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We don't want to live in the past, but we do need to learn to live comfortably with it.


When I started my personal journey to recovery, I certainly had a past! It was the spiralling negatives that got me to a place that I was sick and tired of being both sick and tired of how I was living! Sure there were positives, but they were not dragging me down!


My journey began with a recovery coach, in this case an MD who worked with egotistical people like me. It was this man, who over time, introduced me to 12 step programs, the concept of humility, the benefits of the “right” rehab program and directed me to set new life goals and seek the help I needed to formulate a plan and achieve my reasonable goals. Dealing with the past was a very big part of the process for me.


"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." This is a promise of the Twelve Step program.


One of the most useful tools we have for learning to live with our past is the Fourth Step inventory. Once we have examined our dark corners and shared with someone else the times when we did not live up to our expectations, we no longer fear reminders of those times, nor do we try to block them out.


It takes energy to try to hold shut the door to the past. Coming to terms with mistakes we have made, making amends, forgiving ourselves, and forgiving others releases this energy so we can use it for living more fully now, in the present. Allowing the door to the past to swing open in its own time gives us access to the good memories that we were also repressing.”


Is there something I need to do today so that I can live more comfortably with the past?


Today I realise my past is like all pasts; it is known as history. I studied history extensively in school and realised its study allowed me to understand what happened before today and to learn from it. In doing a 4th step (I coach a 4th Footprint) I wrote my own biography, and at an appropriate time looked at it like any other biography. I gained huge insight and learning. It is my history and never to be forgotten.


Today, I try as best I can to utilize this understanding and Learning to make today a far better day than the ones that came before. It doesn’t work everyday, but I am pleased to have been blessed with constant progress. I will never make perfection (character flaws are still a part of me) and will never be in need of a cross. Despite normal adversities, quality of life keeps on getting better.


I live today but as the quoted writing says, do not shut the door on my past. My past makes for a better today; I want to expend my energies on trudging forward! Yes, I am a coach, but will chat with anyone “off the clock” if I can assist them to move forward. I can be reached through and welcome hearing from others who are struggling or searching!


-- keithb

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