One of the most difficult tasks in recovery from drugs and alcohol was learning how to accept my past. I often look back at who I was before, during and after our addiction. Throughout my active drinking and using I said and did things to family, friends and loved ones that I would have never done otherwise. Recovery is about learning to accept our mistakes and using them to grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. The hardest part was accepting my past. I did not want to accept I was an addict and alcoholic. Part of this was because I did not want to be labeled as one. I did not want to deal with the stigma and judgment that comes attached with it. I eventually realized I had to learn to embrace it and accept it in order to truly free myself.
Accepting Our Past Spiritually
Spirituality is one thing I always struggled with in my life. I struggled mightily with an understanding of spirituality in early recovery. I was not willing to accept that events and mistakes in my life happened for a reason. I refused to believe that if we learn to close doors, new ones will open. I found myself unable to forgive myself as well as others. I was constantly living in the shadows of my dark past. I eventually grew tired of living my life that way. I knew I had a better, brighter future ahead of me. I was sick of looking at the negatives rather than the positives of my personal battles. I realized that the only way for me to be free myself was to believe that everything was always out of my hands. Spirituality to me is accepting and trusting the places we go, the people we meet, the words we say, and the actions we take are no longer coincidental. We have to believe that everything was part of a bigger and better plan for us.
Accepting Our Past Mentally
A lot of people who struggle with substance abuse also struggle with mental health issues. The two most common are anxiety and depression. People like us tend to use substances as a means to take away our mental defects. We use poison to counteract our poisonous minds. Accepting our past on a mental level is difficult when our mind is our own worst enemy. I had to learn to swallow my pride and shed my ego. I had to learn to be grateful for what I do have rather than focusing on what I did not. The easiest way to accept our past mentally is to focus on the present moment. I no longer dwell on my past and I no longer worry about the future. I have noticed as time goes on in recovery, we begin to see things from a very different perspective. The fog and dark clouds in our heads slowly begin to drift away. Our perception becomes more clearer than ever.
Accepting Our Past Emotionally
Addiction affects family, friends and loved ones. It can tear apart families and ruin personal relationships. The emotional repercussions of our addiction can be devastating. We find ourselves having difficulty forgiving ourselves for what we put our loved ones through. We also find ourselves having difficulty forgiving those who have wronged us.. We hold resentments against a lot of people. We also hold resentments against ourselves. The most important thing to do when it comes to accepting our past emotionally is to learn to love ourselves again. We have a tendency to beat ourselves up for failed relationships with family and friends.
Once we learn to love ourselves again, we learn to love others again. Rebuilding bridges becomes a lot easier to those who see the positive changes in us.
Kevin Repass is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He is a writer for https://yourfirststep.org/ a south Florida-based company dedicated to providing resources and information to all those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.
Image courtesy of Gift Habeshaw.