“The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.” ~~Kiran Desali
“He said, ‘Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. The new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.’” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~~Haruki Murakami
#9 The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past. I am a new woman.
Statement #9 enables the release of the holding onto the past, which was a new concept to me in recovery. Sobriety opened my eyes to the self-pity that I had been wallowing in and how my holding on to the past was affecting my thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Still my favorite Statement, these words comfort and drive my life daily.
Before my New Life, I was unaware of growth. I lived in a mindset of once completing school, that was it. I was done learning and/or growing. This left me stuck, reliving the same moments repeatedly without knowing how to move through them or even fully experience them, similar to the movie “Groundhog Day.” This way of life was empty and emotionally painful, and I sought fulfillness and a desire to escape through alcohol. Of course, this only compounded the pain I was feeling and life felt even more empty.
The WFS Program and the New Life Statements in action are helping me be the woman I want to be. By putting action into Statement #9, the past stays behind me. Much like looking through the windshield while driving. I am moving forward, heading in the direction I wish to go but can glance back when needed. Here are 4 ways that aid in releasing the past:
1. Know and accept that the past is gone. Nothing can bring yesterday back. Admitting and confirming the past is behind you can assist you in moving forward. For me, this took daily confirmations (which comes from reciting the Statements out loud every day)
2. Forgive yourself and others. No amount of shame or self-criticism will change what happened. Move through what happened or did not happen through forgiveness.
3. Reframe your thoughts on the experience. Be mindful of your inner dialogue. Speak to yourself with kindness, love, and respect. Work on loving and accepting yourself.
4. Build your tribe or support system. For some past, intense moments I needed professional help. Most other experiences I have been able to move through with the aid of 4C women. At any time now I can reach out.
Lastly, what other ways do you use to help you practice Statement #9?
Hi 4C Women,
This has always been my favorite Statement. It has kept me from living in the past which I did before recovery. The past remained my present for such a long time almost as a punishment as I felt unworthy of joy or forgiveness. Now when I reflect on the past, it is a place I visit but do not stay. The moment I find myself lingering too long, I repeat my mantra:
I cannot change what has happened;
I must continue to forgive myself rather than beat myself up;
I am deserving of joy;
Most importantly, because I have turned my past into a history lesson that bears no repeating, I must acknowledge that I am not that same person of the past.
Since I cannot change the past, I remind those who wish to bring it to the present of this fact. I then ask what do they need from me now, today, to heal the pain. That makes them a part of the solution. Only they know what will help them heal and it keeps the past where it belongs – in yesterday! I also acknowledge the pain I’ve caused as I have learned that this is what most people want. Just as we want to be acknowledged for our personal growth, those who bring up the past I believe want to be acknowledged so they can heal. To deny the pain, invalidates theirs. And it’s really hard to argue a point when you have acknowledged it. It shifts the focus to the present and how healing can begin for all.
Karen once posted a quote that I think of often: “Leave who you were. Love who you are. Look forward to who you will become.” – unknown.
Yesterday my daughter and I watched 2 VHS tapes from 1988 – yes, I still have a combo VHS/DVD player. My granddaughter had mistakenly taken them to her house a few years ago when we were getting my daughter’s house ready to rent. She finally brought them back. Wow, I wasn’t quite prepared for the feelings that came up as I watched my children and myself, the house that was to be my forever home, my dog who has long since passed, my ex-husband and celebrating my granddaughter’s 5th birthday and Christmas. We were being silly, laughing, sometimes grimacing at being videotaped. It was fascinating to see once again the girls my son dated and how he interacted with them. His room I could have done without seeing as he was more than messy but he videotaped it himself. I can’t wait until he gets to visit sometime in the future so we can watch it together. My granddaughter is now 24 and hearing that sweet voice of innocence was pure joy. My daughter started crying as she watched her daughter and her dog who, too, has passed. I went from happy to sad and back again. Years ago, I would have spent days wishing to have that back or a redo on the sad memories. Thanks to Statement 9, I am free from holding myself hostage to a time I cannot get back. I am grateful for learning to let go of the pain, to forgive myself and hold on to those sweet moments that nurtured me, not caused hurt. I can leave who I was, love who I am and look forward to who I will become because one thing I’ve learned, life is not stagnant.
As you reflect on the past, I hope you can put Statement 9 into practice with forgiveness, healing, letting go of the pain and holding onto those sweet times. Bonded in knowing the past is gone forever and we no longer have to victimize ourselves, Dee