“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future. Fulton Oursler”
Anyone under the spell of addictions will identify how naturally regrets come to us. Everyone experiences regrets from time to time but for the alcoholic/addict, regrets have a way of taking over a chunk of our thinking capacity as we have come to accept regrets as a way of life.
For many of us, the more we engaged in our addictions, the deeper we hate ourselves from the inside out. For instance, no one I knew could maximize a punch like me. Regrets belonged in the rabbit hole called self-pity, where the idea of “poor me” lived and grew stronger each time I fed it another regret.
Those of us in recovery understand all too well what happens and how quickly this form of stinking-thinking plunges us into the deep end of the abyss where snap decisions are made based on negative thinking and, consequently, years of self-destructive actions naturally follow.
Down in that darkness, the only assurance is more of the same: messages of “nothing will ever change”, “you did this, now live with it,” or worse, begin to choke any hope for our deliverance out of the muck and we die a little more. Some things we can do to overcome regrets follow:
- Examine each situation by looking at them one at a time.
- Keep them in perspective.
- Allow space for forgiveness and remember “if we knew better, we would have done better.”
- Ask yourself, “How Important Is It? and…
- What are the payoffs we’re getting as a result of not letting them go? Does it justify our engaging in old behaviors?
- Write each regret down and look at each of them for what they really are. Employ number 4 again.
Quite possibly one of the most important things we can do is to change the way we look at regrets and begin to see them as opportunities for lessons learned. We can no longer afford to romance regrets the way we romanced our drinking and drugging careers. Were it not for our regrets, then in learning our lessons there would be no growth to allow for the possibility of reaching our inner bliss.