Every single person has made a decision in the past that placed us or others in a bad place. Whether it was a relationship, the workplace, or family that was harmed by our poor choices – we have to break free from our past. The only way we will think positively about our future is to let go of those past mistakes. The question of how we do this is very simple, but not easy.
There were many times in my past where I made a poor choice that placed my family in harm’s way. I remember in the early stages of recovery how much damage I had caused my family and how I destroyed our relationships. I remember all the lies I told and the manipulation I did, causing them to not trust me and to not want to be around me. There was so much damage I caused, I wondered how I would ever rebuild those relationships and be able to have them in my life again. I loved them and missed them. I knew how hard it was for them to see me in the state I was in. I just did not realize how it affected them. My family still cared about me and believed in me, I just stopped believing in myself and then everything else went downhill from there.
Reflecting on the person I was and finding the reasons why I made the decisions I made, gave me some perspective. This was not some profound thing where the heavens opened and there was a rainbow shining through. It was hard and at times, it was gut wrenching. I had to look at my behavior and question everything. “I don’t know” was no longer a suitable answer. I had to search within myself as to why I made those decisions. What I learned was that most of it came from a substance use disorder, and some stemmed from other ailments, like codependency, selfishness, and fear. Fear is probably one of the strongest feelings that perpetuate in our decisions. I was fearful of being hurt, or trusting, and feeling like I was not valued.
That day came when I had enough gumption to call my mother and ask if she would see me, and could meet me. I am pretty certain that my hands were shaking so bad I could hardly hold the phone in my hand. I was so fearful that she would say no, or would just hang up on me immediately. However, that was not what happened. She said she would meet me and we set a time and place to meet at a café. I had phoned my support system and told them what I was about to do, they gave me some words of encouragement and there I went. I remember thinking how she was going to yell at me, make a scene, or just not even show up. Obviously, I was thinking all of the worst case scenarios to prepare myself for a devastating blow. Again, I was shocked when I walked into the café to find her there. I went to her and sat down in front of her at the table. I remember telling her that I could not change or take away the poor choices that I had made, or the things that I had done to hurt her. I hoped in time that she could forgive me. Tears were streaming down my face as I told her how I felt, and I wanted to make right all the things that I had done wrong.
What happened next was something that I was not prepared for. She began to tell me how she loved me and wanted better for me. She was glad that I was doing well and wanted me to stay where I needed to in order to get better. In that moment, there was hope shining out of my mother’s eyes. Our relationship did not just suddenly come to fruition; I had to work at it. Slowly, I regained her trust and our relationship grew into what it is today. Today, I talk to her at least twice a week on the phone. She lives outside of the city I live in, so I don’t get to see her very often. I make trips out to her house as often as I can. I am present for most holidays, as long as I’m not working and school permits, but I am always invited. My mother came to my college graduation ceremony, where she saw me walk on stage and accept an associate degree. The first of three degrees I will be obtaining. I remember looking at her from across the room and seeing how proud she was.
This was a great beginning for our relationship, not all of my relationships with people went as smoothly or ended as well as this one did. Some were really hard and some people did not want to see me at all. That is something that I had to face and I know that one day I will get the chance to say to them the same thing that I told my mother. It is not easy to admit that you made a mistake, no matter how big or how small it was. We just have to know that there is hope, that we can change, and that we are changing. Once we let go of the fear, we have a chance. Fear can drive us to a place where we will stare at the phone screen with the numbers dialed, and never push send. Have faith and hit the send button, the end result is always better if we try. If we never try, then we always fail. Sometimes things do not always work out as well as we would have hoped, but that is ok. We have made it a point that we are ready to move on and live beyond our past. That is when we see that there are so many wonderful possibilities in our future.
Life of Purpose Treatment
3848 FAU Boulevard, Suite 100
Boca Raton, FL 33431