How do you measure your progress in sobriety?
I am relatively new to this online group (I think I found you in mid-May) and I thought this would be a good way to get to know you all a little better. This move to China has enabled me to find AA online, and what a blessing GROW is for me. I have moved geographically a few times during the course of my sobriety and have learned to reach out to each new fellowship to become “a part of.” That is progress for me.
The dictionary defines progress as:
progress: n. 1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance. 2. Development or growth: students who show progress. 3. Steady improvement 4. A ceremonial journey made by a sovereign through his or her realm. (Nice one, thanks dictionary!)
intr.v. progress: 1. To advance; proceed: Work on the new building progressed at a rapid rate. 2. To advance toward a higher or better stage; improve steadily: as medical technology progresses. 3. To increase in scope or severity, as a disease taking an unfavorable course.
I was the typical alcoholic, afraid of my own shadow as a child and isolating in the end. The booze softened those “nameless fears” that I had as I grew into adulthood and made them more manageable somehow. I have been thinking about a topic for this week. Uh oh, maybe overthinking is more like it! LOL
A topic that might benefit the newcomers a bit as they muddle through early sobriety and might aid those of us who have been here longer, is how do we take measure of our progress? On the surface it appears to be a difficult thing to measure spiritual progress as there is nothing tangible about it, or is there?
My first thought is how as a child we marked the door jamb with pencil marks and dates while we were growing up. I can measure my spiritual progress today on that proverbial door jamb! Sometimes I measure my progress by how quickly I can pause when I am uptight or in doubt. Sometimes I measure progress by boundaries I can set for myself, practicing self-care by not going into slippery situations. Sometimes I can measure progress by my level of serenity when I am surrounded by inefficiency, complacency and confusion (or mysterious China). And sometimes I measure progress by how quickly I can drop to my knees and ask my Higher Power for help.
I am a work in progress, ever advancing, growing, developing, and improving. This evolution we call spiritual growth is a process. It is all about the journey for me today and not so much the destination. Some days it is two steps forward and one step back, but as long as I don’t pick up a drink today, I am still making progress even if it does not necessarily feel like it to me! I know I am one notch higher on the legendary door jamb as long as I don’t drink even if my ass falls off.
Thank you for being a part of my “ceremonial journey through this realm”. How do you measure your progress in sobriety today?