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How You Can Beat Perfectionism and Addictive Personality Disorder

Updated on September 8, 2016
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James earned a BA degree in Music Performance-Keyboards from Concordia University and is a recording artist, composer and producer.

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Helpful Tip!

If you need or want to quit or moderate any out-of-control habit, delaying your "start time" works surprisingly well and eliminates the pain of going cold turkey. MOTIVATION is key. . . You must make a pact to stay with the plan. Writing a schedule will also help you stay on track.

Full Speed Ahead!

I am a musician living and dealing with a condition known as " addictive personality disorder."

I am unable to do ANYTHING halfway, or even give a 99% effort. . . I create tsunamis from calm water at work or play, wrestling life with vain attempts to transcend the highest, absolute, effort-measuring percentage of 100.

My addictive personality dictates that I MUST strive to achieve the impossible 101% in all of my competitive activities.

Unfortunately, this condition plays out in EVERY area of my personality and the things I do on a daily basis - many to my detriment.

ALL serious musicians deal with this condition. Some are successful in moderating their excessive behavior: Others are not.

If you live in the "not musicians" category, you CAN morph this condition from blessing to curse. You will need some patience paired with a strong resolve, but it can be done.

Keep reading to discover how this addictive-prone music maker now resides in the "successful in moderation category!"

Following Is a True Story and a Perfect Example of Addictive Personality Disorder

This holiday/Christmas season gave many opportunities for my higher than average consumption of alcohol.

I succumbed to my routine, and negative thoughts that 'just one more drink' will be OK. Then social drinking became getting stone cold drunk. I knew better, but felt powerless to control my insatiable longing for just 1 more.

This cycle has happened many times throughout my life with many different substances. Fortunately, I've always found ways to avoid all out, long term addictions.

Because I recognized that heavier drinking was affecting my life in many negative ways, I recently implemented a system that is working remarkably well.

I just begin my alcohol consumption 30 minutes later every subsequent night.

Last night I poured my first shot at 10:30 and "closed the bar" at midnight.

Because this method does not permit a license to guzzle more alcohol within the shrinking, allotted time, I have reduced my alcohol intake by approximately 55%. By next week's end, I will be alcohol free— Again!

The Perfectionist Poop

Most perfectionists have addictive personalities. I know this to be true because I'm a tried and true perfectionist!

I am a composer/studio musician, and throughout my life have recorded, mixed and mastered many finished, original songs.

EVERY song I have recorded has seen, at the extreme end of least, remixes and retakes numbering unfathomable ranges. I have camped in my recording studio day after day, weeks and months working to complete one, single, solitary song.

I've even remixed songs I composed years back.

To my way of thinking, this activity borders on the short section of insanity: On the positive flip side, I can play ANY original piece for ANY listener and feel pride because I know that music is professionally produced and mistake-free.

Although perfectionism is a double-edged sword, in general, I believe it is a curse.

Consider my near laughable allegiance to perfectionism with music: Although I strive for excellence in all of my productions, I probably had achieved the same near perfection with the same song 76 mixes back in time!

My conscious mind tells me perfection is impossible to achieve, but my addictive personality will not accept this truism.

Addictive Personalities Are Ultra High Achievers

Addictive personalities can use this condition to achieve notable successes in life.

  • Once I buy in on a worthwhile project, I prepare to perform the duties necessary for a successful outcome—and I work until I overcome those obstacles that stand between myself and the goal. My addictive personality provides a steadfast spirit leading to setting, then achieving or surpassing the goal.


  • My addictive personality is loaded with an explosive, yet controllable competitive spirit. I hate to lose at ANYTHING! When a loss does comes my way, I reflect on the mistakes I committed and then tirelessly work to overcome those shortcomings. I read books, practice... My addictive personality kicks in, and I become ferociously dedicated to winning the next time.


  • I am addicted to keeping a strong marriage become healthier day to day. Because I respect and love my wife, I am addicted to praise, love, and fully support her, and addicted to discovering small ways to make her happy.

My Addictive Personality

I began manifesting this problem in my teenage years, and as time progressed, so did the severity of my addictive traits. Now 60 years of age, I've learned to tame this beast - but only slightly.

  • I still fret and agonize over a bad performance in a church where I serve as organist/pianist.
  • I continue to mix, remix and remix more to achieve the sound quality of an original piece of music I've written and recorded.
  • In my quest to achieve perfection I write and rewrite every article I've written.

Hopefully, I've made clear the fact that my addictive personality works both for and against my efforts to be a happy loving husband and to thrive in my professional careers. I meet a daily battle fending off the negative self-talk that comes from an addictive personality.

Finally, I know I will revise this article a minimum of 60 times over as I do with any
project - whether that be music or the written word.

Watch for those edits: They will be here!

However, if I can hold this activity to self-imposed moderation standards, the high quality of my work becomes evident and I feel as though I've done my best work for my readers and listeners.

© 2013 James Ranka

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