The Owner and Executive Director of The Giving Tree continues to dedicate her life to those afflicted with addiction to harmful substances. One of the key components to freedom from addiction lies within letting go and moving on. Below is an excerpt from the article, "How to Make Peace with Your (18 Powerful Tips)," featuring some words from our owner.
Sabrina Acatrinei B.S.W., CADC-I
Executive Director and Owner of The Giving Tree Treatment Center
"Working in the treatment industry for some time now, I get asked quite often by my clients “how can I let go of the past“?
How can they make peace with the damage they have done and lives they have hurt and actually move on? We start by discussing the 12 Steps of AA and NA which have a specific method of doing this. However, there are 8 steps before the actual step where you go to make amends with people that you would have hurt in your past.
I fully believe one cannot make peace with their past unless they change the person they are today. Everything we have done in our past has contributed to making us who we are. Whether good or bad, we learned and we grew. In recovery, we talk a lot about personal growth and how necessary it is. We tell clients we have to fix the person they became in their addiction so they do not continue to make false promises.
As a “Normie” which is what I’m called because I am not in the program, I learn with my clients on a day to day basis. The Big Book of AA or NA is like the Bible. This piece of literature has been around for a while and tells a story. The story teaches addicts how to begin to live again. Not just to live but to be happy, to be humble, to give. All of which contributes to making peace with their past. It teaches people how not to beat themselves up anymore and how to simply acknowledge their mistakes.
I feel forgiveness is probably one of the most important things that need to happen in recovery. I tell my clients when they are admitted into my facility that “today is a new day“…”Forget about what happened yesterday“…”You are safe, you are alive.”
Being safe and alive are two important things when it comes to recovery. I hear it all the time, “I can’ t believe I’m still here after that OD… I really should be dead.”
This is where the therapy kicks in, the introduction to the 12 steps and the constant affirmations begin. People need to know they are loved and that in life, things happen. If we continue to beat up people emotionally and mentally they will never begin to forgive themselves and start living again. Once one can forgive himself, he/she can begin to rise and conquer.
As we learn to forgive ourselves, we can begin to make peace with our past.
And so begins time to humble ourselves and take direction from others. AA and NA meetings are a MUST, obtaining a sponsor, working the steps and reaching out to peers in recovery. This will help to learn not to resent oneself or others for past issues. This is also where spiritual action must occur to shift one’s mindset when it comes to forgiveness. The work becomes a commitment and commitment has a lot to do with responsibility. We have to push through our demons and our discomfort to gain personal change. Only then will one be able to move beyond a past that has haunted us.
Recovery lets us rediscover ourselves. The problem is that we don’t have the map to get there. In order to find the path to personal growth, the addict or alcoholic must take direction from an outside source. Our own ideas always fail us or lead us back to our drug of choice. And so the beginning of our journey in recovery has to start with surrender. We have to learn how to get out of our own way, to truly let go, if we want to move forward.
So, how do we make peace with our past? Whether you are an addict or a “normie”, it all starts from within where we surrender and accept the things we cannot change."
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