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The past is a place of reference - not a place of residence

Discussion in 'Sobriety Tips and Inspiration' started by kassie1234, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    The past is a place of reference - not a place of residence.

    A friend of mine posted this on their social media account yesterday, and I thought it was a beautiful mindset. So often I think we dwell in the past to the point that it's detrimental - we make ourselves feel bad, we think that we can't escape that person we used to be...

    But, we can! We can use the past as something that we grow and learn from, but it doesn't need to be somewhere we mentally hang out at!
  2. bhu

    bhu Active Contributor

    I like that one, @kassie1234. Others say it as "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it." There are so many things that trouble me from my past. People say "Just let it go." It's not that easy. And even if it was, I wouldn't want to toss the memories away for false, temporary relief. I prefer learning the lessons and then releasing the related memories. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, "Wouldn't take nothin' for my journey now."
    kassie1234 likes this.
  3. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    That is right. There were several ways that it has been said and the meaning is really something we should live by. The past can teach as lessons and better to learn from it and live forward as life goes on no matter what.
    WannaBfree likes this.
  4. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    I've heard that history quote too - and it's definitely a good one that can be applied to the recovery journey!

    And like you said, I think that learning lessons from our experiences is great - I feel like I'm a lot more compassionate and empathetic, patient and also sure of myself now after going through it too.
  5. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Great thread title and indeed we should not forget about our past, but we should have the capacity to move on from it or else it will be a lot harder to change.
  6. Bozz

    Bozz Active Contributor

    This line is brilliant.
    It reminds me of: "No point being depressed about the past or anxious about the future, now is what matters" - badly butchered line a friend of the family used to say
  7. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    I've probably mentioned this before, but I'll say it again...

    I like to say that I look back not to see how bad things were, but to see how far I've come. :)
    WannaBfree likes this.
  8. anorexorcist

    anorexorcist Community Champion

    I agree with you, sometimes what it's stopping us is the past, and if you really think about it, it doesn't really make sense... The other day I was reading to Fritz Perls and he said "we need to live in the present, because the past already passed and the future is not here yet".
  9. Bozz

    Bozz Active Contributor

    THIS!
    Life and experiences, when looking back on them, does boil down to glass half empty or half full.

    All about the mindset you're in makes your world amazing or rubbish.

    Getting people into a positive mindset helps them so much :)
    deanokat likes this.
  10. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    And we can say this on a daily basis over and over again, one day at a time, one step at a time, then look back and see how much we progressed.
    deanokat likes this.
  11. Mara

    Mara Community Champion

    We must learn from the past, and then look to the future and move forward. We should not be tied down to what happened before but instead learn from it.
    deanokat likes this.
  12. integrity101

    integrity101 Active Contributor

    That is a tenet I live by everyday. I once lived a life full of regrets and shame due to my less than desirable past but after I learned to bury it all in the past and move on, my life is less stressfull now. You'll never get anywhere in life if you don't let go off your past.
    deanokat likes this.
  13. djdrug

    djdrug Community Champion

    That's a very deep thought. I like it. Well, the past really is a place of reference and not a place of residence. 99% of our fears, doubts, and anxiety stem from our past. Sometimes we may need to think deeper about why we feel a certain way about something or someone, the answer usually lies in the past. But, if we stay there any longer than is needed, we will always face trouble.
  14. Bozz

    Bozz Active Contributor

    Ah yes, two key ingredients are what make us who we are:
    Experiences & Biology

    Experiences have such a huge impact and can also even touch on our biology, like a childs developing brain will alter depending on stimulus around them and emotional experiences. Our childhood affects who we are our entire lives.

    It's not only that answers to how we are lay in the past, it's also that the past has caused our brain to develop the way it has :)
    djdrug likes this.
  15. FenWoFon

    FenWoFon Active Contributor

    Thank you for sharing such a master piece with us all.
    I personally think that everything that passes stays behind, past is something that we should actually use as a reference, something that we gotta get laid on to support ourselves and earn some experience from things that have happened to us in the past, we should try to learn fro mthe past, live the present and work for our future, that is life.
  16. Coolkidhere

    Coolkidhere Community Champion

    Thank you for this very motivational post. It's very important for us and for people who are still new in their recovery, to think of the past as a learning experience. You don't have to be resentful or guilty about it. Everyone has a past and it's not something to be ashamed of. As long as you have done your part and changed your life, then you're doing great. Don't dwell on things that are over and done with. They cannot be changed anymore and they are already a part of your life. Focus on the present, because it's the moment that matters most.

    Some people choose to be left behind. They choose to be stuck in the past, never moving froward, always late in line. They feel nostalgic of those younger or more adventurous moments in their life. They tend to forget that in order to move forward, you need to let go of the past and hold on the your present. Yes, you can reminisce and think about those times. But don't let them consume you, because they are already gone. You have your present... Your future. Make sure they're going to be good memories when you look back 10 years from now.
    kassie1234 likes this.
  17. oportosanto

    oportosanto Community Champion

    Good memories or learning memories, the most important is that we have the capacity to learn from our mistakes so that we don't repeat them in the future.
    deanokat likes this.
  18. djdrug

    djdrug Community Champion

    I agree bozz. We have instincts and then we have experiences. Both play an important role when it comes to our viewpoints and how we perceive the world in general. I believe that there is always a possibility of overriding our past memories though, which is why I believe that change is definitely possible and why we should never lose hope.
  19. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    True, the past doesn't really do anything for us apart from shaping who are now, so if we have had bad experiences from the past then we should most definitely leave it all behind us and we should just look forward to the future.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  20. djdrug

    djdrug Community Champion

    Yeah. Letting go is always more helpful. Our mind is designed to just obsess over things. So it is our job to pull it back up when it gets depressed, instead of feeding it with more thoughts along the same line.