3 months, 24 days

For some reason I’m still finding it hard to shake this feeling of sheer unmotivated lethargy. I spent most of the day doing almost nothing, except surfing the internet, poking people on Facebook and looking for old music videos on Youtube that I haven’t seen in ages. The highlight of my day was a local meeting, which I just got back from. I didn’t share tonight, and I didn’t really listen to what anyone was saying. My head felt a bit fuzzy during the whole time I was there; when people tried to talk to me I could barely reciprocate the attention. There’ve been a few occasions in the last few months when it’s been almost as bad as that, but not quite. I’m forcing myself to write about this because I know that, as in many other problematic situations, talking about it is the only remedy.

I think this is more than just physical tiredness. There’s that as well, but the complete unwillingness to do anything that’s hung over me like a cloud these last few days is an unwillingness that has permeated my whole life. A lot of the time I just can’t be bothered to do the things that need doing. Everyone has days like that, I know, but this is exactly the sort of day that I didn’t want to end up having back at the start of term, when my hopes for the year ahead were so high. Again, the thought of the two deadlines that loom ahead next week has haunted me all day, but every time I try to find the words that will get me started on the essays, they won’t come. Every possible first line I can think of doesn’t seem good enough; and it was the same in the meeting tonight, when I knew I ought to open my mouth but couldn’t because nothing that sounded remotely interesting or relevant would come into my mind.

Of course, it all comes back to fear, that one emotion that has been the strongest theme in this blog since I started writing it. When it comes to the Uni work, I’m scared that what I write won’t be good enough, and when it comes to sharing in meetings, I’m scared that what comes out of my mouth will be rubbish. So I put off writing the essays and sharing in the meetings, promising myself I’ll do it tomorrow; I’ll always do it tomorrow. In reality I could put these things off forever but I’m clever enough to know that putting things off won’t get me anywhere, and that’s why I currently have that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach which is telling me that I need to get a move on with my life.

Yes, I have the rest of my life to share in meetings; yes, I could leave the Uni stuff til next Monday, the eve of the two deadlines, when everyone else will undoubtedly be starting the work. But that’s just getting by in life, and I don’t want to be like that any more. I may have mentioned before how I used to just ‘get by’ in life, doing everything at the absolute last minute with the minimum amount of effort and preparation. That way I always managed to scrape by but it has meant that I’ve been a perpetual underachiever in education. I’ve never really got the marks that I know I’m capable of.

The reason I’m including AA meetings in this discussion is because the problem isn’t just confined to my educational (lack of) achievement. When I choose not to share in meetings, because I don’t feel like I have anything worth saying, I’m really just procrastinating around something that I know I need to do, in the exact same way that I procrastinate around those Uni projects, as well as the way I procrastinate about looking for paid work (a task which becomes increasingly urgent as the days go by). Basically, I have a habit of procrastinating about everything that’s serious in my life; for a long time I’ve known that I put those things off purely because I’m scared of not being able to do them by myself.

All these things that I mention are vital to my survival, yet I’m barely applying myself to them at the moment. I can’t remember the last time I applied for a job. This is partly because I wanted to focus on my degree this year, but it is becoming increasingly evident that I would be a fool to leave looking for work until after graduation next year. I can’t afford not to start thinking about it now – no one in my position can. There are only so many jobs out there and they seem to become more and more elusive as the years go by.

I don’t want to go on too much about finding work because it’s not the only thing going on in my life, though for many years it has been a major problem, like chronic migraine. Fear has stopped me from achieving anything more than a microscopic CV for such a long time, and now that I’m trying to turn my life around without alcohol it’s even harder than it was before to believe that everything will be all right. I hate to sound negative and whiney but it should be clear by now that this isn’t a problem which will just go away. When I have a day like today, when I waste hours in cyberspace instead of making important progress in other areas, I feel like I’ve let myself down a bit.

And I know I shouldn’t be beating myself up, because it’s all in the past now and tomorrow’s another day. I really wish I could just say “I’ll get on with what needs to be done tomorrow”, but as soon as I contemplate what needs doing, that fear hits me again. What if the work I do tomorrow is crap? What if the next time I share in a meeting I spout a load of bollocks? I’m so pissed off at myself for being this negative. But the basic truth is that for tomorrow to be a success, I’m going to have to work hard, and I hate that.

P.S. due to everything I’ve just said, I’ve decided to try and post to this blog at least once a day from now on. I could probably do with the routine. The AA program is a daily program, for many good reasons I’m sure. I might not have a lot to write sometimes, but if being honest really is vital to my survival then I could at least make some effort to write something honest on a daily basis.

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3 thoughts on “3 months, 24 days

  1. It’s a shame it’s not easy to procrastinate about procrastinating, isn’t it?

    The only thing I find that works is to tell myself that I’ll just do 5 minutes. No more. More often than not that gets me started and, of course, when I’m in the middle of something I forget that I didn’t want to start it…

    And you’ve not wasted a day – by thinking and writing about your procrastination you’ve started down the road to understanding it and dealing with it.

    Be well.

  2. Your solution is the only solution to the problem, I fear. Once I’ve started on something, anything, I’m off and everything is OK. It’s the getting started that is the problem!

    Well, I guess if I take a step back and look back to the beginning of my road to recovery, I’m currently experiencing one of those ‘high quality’ problems that gets mentioned in AA sometimes. I’m not in a life or death situation, faced with the choice between taking another drink or suffering withdrawal symptoms. The only problem is getting started on a bit of work (which I have until next week to complete).

    So, in the long run, it’s all good.

  3. In AA you’re encouraged to focus on just getting through *this* day without taking a drink.

    With procrastination you need to focus on just getting through the next five minutes – just five little minutes, but these ones beginning NOW – without skiving off.

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