I like myself – but only when I’m perfect

Starting my Mindfulness course again yesterday was harder than expected…who knew how difficult it would be to practice meditation with a whirlwind of emotions and worries whizzing around your head?! One good thing that did come out of the 2 hours sessions, however, (aside from spending most of the time on my back on a yoga mat, swaddled in a softer than soft throw) was hearing this quote:

“I like myself – but only when I’m perfect”

It stopped me dead. Actually made something in my head click (something that doesn’t happen as often as it should). 

Despite having the notes section of my phone literally bursting with inspirational quotes that I’ve picked up along the way (you get A LOT of these in recovery), this one really struck a chord. 

It’s pretty much what my head has been telling me all my life:

you’ll be better if you lose weight and get your hair done

you’ll be happy only when you’ve not touched a drop of booze or smoked a single fag for a whole year

and my personal favourite…

be on £30k by the time you’re 30 – if you don’t, you’ve failed’. 

In fact, I just smoked a cigarette, had my last drink 16 days ago (following my millionth failed attempt at sobriety), have roots that couldn’t even pass as a balayage, am up a dress size since Spain 2017 and I’m now a thirty-something receiving pittance from Universal Credit per month (because being a hard-working, educated individual qualifies you for fuck all when you go through a rough patch).

To sum it up, I’ve never liked myself that much because I’ve never achieved my unattainable ideal of perfection. Which is why I got in this goddamn mess in the first place – I drink when I don’t like myself and I don’t like myself when I’m not perfect. The only thing I’ve ever been “perfect” at is being an alcoholic – and making an absolute catastrophic mess of everything. To be honest, I’m surprised Echo Falls never headhunted me for the position of Global Head of Wine Tasting (‘I can’t feel my face and I left my dignity at the door – it’s perfect!’).

Ironically, 2 years ago, I’d been sober for almost 3 years and had it pretty good, but I can’t say I even liked myself then. Not really, anyway. 

Despite everything, today I’m pretty OK. Yes, things are still mad. Yes, I’ve got myself in a bit of a pickle (understatement of the year) – but I’m getting myself out. ME. I’m doing this – no one else – and for that, I’m pretty chuffed with myself. While I can’t say that I can now skip past the wine shop at the top of the road, hollering: ‘look at meeee! I’m freeeee!’, or not have those days when I batter myself for being so bloody shit at life. I can remember the quote and try to focus on the positives (rather than the negatives) every day, just to remind myself there’s at least something likeable about me – regardless of what’s going on and how un-perfect I am. 

If I don’t, there’s always another rock bottom to hit – and I don’t fancy going there. No ta.