A Sober Future Means Making Peace With The Past


If there’s one thing that people struggling with or recovering from addiction generally try to avoid, it’s looking at the past. In fact, it’s the past, the baggage and the years of brokenness and wrongdoing that often fueled us to drink or use with even more desperation. We were running from the demons, and only a high would keep them at bay.

But the addiction was not only covering up the past, it was also taking over our lives in such a way that we might not have a future. We knew we needed to get help if we wanted to live, but the idea of peeling back the layers was terrifying.

Not Wanting To Look Back At The Past But Having No Other Choice

Hitting bottom and seeing our desperation changed the game. We didn’t want to look back, but we knew we didn’t have a choice. So we took the plunge, admitted our powerlessness, entrusted ourselves to God and tried to surrender to His will. Those were Steps One, Two and Three.

Surrendering to God’s will for our lives seemed like a good idea until we realized that doing so would immediately call us on the carpet with Step Four, when we would be asked to begin digging through the wreckage of our past and writing our personal inventories. It wasn’t enough to gloss over some of the injuries and abuses of the past. We were told it was time to shine the spotlight and look for every possible resentment.

Confronting Your Past – The Key To Lasting Recovery And A Sober Future

It was a high calling and a daunting task, but the successful recovery of those in our fellowship showed us that it was indeed possible. People were confronting their pasts and living to tell the tale. They weren’t steeped in shame and fear. They were living free. We started to believe we might experience the same.

The process went beyond looking at all the hurts and injuries we’d experienced. We had to look at our own behavior. Most importantly, we had to face the destruction we’d caused as a result of our ongoing addiction. We had to make a list of the people we had harmed and we had to talk with a sponsor about how we would make amends so that we could be free of the shame and guilt of the past.

Making Amends

Maybe it was an apology letter from rehab or a phone call to an old friend that we’d harmed. In other cases we met with the individuals in person. It was humbling. We were fearful. But we kept at it because we knew our recovery depended on it, and we didn’t want to be stuck on Step Nine for the rest of our lives. We saw the connection between an unreconciled relationship and relapse, so we didn’t take our chances. It was time to step up to the plate and handle the business we’d been putting off for so many years.

Some situations perplexed us. Do we contact “unsafe” people? We wondered how to make amends with someone who died. In these matters we sought God’s direction and the help of our sponsors and other program friends. We humbled ourselves and followed directions.

Finally, we had confronted our own demons and had confessed our wrongs. We had sought God’s grace and forgiveness and that of our friends and families. It seemed like the sun shone in a new way—we felt warm and embraced. We were forgiven, we were loved and we were free.

If You’ve Asked God For Forgiveness, He Has Forgiven You…Isn’t It Time That You Forgive Yourself?