When I was very new in sobriety, I put forth almost no effort. I went to meetings, and that was about it. As I began to work the steps and grow fond of sobriety, I gave it my all. I had 4 service commitments a week, attended at least 10 meetings a week, was active with Hospitals and Institutions, and took my sobriety extremely seriously. I gave it my all, as I wanted so badly to remain sober.
As time went on, the effort in sobriety I have put forth has fluctuated. When I find myself in an unpleasant place, I often work extremely hard. When everything is going well, I slack. This cycle of effort reflects my ups and downs. I don’t always put 100% in, and I don’t always feel 100%. Things work like this in my life, and I am okay with it.
I think it is important to note that I don’t need to give it absolutely 100% in order to stay sober, grow, and progress. When I look at my effort in sobriety, I see that I have always given some of myself to my program. No matter how little of a program I was working, I always went to meetings, was of service, and meditated. I never put no effort in.
When I was new and putting forth a great amount of effort in sobriety, I would not necessarily have benefited from knowing this information. But now, I am grateful that I know that I don’t have to stress about how perfect of a program I am working. To me, that is the point… I don’t have to work a perfect program. It is okay that I don’t give it my all every single moment. It is okay that I don’t work my program without error. I do put forth effort in my sobriety consistently, and I never give up.
With the ups and downs, I am able to find peace in the reality that I may choose to work my program to fit my needs. I know that at the very least, my needs are that I stay sober, help others, and continue going to meetings. I have learned about myself enough through the Twelve Steps and my meditation practice that I know when I need to put more effort forth. Similarly, I am beginning to recognize when I am expecting too much of myself.