You do need to take responsibility for your past actions and mistakes. Doing so will empower you to make positive changes. Once you accept that responsibility, you can start making progress.
But accepting responsibility doesn’t mean feeling guilty about what you’ve done — it means moving toward the future by making amends.
There’s one other danger to living in the past. There’s something about nostalgia that amplifies all that was good but diminishes all that was negative. When you reminisce about your past, it’s easy to romanticize “the good times” and think of addiction as a solution to when things get tough.
If you’re struggling with letting go, try these strategies.
Approaching the past: Be honest with yourself and with others about your actions as an addict. If you treat your mistakes with integrity and acknowledge your negative behavior, you can start taking steps toward amends.
Owning up to bad behavior is never easy, but what is your alternative, truly? If you want to make progress, sliding back to old habits is not an option. Reflect, acknowledge, then move on.
Learning to say no: All those opportunities I mentioned that would be flying your way? Don’t think that some of them won’t be invitations from your old friends or acquaintances to get together, perhaps event to “celebrate” your new life with “only one” drink.
This will quickly become a slippery slope. First, you know the importance of avoiding triggers, which likely means parting ways with all those friends and acquaintances who may lead you to temptation. Second, there’s never “just one drink” in recovery.
Don’t test your willpower and think that as a “new you,” you can now control your intake. Mean no when you say no, and don’t look back — trust yourself that you’ve made the right choice in turning down the wrong opportunity.
Looking to the future: The best part about recovery is that with a clear mind, you have the freedom to pursue new directions and take on new, exciting challenges. But like the proverbial child in the candy store, you can become overwhelmed by all the prospects.
While you don’t want to limit yourself, you do need to remain realistic. The possibilities are endless, so take some time to navigate all that the future can bring. As you’ve heard me say more than once, start with small, measurable goals — and just keep a steady course.
Embracing the new opportunities in recovery is an exciting, fresh chapter in your life. Do you have someone who can help you be accountable? Olalla Recovery can help you create that supportive network you will need to be successful. If you’re not sure where to turn, let’s talk.