Instant Nostalgia

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

April 17, 2012

In program, I’m learning to live in the present and in many respects, that’s very difficult for me. Now that I am doing pretty well in my sobriety, I’m learning to even out the other aspects in my life affected by the addiction. I’m learning to address the other parts of me, the character defects in my Fifth Step, which still persist out of habit and comfort. Most of my life, I have carried with me a deep-seated ability for self-sabotage and regret; the two work hand-in-hand. For some reason, I’ve almost always had a sense of “instant nostalgia” which compels me to see the near past in a mournful way, just after missing the opportunities it has lent me. So I’ve lived for a long, long time with this cyclical battle of wanting to attain a goal, then flailing when it comes to actually doing the work of it (most likely due to my active addiction), and then mourning not attaining it when it was only me who stopped me from achieving it in the first place.

It sounds very much like the madness of addiction, but I’m not sure if this part of me came along with the addiction or was always there. Regardless, now that I have more clarity due to sobriety, this sort of brutal aspect of my persona really needs to be addressed. Because it’s really frustrating being a dreamer who is creative enough to actualize those dreams, and yet who, time and again, stumbles over himself while reaching for them.

The part of program that helps me is that I now stay better present and clearer than I’ve ever been. My instant nostalgia prevents me from seeing the present for the gifts it gives and makes the future feel distant and unreachable and daunting. What this program has helped me do is to see my patterns and accept them as parts of the whole, and then to act differently and more healthily going forward.

The main engine rumbling at the core of this regret-based self-sabotage is fear. There have been so many experiences in my life left unattempted for fear of difficulty or failure. But stalling myself out before really working for these goals is the same as not attempting them at all. The result is the same — more regret and fear and anger.

There are so many plans left to build and execute, so many adventures to undertake in my life and my recovery program is helping me learn to stay present to do the work needed to achieve these goals and plans while focusing on the positive. I will try earnestly and diligently to do what is placed before me today, one day at a time. Let tomorrow come when it does and then avail me its new set of challenges and opportunities and joy.

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