Recovery means focusing on today.
Yeah, yeah— that sounds obvious. But the truth is, it can be REALLY hard.
Personally, one of my biggest struggles is trying to NOT relive the past.
It’s tempting to pore over old messages and mementos, trying to figure out what went wrong with certain situations and relationships.
We WANT to undestand.
Sometimes we even tell ourselves that we NEED to understand, in order to not repeat the same mistakes or to avoid certain people and situations in the future. I tell myself that a lot.
But the truth is, we will never, ever have a better or different past.
It’s done. Twenty years ago, ten years ago, earlier today…it’s all done. Gone. Set in stone.
That’s so hard to believe when the past feel so alive in our heads.
It’s hard to believe when body memories are crowding in on us, seeming to squeeze the very cells of our body.
But it’s true. We can’t go back and un-make decisions. We can’t go back and change what we did and didn’t see, what we did and didn’t have.
I have a terrible time leaving the past alone.
I also have a terrible time leaving the future alone.
The future is tricky. Supposedly, we CAN impact the future, by what we do today.
It’s true we can influence the future— make certain events more or less likely with the decisions we make and the actions we take today.
But it’s also true that the future isn’t going to look like we think it will.
Whether it’s a little or a lot, the future will look different from what we’re imagining.
Most of us have no idea how long the future is even going to last.
This minute might be my last minute alive. I might not survive to the end of this sentence. I don’t THINK my life is going to end here and now, it would kind of SURPRISE me if it did…but I don’t know.
The future will have surprises, good and bad, for all of us.
We just don’t know.
We cannot directly affect what future-us will think, feel, and do. And we can’t affect, at all, what past-us thought, felt, and did.
All we have is right-now us.
I can’t change the past, I can’t shape the future with 100% predictability— what can I do?
I can do what I can do right here. Right now.
I can choose to keep typing— or not.
I can choose to post this blog— or not.
I can choose to wear my glasses as I watch the words on this screen— or not.
I can choose to fantasize about relapsing— or to turn my attention elsewhere.
I can choose to keep writing this blog, or to dive back into old messages.
But THIS is where my power to decide REALLY is.
And THIS is where our power EVER is. Our focus, our behavior, right here, right now.
No matter how real and in our face the past feels, no matter how anxiety or despair-provoking the future seems, we don’t hold either in the palm of our hand.
Not like we hold this minute.
All we can do is what we can do: manage our behavior, today. Right here. Right now.
So let’s do that.
Let’s not let what we can’t control or change, keep us from managing what we can.
Reel it in.
Always bring it back to this moment.
This is the way.