Frankly My Dear, I Am Tired of Being Perfect

When I was drinking I worked very hard to make my life look perfect because I certainly did not want anyone to know how messed up it really was. The entire charade was almost an addiction in itself as my yearning for a “normal” life, was as strong as my need to drink.

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In public I was always well dressed and made up. I would actually take a shower and put on makeup to go to the store to get my wine, even though I was usually hungover or still drunk. I made sure to visit a different store each day, so that no one would notice that I bought wine every day and possibly suspect that I had a problem. I tried not to buy the really cheep stuff either, though I really did not care if the wine was any good, whatsoever. I just did not want people to think that I could not afford anything better. So I always got wine that was on sale – it made sense, I was not buying it because I was cheap, I was buying it because it was on sale and I was saving money for that trip to Italy that I was taking in the summer (right…)! I also liked chatting with the cashier about my “hard” day at work spent performing highly skilled tasks, except… I did not have a job. Or tell them about the party that I was having to celebrate a promotion or some great big achievement, except there was no party or any achievements. There was just me, in some raggedy sweats and an old t-shirt, drinking… for hours.

When I got sober, I felt that I no longer needed this charade as I strived for openness and honesty to keep me sober. Now I just wanted to be me! However, I had a hard time figuring out who I really was. You see, most of my life I always became whoever you wanted me to be, or whoever I thought you wanted me to be. Either way, neither one was actually me.

It has taken lots of effort to truly develop who I am… and it is still a work in progress. Initially I felt as if I had no clue where to start. I felt that I have missed all the great milestones that others normally meet during their lives. I could not decide if I should start from now and move forward, or should I backtrack, and do all the things I missed already, first. Of course, to start any of this I had to know what I wanted to do, or better yet, who I wanted to be. But I did not.

Nevertheless, I went full force ahead making up for the lost time, and for all the wasted years that I felt if I still had, I would be able to then be in that perfect place. You know that place where other 40 something people are – probably married and with kids, with a house and a few cars, and really good jobs and really good salaries. So… I went back to school, got married, bought a house, and had kids – all in a span of just 4 years! In all this making up for lost time and creating the real me, a new addiction had sprung – the perfectionism!

Yes, it all had to be perfect again. In the chaos and craziness of running through life – it all had to still appear perfect, and as much as possible, because if you saw this craziness inside my life, well than, you might really not like who I really am. And perfect was making me crazy and just added to the chaos instead of making it better – or actually perfect.

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I do wonder often where my need for perfection stems from. I totally realize that nothing is perfect, yet I strive for some kind of perfection all the time! Maybe my perfectionism comes about because growing up I often felt that it was always expected of me. Failing was always equated to being worthless and my parents placed huge expectations on us kids and seemed to value us purely through our achievements – and being an alcoholic was definitely not one of them. Yet at the same time, there was no or little parental approval, or even any feedback at all, and therefore we had no yardstick to tell whether what we were doing was ever good enough; basically nothing was good enough.

So recently while going through some struggles in life, I had realized that I have been working really hard at being perfect again. Prefect by some strange standards, which I am not even sure I actually created, because I can definitely say that my life is pretty much perfect – I live in a house, with my beautiful kids and a hubby, I have a nice job, good car, new clothes, and bunch of stuff. But, I did notice this time that appearing or pretending that everything is perfect seems to be my security blanket, my coping mechanism, my way to feel like everything is still OK!

However, perfectionism takes lots of effort, and most of all it is not who I am. I know this for sure. Inside, I am down to earth, happy go lucky, extrovert! Inside I wish I did not “have to” feel like I need to compete with anyone. Inside I am just a human among humans; I neither want to see life bad or good, life just is. I also really do not want to judge my life as perfect or not, as compared to some crazy parameter that I had created, long, long time ago, which standards I am not even sure about.

So I am learning to see life in all its shades. I am learning to let go of this perfectionism as it serves me no purpose any more. It actually hinders me from being truly open and honest, and the real me. Because truly and honestly, in the end my life only has to be perfect to me.


