Apples To Orangutans to Xylophones to Squatty Legs

Sure I will never have this kind of fame, but then again, I don't like dancing on cars
Sure I will never have this kind of Fame, but then again, I don’t dance on cars or perm my hair (yet). Thank you Irene Cara for your services.

You know what’s worse than doing something that is a no-winner?  Knowing what you’re doing in a no-winner.  You picking up what I’m putting down?  Like scarfing down a Costco-sized satchel of fig newtons and a pail of egg nog just before hitting Six Flag’s new Vomitorium Ad Nauseum roller coaster.  With vertigo and a hangover.  That kind of thing. The good news about being ignorant of doing these kind of things is that one is shielded away from the true intention behind it and is merely a shallow grasp at something  that carries deeper consequences.  The bad news about being ignorant of doing these kind of things is that one shielded away from the true intention behind it and is merely a shallow grasp at something  that carries deeper consequences.  Yeah, same thing.

Comparing myself to others is one of those things.  Comparing myself to others and not knowing it carries a safety switch on that gun, in some ways.  I am not quite pulling the trigger on something, but I do feel the cold caress of steel on skin and wonder why I feel off, angry, desolate and depressed.  I can feel some sort of inner rumbling, like the puttering of an engine with the wrong fuel coursing through it.  There is an anxiety and a feeling of being ill-at-ease. So it’s safe to say that when I am unconsciously comparing myself to someone, it puts me in a shoddy spiritual place. Makes me mental too.   What’s worse though is when I know that I am doing it.  And being in recovery has given me the ability to see things with eyes open a scant more than before, so I can clearly see when I am comparing…and despairing.

Is there a third option, actually?  How about *not* carving up a dead cat?
It’s true – there are many ways to skin a dead cat.  Who knew?

We all know that comparing oneself to another is just one of those Oprah / Dr. Phil no-no’s.  There are some lovely quotes on the topic, and a lot of pixels have been fused in the description of the futile search of comparing one to another.  Religions and spiritual texts discuss this, or at least aspects of this. Countless articles have been authored on the topic, and we know the mental, emotional and even physical consequences of doing this.  And yet…a guy like me will still gorge on that food and hit the roller coaster ride.  I hate egg nog, and fig newtons are chewy and yummy in small bursts, but I will again and again engage in that behaviour and suffer the rolly-polly aftermath.  Mop and bucket please. Pavement pizza in aisle seven.

I’ve told the story before, but when I was in treatment, I used to compare my bottom to how “bad” and low the other guys in the house got.  Hell, I was even jealous of some of their stories.  How sick is that?  I remember confessing to everyone at a meeting about this blood-lust envy I had to their collective being face down in the gutter with a crowbar dent on their heads surrounded by cops and dancing ninjas tales…you know, the typical thing I would hear from the dudes.  One of counsellors pulled me aside later and told me something that I still remember to this day –  “You are where you’re meant to be”.  In other words, I needn’t compare myself to what these other men went through.  And frankly, not many had the sordid, Raymond Chandler-like novella bottoms I imagined them to have.  Most guys were like me – a stain on the bottom of a shoe, and I was was too busy comparing the shoe rather than wiping the mess.


Alcoholics and addicts didn’t invent this thing, this comparing thing, of course.  We just happen to have deeper reactions to it.  Like self-pity or jealousy or any of those self-induced and self-involved Rubik’s Cubes that our minds like to fumble with, comparing one’s self to others is just something to be left to those who can make a fast go of it and move on.  A mental quickie. An emotional mile-high club entry. A high-five to the dark side and then a rocket jet pack out back into a moon-kissed orbit.  But for a person like me, I tend to stick around it like a bad odour.  And like the old Bachelor of Liberal Arts graduate buddy of yours who couch surfs in your basement for two months, I overstay my welcome.  Comparison is toxic…another poisonous substance that runs through my veins and crash bangs my serenity like Leather and Pinky Tuscadero at a tea social.

The comparison thing loves nothing more than to creep up on me when I least expect it.  The other day I was riding my jalopy of a bike up a hill (at full tilt) and someone blew past me.  Not another cyclist (I am used to that), but a skateboarder.  I might as well have had an old man shoot past me in his walker like a F-16 in an evasive manoeuvre over hostile territory. My mind went into meltdown mode and I compared myself out of any sort of peace I might have had.  A skateboarder?  What kind of cyclist am I?  The pathetic kind, is the answer.  Why I can’t I be one of those graceful, gliding cyclist who traverses miles and terrain with the ease of a Serengeti gazelle? Well, the answer is simple, Mr. Compare Boy – you have squatty legs, you ride a heavy mountain bike, your bike is falling apart and the tires are low on air. Simple physics, my wayward and lugging lad.

