Daily Archives: 10/01/2014

Mistaking self-sabotage for self-soothing

Alcohol isn’t the only area of my life that I’ve been working on and where I have stopped procrastinating and start doing instead.  Ironically this other life area was also a reason to drink and the drinking made the other problem area worse.  Go figure!  I’m talking about my relationship with money or poor management of it to be exact.

As part of this other quest I have been reading the blog of Ramit Sethi.  A few days ago he wrote a post about stopping feeling guilty and linked a New York Time’s article which you can find here and it was a really interesting read.

The part of the article that grabbed my attention was this:

Of all human psychology self-defeating behavior is among the most puzzling and hard to change. After all, everyone assumes that people hanker after happiness and pleasure. Have you ever heard of a self-help book on being miserable?

So what explains those men and women who repeatedly pursue a path that leads to pain and disappointment? Perhaps there is a hidden psychological reward.

It goes on to discuss masochism and self-defeating behaviour concluding that ‘a history of repeated failures, especially in one sphere of life, doesn’t mean someone is a masochist. Many people fall far short of their potential not because they secretly desire to fail but because they are anxious about what it means to succeed.’

It got me thinking about how I’d been doing the same thing with my boozing and this last line is the one that really struck a chord.  I drank believing it was a helpful way to sooth my anxieties about life but in actual fact I was sabotaging my potential and opportunities to succeed.  I was behaving like my own worst enemy but thought that I was being kind to myself in a huge act of self-defeat.  Now I could argue that it was all the fault of alcohol but I have to take responsibility for the fact that I chose to drink.  But now I see this I choose not to drink knowing that to pick up a drink for me is the ultimate form of self-defeating behaviour, turning that ‘fck it’ moment into a self-destructive ‘fck you’ moment.