It is human nature to compare yourself to others, especially people you respect, who you feel have some form of control over their lives, and who seem to have it all. For some, this comparison process is healthy. It encourages self-assessment, inspires new ideas and options, and encourages healthy competition that motivates persistence and progress.
For others, comparing their life to others is a buzz kill at best and a trigger for overwhelming depression and feelings of hopelessness at worst. People in early recovery, especially, often struggle with feelings of unworthiness or hopelessness. Often, they are not at the same stage in life as the people their same age who did not go through addiction. It can be disheartening to work a counter job and live with your parents when people you went to high school with are posting cute pictures of their babies, vacations around the world, or stunning accomplishments in their careers on social media—and that’s without the added factor of trying to stay sober through it all.
If you find that you are putting yourself down over what you perceive to be a lack of accomplishment and great things in your life compared to others, it’s time to put a stop to the cycle of comparison and start living your life on your own terms.
It’s an easy cycle to fall into. You had a long, hard day, or you’re bored and need a distraction, so you open up Facebook or Instagram and start scrolling through your feed. You see post after post of someone’s amazing meal, their hilarious dog, how much they love their boyfriend, their new haircut or weight loss or promotion, and you slowly begin to feel lonely, fat, miserable, and broke by comparison.
Now, feeling worse than you did before, you begin to look up old friends you shouldn’t and purposefully make yourself feel bad, or you begin to feel so depressed that you just want to go to bed, do nothing but binge watch TV or play video games for days, and sabotage your healthy goals by eating junk food. You might even feel like relapsing.
Does this sound familiar? Do you often drop in and out of your commitment to your recovery based on tough emotions triggered by feeling like you just aren’t where everyone else is in their lives?
Here are a few ways to break through the cycle and start making choices that keep all that you have to gain with sobriety in sharp focus.