So, this has nothing to do with me as a person, or a cyclist, or how “good” or “not good” I am.  I know that intellectually, but someone tell the rest of me. Same goes in all other aspects of my life when I see someone achieve something that either I wished I had done, or didn’t even know that it could be done.  And by the way, this isn’t about jealousy.  Jealousy is when I get angry at someone for having something that I feel that I should have, or deserve.  Jealousy is counting someone else’s blessings.  This is turned around – this is the “look at them – great…and now look at me” kind of reaction (use “discarded used tissue” mime for full effect).  This is not so much about what they have, but what I don’t have, whether I am “deserving” of it or not.  It’s my own will turning on me.  Ego feeding itself while chewing it’s own leg off.

I find my “kill room” is a serene and gentle place to contemplate my place in the world.  Comparing antler to antler does me no good, mind you.

Now, comparing things has its uses and times of use.  Our minds are meant to compartmentalize, organize, prioritize, analyse, investigate and make judgement calls.  These are useful things when sizing up a new car, looking for an apartment, deciding on a job or even figuring out whether to go out with that special person or that other special person.  Our minds are programmed to put things in certain orders and shelve and file and place items in a mental database with a speed that even Google would be ripping its face off to have (I can’t guarantee it’s ad-free though.  I get jingles stuck in my head all the time.  Damn you, Juicy Fruit).  But that same wonderful working of the mind will also want to do the same thing with people and other intangible and immeasurable things.  My mind wants to make sense and sequence of the people that I interact with or bear witness to.  My mind wants to put them in marching order like the Brady’s or the Von Trapp’s and then give them ranking, like state fair cherry pies.  And therein lies the danger.

While I can quantify objects, quantifying subjective and even intangible things (“he’s more loved than I am!”) is fraught with pitfalls.  There is no way that I can make that leap and come out on top.  It’s like deciding what is more beautiful – a sunset or a rainbow.  Or a baby’s giggle.  Or a lover’s gaze.  All completely different, and yet my mind wants to line them up with a number attached to them.  There is never a right answer to these, and hence my ego wants to will itself to have the right answer.  And for me, my default is that when it comes to me, I am at the bottom. So no matter what I have going on, whatever I have, it’s never top notch.  It must have an inner failing, like a blown gasket on a Lada.  Comparing myself to things that can’t be comparable is a Cosmic Fail and yet I will rub myself up on it like a mosquito to a screen door.

This is what happens when 4 or 5 fetishes clash and combine. Ugh. Note sure they compare to what’s really going on in the mind of the 32 yr-old artist dude who lives in his parent’s basement and plays Xbox all night.

Comparing myself to you takes away from me, and it takes away from you.  When I comparing myself, and I am on the short end of that comparison, I am saying that what I am, and who I am, is not important.  What the Creator has created is not of value.  I have no worth.  Or less value.  It sets in motion the wheels that I will eventually run myself over with.  Self-pity, jealousy, envy.  I find myself removing my mind from the gratitude for what I do have.  I lose sight of the talents, skills and abilities I do have and fester on about what I don’t have.  Intellectually, I know that I can’t have it all, and yet the little persistent voice of ego will tell me that I should have it all.  I mean, my squatty legs may not propel me much on a bike, but they certainly help me lift heavy objects or push off when bolting.  Or bearing the weight of my two boys as we rough house.  But instead of looking at it like that, I am off gazing at the middle distance playing the unwinnable “what if” game.

That is why comparing is so dangerous to a guy like me – it gets me away from what I already have laid claim to.  I have a great life right now.  I have a job I enjoy.  I have a great family.  I have love and support from so many people. I am part of wonderful recovery communities.  I have my health.   I am mentally sound can count to 100 without missing a number.  I have a great number of things that I can count myself blessed for having or being.  You’d think that is enough.  But no – ego wants to dismantle that like the ticking time bomb that it isn’t.  “Great job? Really?” it will ask.  “How about Joe over there making three times what you are and working less hours.  Plus the babes love him”. Well, um, okay.  Not sure what to say.  Maybe Joe is better than me.  Maybe Joe is happier than I am.  Maybe Joe is luckier than I am.  Or, perhaps Joe worked hard for it. Right place right time.  Or perhaps Joe is actually miserable.  Had I thought of that? I was great at masquerading how I truly felt.  I am not the only one who can do that.   In the end, it doesn’t matter about Joe.  Joe isn’t me and I am not him.  I am only me and can only focus on where I am in the universe, the big picture.

