Series Two: Blog Ninety-Nine
“The real differences around the world today are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it. Between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past. Between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists.” -Bill Clinton
Last week I traveled to my hometown in east central Illinois. While visiting, I always take time to drive through my old haunts where I grew up. I drove by the house where I was raised. I visited the baseball park where my mom played baseball in her day and where two of my brothers got into a fight with each other that triggered my older brother who coached the younger brother to trade him in mid-season. It was the ballpark where I played my little league baseball. The memories used to always trigger pain and shame until I was able to work through the hurtful memories of disappointing experiences.
During the tour I began to wonder what it would be like if I lived now where I grew up. At almost every intersection there were memories of things that happened. As I went through the rolodex of memories it seemed as though past events and relationships were still alive inside me. I had honest feelings of sadness and longing to revisit and recreate past experiences even though I knew it could never be.
Nostalgic memories become glue that keeps people stuck in yesterday. People don’t like change and hang on to the past. When you get older, yesterday always seems better than today. Some people create lore and legend from how it was when they grew up. Things weren’t better, kids weren’t better and life was not better yesterday, just different from the present. No matter how bad or good it was, the past is over. The old blueprints that created happiness and fulfillment yesterday won’t work in your present circumstance.
Addicts struggle with letting go what could have been different. It is tempting to try to resurrect relationships by clinging to how things used to be before trust was broken when addiction took over your life. There is no going back and erasing hurtful, destructive behaviors that severed trust and damaged hope. Clinging to yesterday prevents you from letting go what you cannot control and embracing what you can control today. How can you let go?
Recovery invites you to let go of what you cannot control. The \ only thing you can actually control is the decision to let go. You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Your life contains a mixture of bitter and sweet, success and failure, and highs and lows. Clinging to any of these experiences will keep you stuck in the past. Letting go is your ticket to exiting a lifeless past into the only power we experience, which is in the here and now.
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