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The Myth: Everyone Else is Doing Better Than You

I walk through the campus of the Ivy League school near where I live and it seems like everyone is happy and healthy. They’re laughing, carrying books or grocery bags, or just sitting on the patio of a cheap bar drinking margaritas.

It’s not the drink I envy; it’s their sense of contentment.

Suddenly I’m convinced that everyone out there is having more fun, is more financially secure, and is certainly happier than I am.

This sense of dissatisfaction with life can be a trigger for relapse.

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

Here are a few tricks I often use to talk myself out of this irrational belief…before I’m triggered to lose my sobriety and order one of those margaritas!

  • Be Grateful

    I have to remember how far I’ve come in my recovery. It was only a few years ago that I suffered with active addiction. It’s time to be proud of myself and my accomplishments – even though I’m not perfect!

  • Nix the Jealousy

    I have to imagine the backstory behind everyone’s persona. Those “happy and content” people I see? I don’t know what they’re going through! They could be in the midst of a divorce, suffering from the loss of a parent, or battling an illness. We all cover up our struggles, but we all have them.

  • Do Something Positive

    It’s important to take some kind of positive action when the myth that “everybody’s doing better” creeps in. Call a friend, take a picture of flowers, or maybe pick up a book I’ve been meaning to read at the local bookstore. Anything to accentuate how much better life is now.

  • Learn From the Past

    Sometimes I remember how bad my life was during my chemical dependency. It reminds me that while I may have problems now, they’re nothing compared to what I had when I was drinking. And now I have the skills and clarity of thought to deal with problems as they come up, rather than sweeping pills into a pile on the coffee table or canceling dates with friends because I was too drunk or hungover to make it.

  • Talk To a Friend

    There’s never a bad time to pick up the phone. One good thing about being in a fellowship is that it gives you access to lots of people when you need someone to call – people who have been there. Taking advantage of their wisdom and experience is so helpful to me!

  • Be Proactive

    For me, being proactive might be applying for jobs, taking a class, or sitting down to pay all the bills at once. For you, some of those activities might be different, but the feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing things that need to get done go a long way toward fighting off the feelings of inadequacy which often plague us into long-term sobriety.

  • Never Give Up!

    Here’s a little something we should all keep in mind when others’ lives look better than ours: Life in recovery truly is better…and it truly is worth fighting for!

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