Keeping a positive, upbeat attitude and outlook during my ever-evolving recovery from addiction and mental illness is a difficult process oftentimes impeded by my self-loathing for my past indiscretions and mistakes made while being an addict.
Even though things are going well now, and I have started to develop a good surrounding support network and list of activities to stay busy and productive. I still fall back into the mental trap of constantly worrying about all the bad things I’ve done while addicted to drugs and suffering from depression. Despite my positive actions and thoughts in my sobriety, I just can’t get over certain things I have done to hurt myself, my family, my friends, and my health. I am working on this battle and I’d like to address some of my biggest roadblocks I face on a day-to-day basis.
Reminding myself of where I was and where I am today with my battles with addiction and mental illness can be both a helpful and hurtful process, depending on how I approach the subject. I love getting up every day and feeling completely sober. I’m not tired, cranky, or wrapped in a blanket of worry and fear that comes with the territory of addiction. I’m not thinking about to whom I owe money or what sketchy activity in which I must partake to get high.
Yet, thinking about how far I have come doesn’t alleviate all the pain in my heart that I have caused myself and others. I think about where I would be if I would not have dealt with addiction and mental illness for the last ten years of my life. This is a self-defeating, endless stream of questions that ruminate in my head and cause me an unfathomable amount of grief. It can cut my feet out from under me and, suddenly, all the progress I have made takes a back seat to the pain I continue to think about and how I would be in a completely different place in my life had I not made some of the poor choices that shaped my youth.
Like many addicts and individuals suffering from mental health issues, I have great trouble with “Letting Go.” I like to overanalyze my past bad decisions and put my mind into a vortex of how my life would be different if bad things “just hadn’t happened to me.” It’s difficult for me to equate one positive choice I make today with the bucket list of horrible things I have done in the past.
Yet, as I face this battle, I remain optimistic that each small good choice I make in my sobriety will somehow cancel out all my poor past indiscretions. If I do something simple like go to a meeting, I do so hoping that any good task to stay sober, however small, will make the pain of the past hurt a little less and that I will no longer wince every time I think about the lost ten years of my life to addiction and mental illness.
I have come to put my faith in the hope that it won’t always be a process of “cancellation” for my bad needs; rather, it will evolve into acceptance and moving on. I am here today, taking each day one at a time, and that should be simply enough for me to be happy and sober. Self-loathing will never quite go away for me and that is not entirely a bad thing.
Knowing where one came from and where one wants to go today with a new, healthy life is the natural progress of maturity and acceptance. I will continue to put my best foot forward and quiet my mind and hopefully, “just being,” will be good enough for me. I know it is enough for today.
By Chase A.
Filed under: Latest News · Tags: addict, Addiction, alcoholic, Drug Abuse, letting go, mental health, negative thinking, poor choices, positive actions, positive thinking, Recovery, self destructive behavior, self-criticism, self-loathing, sober, sobriety, substance abuse