When I dig deeper, I see that these comparisons and the inevitable conclusion that I am not good enough, it brings me to a place of fear.  The fear of being rejected.  And that’s a heavy trip of a fear.  Wavy Gravy kind of trippy.  So when I see that skateboarder pass me, it’s not just about me being slow.  It hits that bedrock of “I am not enough.” No one will like me because I am not flying through the streets at Mach 3 speed.  No one will like me because I am not interesting enough to be a speedster.  No one will like me because I don’t like me right now and who wants to mess with this trash bag called Paul?  Yikes.  So while I may not travel quickly on two wheels, I can certainly breakdown my serenity in lightening fast time.  That feeling of being rejected is a core issue for many of us, and it will come out in this comparison thing I have going.  So there is only one way to manage this.

mother at sea
Now a cruise won’t fix what ails me, but mother certainly is satisfied. But I am confused – is this a nursing home on water, or is the nurse doing double duty as server?

I need to see and feel that I am good enough. The idea that I am enough is a tough one for me to tackle.  To this day even.  To think that what is here, right now and in the place I am, is more than enough?  Slap me silly and call me Sally, because this is news to me.  I had a whole lifetime of feeling less than, so to prop myself into a spot where I am on the level, like that little bubble on a straight plane…well, there is going to be a lot of heavy lifting involved. Spiritual, mental and emotional lifting.  And remember what I said about squatty legs?  They come in handy, so now I am ready to lift.  Just not all at once.  Don’t want to break my back.  But it’s in that lifting and sensing that I am neither lesser than or greater than that helps to line me up with the Creator’s will and brings me to the path of freedom and serenity.  It’s a way of being that is still hard for me to bear at times, as that small voice of “you’re not worthy” still likes to prod and poke and get the bear stirred up.  But I am aware of it, and that always helps to neutralize the hordes at the gate.

I think we all can write out a list of all the things we don’t have or can’t have or even shouldn’t have.   We all can consciously and unconsciously line ourselves against some impossible measuring system and still fall short.  We all can see the futility of it all and yet still go back to the very thing that brings us back to futility.  At least I can.  But what is the point of this all?  It’s wretched navel gazing that bears no fruit of its own except a temporary sick spirit. Comparing myself to you is like trying to let a bird free and then yanking it back down with a wire attached to its leg. Whenever I compare, I am denying myself the ability to soar, to glide with the sun bearing down on me, the wind lifting me up and guiding me.  I ground myself and wonder why I am not free.

In the final analysis, I am me and I have to get used to that idea.  I have to see that I am enough.  That the only one I can compare myself to is…me.  I can see where I have come and where I am now.  And right now, I see a lot of leaps and bounds between the old Paul and the one that is typing these words right now.  I have to accept me warts and all, and yet not just focus on the warts.  I have good qualities.  We all do.  I also have my limitations.  We all do.  So why linger and let my mind burn holes in my soul when I can spend that energy helping others or staying close to the Creator?  But my mind likes to play, so the comparing will occur.  I know it will.  But I can lessen the damage the more I am more comfortable with me.  Playing in the sunlight of the spirit rather than plunging into the darkness of the well.  I am good enough.  I am good enough.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I’ll get there.

I am just a bit slow, remember?


34 Comments Add yours

  1. furtheron says:

    Nothing wrong being slow… it’s a marathon not a sprint remember 😉

    1. No kidding, Graham. I have to remember that. I often feel being slow on the uptake is actually a good thing at times…ha ha.

      Thanks for reading!


  2. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon says:

    As we know, we will always be a “WORK IN PROGRESS” in recovery, I feel we all do compare ourselves to others, like sitting in a AA or GA meeting, as you said, “listening to others talk about their “WAR STORIES” and High Fiving each other like BEING AN ASS in your addiction is something to “Pat Yourself on the Back For”…..

