One of the hardest parts of recovery is letting go of the past. Now, when I say letting go of the past, I don’t just mean the relationship.
I mean, the past that you actually lived, the hope you had for the future and the life that you experienced.
This was the hardest thing that I struggled with. Not only did I have to grieve the loss of the relationship, but I also had to grieve the loss of the life I thought I was going to have.
It’s accepting that there’s no turning back, fully internalizing the fact that you need to move on to your new life, watching your old life disappear in the rearview mirror.
Letting go isn’t easy and isn’t meant to be.
There’s a reason you were holding on so tightly. It was important to you, you loved it, and you wanted it to work out.
Letting go involves a lot of different things.
The first part is acknowledging that you’re still holding on to it in the first place.
I want you to imagine that you’re carrying a very heavy suitcase with you. It’s not the kind that has wheels, either. It’s one you have to carry.
You’ve been carrying it for so long that your knuckles are white. As much as it hurts to carry it, you know that once you put it down and uncurl your fingers, it’s going to hurt even worse.
You know that your hand is going to be in pain for quite some time. It has to heal from holding on to something so heavy for so long. It’s going to hurt all the way up to your shoulder and you’re going to have to readjust how you walk through life.
You’re so fearful of what’s going to happen when it does hurt.
And that’s okay.
It’s okay that you’re scared.
You’re not weak or frail. You’re human. No one wants to feel this pain.
But when you take a deep breath and work through it anyway, you’re going to experience so much relief. Imagine how much easier walking through life will be without carrying this heavy bag with you.
When you do finally release your hand from the bag and flex your fingers, imagine the freedom you’ll experience.
When your hands are free, you’re going to be able to grab onto other things.
We were given two hands. When one hand is occupied carrying our bag, we can’t use that hand to grab what life wants to give us. We are only able to grab half of the opportunities because we only have half of the resources available.
You can’t take anything heavier than the bag you’re already carrying because your body can only handle so much. You can’t take on anything to light either because if it’s not enough, you’re going to tip right over. Your whole life is constricted by this bag.
It’s holding you back from so much more than you can even see.
When you’re carrying this bag with you, you have tunnel vision, you just want to get to the next spot, you just want to get to a place where you can finally sit the bag down.
But every time you arrive, you worry that this isn’t the place. Once you put it down, you’re worried about having to pick it up again. So you never stop, you’re just going on to the next and the next. Eventually your body is going to give out.
This is the power of letting go.
Imagine having to carry this bag to the airport. Having to sprint to an airplane while carrying this bag. Eventually you would just drop it and run. Because if you don’t, you’re going to miss your flight.
And girl, you want to get on that flight. You want to be on that plane because that itis going to take you somewhere absolutely amazing.
I know that the idea of putting that bag down is terrifying. But here’s the thing, even if you don’t want to take out everything, that’s okay.
Start with a few things.
Unzip the bag, and grab some things from the top. Just take a few things out.
Maybe it’s a T shirt from an ex boyfriend.
Maybe it was a paper from grade school from your favorite teacher that didn’t have a good grade on it.
Whatever is at the top, whatever is easiest to remove, reach in with your unburdened hand, pull it out and drop on the ground.
And I know you’re thinking,
“Karleigh, this bag is over 200 pounds, taking out a T shirt isn’t going to matter.”
But it will. You’re going to take out one shirt and then you’ll pull out another one. Then maybe you’ll find a water bottle. Under that water bottle, might find a brick.
You don’t know where it came from or how it ended up in there. But you’re going to figure it out so you can take that brick out of your bag.
This brick is heavy. Your one unburdened hand is having a hard time trying to pull this brick out. That’s when you ask for help.
That’s when you get a therapist, a coach, a friend. It’s that moment when you go up to someone and say “I need help getting this brick out of my bag, I so desperately want to take it out but I can’t do it on my own.”
Asking for help is so much better than bloodying up your hands desperately trying to pull this brick out by yourself.
You wouldn’t have gotten to that brick if you didn’t take out a few shirts and the water bottle.
Under the brick, you may find more bricks. Or a textbook.
You may find something even bigger and heavier.
You may look at it and be scared. But you know that you can take that thing out too because now you know how to ask for help. Now you know that there are people ready and willing to help you take these things out of your bag because girl, you don’t have to carry it anymore.
You don’t have to carry this bag with you so full.
The more you remove from that bag, slowly but surely, your spine is going to straighten.
Your shoulders are going to pinching and you’re able to pull them back. You’re going to stand tall. You’re going to look down at your bag and say, “You know what, I still have a bag because I’m human. But it’s 50 pounds lighter than it was a few months ago. It’s 100 pounds lighter than it was a few years ago.”
Letting go and grieving your past isn’t easy but you can do it.
It’s painful in the recovery because with everything you take out you have to readjust reacclimate your body to carry the new weight.
But what happens is, as you get used to it being lighter, it gets easier. As you get used to standing up straight, your bones don’t click as much. As you get used to standing up taller, your knees won’t hurt so bad. Every single thing you take out of your bag is progress.
I don’t care if it’s a dishrag, a brick, or a deflated beach ball.
Every single time you take something out of that bag, you are making it lighter.
You are changing your life bit by bit. You can’t get to the heavy stuff if you don’t work through the light stuff.
When I first went through this process, I wanted to go deep right away and I was not ready for it.My brain wasn’t ready for it. It was horrendous. I started and I gave up.
I gave up because I didn’t go about it the right way. My hand went directly to the bottom of the bag.
But there was so much “light stuff” at the top that it was too heavy for me to dig out the stuff at the bottom. That’s why when I really started my recovery journey, I started with self talk, because my self esteem was awful. It seemed so small at the time, but it was the best thing I could’ve done.
These things are powerful, and they will change your life.
So girl, if you are feeling it. If you are like oh my gosh, yes, I want to start taking things out of my bag. I want to start with the light things, I want to start with the small things I just I want to start with something so that way I can see I’ve made progress, then girl, I’ve got something for you.
Recovery Bootcamp is happening the second week of November. In this free five day challenge, we are going to be diving deep and I’m going to help you take things out of your bag,
If you’re ready to finally make progress on your recovery journey, then Recovery Bootcamp is for you. Click here to grab your spot in this FREE challenge!
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