Kit G. July 1, 1999
“Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down. There comes a time that we can see that it doesn’t really matter what someone else has done to us, our holding onto it is hurting us, not them, and if we want to heal, we had better take the old shit and fertilize the flowers.”
I can honestly say that I am so very grateful that I was able to come to some understanding, very early in sobriety, that my past was just that, past. Over with, concluded, finished, done—a fait accompli. Can’t change it, alter it, diminish it, disguise it—only accept it. In other words, I had to get over it if I wanted to live comfortably in the present. Feeling guilty over my past “trespasses” or resenting those who had trespassed against me” only drags me backwards and robs me of my serenity and joy in life.
Reflecting on this, I realized that I didn’t get out of bed one morning and suddenly find myself fearful, unhappy, alienated, unable to cope and drunk. The seeds had been sown long ago for my behaviors, my thought patterns and my sense of self. By finally bringing to light the ways I was influenced and shaped I began to understand who I was, how I got here, and where I wanted to go. Joseph Heller wrote: “How did I get here? Somebody pushed me. Somebody must have set me off in this direction and clusters of other hands must have touched themselves to the controls at various times, for I would not have picked this way for the world.” This passage made me realize that I am a unique combination of heredity and experiences. It is what I do with my ancestry and knowledge that makes me who I am.
I believe that the way a person is treated sets the patterns for the way we treat ourselves and others; kindly or unkindly, fairly or unfairly, honorably or dishonorably… I’ve realized that my parents raised me as they did largely because of circumstances and influences of their own upbringing. For whatever reason, the perception of the messages I received as I was growing up made me feel that I never quite measured up, to what I don’t really know.
For years I wasn’t happy with who I perceived ‘Kit’ to be. I believed myself a ‘loner’—self-sufficient, independent—in fact, I was always isolating myself for fear that others would see me as I saw myself. My descent into alcoholism finally achieved the total isolation I desired, alienating those around me, I found myself truly alone. I shut myself up and off from those dearest to me and laid blame everywhere except where it honestly belonged. It was much more satisfying and comfortable to harbor anger and resentment for others than to take a cold, candid look at myself. I was such a miserable creature and could still be if I let the past influence me negatively today.
The choice is mine now. I’ve decided, without reservation, I wanted something different for myself. I choose not to squander my time and energy on things that cannot be changed. If and when I temporarily lose my perspective, I try to remember that it is not necessary for me to suffer long in that state. I earnestly try to accept and deal with my life’s ongoing challenges and continue to turn to God in faith, finding peace of mind and a sense of well-being no matter the circumstance or situation. Even when my emotions are conflicted, my thoughts confused—my trust in Him anchors and stabilizes me. You know, good, bad, or indifferent our past is the clay we have to work with; we can mold a smooth bowl that will hold our dreams or a cracked pot that lets things seep out into nothingness.
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.” Big Book pp. 83-84
“The only use of knowledge of the past is to equip us for the present. No more deadly harm can be done to our minds than by deprecation of the present. The present contains all that there is. It is holy ground; for it is the past and, it is the future.” Alfred North Whitehead