    This is VERY prevalent with the MEN in Gamblers Anonymous, which just shows their BIG EGO’S around things like WHO Gambled the most money, or what their GAME WAS, Craps, Cards, and on. I feel, those are the ONES who have the MOST HARD WORK to do in recovery! The deeper your Rock Bottom, the harder it is to dig out and work your recovery.
    (Not picking on men)……That’s just how I see it. I think comparing is natural in us humans, but not to healthy in recovery. Great Post Paul! *Catherine* 🙂 🙂

    1. Yeah, the war stories is certainly the one place I started to do the compare and despair in recovery. I mean, why *not* start there? ha ha. Ego for sure, Catherine. But I think we all get past that at some point and just focus on the task at hand – recovery. The comparing thing in recovery happens still at times, but in other ways. At first it was about the personalities (why can’t I be popular like him? Or well spoken like her? etc), then it was some other things but in subtler ways.

      But you’re right – it’s natural, and for someone like me, and others in recovery, it’s something to just be aware of.

      Thanks for the wonderful comments, as usual, Catherine!

      Blessings to you!


      1. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon says:

        It’s ALWAYS an Inspiration I get when visiting your Little Corner of Recovery. Yes, we do get beyond much of that in long-term-recovery. It just made me think back to those early days in GA meetings…LOL…how the “Guys” interacted with each other. Like they say, “Principals before Personalities”……I took what I NEEDED and left the rest in room… 🙂 🙂 *Cat*

  3. lucy2610 says:

    I really loved this line ‘It sets in motion the wheels that I will eventually run myself over with’ and was furiously nodding my head while reading it 🙂

    1. Thanks Lucy – glad it resonated with you. I love how much we all think alike most times. That is what keeps me going – knowing that I am not alone.

      Thanks for being here, my friend 🙂

      Love and light,

  4. jrj1701 says:

    Oh the irony, yet again as I was pumping myself up to shoot out something on my much neglected blog I see an email from carrthemessage and decide that I need a little bit of a different perspective (translate into procrastination) and boom I can thoroughly relate to what you said and was doing what you are trying to warn me against doing!!! LQL Yet one thing came to mind while I was reading is about positive over negative. Imagine your life is a stick, part being bad and part being good, you decide that you don’t like the bad and break it off, boom this stick is less that bad part and is also smaller, YIKES!!! Now you decide that you can’t lose much more stick so you start trying to graft on more stick, when you place it on the bad parts of the stick it just won’t work, yet when you place it on the good parts it not only works, it helps strengthen the whole stick and voila you have more stick. Unfortunately you have to remove parts of the stick, that is a meanevilnasty fact, yet it is important to add back more to the good parts, and focus more on adding to the good parts instead of removing the bad parts because they are there for a reason. Thanks Paul, I am not going to compare myself to ya, yet I am going to use your positive example as an inspiration and proceed to do a rant that needs to be seen.May the peace of God be with you+++

    1. Ha ha…JR. Sounds like we’re on the same wavelengths! How cool is that? I have done the comparison thing even out here, and found that while I felt discouraged at moments, it’s best to keep at it. My voice is mine, as yours is yours. I only connect with you hearing what you have to say, and that is because I see things in a new light and open up my mind and spirit to new experiences.

      Oh, that stick analogy – brilliant. I may have to steal it when I am talking to a newcomer or sponsee 🙂

      Let’s keep adding goodly stick parts. I will share with ya if ya share with me, kind sir.



  5. sherryd32148 says:

    Oh how true this is…someone who used to work for me took my job when I moved on to the job that eventually got me laid off. She has now progressed in her career and is in a job that would be PERFECT for me AND is making more money than me. Sigh… Meanwhile I have taken two steps back in the career path (having had to start over with a different company) including title, pay, vacation, etc.

    I have a very hard time comparing myself to her and thinking that there is something wrong with me when the fact is I’m exactly where God wants me to be. I am where I am and she is where she is AND THAT’S OKAY. (I say while banging my head against the desk.)

    I guess the key is to keep reminding ourselves of these facts…no matter how many times we have to do it.

    Great post.


    1. Oh Sherry, I feel ya there. I don’t mention work life often, but I have had those regrets and what ifs and other things in my work life. I have seen others go up and beyond and working all over North America and beyond, but I was too busy being an alcoholic to put together any sort of ambition. I imagine what kind of money they are making, etc. On the other hand, I know they work monster hours, and I am not sure I am willing to do that now that I have the wee ones…so I guess there is a reason I am here, and not there. Like you.

