“I will not dwell on the past or the future, only on the present. I will bury every fear of the future, all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, all my dislikes, my resentments, my sense of failure, my disappointments in others and in myself, my gloom and my despondency. I will leave all these things buried and go forward, in this new year, into a new life.”
It really is this simple if the pledge I make is based on rigorous honesty. These words are from a meditation book I have read now for 22 years (January 1 – Twenty-Four Hour A Day Book) and these words still resonate – while “we do not regret the past” we cannot be governed by it either. We must do the work so that it, the awful its – resentment, fear, anxiety, and self-loathing do not become the life we live. To identify the patterns behind these states and do nothing with what we find is to re-create and perpetuate the self-made prison of alcoholism. We must uncover the its, the shadows of our old lives, so that they are merely frames on an new way of living. Because I am a recovering alcoholic, I have found a way out and for that I am grateful. I have been despondent drunk and sober. But despondency is a choice. All around me are people who know me and know how I feel and when I look at them and try to help them my own light shines too; they are a mirror. It is because I am broken, and took action, that I have been repaired. It was in my brokeness that I found the “sunlight of the spirit” – in the rooms, in the fellowship, in the steps, and a higher power.