Procrastination is a relatively common way of coping with the unpleasant tasks of everyday life, even for people who aren’t suffering from a dependency to alcohol or drugs. Iím not saying itís a sound coping mechanism Ė it will definitely hinder your productivity and hurt your progress Ė but many of us engage in it on a daily basis, perhaps even without realizing it.
For the average person the dangers procrastination consist of are: stagnation, poor results at work or at school, etc. Unfortunately, for recovering alcoholics, things are far worse and they should definitely do their best to get out of this state.
I Used to Procrastinate… A lot!† †
When I first came home from rehab, I didnít have a plan of action ready. I hadnít thought about the projects Iíd engage in to occupy my time, in spite of the fact that during rehab I learned about the importance of constructing a sound routine for every single moment of the day. Since I was unemployed, the logical thing to do was to start looking for a job. How hard could it be?
As it turns out, itís very difficult to find a job when youíre not actively searching for one. I knew very well that in order to have enough money to support my family, employment was necessary. However, my job search consisted mainly of browsing Facebook (I told myself that thereís a chance I would come across a wanted ad), sharpening my entire collection of pencils to take down the potential job offers, scribbling different things on my notepad, reading the local newspaper for hints about the job market, so on and so forth.
No Luck? How Can This Be? †††
This job hunt went on for several months and my wife was starting to catch on that something inside me was actually preventing any real action towards the goal. As our savings accounts were on the brink of depletion, she kept insisting that I need to try harder. I argued that I was doing my best Ė I wasnít Ė but she still pestered me every single day. I eventually had to admit that it was obvious I had a problem, so I brought the subject up with my therapist.
As I would learn in therapy, procrastination is a behavior that stems from a compulsive need to decline outside requests. It comes with an unpleasant side effect called learned helplessness. What I was doing the whole time when I shouldíve been looking for a job consisted of actively postponing any action because I was secretly anxious about the results. In other words, I didnít schedule a single interview due to the fact that I was scared about being rejected and having my former alcoholism brought up. At the same time, learning a new skill seemed to imply a lot of effort and I was constantly feeling drained.
Eliminate Procrastination From Your Routine Before it Eliminates You
Iíll admit, even after therapy I wasnít really doing much to find a job. I eventually succumbed to boredom as my little projects werenít providing any relief and I relapsed. The second time around, however, I was much more determined and I used the last part of my rehab therapy to construct a plan of action for the outside world.
I actually discussed a position at my former company Ė on a trial basis of course Ė before I was released. You see, once you set yourself to break the barriers imposed by your subconscious and take action, thereís nothing to stop you from achieving your dreams.