Wreckage Of The Past: The Double-Edged Sword

by Dick on May 16, 2012 · 3 comments

in 12 Steps, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Alcoholism, Recovery

Just a quick blog before I leave for our Disney family vacation (which is directly related to my sobriety!).

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…


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  • Carol Tweten

    Hi. I am new to this and am looking for others who have a problem with alcohol. I created a blog: http://tryingtoadmit.blogspot.com

    I would appreciate a follow and feel free to share the url with others. Thank you

    • Dick

      Best of luck in your journey, C. I’m sure folks will click on the link from this site. Keeping looking within yourself and those in the recovery community and you’ll find the answers….


  • http://twitter.com/jatheisen8 Julie Theisen

    I have recently been struggling with this issue. I also carry an enormous amount of shame and guilt of my past behaviors. I just don’t know how to adequately reconcile this past. I am hoping that my clean living for the past year and half is showing those who chose to stick with me that I love my life now and I would never do those things to them as a sober woman. I just don’t feel like that is enough. I don’t think saying “I’m sorry” is enough either. I pray for forgiveness. I know who needs to forgive right now, and that is me. I feel like I am not suffering enough for what I did so I keep myself in this cycle of self-hatred as a punishment. It’s not right and I hope to soon learn to forgive myself!!!

    Thanks for the great posts, I always enjoy reading!

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