Inevitably, I would let it happen again.
Then, one day, I heard a radio program discussing a psychological study about why people repeat their mistakes in spite of themselves. I don't remember the conclusion of the study, but it got me thinking about how foolish it was that I continued to make the same mistake repeatedly. I finally resolved to do something about it...something more than vague resolutions.
I came to the conclusion that my hazy but well-meaning intentions were completely insufficient. They were insufficient because they relied on me making a judgment call ("should I have another drink?") based on how I was feeling at the time of the decision. This, of course, was an awful predictor of how I would feel the next morning. What I needed was to take the decision out of the hands of the person who had repeatedly bungled it (the 11:00-p.m.-on-a-Saturday-night Patrick), and put it in the hands of a different Patrick.
On the other hand, I didn't want to leave the decision to hungover-Patrick either, because that Patrick would choose to never drink again. I needed a moderate Patrick; a Wednesday-at-noon Patrick to make a decision by which we would all abide.
Now, the only way that Wednesday-at-noon Patrick could hope to have any control whatsoever over Saturday-at-11:00 Patrick was to set specific, quantifiable rules. Vague admonishments like "don't drink too much," had already failed. So I established two simple rules: (1) no more hard alcohol--stick to beer and wine, and (2) no more than "x" drinks in a night. Period. (The value of "x" is private. Sorry.)
For the most part, this stratagem worked, and I was able to avoid hangovers for years and years, while still enjoying myself socially.
By now, I'm sure you've predicted where I'm going with this.
I've recently realized that I need to apply the same strategy to ME/CFS pacing. If I leave my daily planning up to the Patrick-who's-feeling-pretty-good, that Patrick will always enthusiastically dive into a few too many activities, leading to the inevitable crash. I've recognized this pattern emerging once again, and I'm determined to squelch it more quickly than I did the hangover problem.
So now, I have one simple rule: One errand per day, maximum. No exceptions. No matter how good I'm feeling on any particular day, I no longer trust that feeling any more than I trust Saturday-night Patrick.
So far, I've only employed this strategy for a week, but I think it may be working. In the mean time, I'm off to post this analogy, in reverse, on a blog for alcoholics.