I listened to an episode on the bubble hour about perfectionism. I’ve never really seen myself as a typical perfectionist. I was really surprised to learn that many alcoholics have this trait in common.

I was also flabbergasted to learn that I fit the profile.

A couple of signs that you might be a perfectionist:

1) You’ve always been eager to please.
2) You know your drive to perfection is hurting you, but you consider it the price you pay for success.
3)You’re a big procrastinator. (fear of failure to thank for this one)
4)You’re highly critical of others.
5) You go big or go home.(black and white thinking)
6) You have a hard time opening up to other people.
7) Obsessing over every little mistake you make.
8)You take everything personally.
10)You’re never quite “there yet.”

Perfectionism is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders. I tick both those boxes.

I’ve always felt like everyone else in the world has their shit together and I don’t. I had to try and fake my way into looking like I had my shit together, so the way my life looked on the outside was of utmost importance.

Throughout my addiction my kids were always well turned out, house was for the most part tidy and organised and all was well. Toward the end of my addiction though the chaos started creeping in and I couldn’t maintain my ‘perfect image’ any longer. Things went  downhill fast. I got sloppy. I hate sloppy. This caused more shame and continued the spiral downward so much faster than I was ready for.

Oprah did an interview with Dr Brene Brown about perfectionism and authenticity.

Oprah summarised one of her “a-ha” moments as “Perfectionists are ultimately afraid that the world is going to see them for who they really are and they won’t measure up.”

Dr. Brown agrees. “I call perfectionism ‘the 20-ton shield.’ We carry it around thinking it’s going to protect us from being hurt. But it protects us from being seen.”

I’m so glad listened to that episode because I’ve had my own a-ha moment. Now that I know that this is what is driving me, I can consciously recognise it and try to do something about it.

Hey world, this is me, I might be deeply flawed but for the first time in a really long time what I think, say and do is in alignment and that is such a massive relief!

Link to interview:


24 thoughts on “Perfectionism

  1. “Hey world, this is me, I might be deeply flawed but for the first time in a really long time what I think, say and do is aligned and that is such a massive relief!”
    That is real cool. I am happy for you!
    And yes to the perfectionism. I have heard it explained that people with an addictive personality have and always have had the feeling that they are ‘not good enough’ and they compensate by trying to be perfect. “If I am perfect, you will like me, not?” 😦
    Do you dare/try/want to/feel like it to continue with the online desensitization training btw? Let me know if you are in need of anything ay?
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post. I especially identify with the spiral down, when the perfectionism became too much to hold onto while the alcoholism was growing in magnitude. I thought I was just being like everyone else and letting things slide, but what I let go of was the care and consideration for myself, my own person…. And all in ‘sacrifice’ for the drink I held steadfastly to every evening. So much shame. Love your insights. Thank you for posting the qualities of ‘perfectionism.’ It’s good to revisit it and then, to take inventory of Now (which is much better sober – and as you say aligned…. Yes!).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Holy Moly! I feel like I was reading a post that I easily could have written. Depression, check. Eating disorder, check. Feeling like everyone else had it all together, check. Need to shield myself, check. But lately I too had the aha moment. If I make others uncomfortable or annoyed or whatever, thats their problem. I can only please me, as frightening as that is, its also liberating.

    Congrats on your aha moment!


  4. Oh to be free! I am slowly walking away from that perfectionism label. It had me for years. Probably one of the main reasons that I slid in to depression. I think a lot of it for me is getting older and being more content to be the real me. I don’t feel that I need to impress like I did when I was younger. Must go check out that podcast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s quite amazing how little I actually know about myself. It’s that stunted growth thing we were talking about the other day. Now that I’m sober I’m having all of these realisations that make so much sense to me.


    • People who slide into alcohol addiction faster than others have some things in common. According to Annie Grace the traits that addicts have in common are: Being open to new experiences, impulsiveness, decisiveness and non-conformity to name a few. I find it so interesting that these traits aren’t all negative:) Coming to the realization that alcohol is a dangerous and addictive substance, not just for a subset of the population, but for anyone with the right level of exposure was life changing for me. This puts the onus on the addictive drug (which ethanol most certainly is) instead of the ‘flawed’ alcoholic with a character or personality defect.(sources and studies are listed in the bibliography of her book)


  5. I have listened to that Bubble Hour episode too and it really resonated with me. Yesterday I was listening to an episode on acceptance. I wasn’t sure how it would fit in in a positive way because I thought it might be about accepting powerlessness over alcohol which I am not keen on but it was an excellent episode which provoked some ah ha moments for me. I love tbe Bubble Hour and I love this post. Thank you for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tori. I will be sure to listen to that one. I’m also not too keen on the acceptance of powerlessness over alcohol. It might seem like a trivial semantic shuffle but I prefer to think of it as alcohol has no power over me anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

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