I Ain’t Perfect, But I Sure Do Try

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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.

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What Relapse Means To Me

As I tried to fall asleep last night I started thinking about what a damn miracle sobriety is. Maybe it was triggered by re-reading some old my old blog posts earlier, which took me back to those difficult first days where I really didn’t know how I was going to make it. I still don’t know how I have made it this far, sometimes, aside from making a serious commitment and then putting one foot in front of the other every single day. It really does get a lot easier as you keep going, even though a relapse is always only one bad decision away. I don’t want to be negative by saying that, but reminding myself of that fact helps to keep me on my toes.

I quit smoking for 5 years when I was 25, and thought it was the bees knees. I was so happy to be free from that stinky and expensive addiction. I felt so capable and good and smart…I had beat smoking! Yeah! Stuff happened, though. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend, moved out on my own in a new city, and started meeting and going out with friends a lot more. Eventually, within a few months, I was back to smoking cigarettes every once in awhile. I don’t remember how it happened exactly, except that it seemed like no big deal to have one or two. I mean, I had quit for 5 years! Ha. It didn’t take long before I was completely, 100% hooked again, miserable this time, because I knew how wonderful it was to be free from that addiction.

It took me over 2 years…years where I tried to quit about a bazillion times, before I was able to kick the addiction again. I finally quit a week before I found out I was pregnant with my son. And then…I started again after my baby was born and I was feeling overwhelmed, blue, elated, but also completely stressed by my new life responsibilities. My addiction to cigarettes was back with a freakin’ vengeance. So was my alcoholism, but let’s stick to smoking for now. I finally quit last summer about a month before I quit drinking, and I no longer crave them. Once again I am really happy to be done with that addiction.

Sorry for the long ramblings that have nothing to do with drinking, but I am scared to have that same type of experience happen again, this time with drinking. At the time that life lesson, my inability to quit smoking again, felt really harsh, but now I am grateful for it. I think I understand better just how hard relapse can be. Every quit is different. Sometimes it is easy, but sometimes your addiction has teeth. Whenever ‘just one drink’ sounds good, or a sneaky thought about how ‘I can drink again for a few days…it was easy to quit…I’ll just do it again!’, I remind myself of that struggle of epic proportions and tell myself ‘no way, ma’am.’

My heart is with those of you struggling now.

Saturday Morning Dance Party

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I have been writing a daily gratitude journal- well, most days at least- for the past few weeks. I am already noticing a shift in my attitude because of it. I became sick with the flu this week, and felt nauseous in a way that I haven’t since my last hangover. I can’t believe it used to be normal for me to feel that way so much of the time. It is SO not normal. Today I am grateful to be sober because I am learning that I deserve to spend most of my life feeling good.

Early this morning I had a dance party in my living room with my son. I never would have done that when I was drinking because I usually felt like I had the flu on Saturday mornings, and it was all I could do to make coffee and supervise. I am grateful for Saturday morning dance parties. They are 1,000,000 times better than Friday night drinking parties.

Happy weekend to you all.