“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” ~Henry David Thoreau
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
I can tell I’m making progress. (Progress not perfection is the name of the game.) I don’t compare myself so harshly to others anymore. At least I don’t automatically default to a “less than” mode from a “less than” mode. The old me quickly folded in the face of competition, even when no one was competing with me. I was quick to defer, shrink back, not put up a fight – even when no one was fighting with me.
Comparison and “less than” default mode kept me progressively drinking for 40 years – searching for strength, solace, and support in alcohol and such.
I used to presume that other people had “it” (aka everything) right, and I somehow had it wrong; that I was somehow missing something. Their way was better, more correct, more worthy than mine. I didn’t have any convictions to stick to, or even know how to stick to them if I unexpectedly stumbled upon anything that resembled convictions.
Take recovery for example. I felt intimidated at first and for a while by those who adhered absolutely, strictly, and literally to the verbiage of the Big Book. I presumed my program was somehow “less than,” because I found additional ways to support my sobriety, including my treasured spiritual bonds and friendships I’ve made through my CSL and other place where New Thought principles are discussed and practiced. Even sometimes hanging out with normies!
But yet my sobriety is blossoming and I feel better than ever, better than I imagined possible. Of course authentic friendships and connections enhance my sobriety, so what can be wrong with that?
Bill W laid down some beautiful principles, promises, and practices, and I partake of some of them every day, but not all of them any day. I choose to think that Bill W didn’t expect every single person to do every single thing exactly the same way as he did. I believe he just wanted people to know there is a way to get the monkey off their back and keep it off… and more than that, to live a rich, full, satisfying life. He generously shared his experience, strength, and hope and wanted others to do the same.
In the Big Book when the 12 Steps are spelled out for the first time, he said, “Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery.”
Ernest Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, Wayne Dyer, Raymond Charles Barker and so many others in the New Thought arena fill me with inspiration and words of wisdom to keep me trudging my path in positive, joyful, full spectrum sobriety. I believe Bill Wilson would have appreciated to these spiritual people – or maybe he wouldn’t have, but that’s ok too.
I get it that life, and sobriety, is not a competition. I don’t have to muscle my recovery onto anyone, and I don’t have to accept any one else muscling theirs onto me. If I stay open and centered, I can learn from another’s experience – and notice without judgement, defensiveness or having to justify that my way is right.
Somewhere in here is a lesson in tolerance, and a chance to learn and be inspired by each other, not intimidated.
Do you or did you compare your program to those of others?
Are you comfortable when other people practice differently than you?
Do you ever find yourself not wanting to accept their way, but wanting them to accept yours?
In gratitude, harmony and support,