A Perception Change in Sobriety

My perception on life and on people has done a complete 180 degree transformation in my sobriety. My perception on life and people was glum, judgmental, and filthy while I was getting high and using drugs.

My perception was that life had no purpose and I hated all of the people in the world and didn’t see a purpose to living a long prosperous life that so many people dream about. Life to me just seemed so pointless and not worth living. I was also an extremely judgmental person. I would spend most of my days working or walking around the streets of Encinitas judging people and taking their inventories, “Yeah that person might have a nice car and be rich, but they don’t know how to have fun, they don’t know what its like to party, they didn’t have to work hard for their money, they’re wife only likes them because their rich.” These were some of the judgements I would pass on people. Other times it would be me getting very frustrated at people who cut me off while I was driving or cut in front of me in lines. Whatever the case was, all I really know is that I hated everyone around me and always had a reason for why I for some reason was better than them – although I was the 22 year old kid who was withdrawing from classes that was addicted to heroin. As a result of going through a long process of getting sober and going through a Los Angeles sober living, my perception began to change.

I was taught to look at situations from an outside perspective and to be loving and tolerant of other people. What I came to realize was that the only reason that I was so judgmental and hateful towards other people was because deep down inside, I really just hated myself and that was the only thing that I knew that would help me to be able to feel better. By looking at situations with an outside perspective and not allowing myself to immediately pass judgement on people, places, and things, I am able to live freely and happily. I have come to realize that my time on this earth is short and I don’t want to waste my time being frustrated and angry at people with whom I don’t even know. For instance, before I would get so angry at people who cut me off, cut me in line or did little things like that. Today I am able to think about how I don’t have any idea what is going on in that persons life at this very moment. Maybe that person cut me off or is driving like that because there was a family emergency, or they were on their way to the hospital. Who knows? I don’t. What I do know is that it is a lot more spiritual for me to look at things from this perspective and it allows me to not fill my head with negativity and anger. It actually does the opposite.

I used to be so judgmental of people’s shortcomings and things that they struggled with that were easy for me to achieve. This was especially true in the school setting because for me, schoolwork came quite easily. I would pass off judgement and ask myself how people could be so dumb to ask a question like that, or “how is this person unable to figure that out on their own, the answer is obvious”. There is a passage at the bottom of page 66 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that goes into page 67, that contains a couple of paragraphs that talk about dealing with resentment but I use it as a foundation for living. The message I receive from it is to treat others with love, tolerance and patience, because that is the way we would treat a sick friend. To not be so quick to judge, and to use ourselves to help others rather than to separate ourselves from others. I live by those pages of the book, and it helps me tremendously to be able to understand that not everyone was brought up with the same background as me, so while I may think they may be incompetent, their circumstances may be different so instead of separating myself from them, why don’t I try to help them or at the very least not degrade them in my own mind. These are just a couple of examples about how my perception on others and the way I judge people has changed as a result of me getting sober.

-Matt L., New Life House alumni

Last Updated on May 24, 2022


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