I had no idea unrelenting standards were a thing until they were presented as a “trigger” in a group therapy session I had a few years ago.
I remember thinking that this guy in our group obviously had them as his schedule was rigid as all hell and thinking: “Man I can’t imagine what living like that must be!” It took a few months, and quite a few more group therapy sessions to realize that I was doing exactly the same, and arguable still am!
In early recovery I finished my university degree, went to recovery meetings, caught up on the schoolwork I had left to the wayside for several months, and finally asked my parents for help with my visa bill I simply could not pay back without getting screwed. Not only that, but I was trying to work 3 part time jobs, and planning on going to a treatment centre before starting work at my first post university job.
While I was drinking and using I can remember trying to balance everything really awkwardly, and trying to fit myself in to as many social commitments as possible because it was the cool thing to do. My friend loved parties, and I thought I did too. In fact I hated them because they took me away from using and drinking, so when I was there I would do more of it, just in hiding. Now, how does this relate to unrelenting standards? Bare with me…
When I was younger I stole a ton of stuff as a means, I later found out, to get attention from my parents. That lead me to often hear that I was a bad kid for stealing. I believed it. After growing tired of it, and wanting to change a little I tried to be a good kid, I still got in trouble, but not for the same things. I played and refereed hockey, worked after school, did karate, worked on my hobbies, sometimes did homework, resented my family when I had to hang out with them. When I look back I was always anxious because of all of these things that I thought I had to do to look good that I didn’t do many of them really well. Mostly because I didn’t have the energy to care, but again I didn’t know better.
Fast forward a few years of using, and still those insecurities to deal with in order to feel somewhat OK in my own skin, and these standards are still there. They just play out differently when using and alcohol are involved. I still had all of those commitments I had to be physically present for to be perfect, bu the only way to cope with all of them was to be high or drunk before, after, and more often than not during those activities. This need to look perfect is where the unrelenting standards comes in.
I wanted so bad to be socially acceptable that I wanted to do everything all the time. I had really bad Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) and that was also unbearable and another trigger for my many relapses or careless self-medicating.
Fast forward a few more years after discovering the world of recovery, and the issue still comes in, and I learn my lessons the hard way still. I can’t tell you how many relationships, friends, or romantic, I have lost or let go of because I wanted and still want to be great at everything. I mean who tries to run 2 businesses (shameless self-promotion Business 1 & Business 2), work full time, referee hockey, go to the gym, do first aid on a ski hill, watch movies sometimes, sleep, do other stuff like socialize, and occasionally eat? This guy…
I like to think I have slowed down even though many might think I haven’t. I take a bit more time for myself and don’t get as absorbed with everything I am doing. I also try my best to put others first all the while trying to keep time for myself. I am still not good at it, but I am a lot kinder to myself and generous of my time allocated for self-care. I used to mentally kick the shit out of myself when I couldn’t do everything that I had set out to do, and now I don’t do that as much.
I will most likely write about this again when I come up with another way I’m tricking myself into thinking I’m fine when I’m drowning myself in responsibilities. Until then:
Originally posted 2017-09-16 13:28:49.