Drinking Catastrophes

Ooh this one was a biggie for me.  Catastrophising.  I had an old nursing colleague who said that I could take one problem and split that into ten and then split each of those ten into another ten until I had a pyramid of problems, worries and anxieties.  Maybe being a nurse doesn’t help as during your career you get to see the worst possible things happen and you just end up with a jaded view.  Who knows.

But I can magnify a problem like a pro.  Exaggeration? No, just disaster/risk management in my book 😉  But the thing about this line of thinking is that if you see the problem as SO big it becomes unmanageable; the ‘you can’t eat an elephant in one bite’ approach as Belle would say.  You’re also minimising and underestimating your ability to deal with it, like you are looking down a telescope from the wrong end.  So I end up paralysed, in analysis paralysis.

Here’s some catastrophising: I must be an alcoholic, and most alcoholics relapse and can’t quit and keep drinking and ruin their lives.

And here’s some minimising: Sobriety is just beyond me, I have no willpower, I’m just a pretty crap person (Almost Alcohol)

So what to do?

  • When things do go wrong I try to avoid turning a small problem into a disaster.  Mountains out of molehills anyone?
  • I search for the evidence.  How bad is it really?
  • I assess my ability to manage it.  Am I really not able to manage it?
  • I make a list of things I could try to do
  • If all else fails I call in the professionals

the professionals

Sorry not trying to make light – I couldn’t help myself 😀

So this one has taken some major work on my part.  How do you catastrophise around your drinking thinking?





6 thoughts on “Drinking Catastrophes

  1. Hi Lou – This is a big one for me, too. In fact, one Christmas my husband got me the book “The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook,” and I loved it! That’s my nature, to have a Plan A – Plan Z to deal with any eventuality. When I coupled my obsessive nature with drinking, I developed the “analysis paralysis” you mentioned. I think in some weird way, I equated worrying with proving how much I cared about someone. It was also a case of magical thinking… “If I worry about this, it won’t happen.” Now, thanks to exploring co-dependency issues and listening to lectures by my favorite Buddhist nun, Pema Chodran, I’m starting to let go of worrying about the future and trying to stay connected to the present. Easier said than done, but cutting out the booze has helped. I’m never going to be a laid back, carefree person. And dare I say it, I think it’s a good thing to have a Plan B! But I’ve finally figured out that I don’t need to take it to the extreme and have Plans, C, D, E, F, & G. Thanks for your post and keep the information coming — it’s really helpful! I love this sober blog-o-sphere!

    P.S. I’m Hank on Belle’s website and Julie on the BFB. We met earlier this week! 😉

    1. Hi Julie Pleased to meet you again 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting here too! Sounds like we are similar beings and I’m glad that you’re finding this information useful. I’ll keep it coming 🙂

  2. Is that second one minimising? I thought of it as further catastrophising, if anything. Or at least just resigning oneself to disaster. But yes, catastrophising happens! Despite dismissing it early on, I’m starting to see why ‘one day at a time’ is so powerful; it’s so much easier than ‘but if I give up now, then what if, in 20 years, my daughter gets married and I ruin her buzz because I can’t toast her?’. uhhhhh not that I ever thought that.

    1. It’s all down to individual interpretation as we all have a unique perspective, so although I consider it minimising – you might not 🙂 It can be so easy to get sucked into unhelpful thought patterns can’t it? Take’s me a lot of effort at the moment to address this, almost as much effort as it took me to stop drinking in the first place!

  3. Hi, my name is Phoenix and I’m a drama queen. I can so relate to this. Practice makes perfect. Formulate a game plan to deal with surprises, write it out and keep it with you. Practice referring to it when you encounter problems or hear news. It will get easier. Good luck!

    1. Hi Phoenix I agree with the plan idea you suggest. Need to get me one of those too as I thought giving up the booze would improve my ability to parent and if it were only that simple. As you say practice makes perfect 🙂

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