Ever used work to numb out?
Used your workload to justify busy-ness as a strategy of avoidance?
Leaned on work too heavily as a source of validation and personal worth?
Day 451 sober AF. And all of the above at times in my life. If I let work get out of alignment with my recovery, sure – I’m sober, but still in active addiction.
A few days this past month (September was cray), as soon as I was “off” work (at my computer mostly from home), I realized I was already numb. I’m not talking just being focused, but more like numbed right out. In the before times, I think I basically work-numbed and then wine-numbed for long stretches. And it wasn’t a “problem” as long as performance wasn’t an issue, right? Sigh. Wrong.
I’ve been wanting to start this thread as a place to be accountable and hopefully learn from others who have navigated this journey as part of their recovery/discovery/rediscovery…
My goals are to:
- CHANGE HOW I WORK: Stay present during the workday. (I have tools from Recovery Dharma. I just gotta use ‘em.) I have to notice when the numbing has begun and push reset on the day.
- CHANGE HOW MUCH I WORK: No more working overtime. (This hurts to type. No habitual overtime. Because sometimes I have to. You see? It’s like “just one” only “just once”.) No more almost all-nighters, just another form of binge-ing, really.
- CHANGE WORK’S MEANING: I will still derive meaning and purpose from my work, but this has to balance out with other areas of my life. And I have to put work-related accolades (or criticisms) into a separate mental file not related to my self-worth.
My therapist has also recommended “Workaholics: the Respectable Addicts”. Sounds about right.
Anyone care to join me? I’ll be the one taking an actual lunch break.
I work a lot but is has helped me to be more successful in my career and it’s a lot easier to do now that I am sober. Working a lot when one is hungover all the time sucks.
To be clear - I don’t think how much a person works is the problem. I have a pals in a variety of fields who work 60+ hr weeks, week after week. But they’re normies.
Me? I have a pattern of using work the way I used wine.
Glad you are enjoying career success!
[quote=“M-be-free49, post:1, topic:171929”] I’ll be the one taking an actual lunch break.
I liked seeing this at the end of your post. On somebody else’s “clock” you might have several other designated break periods. On your own clock they could be beneficial and possibly effective in breaking up the intensity of the work day.
Glad you’ve brought it up, talking about it, for the support, and unity with others.
I do relate and know the feeling of using “work” to numb myself. I would mindlessly work non stop (even on work that wasn’t in my department just to feel productive yet numb. Yes, i drank while i did it and a lot after but i felt like i needed work to keep me moving. Without it i would have to face me (just like with drinking).
I am excited to hear that you will take a lunch today. You will cut way back on the OT (sometimes it unavoidable but sometimes it is necessary). Maybe make a log to see how many times you have to put in OT and note what it was for. Reflect to see if that was truly necessary or could it have been work shifted? Along with lunch, set a set time to start and finish (only alter on days when it’s necessary as we do with going in to the office - ie, have a dentist appointment so we start later …etc). Try to set fun activities to do after work outside of the house so you are able to shut off work and separate yourself from that part of your day.
Working from home is a bitch cause you can work all day and still feel like you haven’t done much or enough. If you don’t already - set a designated area for work. Where you are not distracted to do daily chores or watch tv or whatever. Should be away from the kitchen if possible or if not then put your back towards the kitchen part if possible. Use the kitchen as your break room.
It took me getting chronic fatigue to learn that i needed to slow down and that there is more to life than work (even if i was using work as my crutch). Still, the moment i start feeling good, i find myself filling my time with things to do. I used to say that if i was awake then i should be productive (a very harmful mindset i am realizing now).
Thank you so much for posting this. I really needed to read this and internalize it. We are here to help you kick this workaholic behavior. ODAAT Emm.
Growing up, at one point in my life, I lived with my Aunt and Uncle. I always heard my Mom say my uncle is a workaholic. From morning until night, he was always working on something. That was my first legit exposure to workaholic behavior.
For myself, I find I am the same way. I have to be working on something, whether it’s my job or cleaning or home improvement projects or music projects.
Yesterday was a prime example, from the time I woke up to bedtime, I was busy with a project. My buddy said, hey, you’ve done a lot, relax. But I didn’t , I kept going, just like my uncle. For whatever reason, I can’t just sit and relax.
Makes me wonder, what am I running from, man?
I came to this app because of my problems with alcohol. But I’m learning that I may be a workaholic too. Definitely have been obsessing about work to avoid other things. Can’t enjoy the weekends, and without alcohol that’s even harder. I’m only happy when I’m at work.