Perseverance is keeping on, keeping on despite our addiction. If in Step Ten we, Continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admitted it, we must Persevere. A dictionary definition of Perseverance says that it is persisting on a course of action or purpose, in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. There is a myth in the 12 step program that all the work I did yesterday is some kind of insurance for today and tomorrow. The only real insurance premium is paid today—for today.
It is warned many times in the AA literature against resting on our laurels. Well what does that mean? As I understand it simply means resting on yesterday’s practices to keep me OK today. Experience has shown that it just does not work. Oh one may “get away with it” for a day or so but in the long run resting on yesterdays Program Practices does not work. The ego (a set of beliefs that thinks it is us) will always bring up old faulty beliefs. Faulty ideas that when working our Program we recognize as faulty. We see that to handle some situation today we must use our Program—today.
Using the dictionary definition of Perseverance, we persist, whether “too busy, too tired, etc.” to Practice our maintenance Steps today—One Day at a Time. A working Practice of Step Ten includes, spot-check inventories, reviewing our day maybe using a daily balance sheet, and annual or semi-annual retreats where we review how we are doing on our Perseverance with our daily Practices.
One of my most difficult obstacles to Perseverance was getting back on the horse after I had fallen off. I had such a built in habit of giving up that it was extremely difficult to start again. Yes, I was a quitter. Now I never would have called myself that (unless I was beating myself up that day) but I simply believed something that wasn’t true. That belief was that I was incapable of creating new behaviour in my life. Today I very seldom miss my daily practices. However, I do them the moment I realise that I have not done them. Immediately, if you will, getting back on the horse—today.
I mostly “stop fighting everyone and everything” even my old belief—I just do it. Creating the new habit of a life lived by Principles instead of character defects (defences) brings me a peaceful, calm, content, serene, and well balanced life. That takes the use of the Principle of Perseverance.