The Paralysis of Analysis

I kind of foolishly thought that, if I stopped drinking, everything else about myself that I don’t like would just kind of magically fix itself. For one thing, I am a terrible procrastinator.  Every year, I drag my heels about decorating for the holidays.  It entails bringing up the tree, assembling and decorating it,  packing up all the pictures on the mantel and tchotchkes in the family room and replacing them with assorted snowmen I’ve collected through the years.  In addition, several years ago, I bought inexpensive winter-themed dishes that I replace my regular ones with, but that box has to be brought up from the basement, regular dishes have to be packed away, blah, blah, blah.  Well, here it is – December 9th – and all I’d managed to accomplish was bringing up the tree. Last night my husband (who’s an English teacher and always up to his eyeballs in schoolwork) told me that once he finished grading papers, he’d help me decorate the tree.  He said, tomorrow we can tackle the dishes.  The next day we’ll put up the snowmen.

And that’s all it took for me to shake off the paralysis – his suggestion of breaking down an overwhelming project into little bites. He is so smart! Old me would have put it off even longer, supplementing with a couple of glasses of wine to dull my own annoyance with my laziness.

But back to the whole idea of sobriety “fixing” me….. I am still so fundamentally flawed.  My conflict resolution mechanisms for stressful situations – most specifically, with people I’m close to – are woeful.  I pretty much know the wrong thing to say in any given situation, but really struggle to figure out the right thing to say. (My husband’s perpetual joke is that he’s going to get me a muzzle for my next birthday.) I know there’s work I have to do.

I finally feel like I’m beginning to have the mental and emotional energy to start doing this work. Can you help me, followers and/or lurkers?  Is there advice you can offer? Can you recommend a book to read or a website to visit to help me work on these issues?

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2 thoughts on “The Paralysis of Analysis

  1. First of all, thank you. I don’t think I ever knew how to spell tchotchkes before : )

    As far as your conflict resolution mechanisms for stressful situations are concerned, I don’t think there is a website or book that will offer you much more than a deeper insight.

    My inclination (and I don’t really know anything) is to say it will just take practice. I try to keep affirming to myself that I am a kind, thoughtful, serene, etc. person; toss up repeated prayers for God to make it so; and then try to live that way. Sort of like “fake it ’till you make it.” I truly want to be such a person and I’m hoping that if I continue to act as if I am, those characteristics will somehow seep into my usual repertoire of otherwise dysfunctional behaviors..

    Wishing you peaceful and happy holidays …

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  2. Thanks for your response, PP! I am really trying to become a better person and truly do feel calmer, more serene, and more compassionate. But when my buttons are pushed, I don’t have booze to dull the edges of my anger/annoyance any more and in the heat of the moment, my instinct is to say something snarky or sarcastic. I appreciate your advice – and I wish you the most blessed holiday season…

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