As sober living sets in and becomes your better way of life, every milestone—perhaps every moment—is an achievement worthy of applause. Moving forward after beating and defeating drug or alcohol addiction and recalculating your route is something to be proud of, no matter what has happened in your past.
You may feel ashamed or regretful of the life you lived pre-sobriety. But it is possible to begin afresh with a blank slate, not only forgiving yourself, but forgetting about your difficult history.
Embracing It All
After a successful stay at drug or alcohol rehab facility with a variety of therapy sessions to beat your addiction, embarking on clean living is something to look forward to. Old habits, bad behaviors, and those you engaged with while abusing are now behind you, but are they really “gone” for good?
While literally going back to that painful place is a surefire way to wind up tempted or in trouble, use the lessons learned as a sober living lifeline. Where you are now is a result of your history—the good, the bad, and everything in between, not to mention your rock bottom. Your darkest, most depressing moments are behind you, but they can still seep into the present and will inevitably shape your future.
Reflect on your mistakes, failures, and fears. Use the past to push you forward, without giving in to the guilt that may nag at your gut. The fact that you have successfully conquered your demons is courageous. “Peek” in every now and then to see just how far you have come. Embrace—don’t erase—your past, as every incident is integral to staying sober. It is all part of who you are and who you will become.
When Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
If you can come to terms with how your past has brought you to this place of positivity, you will realize that ignoring your addiction does not mean that it never existed. It may sound easy, but it actually takes incredible effort. Erasing life’s pitfalls and past problems can cause them to consume your thoughts—the exact opposite of your intentions. Give yourself the permission to let the new you address the drug or alcohol addiction you once suffered through. It’s part of productive healing and your progress toward your ultimate health and happiness.
If times were terribly toxic pre-sobriety, it may make you feel better to simply close that chapter and never look back. But memories can’t be shut down or shut out, no matter how hard we may try. You do not have to relive the regret, but consciously acknowledge your addiction, knowing it will always be part of your life story. There is no such thing as a “perfect” past, and the future will have its faults too. Our ups and downs are what keep us balanced.
You can also encourage well-meaning friends, co-workers, and family members to embrace the “elephant in the room.” They should not have to tip-toe around everyday conversations when stories involve times when you were struggling. Invite them to ask how you are coping, what recovery has been like, and about your past problems. It doesn’t have to be awkward or judgmental. The more you open up and engage, the less the past will overwhelm, or even haunt you.
As you continue on with your journey toward sobriety, be aware that potential setbacks and slip-ups aren’t back for good.
If you need further help managing or maintaining your sobriety, a variety of telemedicine, in-person, and outpatient treatment options are available. Contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770.