The New Year is often seen as a time for fresh starts, clean breaks, and second chances. This is certainly an appealing prospect, particularly for those who struggle with addiction and long for freedom and recovery.
For those individuals, then, this is an ideal season to detox—not just physically, but also mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Certainly, drug and alcohol detox is important as you move toward recovery. Just as important, though, is detoxing from your past—learning from your own history and leaving mistakes behind you.
Like so many aspects of recovery, this is easier said than done—though far from impossible. It is a balancing act, one requiring you to sift through your own history and spend some time in reflection about past slips. Thinking about your mistakes of the last year can help you identify some of your key triggers and stressors—the things that you most need to avoid in the year to come.
But while you definitely want to learn from your past, you don’t want to dwell on it. And that’s the hard part—reflecting, but then moving on. If you don’t move on—if you just wallow in your shortcomings—it can sap your confidence and leave you feeling pretty blue, even hopeless.
Of course, even as you learn from past mistakes, you’ll still stumble back into them or make new ones along the way. Here again, the tricky balancing act is to learn and then move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Show some kindness and patience for yourself, even on days when you slide back into old habits.
You can’t act like your past didn’t happen—but neither can you allow it to hold you in its sway. Reflect on where you’ve been and the lessons you’ve learned, then seize the opportunity to detox from years gone by.