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Forum Home > Healing After Leaving AA > You are NOT your history.......leave the past behind

Rolf Ankermann
Posts: 14

I’m a big believer of being present in your life with an eye

towards the future. That being said, you shouldn’t obsess over the future

because that causes stress and anxiety which is the last place you want to go

back to. But before we focus on the present let’s take a look at the past and

see if we can’t find some healthy ways of dealing with it.


“Life is just a series of “nows”.

The nows then, the now now and the nows that have yet to occur.

Embrace the one before you and don’t let it pass in



So just what are we to do with some of those less than pleasurable nows of

yesterday? At times within this blog I will pull sections from “The Freedom to

Recover” and I do so now from Chapter 16-Life happens



“The past has led you to be who you are today. Learn from and

use it but then let it go. Resentments keep you locked in the past. You can’t be

present if you are consumed by your resentments. You need to heal the past so

that you can move forward and evolve. Negative events from your past only have

as much power to influence your present to the extent that you let them. If you

hold on to them they will keep you stuck. If they are still in play and are

affecting present circumstances then you need to confront the issues and change

them if you can. If you can’t then you must either forgive and accept the

transgressors or cast them away. In either case, you have to assign some form of

closure to the past or you will have no peace from it.

The idea that everything happens for a reason is very romantic

and it is easy to use that as an excuse for your current state of affairs. A

more useful approach is to realize that things in life simply happen and that it

is up to you to create what the meaning of those events will be in your present

life and how they will affect your plans going forward.

Bad things happen to good people


Even more damaging than trying to live in yesterday’s victories

or glory is letting painful memories or unfulfilled promises negatively

influence your current and future state of mind. The only way you’re going to

negate the effects of a negative history is to use the wisdom learned or gained

by such experiences. Turn that knowledge into a positive influence that guides

you in making better decisions going forward. This is of course easier said than

done but is necessary to have any kind of contentment in your life. Sometimes

yesterday’s hurts are buried so deep that one may need professional help to

bring them to the surface. This is often true in cases where one has suffered

mental or physical abuse. In many instances, people who suffered this kind of

trauma often somehow blame themselves for the injustices bestowed upon them.

Forgive yourself and see yourself as the innocent person that you are.


There are those who also believe that in order to truly move on that one

must forgive those who have caused them pain. This is obviously extremely

difficult and goes against our survival nature but it truly is the best way to

give the hurtful experience closure. One way to do this is to look at the

transgressor as damaged goods. I believe most people are born good but that

various influences ranging from family, economic opportunities, dysfunctional

living situations in their own lives, etc. contribute to turning one into an

evil being. Think of them as not having been able to stop themselves from

hurting you. In this way you can forgive both parties and close this dark

chapter in your life. I’m not implying that you won’t dislike this person or hate what

they did to you, but if you look at the hurt as having been caused by someone that is deranged,

then it becomes a little easier to bear. If you can’t forgive the person, then for your

own good, at least forgive their actions and their effect on you. Bad things

happen to good people!


Having suffered from horrid abuse or from a single tragic event

I believe further strengthens the argument that things just happen and not

necessarily for any specific reason. I mean what kind of God or benevolent

universe would thrust such circumstances upon its people? Maybe the purpose of

such happenings is to teach us to take any negative chain of events and see them

as a lesson showing that life is hard and not always a warm and fuzzy place. You

need to develop the fortitude to be strong enough to deal with anything that is

thrown at you.”


Ok, now to totally contradict myself. Obviously a lot of things,

and it could be argued I suppose, most things do happen for a reason. The thing

is, sometimes YOU are the reason. You didn’t get an A on your physics test just

because….You got the A because you studied your ASS off. You created the

“reason” why that happened. So yes a lot of times things “just happen” but on

the flip side of that is the fact that you also cause things to happen. We are

not just helpless pawns of life that have absolutely zero input into what goes

on around us. There is a lot of Ying and Yang in life that seem at odds with one

another. Know this though, if you take the position that all in life is

pre-ordained and what you do doesn’t matter because it’s going to happen anyway,

then you will have no real motivation to accomplish anything. Wouldn’t you

rather dictate to the extent possible your reality? You can! It’s a choice and

one worth making.



Rolf Ankermann



June 20, 2013 at 6:31 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 20

I agree with JR!  I can go on and on and on and on anon...whoops that was a typo I swear, about my past, but I REALLY like talking about how I changed and what I am doing now.  In the next few months, that story will change to...what I am doing now!  In a few years that story will change to...what I am doing now!

I would rather not play telephone with myself anymore.  You know what I mean.  The childrens game "telephone"?  I feel today that "this" is what happened, even though, "that" REALLY happened, and it has just been too long to remember it, so why not just move to the present. 

I know why I ended up where I did.  I know how Step effected me.  I know what happened after the "treatments".  If I want to tell people about it, I'll write a book later, but right now, I am more concerned with what is coming up than what is going on!  If someone wants advice, I will give it, only because it was solicited, and not the opposite.

Funny thoght!  In;t the newcomers story supposed to be more important than the old-timer's?  Aren't they the most important person?  Why isn't everyone listening to what THEY have to say?  Maybe if they did, they would be able to give advice and teach them something, instead of preparing their notes for their next lead!


June 21, 2013 at 12:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 851

Bill W. and AA like to put labels on people. Destructive labels.


You are an alcoholic.

You are powerless.

You are insane.


Putting harmful labels on people is..........harmful.  




Pro Empowerment - Engage & Enable

June 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 222

I am happy to see this topic raised. I've thought many times about my "history" and/or "story" since walking out of AA. Not sure when this happened for me, but a thought occurred many months ago -- No longer do I have to dwell on any negative aspect of my past (as AA wanted me to). I have the power to re-write my history. AA only wanted to hear about the disasters I may have caused, the jail & psych ward stories, war stories, and all negative things.

I have done a whole lot of positive things in my life. I've accomplished many things. I have great attributes and talents. I'm a nice person. AA didn't want to hear those positives. They never did and never will. They want you to think of yourself as a huge big stinky piece of human shit....like they are.

Ooops. I just labeled AA. I can think of lots of things I could call them. 

my new avatar brings a whole new meaning to the skittles commercial  :D

June 23, 2013 at 9:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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