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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Is Perfectionism Interfering With Your Recovery?

Many people view perfectionism as a positive trait – it’s a hallmark of high achievers, after all. Yet being a perfectionist is not always a good thing – and it may even have played a role in your addiction.

The Link Between Addiction and Perfectionism
Struggling to be “the best” can create anxiety, depression and social alienation – all which can lead to a desire to “self-medicate” with drugs or alcohol.

Perfectionism can also prevent you from seeking proper treatment. If you’re a perfectionist, for example, you might not accept the fact that you lost control to your addiction. Or, you might view asking for help as a sign of weakness. Denial is common among many with a substance use disorder and it’s even stronger in those with perfectionist tendencies.

How Perfectionism Can Hinder Your Recovery
Because perfectionists often beat themselves up over the slightest failure, recovery can be an especially challenging time. Holding yourself to unrealistic, high standards can even sabotage your recovery. Let’s take a deeper look.

  • You expect to get it right the first time. Setbacks are a normal part of recovery and perfectionists may reject this idea and believe they should get it right the first time or not face any roadblocks. This can interfere with learning and lead to impatience with the recovery process. It can also make it that much harder to recover from a slip-up.
  • You set unrealistic goals. Recovery is a process that requires setting a lot of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely or Time-sensitive) goals to help build confidence and rediscover your strengths. This can be a hard concept for a perfectionist, who is used to setting the bar too high, to grasp.
  • You don’t need help. The road to sobriety is a long one and definitely not one best traveled alone. Most perfectionists will tell themselves that they can overcome addiction alone and with sheer willpower. Yet this is not a healthy (or successful) approach for overcoming a substance use disorder.
Help for Perfectionism and Addiction
Don’t let perfectionism stand in the way of a healthy, fulfilling, sober life. At Haven at Pismo, we provide clients with the tools and strategies needed for early recovery and beyond. To learn more about our addition treatment programs, call today: 805-202-3440.