Can’t compare apples to oranges

Comparing. In response to yesterday’s post, let me say this. We all have completely different lives. Some are big, some are small, some are near and some are far. We all have sobriety as our goal in common. But the rest of our lives may be very different. You have a yard, I don’t. You have kids, I don’t. You have a car, I don’t.  And so what? I don’t think it matters. At all. We’re here to support becoming our best selves, to be sober, and to get shit done. Kids or no kids, jobs or no jobs.  Someone is spending her weekends in jail because of past legal problems. Someone else is vacationing on a boat. But we’re all trying to figure out how to live sober. That’s it.

I recently wrote this on Paul’s blog:

me: I get lots of emails that say versions of this same thing: “Where is my big sober rainbow? Why is she happier in her sobriety than I am in mine.” And yeah, there’s no perfect happy sobriety. Some days are rotten. Other days are glorious. Some situations are easier. Some kids vomit on the carpet. We’re all doing our version of the sobriety thing. Can’t compare apples to oranges AND we can’t compare our internal journey to someone’s publicly broadcasted, edited, version of truth. Well you CAN compare, but only if you want to make yourself crazy… nuff said. 🙂

and i sent this email to another sober penpal this morning:

me: We have super very different lives I’m sure. There is no comparing. And while I may be amazing (!), I’m mostly just different … I’ve got a lot of free time that I’m happily spending on being a sober penpal.  That said, I don’t read as many blogs as I used to, nor am I doing any other sober reading anymore (though I did a shit-ton at the beginning).  You’re doing your thing and I’m doing mine.  Sometimes your life is going well, sometimes I’m underwater.  Then we switch places 🙂

finally, this bit of genius from Lawyer Anne (day 102):

Lawyer Anne:   I loved your post about comparing [June 19th ]… I think it’s a good reminder to focus on our own gifts and not get caught up on comparing ourselves to others….we all have our talents and our own journey.  I think in the world of the internet, Facebook, blogs, etc … to compare ourselves to others and wonder why we can’t be more like the *perfect* person we see pictures of or read about, it’s quite an unhealthy practice in my opinion. And when I find myself doing it on Facebook I try to take a break and deactivate my account for a few weeks. If I’m not using it to connect with friends or read articles and am making myself feel bad because I’m looking at pictures of *perfect* families, then I need a break and I need to re-evaluate.

…  While I quite easily focus on the negative things happening for me — work stress, relationship stress, car falling apart, regular anxiety and feeling nuts — I think it is important to remember the wonderful things happening every day. The fact that I have the luxury to choose to be sober and when that gets tough, the luxury to go to bed early, watch TV, etc., I am one lucky duck.



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I love this post…..need reminding of not to compare myself….particularly in regards to how my life being sober is to others….I always imagine I’m “doing something wrong” when I’m having a hard time and try to look for the rules so that I can automatically switch my head to …..”here is the happy sober life that everyone talks about “…
    It’s almost as if I think I’m missing the key ingredient or the thing that every else has discovered to live happily ever after without thinking that alcohol will help.
    And then the thoughts start to turn to “ well I’m obviously especially deficient in some way else I wouldn’t be feeling this way ….so that must mean that I can’t manage to live sober so then I might as well give this whole thing up”
    What I’d actually like is to find the “off” switch to this continuous argument going on between my selves ….. 😫

  • Some things I get immediately and instinctively. Others I have to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer repeatedly to understand. Comparison is one of those things, and it’s been my struggle before I drank, all during my drinking and now in recovery. Damn. It’s the fly in the ointment for me, but reading things like this certainly helps me see the folly in it, and that I am not the only one who struggles with crap. Never mind apples to oranges, I am a lawnmower comparing myself to a fruit salad. Ridiculous.

    Great stuff


    • I love this! lawn mower and fruit salad is sooo correct. We’re all completely different humans with dramatically different lives. and what if the You that is You is the perfect You? what if? well I know it already. cuz there’s no one like you. and that’s the good part! you get to be you and no one can do it better than you : ) You get to be funny and smart and talented and quiet and thoughtful and planning. You get to write and share and be a genius. You get to be you : )

  • Exactly! We all have the same goal “to live sober”. Doesn’t matter how much money we have/don’t have, our education, our material things, our religious beliefs, our IQ’s, our skin color, or where we live on this planet. We are all working on HOW to live SOBER!
    Belle is right, we all have shit going on. I had cataract surgery yesterday. Was scared out of my mind, but learned to self soothe and told myself ‘Stay Here’ like Belle told herself on the plane. I took care of myself (anxiety) for the first time in I don’t know when! No matter what shit we get faced with, if sober, we can cope so much better. I was legally blind in my right eye for two years and today I have crystal vision. It’s like going from being fuzzy drunk to completely sober! Unbelievable!
    I am so grateful for this sober community where we can all come and support each other! xo

  • there was a time, about a decade ago (when i was 28 or 29) when i had had enough of the noise. a year of two later, when i was in grad school, living in NYC (i had moved from SF after a horrible breakup and near-nervous breakdown), one of my friends who wasn’t doing so well was like, how did you do it? how DO you do it? and i was like, you know, during that time, when i was applying to schools and being alone and just being me, i turned everything else off! i just did me, just worried about me. i set about to make my dreams come true, to live in my own little dreamworld for a while–not checking the windows or doors, just staying inside and playing in my own personal blanket fort! i think back to that time and try to make it so now–just worry about myself, remember how great and proud i can feel just from being alive and sober and getting one thing done a day (well, two, getting out of bed counts in my book now!)… LOVE you, sober rockstar. 🙂