Regret Denies Change
Our Trajectory is Not Fixed; We are Infinitely Teachable
September 25, 2011
I am working on ridding my life of regret. Regret is an over-attachment to what could have been, to the purely hypothetical. And that’s not living in the present. I’m not saying being regret-free is easy. I was a monument to regret for a good part of my life. Even if it was unconscious, the sadness and anger which well up in me sometimes about my past help reveal to me that, once I got into recovery, I had a lot of unpacking to do.
Every single day is a new day to start over. Every minute is a minute where we can move in a different direction. Our trajectory is not fixed. We are mutable, we are emotional, we are infinitely teachable. We are all capable, with God’s grace, to move onto a different phase of our lives. We can see things differently and acknowledge that what’s amiss, what’s corroding our spirit, can be surrendered, and our spirit, mind, and body can all work in harmony to help us heal and live completely different lives than we had before.
Regret is painful, don’t get me wrong; but it’s painful because, like my addiction, it’s a huge, pointless waste of time and energy. It teaches nothing but self-loathing and backward-thinking. Compassion is the way; sobriety is the way; God is the way. And God is here, right now, in the present and can help me take whatever avenue I like going forward, irrespective of my past. And God willing, that avenue will be to the highest benefit of me and those around me — family, friends, fellowship and community.
We can change. We can learn. Regret denies that. I can alter the pattern that I’ve woven for years into my nervous system and spirit. I can retrain my brain by retuning my soul. Regret is sort of like past-tense denial. There is nothing I can do to change the past but to live more healthily and lovingly in the present. I don’t have to fear the future and I certainly don’t have to regret the past if I have the confidence and surety that I’m doing all I can to live close to God in my sober, sane, and serene present.