Recovery is as competitive as Alcoholism; don’t play into it

12 Jul

1:33 pm

So much science news. So many scientists, and science journalists, all vying for that same small slice of the pie. It might even come a close second to “addiction and recovery”–all the blogs, the books, the memoirs, the “solutions.”

So much noise. Mind officially blown. No fucking wonder I drank.

Is it just me, or are we totally off track on WHAT causes addiction and WHY? It’s not always about acute trauma.

Competition. Ego-worship. Winning and me, me and winning. Just because you get sober and “win” a newfound grace, doesn’t mean you’re out of the matrix. It seems apparent to me when I see just how many people are still seeking to acquire things, places, trips, experiences, states of being–after they get sober. I mean, working the steps is a form of mastery, and isn’t that striving for mastery a form of ego enhancement? It’s like getting an A+ on your homework assignment; are you doing it for you, and more importantly, what does it allow you to acquire? The ego remains. In my HUMBLE (and irritated) opinion, unless we address this, which unfortunately seems to thread through every area and endeavor, whether “altruistic” or not and whether recovery-related or not–and stop feeding into it–true healing is never going to be possible.

I sense that recovery, for many people, is as competitive as anything else. And, I see a society ideal–ours–of competition, of winning, of having and acquiring more than others as being one large root of dis-ease. I’m barely able to, but when I extract my own self from this reality that I’ve been socialized to think is OK, well, it’s a bitter smack in the face.

I almost want (need) to withdraw from the noise, and all the shaming and blaming and theories; all the pathologizing of human nature–in order to maintain my sobriety. I get angry, and I get sad, and I get jealous. Why do we pathologize these things in “recovery?” More importantly, why do I get the sense that there are so many people looking to acquire the opposite of these things?

Example: Facebook. To me, Facebook seems to feed off our worst–but innate–human traits: the tendency to compare, the tendency to want to have what others have in order to acquire a sense of completeness, or to feel good about ourselves. To feel SAFE. The fact that membership on the ‘Book is so prevalent illustrates how pervasive these tendencies actually are.

Another example: To hustle to publish a piece before (or instead of) someone else? To me, that’s also about fear: if you get the story, you get to subdue that fear of “losing,” and you get to build your ego. What if there was no byline, would you still write the piece?

Gah. I’m either going to have to accept that I’m just not that competitive, or, learn how to deal with my competitive nature better. Get off Facebook. Restrict the “recovery” work. Focus on what interests me in the science news, but don’t invest more than a disposable amount of self-validation from this work. At the end of the day, I am happiest–most sure of my growing sense of peace in the cosmos (the order of things, my own life and death, literally)–when I am not thinking about either my defects or my strengths. Neither matter. What matters is that I am here, for however long, and there is nothing to gain, no one to beat, no ego or defect to ponder, no right recovery to make.

17 Responses to “Recovery is as competitive as Alcoholism; don’t play into it”

  1. Katherine July 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Exactly!!! I can so relate to what you think and write about! I filter every day what my senses take in. Meaning how much crap I read, watch, listen to, and hang out with. I gave up wine and I gave up Facebook. Too much drama and competition like you said. I love your passion or zest for life! Be well friend!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      So glad someone took this positively! I was afraid (fear…lol) that it would come across as a rant. I think this success and competing thing goes so deep, though. And seriously, I’m moving toward posting as little as possible these days on FB…! Thank you for your support…xxx

  2. tfay64 July 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Hey DDG, nice post!

