Early recovery is hard for so many reasons.
I think we all have unique experiences, but a lot of the hurdles early on are very similar.
One of the biggest problems many of us face is the fear of confronting our past.
For me, facing the truth was important to my sobriety.
It was really one of the first steps that I needed to take in order for any of this to work.
Drugs began as my happy place but Addiction became my hiding place.
Sobriety was uncomfortable for so many reasons, in so many ways, but basically it meant that I had to allow myself to be various levels of vulnerable.
I did not like vulnerable.
Exposing myself meant facing the past and looking at the present, and deep down I already knew what that was going to be like. I mean obviously, I had been doing my best to avoid it for as long as possible.
I knew that if I really wanted to change, I had to accept things that weren’t going to be easy.
One of the hardest parts for me was that I had to let go of the past.
Here 3 things that I realized along the way:
1.) Allowing yourself to let go of the past doesn’t mean that it didn’t matter.
Letting it go means not letting it take up any more room in your head or your heart for anymore time.
This makes room for new, healthy, meaningful things.
Yes it matters, but that isn’t the same thing as continuously feeling it or thinking about it.
I had been holding on so tightly because to me that was equivalent to showing that it happened and not forgetting it.
I didn’t really know what else to do with the pain.
I learned that the things that I experienced were wrong, and they shouldn’t have happened, but the blame game was officially over. In order for me to move forward, it had to be.
My feelings were heard, validated, and met with empathy.
and that’s all that could be done. It was now my job to put it away.
I learned that you can either take the deck of cards that you were dealt and play them however you can,
or you can fold because its too hard. I wanted back in the game and I was done playing conservatively.
I learned that we have no control over which environment that we are born into and we are not in control of our childhood, but that we can try to do something different.
We can stay stuck, living tied up emotionally, like a prisoner held captive by repetitive thoughts and recurring reminders of the same pain over and over again or we can decide that enough is enough, and be done living there.
Facing and accepting the painful stuff for exactly what it was gave me permission to begin the healing process through forgiveness.No longer would I allow my past to have control over the choices that I would make in my future.
Buh-bye, crappy past.
2.) The past is not an excuse to denounce ownership of the present.
If I wanted to learn how to make more responsible choices in the future, my first step was going to have to be taking responsibility for my poor choices in the past.
By taking ownership it meant that I no longer blamed or relied on other people to direct my life and the way that it was going.
I finally understood the direct connection that I had with blame, by tying my hurtful past in with every choice that I made for myself as a young adult. By taking charge of my choices and acknowledging that they were mine, I could sever the link between the present and all of my rage, bitterness, and stored up anger.
I learned that there were reasons why I hadn’t made thoughtful choices for myself or invested in my future. I was self-sabotaging because I didn’t believe in myself, I didn’t believe that I deserved any better, and I felt more comfortable being angry and sad.
I used my childhood as an excuse to stay stuck for far too long.
By admitting powerlessness over drugs and alcohol I actually began to see that I did have the power to make different choices. I could, in fact, rise up and do some really good stuff in my life. I had been drowning myself the entire time.
3.) Hard truths actually prepare us for healthy and progressive recoveries.
Cool things happen when you face reality, even if that reality is not pretty or perfect.
Rolling with the punches or accepting whatever life throws at you isn’t always easy, but it will make you stronger.
That is what happens when you start to unpack your own baggage. You don’t need a man to unpack your bags, you’ll unpack your own. It allows you to see exactly how strong you are, and at that point, you are totally pumped and ready to keep pushing forward in your recovery.
When you start to live your life with your head above the sand, you have no choice but to learn different ways to cope with the ups and downs of life.
You start to understand that feeling is a good thing and to feel the good things means that unfortunately, we also have to feel the negative emotions too.
It is scary but we stood up and felt the things that were once killing us (literally).
I progress in my recovery by allowing my experiences to relate to other people in different ways.
I have become a compassionate and empathetic person.
Now, I can see how all of the hard things in my recovery have actually been some of the biggest blessings to my own life and how they have enabled me to be a help to other people.
Recovery doesn’t mean that the past is erased,
it just gives us the opportunity to do something different with our past and our mistakes besides letting it destroy us and shame us into isolation.
We are allowed to be exactly who were are, and who we are is shaped by our past, but not controlled by our past.