What Sobriety Taught Me About Procrastination

Carly BensonPersonal Development, Sobriety0 Comments

procrastination sobriety carly benson

Procrastination: one word with such a powerful meaning behind it. We all do it. I will admit I am often guilty of putting things off.

I was in a therapy coaching session of my own a couple years ago sifting through pieces of my recovery story trying to uncover why I seem to procrastinate sometimes on important things – like my writing. Ironically, I’ve procrastinated down to the wire on this very blog post even after being mindful of what I learned in that session with my coach.

I’ve found that when it comes to doing certain things I know will ultimately fuel my business or help me get to the next level, knowing very well exactly what I need to do, that I’ll rationalize sidetracking them.

As I’ve come alongside others to coach them in their own life and sobriety, this tends to be a common theme. I’ll have people tell me they feel frustrated because they keep negating things they know they should be doing for themselves, their jobs, families, business, sobriety and the like.

I often listen in awe, shaking my head in complete understanding and agreement as I know this pattern all too well. It’s something so many of us struggle with, inside of sobriety and even outside of it.

However, I’ve found there is a huge difference in my procrastinating tendencies.

There are 2 ways I procrastinate.

The first is the most obvious and common. I don’t get things done simply because I don’t feel like it! They aren’t fun, alluring, intriguing and usually feel mundane, insignificant or boring. So I’ll tell myself…

I’ll do it tomorrow.

Maybe later.

I’m not in the mood.

I straight up don’t want to. (stomps feet)

I mean, let’s be real. There are certain things I don’t get enjoyment out of and therefore I put off to the last minute. You feel me?

The second is a little more hidden. Well much more, actually.

This became such a gem after I realized it and was able to call it out. As I was in the session with my coach, I was guided to figure out how procrastinating was a lingering part of my recovery.

I was asked: “What were you doing when you were using drugs and alcohol?” It took me a minute of pondering to think about what was being asked as I knew it was deeper than what it sounded like.

Then it asked in a different way next because it wasn’t clicking: “When you were using drugs and alcohol where did it take you?”

Here’s how the conversation went:

“To another place. A fun place. Away from reality.”

“So, drugs and alcohol helped you be somewhere else and to do what from reality?”

Pauses for ten seconds… “Escape reality.”

“Ok so when you are procrastinating, what are you really doing?”

“Avoiding work?”

“Yes, and if you are avoiding it, what else could you call it?”

“Escaping?”

“Escaping what?”

Pauses again as the epiphany unfolds…

Procrastinating was a new form of escaping for me. My escape methods had taken on a new life inside of my sobriety and I didn’t even realize it until this life changing conversation. I used to do massive amounts of cocaine to escape.

Now I escape in a different way since getting sober.

You might be wondering what the heck does procrastinating have to do with escaping with drugs and alcohol? It doesn’t relate in the same exact sense, but essentially my habit of escaping morphed into a new habit of escaping RESPONSIBILITY through procrastination.

This was a huge ah-ha moment for me.

Once I realized that the things I am truly passionate about, like writing and speaking, were being tabled because of my new escape routes, a major mindset shift occurred. It started to really click that underneath it I was afraid of what would happen if these endeavors were successful or because the responsibility that comes with them in showing up and being vulnerable is super scary sometimes,

So, there you have it. And perhaps you can relate…

Is there anything you put off that you know makes you better and helps other people, for simple fear or lack of confidence?

Do you find yourself evading responsibility or not doing the things you said you wanted to do?

Have you ever felt like sometimes you are your own worst enemy when it comes to being productive or reaching goals?

Well, I’m here to tell you, my friends, you are not alone. I have been an expert self-sabatoger over the years as a master procrastinator and escape artist.

If you find yourself procrastinating, especially in sobriety, this simple lesson can shift your mindset and help you become someone who gets more things done. Becoming aware of procrastination and its role in your life is the first step towards winning the battle against it. Namaste.