  3. Chicago July 13, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Yep, I agree re: FB, 100%. I had to take a little FB hiatus for awhile for many reasons, but it all boils down to competition, focusing on other people instead of myself, and plain old distraction. Focusing on my life and in-person (rather than FB) friends made a huge difference in my mental state.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      Yes, I am trying to limit my time on FB to the point where I might stay off it for a while completely. WAY too much of a focus on others instead of self… xxx

  4. Lydia July 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    I find the opposite in AA. Although it is worth more to me than any amount of anything else could ever be, it actually boosts me up when others also maintain long term sobriety. I have been sober for 29 years, and I love nothing more than to find someone at a meeting with more time than me. It’s my experience that the folks in AA genuinely, truly want everyone to succeed.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      I wish I could believe that, but my experience was different than yours. It was getting past the initial hurdle of being accepted by the group that threw me for a loop. I did not feel welcome in the group (there’s basically just one big one down here), and I got tired of the passive aggressive, competing voices in the rooms! I truly believe that AA is not out to hurt anyone, but the approach of some people leaves a lot to be desired. I came away thinking, No, actually, I DO NOT WANT what you’ve got. And I felt like the general response was, OK, then get the fuck out. NOT GOOD AT ALL, especially for someone who is in early sobriety, who feels super-awkward and self-loathing in general. All this being said, I know there must be awesome groups elsewhere, and I’m SO glad that you found one of these, Lydia. I have not ruled out AA, btw! Much love…

  5. Lisa Neumann July 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    It took me a long time to stand in my own shoes and be me in: recovery, my book, posting, publishing, coaching, etc. All of it taught me who I was AND who I wanted to become. I am happy to say, I feel myself getting hooked less and less, by the bs of competition for all of it, My truth: I like keeping Lisa sober and loving and I like helpers others do the same. I want to be true to me and not bs me. That’s a full time job over here.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      Say it, sister! Yeah, I am still figuring it all out, but I notice that “me” is definitely different now. I feel intolerant almost of passive aggressiveness, for one thing. Almost too much so. Maybe that frustration came out in m post! Anyway, yes, I am striving to be me and be OK with that, and to actually believe that those who are worth it will find that OK, too, and those who are not (professional contacts included), well, so be it. Thank you…much love. xxx

  6. Roxanne varner July 13, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    I gave up Facebook and alcohol on the same day (they were both toxic). DAY 81!

  7. Recovering Slut July 14, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    LOVE THIS! I can’t stand that “holier-than-thou” attitude of someone that thinks they have it all figured out. The cliques and the drama… just like in any social group, they exist in AA. It can easily become another addiction. The BB says something about avoiding excitement… that it can be dangerous. It’s so true. And when a addict/alcoholic starts to feel that they have it all figured out… same thing. Bad ending.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Yeah, I try never to think about the Big Book or AA; frankly, it’s too much noise. The steps are a process that EVERYONE goes through, if they truly get sober. I think that’s what I was getting at in that post. Recovery IS, in fact, a solitary journey. Yes, you can reach out to folks and gain comfort and connection through shared experiences, but don’t put too much emphasis on the “shared” part such that it starts to become competitive. Sobriety for me has been about cutting out all the noise and finding my OWN process.

  8. Jason B. July 16, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    I always have to make sure to read through your entire posting because at first I want to believe you are a little crazy, but the more I read I get to see just how your feelings ring true. There are so many people who believe recovery isn’t supposed to be like active alcoholism, but the truth is that alcohol was only a symptom of the real problem. We still face challenges and trials but knowing that alcohol doesn’t have to be the solution allows us to focus on the real problems at hand. Recovery and life can not be mastered and when people begin to see that, then they might be able to rethink their holier than though attitudes. Keep up the great work! Sober in recovery since Sept. 12, 2011.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 17, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Haha. I would say that I AM a bit crazy. I like how you put it, recovery and life (one in the same, really) cannot be mastered! Perfectly stated…


  1. Danger, danger, warning, warning | One Too Many - July 15, 2013

    […] I read two different people’s accounts of a year of sobriety this weekend and both talked about how it was the most productive, rewarding year of their lives. Instead of just thinking ‘Yay, how inspiring’, I started wondering why I’m at 70 days and feeling blah, if I’m measuring up. Hmm… maybe I need to reread DDG’s great post about competitiveness in recovery. […]

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