“We do not regret the past, nor do we wish to shut the door on it.” This tenet of 12-step recovery programs is important to remember now more than ever, as the rollercoaster that is the year 2020 comes to a tumultuous end. Now more than ever we must strive to remove any feelings of guilt, shame or regret from our hearts and minds as we step out of the year 2020 and into the year 2021, as any emotional baggage we carry over into the new year would surely limit our success and growth in recovery. How can we let go of these negative thoughts and feelings as we welcome the new year?
Thorough stepwork is the best defense against the accumulation of resentments and other negative emotions within us. Our daily working of a tenth step to the best of our abilities goes a long way towards mitigating the buildup of negativity in our minds, but as we are not perfect there will inevitably be resentments and transgressions which escape our attention. You may find it beneficial to rework your fourth, fifth, eighth, and ninth steps with your sponsor in order to clear out these cobwebs in your mind which would interfere with your ability to proceed into the new year free from the ties of the past.
Just as we must cut away the negative emotions and resentments which have accumulated over the past year, so too must we let go of any beliefs or thought patterns which are not serving our efforts at recovery and self-improvement. For example, maintaining a belief that any attempt to live your life normally will result in your contracting the coronavirus does a disservice to your growth in recovery and in life as a whole. Any belief which is holding you back from taking a calculated risk in pursuit of a goal should be left behind in 2020, replaced with a greater faith in your higher power’s love, protection, and guidance in your life.
Each new year we are blessed with is an opportunity for a fresh start, as new opportunities and relationships come our way ready to be capitalized upon. If we do not let go of any emotional or mental baggage of the outgoing year, we are handicapping ourselves and our ability to take advantage of those opportunities which present themselves in the new year. As addicts in recovery, we must make a conscious effort to let the past stay in the past, as the AA big book instructs us to. So long as we put forth our best and most honest effort, we will succeed in letting go of our attachments to the past so that we may face the coming year ready to take on all challenges and growth opportunities which come our way!