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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

03-07-12 | By

Moving Forward – Personal Story

World of Psychology/Brandi Uyemura: “There are many ways holding on can have a deleterious effect on our lives. We may cling to an old letter, a gift, relationship or even a belief unaware of the energy it takes to hold on. When we grasp too tightly, we have no room for anything else.

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Imagine if money, love, opportunity fell from the sky and you were ready to catch them all. But suddenly you realized your old ways of thinking, your addictions, your false beliefs were literally a handful. And because you weren’t willing to let go of the old stuff, the stuff that wasn’t serving you anymore, you could not pursue what you really wanted. This is the reality for many of us who suffer from holding onto bad habits, negativity thinking, and unhealthy beliefs.


Sometimes it takes hearing the stories of others who risked letting go of their own demons in order for us to do the same. After reading Mental Health Humor blogger Chato’s weight-loss journey, you may find your own strength to work on your health. Or you may find the energy and motivation you need to release old, unhelpful beliefs that aren’t serving you in the areas of happiness, health and positive thinking. With insight and knowledge, anything is possible.”

This lesson I found particularly relevant for the current situation I find myself in. I was recently re-contacted by my ex (addict) who told me she was (finally) moving away this month (in perhaps a last ditched effort to have me “come get her before it’s too late”). There appeared to be some attempt on her part to pull all the old strings that would have triggered me. Weeks prior she subscribed to my youtube page changing her icon to a picture of a tattoo we both share, a few of her friends have tried to befriend me on a social network, and when none of those worked, she began to comment and befriended someone who is one of my friends. All in an effort, I believe, to remind me that she’s still there and to attempt to trigger me into “coming to the rescue” yet again. It hasn’t and won’t work.
What she fails to realize is how fundamentally I have changed. Into her calculations, if calculations they be, doesn’t enter the idea that the person who DID come to the “rescue” so many times and so often before isn’t that person anymore. I’ve moved beyond that by letting go of all the old unhealthy ideas and habits.

The biggest misconception I had was that there was a real “love” between us. Adopting a new definition of love, one in which love is behavior, has allowed me to filter all new and past situations using a different lens. People in my life who are healthy and true will display how they value me via BEHAVIORS. What they say, how they feel, will line up with what they do whether they’re by my side at the time or not. Seems so obvious in retrospect, but that journey wasn’t easy. It took a good long while for me to totally give up my old ideas, feelings, and thought patterns. But a funny thing happened on the way…..once I did let go of those old ideas, my hands became free to accept this new gift that “fell out of the sky.” If I had continued to cling to the old ways, my hands would have been too full to accept this new possibility and the other healthy friendships I have forged.Initially it can be a bit overwhelming. After all, I’m an intelligent, capable human being…….surely all my old relationships weren’t totally unhealthy? I would argue. And perhaps not. But certainly my way of thinking, feeling, and acting were unhealthy…. and all of those relationships were built on that foundation. Thus tainted, I had to fully clean my plate and began to taste the pure water of healthy connections. Once this happened, it was far easier not to go back or settle for less. As the transformative process gathered steam and internalized, I was better able to navigate through some of the old situations and see them for what they were, and what might be salvageable, and what remains garbage.

“You cannot put 7/10s effort into recovery and gain 7/10s back, it’s all or nothing.”

That is very challenging. Part of the grieving process includes negotiating (bargaining) with the past, so in a sense the battle to cling onto the old, at least partially, is understandable. However, the sooner I became willing to do whatever it took to release the old, the sooner I was ready to receive the new. Perhaps the pace was necessary during those times that I wavered or faltered, but I can’t help but to look back and lament the wasted time now. Hence my commitment towards not wasting any more of it.

“He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”

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