      I think you are wise to say that God wants us where He wants us to be. Very wise. And I am so indebted to you for reminding me of that. Until I need reminding in about an hour. And then a few minutes after that….lol.

      Thanks for the wonderful thoughts.



  6. mishedup says:

    exactly where I am right now. exactly.
    Thanks for the perspective!

    1. Nice to have the company then, M 🙂
      Hope things work out for you, however way that looks for you, my friend.

      We are never alone!


  7. glenn says:

    AAAHHHH!!!!! I love your writing. Your biting wit, sly humor, terrific story telling, heavy metaphors and similes… your perspective and charm, it’s all good. Thank you for putting into text what I need to read. Seriously. Thank you.

    and if you haven’t read him, you may enjoy Tom Robbins.

    1. Hey Glenn – you’ve got a fan in me with your blog there. Seems we’re members of the mutual admiration society. Secret handshake and all.

      I believe I read a book or two by Mr. Robbins – many have mentioned that to me years ago. I may have read them with one eye closed, trying to get the doubles down. I may have forgotten about them. But now you have me interested again. But he doesn’t make gliders, in terms of easy reading, does he? That’s a good thing. I like a challenge.

      Thanks for being here, Glenn – love having you here!


  8. fern says:

    First of all — Did you have to go and show those dead cats? Poor little things.

    Secondly, for all the times you’ve offered me such wisdom and knowledge I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know that you are also prone to the same psychological struggles. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability.

    {{{hugs}}} and Love,


    1. I didn’t enter into this particular writing with dead cats on top of mind. They just sort of, you know, *appeared*. We used baby pigs in our high school. I can’t say I felt bad for them. I still remember the smell of the formaldehyde. I was hoping for a more, you know, bacony smell. Oh well.

      And yes! I struggle! You know, when I spazz off these posts, it’s not because I am some guru. It’s because I am struggling with something. And one of the ways I deal with those things is either talking about them (sponsor, friend, wife, etc) and/or I have to scribble madly. Talk it through the keyboard. I find that I get to some sort of conclusion as I am writing it. Therapy-ish, kind of, through the filter of 12-step and spirituality. I often find myself writing about the same stuff because I struggle with the same stuff!

      So that’s why I identify so you and so many others, because y’all (yes, I used “y’all”) are thinking the same things I am, at different times. That’s the groovy thing we have here…identification.

      Thank YOU for sharing what you do – your honesty is an inspiration to me 🙂

      Blessings and hugs,

  9. risingwoman says:

    I loved this part: ‘In the final analysis, I am me and I have to get used to that idea. I have to see that I am enough. That the only one I can compare myself to is…me. I can see where I have come and where I am now.’

    Yes, my friend! YES! I had to learn this (over and over and over again) during my years of sobriety. I think that I am ‘there’ now. But it doesn’t come easily, or naturally. It’s been a learned behaviour, and it’s one that I had to really teach myself to believe in fully.

    Now, I ask myself, “Am I better than I was yesterday?” If I can truly say yes, then I have done something to advance my spirit. If no, then I get up the next day and I try again. Isn’t that all that we can do?

    Hugs to you.

    1. I am still learning (well, re-learning) this too, Michelle. You have a few laps on me on this, so I take your wise words straight to heart. I hope to be “there” as well. I see how this “there” has worked for you, and you just shine with it, my friend. A true inspiration on all fronts (you know that!). You have what I want, as they often say in the rooms. And I know that you are right about this being a learned behaviour – yet another action to take. And that’s where the fear – and the gravy – are.

      You rock, my dear friend.

      Thanks for the kind and wise words…always accepted as currency around here 🙂

      Hugs back,


  10. treyzguy says:

    Oh yes….I see me in your words also….amazing isn’t it? How close the stories are? I really enjoyed this and hope to see more…
    – Your newest fan and fellow recovery in progress

    1. Trey – welcome, kind sir. Thank you for being here. I have to say that I have been enjoying your work in your corner of the world there. Captivating work. Glad we have crossed paths! It’s especially nice seeing another bloke – nice to hang out with the guys too, as lovely as the ladies are around the sobersphere 🙂

      A fellow fan saluting you back 🙂


  11. Annabelle says:

    Your optimism rules! And, YES-you will get there. No matter what road you take and how fast or slow you get there-the point is just GETTING THERE. Also, warts are damn hard to get rid of and they tend to come back over and over before finally leaving for good. Lastly, I don’t like those dead kitties up there-because EW.

