“It’s okay if you fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart, and we still love them.”
“View your life with kindsight. Stop beating yourself up about things from your past. Instead of slapping your forehead and asking, ’What was I thinking,’ breathe and ask yourself the kinder question, ‘What was I learning?”
“You’re so hard on yourself. But remember, everybody has a chapter they don’t read out loud. Take a moment. Sit back. Marvel at your life; at the mistakes that gave you wisdom, at the suffering that gave you strength. Despite everything, you still move forward, be proud of this. Continue to endure. Continue to persevere. And remember, no matter how dark it gets, the sun will rise again.”
#9 The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.
Statement #9 has always been a favorite yet through the many discussions on this particular Statement, I learned that it can be the least favorite for many women. In our WFS meetings, there are women who have remarked that this Statement didn’t feel comfortable to them. That it simply wasn’t fair that automatically the past was gone forever. Intrigued to hear this, the conversation became deeper and so did the understanding.
While we do live in the present, our thoughts can certainly gravitate towards the past and mine certainly did. Furthering the discussion, a dear friend explained that she felt that it wasn’t fair that the past was gone or erased. She had felt hurt and needed to have this pain acknowledged. By using this Statement, she felt it dismissed her trauma without any repercussions or responsibility. I understood and related to the depth of her internal wounds.
In the past, I had been a victim of domestic violence. While physical parts healed over time, I held onto fear and rage. I wanted to see consequences but they never came. The longer I held onto that rage and need for revenge, the longer I stayed a victim (and the more I drank). It took time, patience, and practice, but Statement #9 helped me leave the desire for retribution behind. It is because of sobriety and the WFS New Life Program that DV no longer defines me though it is a part of the past. Using Statement #9 does not refute what happened; it simply allows me to process what happened and define it my own way. I am a survivor and a fabulous 4C woman!
Dear 4C Women,
How courageous of Karen to share her history. This is another reason I value the WFS Program. We can discuss our differences without judgment and learn from each other and know we are in a safe place to do so. I am one who loved this Statement from the beginning. For me, it released me from the shame and guilt I clung to and let healing begin. I realized I was continuing to hurt myself while those who hurt me may have completely forgotten about me. It is like forgiveness in a sense. I have forgiven people in my life and it gave me freedom yet there was a feeling of unrelinquished pain that they were not penalized in some way. Releasing the past does not guarantee justice will be the end result. So, in the end, I decided to stop punishing myself and by doing so, began to slowly heal and start my New Life in recovery. When I start reflecting on the past and feel pain, I have learned to tell myself that I can’t change what happened. I can learn from it but I cannot change it. This really snaps me back into the present. I also have learned to reflect on the positive past. Just as we share positives in our meeting, we do have positive past moments before recovery no matter how small it may be. It’s not about erasing the past but learning from it, to make different choices when a red flag comes up, to value the work we’ve done to not let the past hold us hostage. I’d rather feel at peace through healing than keeping myself locked up in a prison whole holding the key. I say unlock the door, throw away the key, and walk into a New Life that you are developing, that you are in charge of. I had an experience with my bio dad that I cannot change but I chose to forgive him, not the behavior or action or to say what he did was okay, but to set myself free from the burden of feeling not worthy, of having him take up space in my head reinforcing my negative thoughts and identity.
I am hopeful I will eventually get to that place in my healing over my daughter’s passing. WFS has taught me that healing takes as much time as needed, hard work, is individual, and in its place is hope and peace. Keeping the painful past in the present takes away important space for peace and hope to reside. It doesn’t support my moving forward. I love feeling connected to the present. When I think of the past is gone forever, I think of letting go of the pain, hurt, and guilt, forgiving myself and others, and mostly gaining freedom. A big lesson I have learned is that forgiveness does not mean reconciliation, forgetting, condoning, or excusing but greater well-being and healthier relationships. The past will always be the past along with its pain and joy. It’s how we choose to work through it to support our recovery, and our emotional health and create a New Life, no more victimizing ourselves over something we can’t change and giving up that rent-free space in our minds to those who have harmed us. This is not easy or quick by any means. For me, it’s choosing between being a victim or a victor over a past I cannot change.
What will help you choose to be the victor when you practice Statement #9?
What do you say to yourself when the past keeps you stuck?
How do you process the feelings that arise when the past stops in for a visit? I say visit because I have learned to not let the past unpack its bags and stay. I reflect, tell myself I cannot change what happened, and reflect on the changes I have made to cope with my feelings.
Bonded in releasing the past, healing, and becoming a 4C “victorious” woman, Dee
The Nancy Cross Distinguished Volunteer Award will be presented during the 4C Spotlight event at the 2023 WFS EnJoy the Journey Conference.
Please take the time to nominate someone you believe goes above and beyond as a volunteer with WFS.
Nominate Here: https://forms.gle/wxr3zPsp8KAHD7jJ9