My life began to change almost 10 years ago.
I last attempted suicide & sobriety almost 10 years ago.
I have been in Recovery from drugs and alcohol for almost 9 straight years.
I was baptized 7 years and 8 months ago.
One of the main things that my Recovery revealed pretty quickly was the importance of looking at the stuff that I had been running from for so long.
I was so stuck and deep down I knew that moving forward wasn’t an option unless I faced it all.
I tend to categorize my ‘past’ into two parts:
1. The childhood raised by an addict/abuse/neglect/wtf kind of trauma stuff
2. The choices that I had made as a young adult
(a long long list of mistakes, crimes, and other sad/careless things)
I am talking particularly about #2 today.
It is the part that forced me to accept the consequences for all of the choices that I made between the ages of 15-22.
I did my best to make amends.
I accepted responsibility for my actions and choices whether I remembered them or not.
I tried to reach out and repair relationships,
and I made the harder choices of which ones to let go of for good.
I think I assumed that I would be able to move forward, completely free from that part of my past.
Over the years life has shown me (insert evil laugh)
that more often than not, I will have to face this part of my past (as well as the first part I mentioned) more than once, and that while I am free in one sense, I am also deeply connected to the choices that I made.
This means that might pop up at any given or least expected time.
This can happen regardless of whether or not we have completed certain steps, how much sobriety time we have, or despite how many times we move location, change inwardly or outwardly, how many times we apologize, and no matter how much we attempt to push it away.
It just does.
Here are a just a handful of examples of what I am talking about:
*Having to accept my credit self-destroyed credit for the relentless little b*tch that she is.
I murdered these scores years ago, as I sucked the life out of every piece of plastic that I was given the green light to use.
I have whittled most of it away, but I still have to answer the occasional phone call which means I have had to learn to tolerate some pretty condescending creditors -one recent one who felt the need to remind me that if I was ‘decent’ I would have taken care of x, y or z a ‘long time ago’…
*I made it through the somewhat embarrassing conversations when I finally got around to attempting my second shot with college. Who knew I would have to answer questions about high-school, graduation dates, GPA’s and such? How do you skip those parts and the parts where you went to GED classes high as a kite, and waited an extra two years before taking the GED test? Or maybe that one time where you earned a few college credits right before you developed a full blown addiction?
If you aren’t actually in full throttle REM sleep by this point of the blog post, thank you for being so dedicated.
I will spare you the detailed sob stories of how crappy job applications are to fill out when it comes to my work history; ppshh, damn those pesky questions about termination history (stealing, or just being plain unreliable) or questions regarding criminal history (legit fail for me) usually ensure that I am looked over.
Sometimes I get asked if I would do things differently if I had a chance.
I always respond the same way…
Not so much.
I really and truly think that my past is more than “just a story”,
but it’s actually more like the sh*t formed who I am at my core.
So I’ll keep it; all of it.
I know some reading this will say that people ‘like me’ deserve it.
I made the choices. I deal with the reality. I get it.
And you know what, I completely agree with you.
But today (or for the most part any other day too)
I am not writing to you.
I want to talk to the people who feel defeated-
To the people who have made mistakes, but are trying to make amends.
Sometimes it can feel like you will never get up to see over the horizon.
Will you ever be able to catch a break?
The breaks will come, but they will come with time.
They probably won’t feel like breaks either. They feel tiny breaths of fresh air.
Time has a way of revealing new ideas from old truths to us.
We see things a little bit differently each time we look at them.
As we lock in more and more sober time, we begin to see things a little bit differently.
Including our past mistakes.
Even if we can’t see it, we gain wisdom from falling on our face.
Each time we get up a little bit more gracefully.
The best part of all of it is that God has a way of using our past mistakes for awesome things in our future and this is something that happens regardless of what people say or how they personally perceive our mistakes.
So yes. The consequences are so ours to accept and deal with but so is how we handle this phenomena…..
The past can only really ‘haunt’ you if you let that be your experience.