While the path to recovery can come with many trials and tribulations, there are several things you can do to make these challenges easier to manage. The obvious methods may include seeking treatment, going to therapy, or attending group meetings. However, there are many things you can do yourself to foster a successful recovery, some more difficult than others. One of the things you can do to make your recovery more successful is to let go of your past.
It sounds simple in theory, but letting go of the past and being fully in the present can be an extremely difficult thing to do. Letting go of the past allows you to be free of the demons, pain, and struggles you’ve experienced. Existing in the present allows you to focus on your needs at that specific time and how you can grow into your future. You may not be the same person you were last year, last month, or even last week, so why spend your time and energy focusing on that person when you could concentrate on who you are now? Learn to look for the future because there’s a higher chance of finding recovery there than in your past.
Ways to Let Go
As we said, learning to let go can be insanely difficult to do. It’s not an exact science, and people most often have to find specifically what works for them. One key factor that helps people learn how to let go is first finding acceptance. To let go of your past, you need to accept the past. In past articles, we’ve discussed the importance of acceptance to maintaining a successful recovery. Some of these methods for finding acceptance can lead a person to let go of their past. They include:
- Meditation practices
- Group therapy
- One-on-One therapy sessions
- Holistic recovery approach
- Individualized treatment programs
Of these methods, meditation can be an extremely effective tool. By practicing mindfulness and learning to be present in the moment, you will be more successful at letting go of your past. Self-examination is a major part of this process, requiring us to examine our past decisions and mistakes to learn from them. Taking responsibility can also help to better distinguish between your mistakes and the mistakes of others. People may often feel guilty over certain events of the past, but it’s important to distinguish what you could and could not have prevented and what you were responsible for, as well as those events which were out of your control.
It’s Healthier to Let Go Than Hold On
In addition to the importance of letting go of the past for your recovery, releasing its grip is also beneficial to your overall health. By holding onto things of the past, we can harbor a lot of negative energy. This energy can manifest in many different ways, both physical and emotional. Some may not agree, but negative feelings and emotions can do a lot of damage to your mental health and overall well-being. According to the Better Health Channel, holding onto negative emotions can cause a “downward spiral.” They can “stop us from thinking and behaving rationally and seeing situations in their true perspective.” It’s like the expression of being blind with range; negative emotions can cloud our judgment significantly.
If you are wondering how you might cope with negative emotions, here are some tips:
- Don’t spend time replaying negative situations on repeat in your head
- Learn how to calm yourself and practice those mantras when you feel yourself becoming angry
- Observe how negative emotions make you feel and what triggers them
- Get physical, as aerobic activity can lower stress levels making it easier to cope with negativity
Learning to let go of the bad can help you to embrace the good. Holding in negativity only ever hurts you, and learning to let it go can make a world of difference for you.
Struggles to cope with negative emotions can sometimes lead to issues with anger management. When substance use is thrown into the mix, that anger management can worsen. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has an anger management workbook that may be useful if anger management has been a struggle in your recovery. Some of the goals of the workbook are to:
- Learn how to manage your anger
- Control violent outbursts
- Develop methods of self-control
- Confide in a support group
To learn more about the anger management workbook, which you can do on your own or with a group, visit the link above. By learning to control your anger, you can ultimately affect change within your behavior. You can improve your decision-making and learn to accept the decisions you have made and will continue to make, both good and bad.
With an emphasis on the importance of individualized treatment plans at the Lakehouse Recovery Center, if you or someone you love has experienced difficulties with learning to let go, we may be able to help you today. Improved self-acceptance, anger management, decision-making skills, and even meditation methods can all be experienced at the Lakehouse through our curriculum or individual and group sessions with our therapists and case managers. Letting go of past mistakes requires you first to accept your illness, accept the decisions you have made, and incorporate new decision-making skills into your treatment and long-term recovery process. Keep in mind that it can take at least 21 days before something becomes a habit. With that said, be patient with yourself and remember that recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. If you are looking for help, please call us at (877) 762-3707 to start your path to recovery today.