The Imperfection of Recovery (November 2020 Part 2)

Recovery from compulsive sex is an imperfect road, and we have to embrace a paradigm shift to believe that relapse is a growth opportunity. Practicing imperfection requires a mindful approach to implementing helpful and sustainable healing strategies. Try not to follow these ideas too perfectly, but instead, consider which ones would be realistic for you to practice on a regular basis.

  1. Normalize imperfection as a necessary part of your recovery. Look at imperfection as a learning opportunity. Begin with two columns. In the first column, take a daily inventory of your imperfections for one month. In the second column, write down what you can learn from them.
  2. Celebrate your imperfections. Refer to your “imperfection inventory” and write about your gratitude for the less-than-perfect parts of you.
  3. Read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. This is a relatively-short self-help book that provides practical tools and perspectives to look at imperfection through experiential research as well as wisdom and humor.
  4. Practice shame resiliency. Brene Brown also brings our attention to the growth potential connected to shame. Because perfectionism and shame are intertwined, they both grab your attention. John Bradshaw’s book, Healing the Shame that Binds You also looks at the different versions of shame and how to heal from them more efficiently.
  5. Mindful self-compassion is another antidote to perfectionism. There are three parts to this practice: 1. Identify something or someone in your life that is causing you distress. 2. Know that you are part of the human condition and others all around the world have similar distress, and 3. Be kind to yourself. Try to be as compassionate to yourself as you would be for a loved one. On YouTube you might consider listening to short guided meditations by either Christopher Germer or Tara Brach.
  6.  Perfectionism is isolating because it feels like you’re all alone in the suffering. Connect with your therapist, coach, sponsor, loved one and/or higher power. By establishing deeper contact with others, you will feel less alone and less anxious.

Work toward regulating your nervous system on a regular basis. We all dysregulate at times, and perfectionism creates dysregulation usually through anxiety and sometimes disconnection. Consider talking to a somatically-trained therapist to help you gain somatic awareness and feel embodied more of the time.

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