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14 Comments Add yours

  1. ainsobriety says:

    Me too.
    Well, not exactly that, but I truly understand.
    Brent Brown. The Gifts of Imperfection. Best book ever.

    My personal thought is that by making things “perfect” I was protecting myself from criticism. If things look good then they are good. Approval from others guaranteed. I’m safe.

    But life doesn’t work that way. You can never satisfy everyone and in doing so it becomes exhausting. And anxiety provoking.

    In general, no one is watching. No one cares if my kids have Rice Krispie squares in their lunch instead of carrot sticks. I have let the things that don’t worry me go. Doing less has become a blessing.

    Being sober helps us see our behaviour, but there are lots of ways to become dysfunctional. I myself do a great job starving and making insane food plans. And I have been known to over shop. Not helpful.

    Read Brene. I always go back to it when I find myself behaving compulsively. She is so helpful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Love your comment. I feel the same. But man it took a while to get this. In the end I need to be happy with me. Putting this much pressure on my self it is just crazy! I don’t know who I am trying to put do either. Lol. I have everything I need. 🙂
      I’ll have to check out the book. Thank you for the recommendation. Hugs.

      Like

    2. sober mommy says:

      I keep hearing about that book! I think I may have to get that one. I’ve been so hard on myself.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. sober mommy says:

    I’m only 5 months into my sobriety and I’m going through exactly this. Discovering the “true” me without the alcohol. I never realized how much I put on a charade for others to “approve” or “like” me. I never really was able to allow myself to be who I truly was…. booze always got in the way with that. I’m learning so much. Some things are harder to work on than others, that’s for sure….but I’m a work in progress. I love your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lisa Neumann says:

    Seems like this is the topic of the summer—perfection. Seeing things for what they are, rather than what I want them to be was/is my biggest lesson. Once I can align with the way it is, I can be okay with the way it unfolded. I was so busy trying to “create” that I mistook my creation as power/influence. I love how you address the “shades of gray.” It’s a nice place to live, the gray zone. It’s also nice to know I can choose to step into the black or white. You are always a great read for me. xox Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the gray zone! There was never a gray zone! I can’t tell you how often I got frustrated and decided to quit it all – I am never, ever doing this, done! (which would have been quite helpful when I was trying to quit drinking! LOL!) – Now I try
      to tell myself that it is good enough and that it is perfect to me. Its a fine balance, I am not used to do anything in the middle/gray areas!

      Thanks Lisa

      Liked by 1 person

  4. k2running says:

    Love this post!!! As I read this I kept saying to myself, wow, I felt and or did the same thing(s)!!!! I continue to learn that expecting the best or perfectionism is a set up for resentments and that leads Down a dangerous path….
    We need to remember to just Let go and Let God:)
    Katie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I totally agree. And it never ends because there is never the best enough or the perfect enough.

      I like things as just being, I have really been working it this week. What a difference. Even when I have an ill though toward someone, I just remind my self, well that is how they are, that’s all.

      Thanks for the comment. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Acceptance! Love this! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah! Acceptance! Yes!

      Like

  6. Robert Crisp says:

    “I made sure to visit a different store each day, so that no one would notice that I bought wine every day and possibly suspect that I had a problem.” Boy, I get that. Like the people had nothing better to do than keep up with me. Great post. I look forward to reading more.

    Like

    1. Thank you!
      I know, you’d think that people didn’t care but at my regular store I did get a few strange comments, like – Back again? or Another bad day at the office? – so I think they were noticing, LOL!
      Thanks for stopping by. Keep in touch!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robert Crisp says:

        I did have one place that didn’t ask what I wanted; he just got out a pint of vodka. It made me feel bad…but not bad enough to stop, of course.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That happened to me at the local bar, they had my drink ready when I walked in. For a while I thought it was cool. Ugh. Well, glad those days are behind us!

          Like

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