Tuesday, February 27, 2018

“Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday.  Realize the past no longer holds you captive.  It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it.  Let the past go.  A simply abundant world awaits.” 
 ~~Sarah Ban Breathnach 

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” 
 ~~Rick Warren

“But there’s a beginning and an end, you know?  It’s true that you can’t reclaim what you had, but you can lock it up behind you.  Start fresh.”
  ~~Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds
Statement #9
 “The past is gone forever."
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.
Trying to smother feelings of regret, I unknowingly cut myself off from living or experiencing life.  Replaying past events over in my mind, longing for different consequences and angrily blaming others, I attempted an escape through alcohol.  Yet try as I might, I simply was unable to escape from myself.  It was a painful way to exist.

The results of living Statement #9 in action feel incredibly freeing and uplifting.  This Statement drew me right into the Women for Sobriety Program.  Statement #9 feels nurturing and validating each time I read it.  To me, it says you have felt pain and it may have hurt deeply, yet you are stronger than what happened and can move forward and not be defined by it.

Statement #9 is also a reminder to embrace the beauty of the moment.  Over the weekend while driving, my husband and I witnessed an incredible sunset.  Bands of rain were cascading down beside the fiery, setting orb, casting a crayon box full of colors across massive cloud formations. The area was vast and without a tree line, so we enjoyed this full display for miles, and it was spectacular!  I tried to capture this beauty with some photos, but none would catch the stunning magnificence, so I stopped clinging to the fleeting beauty and experienced the moment.  

Hi 4C Women,
The past was my constant companion for a very long time. It held me captive from living in the present. It blinded me to the amazing possibilities of a New Life. What's incredulous is that while I was living in the past, I could only recall the good times, never the struggles or self-doubts. I obviously had self-doubts about my ability to handle situations, make decisions and trust my instincts but I ignored all of that. Letting go of the past meant an honest reality check of the truth - the whole picture of what was wonderful and what was not. Those rose-colored glasses were becoming crimson red glasses. 

When I finally ventured into the present by reflecting and working through the grief and pain of the past, I finally understood that I had to take charge of my life. The past looked "perfect" because I was so miserable in the present. I took emotional abuse and believed it to be the truth. Rather than becoming empowered, I shrank and hid. How could I come from a position of power if I wasn't my own advocate, my own best friend? It was easier, or so I thought, to live in the supposedly perfect past than to begin healing, finding my voice, make very difficult decisions and discover how it felt to be in the present, aware of my choices, responses, reactions. The biggest challenge I faced in all of this was to forgive. I had to forgive those who hurt me and that meant myself as well. I realized I was hurting myself unnecessarily. One thing I learned about forgiveness is that it doesn't mean reconciliation or acceptance of mean-spirited people. It means I can live in peace, heal from the pain, become a survivor and not a victim. Living in the present also meant being aware of what my needs were, and are, and how to express them. I forgave myself for dwelling and living in the past for way too long, for not being strong enough to stand up for myself and to work through all of the pain I numbed with alcohol. It was not enough for me to just forget it, I had to heal from it. This is why I cringe when I hear people say, just get over it. That kind of letting go for me is not healing work. It is temporary and in the past, was a trigger when the pain returned. I called healing work the path to freedom and to this day, I still see it that way. 

I encourage you to think about what is holding you hostage, how you can work through and heal from that pain or grief and what are your current needs. Can you express them with calmness and if they are not met, find another way to achieve them? Peeling away the layers of pain while giving up my numbing agent (alcohol) was extremely difficult for me. Through perseverance, I was able to experience the joy of freedom and empowerment. Letting go of the past is the key to peace, contentment and the ability to handle the next challenge from a position of power and strength of mind. And trust me, there will always be opportunities to use the tools of letting go. 

4C WFS Member
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