The addictive personality is often prone to extreme behaviors and thoughts, which is why for most of us recovering alcoholics the “go big or go home” motto makes absolute sense. To put it simply, a newbie to the rehab therapy and the early sobriety stages is very likely to fixate on the “all or nothing” attitude.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your best to improve your character and your life after the rehab program comes to an end. On the other hand, if you’re expecting miracles or you set unreachable goals, then disappointment and relapse are just a few steps away.
What Does this Philosophy of the Extremes Imply?
First and foremost, you will be tempted to seek perfection in virtually all aspects of your life that were “unsatisfactory” when you were hooked on booze – your career stalemate, your love life and relationships with significant people, your income, and naturally, your dependency on alcohol.
Trust me on this one, you will demand very high standards from yourself and others simply because, in your own mind, you’re fighting a difficult battle to remain sober. However, and here’s the tricky part, in spite of your intentions and efforts, you still retain some negative character traits and a tolerance – if not even admiration – for the extremes and deviant behaviors.
At the same time, your decreased self-esteem, your antisocial tendency, and a constant need for reassurance and attention are constantly chipping away at your confidence and your mental resources. You can see how these components are conflicting with each other, right?
But Why is a Fanatical Approach So Dangerous?
Simply put, it’s because real life situations rarely coincide with an individual’s hopes, expectations, and dreams. In essence, your pre-programmed need to seek immediate gratification collides with the inability to obtain it, therefore locking you in a vicious circle of frustration. Alcohol recovery in the post-rehab phase involves small, but sure steps towards sobriety, not giant leaps from your current self to perfection. The individual with an extreme attitude fails to understand this simple fact and, as previously mentioned, tension and dissatisfaction start building up inside.
For a “go big or go home” guy, even failing to achieve a single one of the items on his post-rehab bucket list could be perceived as an immense failure, in spite of having crossed out several highly difficult goals. Basically, perfectionism does not allow you to see the good things that have happened since you gave up liquor because they are overshadowed by the negative aspects.
Escaping Perfectionism and Extreme Behavior
The most important thing you have to remember is that the tiniest spark of progress towards sobriety beats the hell out relapsing. In other words, learn how to be grateful for the little improvements in your life, because together they paint the picture of true, alcohol-free happiness. In addition, also try to become more flexible and compromise whenever it’s needed. Lastly, keep in mind that satisfying all your desires is not achievable and therefore, not a healthy goal to aim for.