Finding a firm line which we recognize is a boundary between enthusiastic work and unhealthy behavior can be very difficult for those of us with work addictions. To get some perspective, try keeping a time log, even if only for a week or two, to help you see more clearly where those lines are; where your joy turns to tedium and feeling trapped. This can be very revealing.
In addition, Julia notes, “As with creative U-turns, recovery from workaholism may require that we enlist the help of our friends. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish. Ask them to remind you gently when you have strayed off your self-care course.”
She warns, however that this will not work if you are asking for help from other workaholics. Nor should you make yourself vulnerable to people who are controlling or crazy-maker wet-blankets who might sabotage your faith in yourself and your recovering, tender artist self.
“Bear in mind,” she writes, “that this is your problem. No one can police you into recovery. But in some parts of the country, Workaholics Anonymous meetings are springing up, and these may help you enormously.”
In fact, if you click on the link above, you will access a wealth of helpful information from their website. Modeled on AA, they offer another questionnaire to evaluate yourself, and a lot of inspirational literature. WA includes online and telephone meetings, as well as in-person groups that meet all around the world.
The first step, of course, is admitting there is a problem; understanding the fear that drives this behavior, and the toxic consequences that can result. As WA notes, “Unlike most chemical addictions, work addiction does not allow us to simply stop working and still survive.”
But recovery is very possible. Believe that you deserve much better! Even scheduling one hour of playful art time every day can break up the trap of compulsive working, and remind you there is a Higher Wisdom in you that wants to create a more joyful, fulfilling purpose.
Tomorrow, we’ll take another step forward in building a protective environment in which our creativity can establish itself and thrive.