Recovery is a program of action. We are encouraged to “participate in our own recovery”, to work the twelve steps until they work IN us. Being complete, being exhaustive in our efforts is highly recommended. In the big book of AA we are nearly promised a life free of relapse when we practice the principles completely and with devotion. “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path..” intimating that anything less was doomed.

One of my character defects is perfectionism. Another is procrastination. I both want to do things in an exemplary fashion and the other part of me fears that I cannot be perfect – so why even start. The thinking steps: one, two and three, were philosophically troubling and I was warned continually “not to worry”, to do my best, so I just gave it a good thinking and moved on.

Step Four got to me. I used the second of those traits to perfection. I avoided beginning as I didn’t have the perfect pen, the perfect notebook, the perfect format. The first time I went through the steps was over thirty years ago so online or electronic tools were out, and there were few workbooks available. A few pirated dittoed worksheets were available from the major recovery and treatment center (which will remain nameless due to the unauthorized distribution of their material.) I wanted the perfect format that would deliver unquestionably perfect result. I did, after all, intend on doing it only the once.

That was not to be the case. I was finally able to complete it once, and ended up doing it many more times, up to and including last year. It turned out that through meant repeated as “more was revealed”.

Enter the Adult Child of an Alcoholic;– it was one thing for me to be searching and fearless in my step work on what chaos I had caused and what troubles I had endured as an active addict. It was another to be thorough while investigating my childhood. In my recovery it had become clear to me that the wreckage of my past did not begin with the first drink, pill, line or toke. It had been a way of life as long as I could remember.

My journey of recovery and growth continued to include those characteristics, attributes and actions I had developed as survival and coping mechanisms growing up in the house with an active alcoholic and a parent who was either physically or mentally absent. Perfectionism certainly ruled the day in my youth. There was no room for error either in action or in split second assessment of the emotional weather in the home. Responses and reactions to any activity or input vacillate rapidly: alternating between rage, dark self pity and depression. My response would be to procrastinate due to fear or redouble efforts and attempt perfection.

The unaddressed vestiges of these survival skills was that I never know what enough was. Enough in my efforts, my actions, or in myself. Thorough was something I didn’t understand. Until now.

In order to understand thorough I had to investigate the extremes. All and Nothing. Life is the sweet balance between the two. Healing has helped me find that place where enough is enough. I veer toward “comprehensive” and “methodical” and “careful” rather than “complete”, “perfect” and “exhaustive” in my choices for synonyms. I trust myself now. I have worked hard to be a person among people, neither better nor worse. I choose the medium path, being through in my acceptance that I have enough, I do enough and I am enough.  That is the only perfection that I choose.

Practicing YOGA: I used to love a quick yoga practice- almost like a dancer looking to hit the “mark” on the stage – swiftly cycling through the poses. But I wasn’t FEELING the poses- I wasn’t investigating them thoroughly. When I discovered yoga, the true yoga for me of the slow, deep , contemplative poses, I was able to inhabit my body rather than fight against it. I also learned there was no perfection aside from the present moment. The pose I am in is the perfect pose. But I need to DO the pose, not procrastinate the practice but find it. “It works if you work it” is true in yoga as well as recovery. I do experience discomfort and fatigue as well as joyful release and growth. Just like recovery.

Practice makes practice…not perfection. And I trust in that ideal. In my recovery, in my yoga, I need to show up, to be thoroughly present, be in my own body, my own values and boundaries. Slowing down in life and on my mat I can figure out what I think and believe and feel and then operate from that reality, no longer see what another person is doing on their mat, with their life, no longer thinking that their practice is a reflection of mine, their choices a reflection or comment on my choices. I have to be tenacious, I have to be thorough. And I have learned that there is no concept as demoralizing as perfection.



Kyczy Hawk; author and E-RYT 500 Kyczy has been teaching recovery focused yoga classes since 2008. She is also an author having published several books combining the philosophy of yoga with recovery principles. Her most recent books are “Yogic Tools For Recovery; A Guide To Working The Steps” and its companion workbook. She is also the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” , “Life in Bite-Sized Morsels” , and “From Burnout to Balance” as well as five recovery oriented word puzzle books.You can also join Kyczy and a host of other people in recovery every Sunday morning at 8am PT (11 am ET) on In The Rooms at the Yoga Recovery meeting. She currently holds online Y12SR meetings combining a full 45 minutes of all paths recovery meeting and 45 minutes of all levels yoga.It meets Sundays 4pm PDT (register at .) Kyczy is very proud of her family; husband, kids, and grandkids, all who amaze her in unique and wonderful ways. Join her mailing list for other information and links to free classes at

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