Last night at my favorite AA meeting — a speaker discussion — the topic was our past. For me, my past, and its associated wreckage, is a double edged sword. On the one hand, I still harbor quite a bit of shame, guilt and remorse about all the stupid things I did when I was active. On the other hand, I know that but for my past, I wouldn’t be where I am now in such a good place.
Letting go of your past is a very important step in recovery as the guilt and shame can literally eat you up inside and cause you to pick up. This reminds me of a meditation passage we read every morning at Hazelden from the 24 Hour A Day book:
There are 2 days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone beyond recall. Do I still worry about what happened yesterday?
I love that passage.
Do I wish I didn’t get pulled over for a DUI? Of course. Do I wish that I didn’t relapse after going to one of the best treatment facilities in the country? Of course. But through my falling down, I wouldn’t have hit rock bottom and had that “gift of desperation” that so many of I needed to finally accept and surrender to the disease.
I cannot change my past. The only thing I can do is live in today.
One day at a time…