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Perfectionism and Drug Addiction

You’re not a perfectionist, right?  In fact, you often believe you are lousy at so many things, can’t keep your life together with your drug addiction, everything around you is out of control.  That can’t be perfectionism, can it? 

Addiction Keeps Perfectionism In Disguise

When you think of perfectionism, you might picture a woman obsessed with keeping her home spic and span tidy, being sure she has a perfectly matched outfit, quickly straightening out anything that appears mussed or roughed up. 

Well, that can be one version of perfectionism.  How about another – unrealistic expectations for yourself or others, thinking something has to be “this way” (your way??) or it just isn’t worth it, something is *either this or that* with no grey in the middle.

Black and White Thinking is Part of Addiction

Ahhh, good old black and white thinking.  That sounds more familiar for women with addiction.  Seeing things as all-or-nothing is pretty common with drug addiction or alcoholism.  Most of life is really a variety of grey shades with relatively few true black and white areas.  But a woman who gets caught up in the world of complete and total opposites is bound to get herself into a heap of disappointment, resentment, worry, depression, etc. 

All of this emotional and mental self-pressure can really be too much, which tends to perpetuate the drinking or drug use.  Unfortunately, the drinking and drug use do nothing to straighten out your thinking either.  Everything is distorted into two distinct camps – This and That. 

The Beauty of Grey

If you’ve had an or drug addiction for some time, you may have even forgotten what the color grey looks like.  You’ve only gotten used to black and white, either or, perfection or failure, accepted or rejected, good or bad, love or hate. 

The rock group Live has a song called The Beauty of Grey that is about this very subject.  It speaks of perception and appreciating the grey areas in life, even colors swirling together.  Perhaps it was simpler to view the world in black and white to keep from becoming overwhelmed.  You may have even done that to protect yourself from trauma or valid emotional upset.  But does this viewpoint serve you now? 

You Dont Have to be Perfect in Drug Rehab

You may have also thought that going through drug or alcohol rehab was something you could *never* do (see the perfectionism there?).  It’s too hard,  too much time, too painful, too far away, too much this or that.  And if you didn’t do it “just right” you would be a complete and total failure – right?? 

Wrong.  That is your addiction black-and-white thought process talking to you.  Drug rehab isn’t about perfection – human beings aren’t perfect from the start, so it isn’t a realistic goal anyway.  Drug rehabe is about getting rid of the drugs and alcohol and getting back to you, healing you, and growing you in healthy ways.  There are more effective ways of doing that, but no perfection. 

So….are you letting perfectionism stand in the way of you going to drug rehab?  Question those black and white thoughts.  No, it’s not totally hopeless or pointless.  You can step onto the path of addiction recovery today.  Help is there for you when you take the first step.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

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