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Perfectionism And Alcoholism

What’s the source of perfectionism?  Childhood beliefs carried into adulthood.  More than likely, your “good enough” wasn’t good enough for someone in your family.  Expectations were unrealistic, your accomplishments could always be better, simple satisfaction was never the goal.  Always perfect and knowing exactly what to do.

Perfection Unrealistic Hurtful Message For Kids

You know why that message is so damaging? Accomplishment and striving for excellence isn’t the problem.  It’s the expectation that children will always know what to do, will never need help, and that failure is not acceptable.  Perhaps this wasn’t said directly, but it was always about how you could do better, or comparing you to others, about how your parents couldn’t be bothered to help you.

That’s it right there.  If you were perfect, you wouldn’t be a bother to your parents.  They wouldn’t have to go the extra mile because you would just raise yourself.  They could stay focused on their own interests and be left in peace.  Well darnit, if kids don’t make mistakes, need some help with an essay, and get off track sometimes.  That’s being human.  Being expected to stay on track 24-7 is ridiculous.

Criticizer Feels Powerful Putting You Down

Also, since these perfectionist standards are so rarely met, it’s an opportunity for the person making judgments to feel more powerful.  You never measure up, you constantly disappoint, you don’t get it, you mess things up, you don’t do things the right way, and you stay small in their mind.

So fast forward to adulthood and keep these messages rolling in your mind.  If you’ve suffered a lot from this kind of harsh thinking, you have possibly become depression, highly anxious, had relationship problems, and even turned to drinking.  Drinking heavily is a simple way to shut off the voices of constant criticism.  The confusion, the worthlessness, the fear – it dissolves into a sea of blurriness.

Start Letting Go and Start Alcohol Rehab

After a long time of drinking, you may decide it’s time to stop.  But because the circumstances can’t be just right, you may as well not even bother starting alcohol rehab.  Yes, somewhat different from the childhood message, but still all about extreme thinking.  The only acceptable way is if it’s all exactly how you think it should be.

Hmm, there’s an impossible mess!  Can you really control what your family has become during your alcoholism?  Can you really control the circumstance around your job, your health, your money when it’s time to start alcohol rehab?  Probably not.  But that isn’t a sign you shouldn’t start rehab.  It does, however, create many convenient excuses why you shouldn’t go.  Since something’s not lining up perfectly, alcohol rehab is total waste of time.  Of course, know you should go – but you just can’t.  Not right now.

At some point, your alcoholism needs to hurt enough that you are willing to give in with the perfectionism.  You need to let go of that idea just long enough to get you in the door of an alcohol rehab center.  Then you can learn more about how your extreme thinking has contributed to your alcoholism.  Until then, you’ll just need to trust that it’s OK not to be perfect.  You can finally ignore that mean voice from your childhood saying that perfect people don’t need to ask for help.

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