Member @twinkle just wrote a powerful update in the Members Feed about the crap day she had yesterday. It did sound like she’d had a mega crap day, but she’d managed her way through it with the help of various strategies (chocolate, online shopping, ice-cream) and no alcohol (yay!). She recounted the day, wrote honestly and proudly about the fact she hadn’t had a drink, and finished with the brilliant line; “today is a new day and I will not carry the broken pieces of yesterday around with me.” What a beautiful sentence and such a gorgeous sentiment.
I will not carry the broken pieces of yesterday around with me.
There’s such a temptation for us to drag ourselves down feeling bad about things that have happened and things that we’ve done – yesterday or in years gone by. Shitty decisions, bad choices, awful arguments, dumb reactions. And in the case of us alcoholics – sooooooo much boozing and over-indulging and numbing and stumbling and slurring and avoiding.
I look back over my life sometimes and feel quite sad at all the boozing I’ve done. Almost every memory from every big event is clouded by booze (either I can’t remember it that well or I remember only too well how wasted I got). My photo albums are full of images of me smiling and looking happy but I look at them now and think how sad it was that I was numbing myself constantly. Why did I have to accompany every moment, every life event with alcohol? Why was wine my best friend?
I know I shouldn’t beat myself up too much. I know I should be grateful (and believe me, I am) that I have discovered the joy of living raw and fully in touch with my emotions. I know I should feel proud of myself for turning my life around and getting myself sober. And I do. But I do still feel sad when I look back at my drinking years. What the hell was I doing?
I’m reading Lena Dunham’s memoir at the moment (she’s the totally awesome creator of the TV show ‘Girls’, a very cool, smart woman) and it’s great. She trawls back over her slightly chaotic/shambolic early years and recounts all manner of embarrassing or silly mistakes she made. But I was reading it aware that her words weren’t tinged with judgement or regret, there was an affectionate warmth to her tone – exemplified in this line…
I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe.
I love this. Such radical self-acceptance. And with @twinkle’s line also echoing in my mind, I want to reframe how I look back at my life – particularly all the boozing I did. I want to feel kindly toward my past boozy self. I don’t want to carry the broken pieces of yesterday around with me.
I want to feel kindly towards the old-boozy-me, I want to understand that she feels deeply and doesn’t know how to process tough emotions, I want to admire her stamina and her desire to make life fun, I want to sympathise that she’s unaware of the impact her heavy, steady boozing is having on her whole experience of life…but most of all I want to look back at her and feel hopeful and proud, because I know she’s going to turn things around…….
What about you? How can you re-frame how you look back at your past drinking self, so that you feel kindly – not judgmental – about the ‘you’ that you once were?