The need to be perfect is a common trait of ACOA’s, and maybe all alcoholics. I don’t want to generalize, but I have heard it said a lot. I sought my father’s approval throughout my childhood, and still do to a certain degree to this day. Alcoholics can be mean when they are drinking; they don’t always have the sensitivity that comes with being fully present in life. My father was critical, and it stuck with me. I still have a seriously hard time being criticized by anybody, even when it is meant to be constructive and helpful.
Of course, perfection is unattainable in real life, which leads to problems if you have a hard time doing things if they are not perfect. Why bother doing them, then? The fear of doing something badly is very visceral, and I avoid it at all costs. I would rather do nothing and be a lazy bum than do something and have it be mediocre. Which is a huge problem in real life, where mediocrity is a necessary step towards getting good at things, or even just getting things done at all. ALSO- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. So, there’s that.
I am trying to embrace a ‘good enough’ attitude. Where it matters more that I suit up and show up in my life than anything else. Trying is a good thing, perfection is NOT a realistic goal, and it is okay to take care of myself instead of being perfect. Wow! What a relief, this idea.
The tricky thing now is figuring out how to hold myself accountable, and push myself forward/onwards/upwards, without going overboard. It is a balancing act that I am just learning about for the first time, well… ever. I am learning how to take care of myself by taking breaks when needed, not pushing myself too far, making reasonable goals, etc., but at the same time putting myself out there and TRYING. Being persistent, fighting procrastination, and telling laziness to shove it. So… you know, finding balance and stuff.
Now that I think about it, drinking helped me avoid failure from any attempts at perfection, as I was taking myself out of the game. Spending my time drinking/planning to drink/recovering from drinking meant that there was no failure, no perfection, no nothing. Nothing gained, nothing lost. Except I was losing myself the whole time… down a bottle of booze.
If you need me I will be right here, finding balance, and trying for something a touch better than mediocrity.
7 thoughts on “I Ain’t Perfect, But I Sure Do Try”
Easy way to get moving is have a deadline on whatever the item of the day, week or year is that striving for. Open-ended makes procrastination ridiculously easy. Best to you.
As a parent ‘good enough’ is all you need (Donald Winnicott). If we were perfect how would our kids ever learn that messing up is okay? I’m glad you’re here 🙂
Aw, thank you Lucy! I am glad YOU are here, too! xx
Mediocre you will never be. You’re a talented writer, loving wife, mother, friend, daughter. In my dictionary that’s the definition of pretty damn perfect. I’m also glad you’re here.
You are so sweet. Thanks for the boost this morning! I am glad you are here, too! xx
I can completely relate to this post. It is so me, but something I have not faced yet, that it kind of leaves me speechless. I have heard over and over again one of the drivers for alcoholism is fear. Your post made me think of fear. The fear of failure, the fear not meeting your own expectation, the fear of being less-than. I believe one of the primary components to keeping us sober is to acknowledge that fear and then make a plan of action to face it. You do that not only in this post, but in countless others. We strive for progress not perfection……you have progress in spades!! Thank you for being open and honest. – Heather
So nice to hear from you, Heather! Thank you for your kind words. I am trying to be honest, but I keep running into hiding places for little lies I tell myself. It seems never-ending sometimes! Thanks for your support. 🙂