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Everyone has a little competitor in them. We want to win the big game, the gym class race, or the art competition. We have been conditioned to compare ourselves to others from a very young age. Most of the time it is harmless to compare yourself to others or compete in a game. Most of the time we can brush it off and not let it affect us. It is when it starts to affect how we feel about ourselves that it becomes a concern. As we journey through recovery, we may find that comparing ourselves to others is especially dangerous and problematic. Comparing ourselves to other recovering individuals can lead to internal struggles that may add stress and inner conflict that is just not necessary. 

Fears of Inadequacy 

One reason that we compare ourselves to others may stem from deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy. We might see photos online of others in recovery and think they are doing better than we are, that they lead this perfect life while we still face struggles. You might see a perfect-looking couple and doubt your ability to ever have something so magical. Truth is that the person in the photo still faces challenges even if they don’t post about it online. While that couple might look perfect, they may be plagued with fights and indiscretions. There is a good chance that you do not know the whole truth of those you are comparing yourself with. Deep down you probably still struggle to see every aspect of your life as positive, but even your struggles make you amazing. 

When we are struggling with addiction, we may find that our substance of choice is our only focus. We lose who we are, and what we do remember may not be pretty. Learning to feel adequate and important is a crucial part of the recovery process. You probably did a good deal of work on this during treatment. Even though you are now living a sober lifestyle, however,  the work is not over. Spend every day reaffirming your worth, your intelligence, and your future. Taking that little bit of time each day can help you when you find that you are comparing yourself to others. 

Focusing Outwardly Not Inwardly 

When you find yourself focusing on others, it may be because you are focusing more outwardly than inwardly. As you journey through your long-term recovery, you will find yourself facing many challenges. Comparing yourself to others may easily be one of them. If you find that happening, take some time to analyze what you are really comparing. Chances are you are not really focusing on internal struggles. It is important to focus on how you are feeling, what you are doing if you find yourself triggered, or what is causing you stress. These things are all happening internally. Try not to focus so much on how others are viewing you, how your recovery looks compared to someone else, or how your goals and accomplishments compare to others around you. 

The Benefits of Not Comparing Yourself to Others

You will notice many benefits of stopping the cycle of comparing yourself to others. You will probably begin to notice how much you have in common with others. When you aren’t looking for differences, you will start to naturally see commonalities. Instead of looking at someone and instantly thinking they lead a perfect life and you don’t, you may notice you both like certain makeup or hair products. Someone you thought was so perfect actually does something you do. You may notice you like the same music as someone, or the same clothes. 

Everyone has problems, struggles, and inadequacies. Social media perpetuates the idea of perfection. Remembering that people are only letting you see what they want you to see is important. This is the same for you as well. Take the time to be real, raw, and open. You will probably not know if someone is comparing themselves to you. You may look perfect to an outsider who is struggling to like themself and get through their recovery. Use your recovery to help pull others up. When you stop comparing yourself negatively to others, you will find your confidence and outlook will immediately go up. You can choose to educate others about the real truth of recovery, and the details that so many do not share with others. You will find that the more raw truth you share, the more people you educate. You can be the reason that someone continues on with their recovery journey. 


As you journey through your recovery, you will face many challenges and tribulations. You will have many moments, learn great lessons, and achieve goals. However, at times you may start to compare yourself and your journey to others. It’s natural to feel competitive at times. When comparing yourself to others starts to affect your self-esteem or overall mental health, that is when you need to stop and consider why you are comparing yourself. When you stop comparing yourself to others you will instantly start to notice more that you have in common with those around you. The confidence you gain from acknowledging your progress is powerful. Sometimes we find that we need a professional to talk through our conflicts or to understand why we may be struggling with comparing ourselves with others. Here at The Guest House, we are ready to work with you at any stage of your recovery. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 to learn more about our treatment options.