top of page
  • OceanHills

Letting go of perfectionism - letting go of alcohol

It's said that perfectionism is a tough mistress, something those who practice it will probably agree with, especially when they've 'failed', yet again.

At Ocean Hills private rehab, we see the trait of perfectionism is common among people with substance abuse problems. But how does that add up, you might ask? Why does someone who wants to get things right 100 per cent of the time end up with an addiction problem, which seems to be all about getting things wrong?

Managing stress to stop drinking

Toxic stress is the byproduct of perfectionism and for everyone - especially someone trying to stop drinking or using drugs - it's the enemy. Good stress is okay, as we all need to be challenged in order to be motivated, but that's not what we're talking about. Toxic stress, where you berate yourself for constantly not reaching your goals, is what you need to avoid.

Setting up for failure

Toxic stress is what happens when you've overestimated what you can do - for having unrealistic expectations of yourself on any given day. It's when you've loaded yourself with to-do-lists tasks, or what happens when you punish yourself with meeting back-to-back demands without breaks. Toxic stress is trying to do everything on your own and not asking for support.

Negative self-talk

Punishing yourself with negative self-talk exacerbates the toxic stress cycle. The more you 'fail', the worse you feel about yourself. When that happens constantly, the stress is usually so much that giving up is an easy option. Comforting yourself feels essential after you've beaten yourself up with a hectic schedule that was always going to end up with you having a meltdown. For people struggling with addiction, that could look like picking up a drink or a drug.

Setting up for success

To start practicing a more gentle way of navigating the world, cull back the to-do list to the barest essentials. Think of your day looking like a pyramid, with self-care at the bottom and layers of essential responsibilities building upward. Some days, you might only just stay at the bottom of the pyramid, but as long as you have the foundation sorted, you will stay sober. Other days you might get to the top of your pyramid, but not at the expense of your self-care and sobriety.


More than just a trendy wellness concept, self-care is a critical component of living sober. Good sleep, regular exercise, quality nutrition, spending time with friends and family, managing stress, finding positive purpose and having down time are the ingredients that will set you up for success in living sober.

If you're worried about your drinking or that of someone you love, give Elaine a call on 027 573 7744 for a confidential chat.

133 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page