Competition can push an individual through limits or barriers and can be the driving force for them to improve in many areas of their life. Although, a competitive mindset can also be dangerous for those taking their first step into a professional detox or residential treatment program.
Addiction and recovery are personal ventures. No two journeys will be the same as each individual brings their own unique experiences, strengths, needs, and goals to their recovery. Overcoming a destructive, competitive mindset is crucial for an effective and personal beginning to a healthy life of sobriety.
The Dangers of Competition in Recovery
Competition is based on comparing oneself to others’ skills and performance. In recovery, comparing oneself to others and “competing” while in recovery can open the doors for a myriad of unnecessary dangers to one’s sobriety and mental health. There is nothing easy about tackling an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Approaching recovery with a competitive mindset can introduce a number of hurdles that further complicate a person’s sober journey.
Competition can be innately tied to an individual’s mentality, especially if they have experienced a competitive workspace or grew up playing sports. Yet, this mentality is not shared by all and can be difficult for others to understand. Competition is only effective if all parties have the understanding that competing is part of the goal.
Approaching professional detox or residential treatment with a competitive mentality is not universally shared or advised as it can lead to social barriers that can compromise a person’s ability to integrate smoothly into a dedicated group setting. A competitive mindset can overshadow the social and personal needs of an individual in their recovery.
Creating Unnecessary Comparisons
Comparing oneself to others throughout addiction recovery is a very dangerous prospect. Each individual has their own story, with their own challenges, guilts, strengths, and experiences. Comparing oneself to others and “competing” in one’s addiction recovery efforts ignores these unique and nuanced parts of the journey. This creates something both counterproductive and unnecessary for a person’s treatment.
Each individual’s journey will be their own. If an individual feels as though they have to compete with others, this will discount their own experiences in an effort to judge their success by another’s metric. Judging oneself by another’s progress, skills, or any other parts of their recovery journey is incredibly taxing. It can cause an individual to minimize their own progress, developed skills, and strengths in recovery. It can be difficult for individuals to celebrate their triumphs in recovery if they are mentally competing with others.
A competitive mindset also discounts an individual’s unique experiences and struggles. Not all people will be starting their recovery from the same point with the same support, resources, and understanding. Additionally, the use of addictive substances can be further informed by personal traumas and mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more. Competing and comparing oneself to another discounts these experiences and introduces unnecessary and unfair guilt or hurdles.
Individualizing Your Recovery
Just because a particular recovery approach or strategy is effective for one person does not mean it will be universally effective. Competing with others can stifle the need for a unique, personalized approach to a person’s recovery.
Dismissing a competitive mindset allows individuals to look inward at their own personal needs and set goals appropriate for their unique situations. This kind of individualized understanding of a person’s needs and goals is the catalyst to a more effective, impactful approach to addiction recovery.
Detaching From a Competitive Mindset
It can be difficult to detach oneself from a competitive mindset, especially if one is naturally competitive. Although, there are strategies to help individuals dismiss competitive mindsets for the sake of their recovery. Journaling is a powerful approach to identifying one’s personal needs, with individuals being able to document and look over their own thoughts on their own time without having to concern themselves with others.
Marking milestones on a calendar can also help an individual pace their recovery to their own needs. Nothing about recovery and sobriety is a race, and individuals should continue their recovery at their own best pace. Marking a calendar with milestones and goals can help individuals maintain a personal pace even if peers are celebrating their milestones at different times.
Lastly, comparing oneself only to one’s previous accomplishments rather than others’ accomplishments is crucial. Judging one’s progress by looking at one’s strides from yesterday, last week, or last month is much more powerful than competing with others in recovery. Approaching recovery without a competitive mindset is essential, not just for deconstructing unnecessary barriers and finding a place of support to begin one’s recovery journey, but also in judging one’s personal progress toward a sober future.
Approaching recovery with a competitive mindset can introduce a myriad of unnecessary barriers, whether you are just beginning to take your first step into detox or looking to engage in a dedicated outpatient program. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand the need to personalize your recovery journey, creating a program catered to your unique needs, goals, and experiences. Your time with us can be personalized through each step of the recovery process, and our supportive, caring atmosphere of professionals and peers is ready to create a place of belonging in your recovery efforts. If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of substance use and mental health concerns, we are available to help. For more information on how we can personalize your stay with us, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (714) 492-1119.