Perfection is a mask we use to avoid pain. We think that if we can achieve perfection, we will achieve happiness. We believe that if we can avoid pain, we can also avoid abandonment and loneliness and unworthiness. Perfection is the thief of joy. It’s a lie that keeps us in a stranglehold of chaos and people-pleasing and addiction and lack. Perfection says we are never good enough. It holds us back from being our truest, most authentic selves. Author Vitale Buford spent nearly three decades of her life in the web of perfection. The roots of her perfection were born in her childhood - she had a dysfunctional home-life fraught with alcoholism, workaholism and shame. This combination created an environment of neglect, where the only way Vitale got attention was to be perfect. She was praised for being an “easy child,” “pretty,” and “self-motivated,” so that’s what she tried to be. Her need for perfection and outside success was coupled with her body image obsession. It was also a distraction from the pain of abandonment and loneliness she experienced in her childhood. It was the perfect storm – she tied her self-worth to her external success and her appearance, and hence, her addiction to perfection was born. The need for perfection followed her to college, and when she started gaining weight, she became obsessed with dieting to make her body smaller and more acceptable. She worked hard in college and got good grades, but her body shame was all consuming. Her junior year of college, she was introduced to Adderall as a “study drug.” She used it for a few months – and ended up losing 20 pounds; she also got her best grades ever with her most rigorous course load. She was sure she had discovered the “perfect drug.” She was able to obtain her own prescription the following year. It hooked her immediately. She was addicted not only to Adderall but also to the perfection and the weight loss and her newfound ability to accomplish projects and tasks with ease. This was the beginning of a 10-year love affair with Adderall. In Addicted to Perfect, Vitale shares the highs and lows of having been a slave to Adderall, the destructive relationships that ensued, and the way that she finally broke free. She details the many twists and turns involved in the years leading up to her getting sober and the eating disorder that followed her into sobriety. It took parenthood and radical honesty for her to begin the road to true healing. Perfectionism is no longer something that enslaves her, and Vitale’s story is one of hope that no matter where you are in your life, you can release the grip of perfection. You can heal your pain and your abandonment and your loneliness and your fear and your guilt and your shame. You can experience true freedom, and most importantly, replace perfection with self-love.