    P.S. Your blog is neat-o. Glad you found me so I could find you back!

    1. Thank you Annabelle! You’d be rather shocked to see how I was before – I was Mr. Negativity. Certainly dip my toes in that pool now and then, but it’s not as fun as it used to be…ha ha. I am not an Up With People person either – I am a good battleship grey in that department, if you will. But I am chuffed to see that you see that. Another thing I learned today.

      As for the warts – well, they’re like roomates. I have to get used to them, and I hope they are just kind enough to keep to themselves and clean up now and then – stay off the radar. But they’re there, so might as well get cozy with them 🙂

      Glad we found each other – it’s been a great week or so of connecting with some wonderful sober folks…like you. Keep the writing up! And thanks for being here.

      Love and light,

  12. Ugh. first off, I think YOU are now in my mailbox. Ha.
    “You are where you are meant to be.” Damn. Utter and total resignation to the powers that be. Something so simple yet ridiculously difficult to put into practice. we are always looking outward- left and right- ahead of us. And worse case scenario, behind us to relive the hell over and over.
    But, being in the moment. Breathing, thinking (but not too hard), and just appreciating what it is that that very instant has to offer.
    And being enough…eek. If I were truly living that and believing that I would stop buying lottery tickets.The truth is if I did win, I would be right back on the bar stool drinking. I mean, after all, the will to have would be met. And therein l lies the downfall because you and I both know the “have to haves” are never met with the external. No amount of money is worth that.
    Thanks for this.

    1. Looks like we’re mutual mind creepers, yes? ha ha. Same wavelength, I guess eh Linda? (excuse the occasional break outs of Canadian here…my “eh”s get out of hand at time. I try to sweep them up throughout the day, but I miss a few)

      You speak some groovy truth there, my friend. I couldn’t agree more. the mindfulness, the externals, the being enough….all intermingled in some way, I imagine. Some sort of cosmic soup, and we’re the chopped broccoli garnish. But at least I am where I need to be, even if I disagree with that completely. or think I should be in a *better* spot. Why can’t I be over *there* ? Ha ha. Always trying to control, aren’t we? The actors, etc.

      Well, we’ll always have the snow and the rain to run through and feel the moisture on our eyelashes and noses and feel that there is something out there that I have no control over so why get all worked up over the little things? I’ll come back here in a day or two and re-read all these comments, because I am sure to be back at square one…ha ha.

      Thank you for the comments and for being here.

      Love and light,

  13. Mrs D says:

    Oh my darling Paul, I do so appreciate your honesty, that comparing malarkey will kill you for sure…but then sometimes it’s just so hard not to.. In the blogging world, the neighbourhood , professionally… I bet there’s some great books around about how to combat this, but then wow look at all the great wisdom and warmth you are getting in your comments, sending lots of love xxx

    1. Thank you Mrs. D. I think it’s natural that we do it…on all fronts. I haven’t thought about checking out literature, but I am sure there are plenty of books on the topic. Now that I have a Kobo, I am going to go on the prowl…lol. Anyway, thank you for being a part of my world here. You make it a groovy one, my friend 🙂


  14. big mike says:

    Nice Job.

    A few thoughts:

    Compare and contrast. Everybody does it. Normal human trait.

    Judge, jury, and executioner is an alcoholics dream job.

    If anybody treated me as harsh as I mentally treat myself, they would be in prison for abuse. The catch22 is ego. I would go balls to the wall against anyone who treated me remotely as bad as I treat myself.

    You know how they say, ‘we’ll love you until you love yourself’? In my case I am grateful to have had inklings of liking myself and have learned to tolerate and accept myself. Whole hell of a lot better than being self destructive 24/7 eh? Though folks tell me great things about myself, I still don’t see it much, on my own. 30 years of sobriety, life, and character salutations and the compliments still embarrass me to some degree.

    Most of that stinking thinking is nothing more than fantasy. Mental masturbation. Mentally jacking up emotions- anger, fear, envy, ect- and feeding them endorphins, it worked along time for me. Until the pain became to great. Pain is a great motivator.

    I have a feel good endorphin-brain chemical drug factory inside my head. Anytime I subconsciously want a hit, I automatically go to the thought processes -emotion-that will release the brain chemicals that jack me up. Emotional imbalance is inevitable. Its a spiritual. mental, physical disease. A disease of the mind. 1% drinking. 99% thinking.

