So, you’ve been on the road to recovery, working your program diligently. Things are going well for you. Seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel. You are working the steps, going to meetings, and things have improved.
There is still a nagging feeling though, like you have forgotten something; something is still left undone, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it might be. It really should not be that hard to figure out, and it is the one thing that will bring you down even faster that guilt. What can this thing be, you ask? Baggage!!!
Baggage is the tattered remains of your past. It is the wreckage you left behind in your wake as you blew through people’s lives. It lives in you, rent free in your head, 24/7. It is all the aspects of your life from the past, waiting to be resolved. They speak to you when you wake and as you lay down to sleep each night. Sooner or later, they must be dealt with. This is where the 4th through 10th steps come into play. Taking inventory, making a list of persons we had harmed, trying to make amends to those we had harmed where possible, asking our higher power to remove our shortcomings. These things must be done in order for us to heal and move on.
There are going to be things we did that can not be undone for a variety of reasons. People die, they move, or, maybe they just do not want any part of us anymore. We must make every effort to make amends where possible, without causing harm when we do so! We will not absolve our souls at someone else’s expense. For those who do not want to accept our apology, or give us a chance to make things right, we have to respect that. We can not fixate on it; we accept it, move on, and hope one day for the opportunity to make that amend. Perhaps when the party we have wronged sees that we really are trying to live a life in an honest recovery, they will afford us the opportunity to set things right. However, we can not beat ourselves up over things we can not change. If a person we harmed has died, obviously we can not make an amend there, can we? In this case, the best thing we can do is live the best life we can, being the best we can be every day, clean and sober.
We can not let our baggage sit, tucked away, collecting dust, buried somewhere in our heads while we say we will deal with it “another day.” This will destroy us completely. Moving forward in our recovery means facing our fears, confronting our past, and setting things right as much as is possible. So, claim your baggage, unpack it, sort it, deal with it, and move on.