Remembering doesn’t mean resenting

It took me a long time to realize there were some stories I was simply never going to forget. Those moments were permanently etched into me. What was I to do with them? If they were there didn’t that mean they were to be ignited, fueled—even fanned? Was it possible for me to feel them and move on? I must learn what to do with them if I am to remain sober—thriving.

What I have learned is that ‘first thought’ just is. It appears out of what seems to be nowhere and slips away into what appears nowhere and I get to decide what I am to do with it while it is in my care.  If, when it shows up, I feel anger toward it, it is safe to say I have work to do on it.

I have invested energy in a vigorous blaze, but this will not serve me in sobriety. Forgiveness is the tool that calms the flame. I hated forgiveness. I felt forgiveness meant that what they did to me was okay. It does not—IT DOES NOT MEAN WHAT THEY DID WAS OKAY.

Unless that person is harming me at this moment, it is fair to say that the memory of that incident is what is harming me now—not the incident. This was not pleasing to me. I had a lifetime invested in how they had ruined me. Now I discover that only the memory is ruining me.

That memory is living and thriving within me!

This angered me. I still wanted them to be the problem. It couldn’t possibly be my doing at this point. Guess what? It is. They are not even in the room (or alive) and their past actions are ruling my life. And this is no one’s responsibility but my own. This means that I am to take accountability for my feelings and how I respond to that memory when it appears. How I respond is my second thought. What will I call forth? The choice is mine.

I am scared of who I will be without this pain. So I stay in the pain. It is easier to recoil into the darkness than step into the light. Sobriety is about stepping into the light. It means I do not understand why that happened but I no longer hold this image (this person) hostage within my mind. I take what I can learn from it and move on. I gather strength from what has happened. I move toward believing I am a stronger person for having lived though this experience. I understand that injustices happen to everyone and I am ready to release mine. It means that I am okay even though that happened. It means I am better than okay because that happened.

I learn that because a scenario appears I do not need to let it haunt me. It happened and I have moved onto something new. Today I can remember and no longer feel resentment. Clemency has been granted not because what they did was okay. It has been granted so that I can be free.

No Responses to “Remembering doesn’t mean resenting

  • “Now I discover that only the memory is ruining me.”
    Amazing post, as usual, Lisa, and very timely. Thank you my friend.

  • “the memory of that incident is what is harming me now”
    “Sobriety is about stepping into the light.”
    So easy to let it haunt us, to not step into the light… to let it go around in our heads. Just this week I let myself be haunted by something that once I shared it was better… I should have shared earlier…

    • Once we learn how to let go of a discomfort we need only apply that technique to the next (discomforting) situation. Why I thought this was so complicated is beyond me. Life really is as simple as I make up my mind to let it be. Thanks for the comment. with love L

  • Lisa, your post describes my thought process about a hundred times each and every day. I am going to bookmark this post to remind myself that I have a choice!

  • Thank you for this little piece of liberation.

    • Thank you! Believe me when I say your comments help keep me focused and writing. That one word you wrote “liberation” gives me a great idea for a post. Especially thanks for sharing your thoughts. with love, Lisa

  • Thank you. This means a lot and I appreciate you putting it out there. I have heard the message of forgiveness so many times, and I need to hear it many times more.

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