    I;m an easy target. If I stay pissed off at myself all the time, I could stay high all the time. Emotional roller coaster. But like any drug, It builds a resistance. Got to keep upping the dose. Hence the thinking and behavior.

    I had to surrender so much more than just alcohol.

    Praying for people or things that piss me off helps enormously. Stopping the negative thought process and consciously replacing it with a positive thought works for me. Wish I remembered to do it all the time, though. Built in forgetter.

    Good job with the 10th Step blog.

    And thanks, you helped me today.

    1. thank YOU mike – you help me as much as I can with you. That’s what we do, yes?

      And what you said about all this being human – that’s right. As I say, we didn’t create all these emotions and such, but for me, an alcoholic the book describes, I have to be a little bit more vigilent in my awareness of this all. As you mention so well, my mind manufactures an intense amount of stuff that it likes to churn itself upon over and over again. My mind is my own worst enemy, the -ism playing dogeball with my serenity.

      Anyway, like you, I had to surrender to much more than alcohol. In some ways, (and I am careful to say this), alcohol has proved to be one of the easier things to surrender to. My 6th and 7th steps show me that. Some things I know I still hold onto even though they don’t serve me in His will. Well, you know what I speak of.

      Thank you for the time you take to write such wonderful comments.

      Love and light,

  15. So apparently I needed to be delayed in reading your posts. Paul, I kid you not, on WordPress this very day, I was comparing myself, and, gasp! Found myself lacking. I don’t often do the comparison thing in the writing department, but I did it this very day, and now I am reading this post. Needless to say… great topic, and timely for me!

    It’s a difficult thing, comparing self to self and leaving others out of it. I will be honest and say that even as I was reading this post (remember that I was guilty of the crime you are describing), my Negative Nellie inner voice wanted to argue some of your points.

    Bottom line: you are absolutely correct, but this falls into the category of “easier said than done” for me. Often I am comparing myself and not even realizing it. Or, I do realize it, but I still react negatively to the people around me, and not realize that I am still disturbed by my comparison (that also happened this very day, and now, damn it, I need to make an amends!).

    Either way, words I absolutely needed to hear, so thank you, Paul!

    1. Oh Josie…I love your comments. I can honestly say I do it in the writing department more times than I even dare to admit, but they do pass, these things. What I find is that I find myself turning that sort thing to a type of admiration, then to actual joy for that person. I figure I can stand to learn from them, ego be damned. There are many bloggers who at first I may have felt “threatened” by, but now I am their biggest boosters. It’s amazing how a switch in perspective can do that. And in the end, I feel better. Not at conflict with myself over conflict…lol.

      You have nothing to worry about in the writing dept. Josie. You have your loyal readers who love what you do (my hand is raised up there too) and connect with you in a deep way. If you look around all the sober blogs, there isn’t one that “gets them all”. Everyone has their posse, and even then, it is fluid at times. and that’s the beauty of it all. We all have our spot in the parking lot. Whether it’s a stretch limo or a tiny smart car, we all have a spot. The vehicle might be different, but the spot is the same. And your spot is just as important as anyone else’s, my friend 🙂

      And feel free to argue any point I make here…there are no real rules around here, and I can stand to learn a thing or two (or more, frankly) 🙂

      Love and light,

  16. Wow, Paul. Thank you SO much for directing me towards this post. As I was reading, every new point I was like YES! THAT is me. That is EXACTLY what I was thinking. I thought I was just a terrible human being for sitting in meetings, listening intently, and actually feeling jealous of these rock bottom stories I hear. Thank you for admitting that.

    “So while I may not travel quickly on two wheels, I can certainly breakdown my serenity in lightening fast time. That feeling of being rejected is a core issue for many of us, and it will come out in this comparison thing I have going.” A thousand times, yes. I’m amazed at how quickly I can come down from that cloud of serenity that I often try so hard to climb up to.

    Your last few points gave me so much hope and ideas of things to focus on besides nagging comparison, self-pity, envy, and fear of falling short.

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Shaina!

      Glad you could identify and relate. That makes me feel better too 🙂

      I certainly was jealous of those other guys that had Hollywood type bottoms…but again, I am where I need to be…in all of my affairs. No need to be them, or them me. You are wonderful you, Shaina, and we are who we are where we are.

      thanks for reading – I am so happy to hear that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way!


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