People may leave because they claim to have an issue with a fellow group member, issues at home, or another distraction from their treatment process.

When someone is ready to make the necessary changes, these reasons to leave or poke holes in their treatment are finally seen as excuses. For the addiction recovery process, each person needs to keep an open mind and be willing to make the necessary changes.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The only way to learn a new behavior is to practice it. When recovering from addiction, it is crucial to avoid striving for perfection. Recovery is like learning to ride a bicycle. You will have moments that you will fall off of your bike, hit a few curbs, and you’ll need to learn how to navigate your bike through situations such as rough roadways and puddles. Change takes time, but you have to be willing to get on the bike, fall off a few times and keep pedaling forward.

You will learn and grow through the recovery process but remember that humans will never become perfect. It is best to embrace this idea and understand that patterns of reactions, behaviors, feelings, and thoughts, were practiced over many years and require practice to successfully change them.

For more information on addiction recovery services in Pittsburgh, contact South Hills Recovery Project today to learn more.

Dr. Clark
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