Wreckage of the Past

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

We have all heard this line before…  we are not our mistakes… but when you are new in recovery and struggling to reclaim your life before addiction, mistakes, if dwelled upon, can overshadow all of the advances that have been made.  So, it is as important to learn how to effectively deal with the mistakes from the past as it is to learn to abstain from using any mind-altering substances.  Because, if I continue to brood over all of my past failures, then I am on my way to relapse.

When I think about my personal past errors, I categorize them:  there are mistakes that have consequences outside of the realm of family and friends, and these mistakes must be dealt with first.  They are often the most frightening of the consequences, but usually the good news about these mistakes is that you have little choice but to deal with them.  So, these are the easiest to square your shoulders, and prepare to simply get through them.  The upside is that once you correct this category, it is done, and you can feel a great sense of accomplishment in having dealt with it.

The second, and in my opinion, more difficult category under “wreckage of the past” is the mistakes made with regard to family and friends.  There are usually many examples of this kind of mistake, and range in severity from the damage done to your spouse and children, to the petty behavior displayed to more casual acquaintances.  There are too many varieties to count in this category, and the length of time it can take to clear up these mistakes is indefinite.

The most important thing to remember, in the early stages of becoming sober, is that clearing up mistakes from the past takes time.  It took time to make the mistakes, so it is only logical that it will take time to correct them.  It is my experience that people are generally more tolerant, and have more patience for me than I have for myself, and their main objective is for me to be well, so they are more than happy to give me the time I need.  And for the people who aren’t so patient and understanding… well, I will probably need a separate post to delve into that set of problems.  In the meantime, dealing with mistakes requires the same mentality as dealing with recovery… one day at a time!

Posted on June 23, 2012, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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