We are all unique, both as individuals and as members of the global recovery collective. This is a fact of life that, whether we like it or not, will never change. Each one of us has our own preferences, fears, concerns, values, likes and dislikes. In treatment, we learn the value of our uniqueness because it helps us to address the root causes of our drug or alcohol abuse. As we move further along in our recovery, we should continue to embrace our individualism and focus on leveraging our talents and values to strengthen our recovery and improve our quality of life.
So many of us hold ourselves up to others to assess where we should be in life, whether we’re in recovery or not. While it’s helpful to have ambition and a clear idea of what we want out of life, we need to recognize that each person’s path is different. The paths they travel, the struggles they experience, the obstacles they face and the advantages they receive make them who they are, and the same goes for us. When we think that someone is “doing more” with their lives or are serving more of a purpose, we can’t let this line of thought devolve into self-doubt. Once we start experiencing these negative thoughts, it may only be a matter of time before our lack of belief in ourselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Our different backgrounds and paths are what give us strength and value. We can use our strengths to improve our confidence and quality of life, while continuing to work on some of the improvable areas of our lives. None of us are perfect and each one of us work for what we have, whether it’s a great job, financial wealth or ten years in recovery. Maintaining a sense of perspective and realistic expectations of ourselves will make the recovery process much easier as time goes on.
The more we try and hold ourselves to the standards of others, the more we stand to lose. As long as we focus on us (what we need, what we have, what we can accomplish, etc.), we can build a life that is organized, rewarding and full. We can reach for the stars, but we shouldn’t blame ourselves for them being so far away.