Monday, March 1, 2010
The 10 Lost Years
As part of my recovery I attend LDS Family Services Addiction Recovery meetings. These meetings are a safe place to honestly share my thoughts and feelings with others suffering from addiction, and also to hear their successes and trials.
After one particularly powerful meeting, I was talking to one of my friends from the group. We were pondering some of opportunities we had lost due to being so caught up in addictive behaviors. We discussed the time wasted, the relationships that we never developed, the goals we could have accomplished. Near the end of our discussion, he verbalized the thought we both had in our mind.
"Oh if I could only have those ten years back"
I would imagine most recovering addicts know exactly what he meant by that. There was so much we could have accomplished if we hadn't been spending all our time, energy, and thought to fulfill our insane cravings.
But then it hit me...those ten years might be gone, but the next ten were still in front of me. While I can't change what happened over the past decade, I can change what will happen in the next. The real tragedy would looking back in ten years and saying "Oh, if I could only have those years back."
Isn't that true of any change we want to make? It's easy to beat ourselves up for past failures.
...Oh if I had only started exercising years ago
...Oh if I had only read the scriptures more with my family
...Oh if I had only spend more time with my kids
What has happened in the past can't be changed, but the real issue is, what we will do with the future? Will I work today to overcome addiction? Will I work today to be kinder, give more service, love more, control my temper?
Or will I look back next year and say "Oh, if I only..."