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How Do You Make Progress Without Making Comparisons?

Comparing yourself to others is a good way to sabotage your recovery. You may begin to resent others for doing well, when you should be happy for them. You may feel depressed or discouraged if you feel like you aren’t doing as well as everyone else. These comparisons are rarely meaningful anyway. No one has the same advantages or circumstances. Most people aren’t completely honest about their failures either. Comparing your recovery to others’ is pointless, but it’s almost irresistible because it seems like the only way to know whether we’re doing it “right.” Here are some better ways to measure your progress.

Compare yourself to your past self.

This is perhaps the only valid measurement. Do you feel better than you did a year ago? A month ago? Last week? Have you been able to do things you wouldn’t have thought possible until recently? If so, you’re heading in the right direction. It doesn’t matter is someone else seems to be heading there faster. If you don’t seem to be heading in the right direction–that is, you’re not getting better at the things that matter to you–then you have to make some adjustments. Was there a time you were improving? What were you doing then that you aren’t doing now? If you can’t figure it out, you can get some help.

Compare actions but withhold judgment.

If someone else seems to be knocking it out of the park and you keep striking out, it doesn’t hurt to see what she’s doing differently. Make some observations, ask for advice, and test it out. The important thing is not to feel like a loser just because someone else is doing something that works better. If you start doing the right things, you can do better too. Better actions lead to better results on average, but that doesn’t make you a better person. Just as with shame and guilt, it’s crucial to separate who you are from what you do.

Imagine a better you.

Another reason it’s pointless to compare yourself to others is that you might have different goals from other people. No matter how well you do, your recovery won’t look like someone else’s if you don’t have the same priorities. Form a clear image of what you want your sober life to look like, and use that as a template to figure out where you’re doing well and where you need to work harder. This is only a rough guide. No one ever becomes exactly who she wants to be, so don’t be discouraged when you come up short. You will always be a work in progress but it helps to know what you want that work to look like.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.