Many of us had painful experiences during our time in addiction that we would prefer to forget about. It can be difficult not to become agitated or upset when we are reminded of these experiences. However, through recovery we can gain a new perspective on what occurred in our past and begin to use our experience to our advantage in order to help others. The Buddha once said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Allowing ourselves to be affected by negative memories of our past can be a major obstacle in our present. We want to live in the present moment and move forward with our lives, but the nagging memories of our past can keep us from being fully engaged with the moment at hand. Trying not to think about the past can actually make us get caught up in the past even more. The ironic process theory tells us that attempting to suppress certain thoughts will make the more likely to appear. The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, in Winter Noted on Summer Impressions, wrote, “Try to pose for yourself this task:: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.” We can also easily fall victim to brooding over things that have happened in the past, effectively disconnecting us from our ability to live happily and joyously in the present moment. The program of recovery allows us to change our perspective of the past and accept the things we cannot change. The text of Alcoholics Anonymous, referred to as the “Big Book”, explains that we will reach a point where we are able to accept what has happened and no longer try to ignore it: “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” We engage in a process of cleaning up the wreckage we have caused in our past to the best of our ability. This way, the uncomfortable thoughts about what has happened will no longer get in the way of our ability to live joyously in the moment.
Your story can become one of happiness and serenity in sobriety. You can embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery by making the decision to reach out for help today. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed Substance Abuse Disorder and Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Center in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers an individualized Residential Treatment Program that incorporates a variety of treatment methodologies and a well-rounded balance of individual and group therapy sessions, inside and outside 12-step meetings, nutritious meals, social events, monitored exercise, as well as sufficient time for rest, relaxation and reflection. For more information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777