As sober addicts and alcoholics, we often convince ourselves that we’re missing out when we’re not. Luckily, there are ways to combat that.
Last year I went away for a long weekend with a big group of sober women to celebrate our friend Sara’s birthday. There must have been about 12 of us (it was only a teeny bit of a madhouse), and a conversation we had there has stayed on my mind ever since. We were discussing that weekend and how much fun we were having there. One woman, Jen, mentioned how grateful she felt to have been invited at all. “I figured, well, that it must have been a mistake,” she laughed.
She said she’d assumed that Sara’s—and everyone else’s—social calendars were spilling over with awesome parties, beach trips, hikes and movie dates that she just wasn’t cool enough to be privy to. But then, following Jen’s lead, more of the women there (including myself) confessed, one by one, that we were also somehow convinced our being invited was a mistake. Why? Because we never felt like we were part of the action; we assumed we were being left out of things and that everyone else was living a full, exciting life while ours were colorless and quiet and ho-hum.
I’ve been thinking about FOMO (fear of missing out), and its sister issue, comparison (aka “compare and despair”), ever since that weekend. I realize that when I feel the worst—saddest, loneliest, or most afraid—it’s usually not about what’s actually going on in my life but about what seems to be going on in others. I’m comparing my life to their lives and inevitably coming up short. This behavior is painful and crazy making but I can’t seem to stop myself from falling into it pretty regularly. And anything can trigger it, from a seemingly innocuous party photo on Facebook to a casual mention that a friend had dinner with someone else from our social circle. Read More…