Practicing a Lesser Known Slogan: Compare Is Despair

There are, as we know, precisely twelve Steps; but there are countless recovery sayings—“Keep It Simple,” “One Day At A Time,” and “First Things First,” being just a few of the most popular slogans.

Of course, sex drunks like me know all too well the consequences of mistaking priorities, of not putting “First Things First.” “Whatever I place ahead of my recovery, I will lose; whatever I place second to recovery will have First Class results.” If I don’t prioritize recovery over all else, I stand to lose it all; everything, including my life.

There’s a lesser known saying in recovery: “Compare Is Despair.” This saying asks me implicitly, to be true to myself while explicitly warning me not to compare myself to others or to, judge myself against others; to do so leads only to hopelessness because I cannot be anyone but myself as created by my Higher Power—and He did not create me to be a slave to lust …

I’ve spent much of my life comparing and despairing. In fact I still do! After all, had I been struck sober at my first meeting, I’d have over 30 years’ sobriety now! No doubt I’d be a Richy Rich instead of a Peter Pauper; a homeowner— not a room renter; a husband and a father—not a 50-year-old bachelor, whose sole companion, a Chihuahua, only loves me because he doesn’t know any better!

I first started comparing myself when I thought I was different from others. I was born with both a cleft-palate and a cleft-lip. My mother always dismissed my insecurities about these, but of course I knew better! I rejected myself because I was different whilst I held others in awe. Maybe this is when I also discovered lust: who knows?

I was worthless, according to my jaundiced view, because my insides and outsides did not match the outsides of others. Soon after, probably due to my ADHD and correlative learning disabilities, I determined that I was simultaneously stupid. Ugly and stupid: imagine my despair.

Here’s where lust stepped in; it promised me salvation so, unknowingly, I turned my will and my life over to it, my first Higher Power, and for far too long I lusted away my desperation, only to discover how desperate I truly was, and am!

And now I thank my Highest Power—“There is One Who is all-powerful”—everyday for my desperation, for hope is meaningless without hopelessness. So my hope for you is that, like me, you see your similarities, not your differences with others.

My Higher Power made me as I am and loves me as I am so I wouldn’t want to be anybody else but me … happy, joyous, & free!

Brent S., Illinois, USA

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