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Recovery is Not a Competition

Recovering from addiction is not something you should do alone. The more support you have from family, friends, therapists, and other recovering addicts, the better off you’ll be. One possible hazard of all this support is you might look around at how other people are doing and start comparing your recovery to theirs. This is a poor way to gauge your progress and it might even slow you down.

It’s normal to feel some anxiety about your progress. The early stages are especially difficult. You may feel beset by depression and cravings while someone else with the same time sober seems fine. The feeling that it’s somehow harder for you is discouraging. The important thing to remember is that it’s completely meaningless to compare your progress to anyone else.

For one thing, you don’t really know how someone else is feeling. The other person may be a total wreck and is only putting on a good front. Some people might do well early on, get overconfident, and relapse. Maybe the person who seems to be doing fine was in active addiction for six months, while you were active for three years and have an anxiety disorder to boot. There’s no way of making a meaningful comparison.

Some people have a rigid attitude toward the 12 Steps, as if completing the steps is some kind of race. In reality, the steps take as long as they take. Some will be easier than others, and different steps are easier for different people. The quality of your effort is far more important than how long it takes. If you take the time and do it right, your recovery will have a more solid foundation.

The group is there for support and guidance, not for comparison. Spending time around people with more time in recovery is an opportunity to learn. There’s no reason to envy anyone else’s success. The more they succeed, the more you succeed. As long as you are doing the work and making progress, it doesn’t matter how slow you go.

Recovery is a process. You have to take one day at a time. You have to take care of yourself, go to meetings, and watch your triggers. You have to practice being honest with yourself. Comparing your progress to others is a distraction from all that. At best it will make you overconfident, and at worst it will discourage you and make you feel like giving up. Focusing on your own process and not worrying about the outcome will pay off better in the long run.

Most importantly, there is no finish line. You just want to make today better than yesterday. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.