Coming back into recovery last year, I honestly believed that the idea of letting go of the past was going to be impossible. I carried so much guilt and shame for what I had done, the unhappiness I had caused myself and others, it seemed to be a herculean task to get past it.
My counselors in the treatment centre had emphasized the importance of living in the present and not dwelling on past. But I found it difficult to think I would ever be able to let go of the guilt and create a life based on “just for today”.
But with the help of those people who support my recovery (family, friends, and recovery group members), I have come to realize that if I spend all of my energy worrying about things that are over and done with, I would have nothing left to put into my recovery. All of the changes and improvements I wanted to make in my life would only stall if I kept returning to the past. My sobriety would be threatened and I worked too hard over these last months to let that happen.
Now, I am concentrating on today, not yesterday. And sometimes I think about the future – we do have to make plans as long as we don’t try to plan the outcome. I have made a fresh start, with new goals and hopes. Most of my goals right now are small, but I learned from some very good friends that it was important to acknowledge my success as each are accomplished. It can be something as simple as treating myself to a nice pastry or a really good cup of coffee. But it helps me stay in the present by rewarding my new behaviours.
I know that I am better today – mentally, physically and spiritually – than I was even yesterday. Every day is a new beginning. This is not the time to wallow in self pity or guilt over the past, but to celebrate being alive and sober today because as they say, “today is all I have to worry about.”