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.