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“You did the best you could with the knowledge you had in that moment. It’s easier to look back at an event and see a better choice or pathway because we already learned from our experience. Hindsight happens after the lesson, so we can’t condemn ourselves for not knowing the lesson before we learned it.”
“Do not waste time thinking about what you could have done differently. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and do it differently now.”
“Even though there are days I wish I could change some things that happened in the past, there’s a reason the rearview mirror is so small and the windshield is so big. Where you’re headed is much more important than what you’ve left behind.”
#9 The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.
Last week I experienced an amazing time with family and friends back where I grew up. Even though the area has changed quite a bit over the years, just being there brought back a flood of memories, some absolutely wonderful and some not so good. Yet sobriety and Statement #9 enabled me to keep everything in perspective and stay away from regret while embracing appreciation.
Before sobriety and recovery, my mind sought to relive the past. Certain scenarios played across my thoughts like a film, on repeat. At the time I didn’t realize how useless this was, but I didn’t have the empowering tools that WFS provides. Each time I replayed something said or done, I socked myself in the gut with either emotional pain or feelings of dissatisfaction and an excuse to drink. Gratefully, my New Life hit the stop button.
As a part of Level Two, Statement #9 in action aids in new ways to problem solve while releasing guilt and/or shame. WFS has taught me that the “past does not define me” and that when I can find value in a difficult moment from the past it changes the effects and perspective. The practice of Statement #9 also helps to experience a moment fully which can invalidate regret. As I drove past the house where I grew up, it brought an abundance of joy and an acknowledgment that that was yesterday, this is today and there is no need to carry old baggage.
Dear 4C Women,
I love the idea of a Stop Button. I can just visualize this Stop Button as I drift into regrets and I push down on it, squashing the past as I refuse to continually victimize myself for a past I cannot change. Being able to let the regrets take a short tour in my mind has worked for many years. I would say stop to myself and change my focus, my thoughts. Since my daughter passed, I have found myself feeling an enormous amount of regret. Thank goodness for my sobriety and a group I found on Facebook for grieving mothers, I am able to authentically express my deep feelings and not let shame and guilt take over permanent residence. For me, this is what Statement 9 is all about. While we are shaped by our past, used substances to temporarily erase guilty, regretful feelings, the past also has positive moments. It’s the hurt of the past that unexpectedly creeps in that may perhaps set us back “momentarily.” It’s how we handle these temporary flashbacks that can make a difference in moving forward.
For me, regrets are a natural part of living. Regrets can be a teacher or self-punishment. I am choosing teacher. Answering the questions from Statement #8 last Monday helped me realize this when the group shared their purpose. My purpose is helping others, financial stability, and listening more closely to my granddaughter. Listening to my granddaughter was a new purpose. It came from my regret of not listening more to my daughter. I have a chance to learn a lesson from my past and put it into practice as my new action plan. The women shared their definition of what a purpose is. “A purpose is what we are here for and a priority is what we decide to do about our purpose.” This is how I see Statement #9. Are we willing to learn from our past and make healthy, positive changes or do we keep punishing ourselves for what cannot be changed?
How do you practice Statement #9?
What is the biggest change and lesson you have learned from practicing Statement #9?
Have you learned to forgive yourself?
If you had a stop button, do you have awareness of when it would need to be pushed? Could you share your thoughts on that?
What are your grateful moments from the past?
My sister signed me up for Storyworth and this week’s question was “What were you like as a teenager?” Because of WFS, I decided to focus on the positive past, and doing that made my heart happy. Of course, there were regretful times, a few that broke me yet the lesson learned from Statement #9 and my daughter’s passing, directed me to gratefulness for the wonderful teen times rather than the pain. This does not mean ignoring or pretending the hurt or pain didn’t exist. That is what got me into trouble in the first place. While I still have hurt and pain, I realize that it’s important to work through the pain, heal as best I can and, as Statement #9 says, become a new woman with lessons learned and changes made. I think Emily Maroutian in her quote summed it up beautifully, Hindsight happens after the lesson, so we can’t condemn ourselves for not knowing the lesson before we learned it.”
Bonded in understanding we can become new women with time, courage and willingness to learn, heal and forgive, Dee
Next month we will celebrate Recovery Month with the entire world! This annual event is now in its 34th year. Around the globe, men and women living in recovery along with people supporting those in recovery and professionals developing science-based treatment, will come together in support of personal and treatment progress in the fields of mental health and substance use disorders.
The 2023 theme is: Recovery is for Everyone. Every Person. Every Family. Every Community.
WFS will participate in this world movement and is scheduling special Zoom meetings and inspirational online topics. Let’s come together and honor our progress in recovery! Stay tuned for more info!
As a warm-up for September, please join a conversation on our New Life Program Connection – Women For Sobriety Facebook group or on wfsonline.org Town Square by completing this sentence:
Because of my recovery, I can ….
The movement in the United States is supported by Faces & Voices of Recovery, a leading national organization dedicated to promoting long-term recovery from substance use disorders.
Join the conversation! Let us know how you would finish the sentence!