I’m absolutely loving how healthy I feel with being sober now, but flashbacks and associated guilt/regret just keep sinking my mood lately. Every so often, I’ll remember the mornings that I woke to find that I had vomited over my sofa (or even one time, over my curtains), fallen into furniture and broken things, or hurt myself by doing stupid things when blackout drunk. The absolute horror and shame as it keeps hitting me is just so intense and I feel utterly wretched. I was wondering if anyone else has similar experiences and any tips on how to move on from this? Thanks loves.
Hi Lou, from London.
I think you just need to let it go. The way that you are living now is the future and present. How you are now is all that matters, all that you need to focus on. No one is perfect, even if they seem so… Just let it go, forgive yourself and say ‘so what’… what do these things change in the whole scheme of things? Keep your life as blame free as you can, especially when you are doing the work now.
And yes I totally have the same memories, some that I have never spoken or admitted to. But I take my own advice still, I’m proud of this me here today, still fighting, still putting one foot forward. It’s easier to not change, believe in yourself.
I understand what you’re saying, but just shrugging it off isn’t happening right now. I’m very aware that I can’t go back and change or undo anything, but also that I am absolutely accountable for decisions made and actions taken. This is a weight I will carry on some level for the rest of my life, and I need to understand how to sit with it in a healthier way.
I’m not sure I know whether I’m yet at that gnarly stage where I’m truly processing again so maybe I can only offer the advice I have done. I’m only 8 days in this time, though I did have a year plus sober the last time…I am still in the early days at the moment, trying to be positive.
I think you do have to sit with them and acknowledge them, but not be overwhelmed by them. How? I’m not sure whether I have that advice for you. But good luck.
I have nightmares related with alcohol that remind me some unfortunate moments related with being drunk.
I remember people who have past and I have failed because of my addiction. There are no time to ask for forgiveness.
I met my mother almost everyday. My mum
suffer Alzheimer and some moments my mind goes to those times I took care of her being drunk. Now she is in a residence.
I have a lot of regrets regarding my relationship with my wife. I think she have forgave me, but alcohol disasters are always present in any way.
A lot of unfortunate emotional flashbacks regarding work, neighbours, etc, come to me.
It is difficult not to think in them. I know is past, but in certain terms they are my history.
Only think in the present it is useful for me. It helps also, in my case, think in God, or in Someone, that has forgive me and has swept my mind for any kind of evil. God always forgive and do not remember. This helps me a lot.
Thanks for the topic. Kind regards.
Its really hard to process the memories and guilt.
My last day of drinking coincided with me taking an overdose, unbeknownst to me in front of one of my children. It took 2 years for me to get over the terrible guilt from the effect it had on her. During that time I did seek help for my Mental Health, I started taking my anti depressants as prescribed I was given a Mental Health Coordinator and Psychiatrist, and I had regular therapy. Journalling my thoughts helped too.
Ultimately what made me get over the guilt was time and continued sobriety… it will pass, in the meantime look after yourself, remember they’re just thoughts, and try not to dwell too long on them, call a friend, go for a walk, put the radio on, journal etc etc when it starts getting too much.
Theres always someone here for you
I’m so sorry to hear of those difficulties for you. I think that it helps us all to remember that, without our past experiences, we couldn’t be who we are today and tomorrow. Thank you for sharing.
I did something very, very similar. Sending you all the hugs.
Aah, the memories. I am only 50ish days into sobriety and these beauties keep on coming and knocking me sideways, even on days where I am otherwise feeling okay.
I think it is important to remember that these memories will surface, it is part of the healing process. When we drink, our brain is unable to to filter and store memories properly, plus if you’re anything like me, continuing to drink had the ‘benefit’ of repressing many of these unwanted memories.
I don’t know what you are doing to support yourself through this journey at the moment but I was recommended to look into Recovery Dharma, meditation and gratitude. You can access the book for free online and therd are a lot on here, including myself, who use the free app. Insight Timer, there are lots of guided meditations and some that deal especially with accepting and letting go of guilt.
There’s a thread on here:
And also a daily gratitude thread.
I hope this can be of some help. At least know that I understand where you’re at and how you are feeling. Here if you need to talk.
Yep. Understand that there are very few who’ve drank to the point of intoxication, who can honestly say they’ve never done anything regretful or embarrassing. Heck, there are things I’ve done that I regret when I was cold sober.
Here’s the good news: the longer you are sober, the less you’ll dwell on memories of when you were drinking. You’ll spend less and less time looking back, and more and more looking forward. You’ll learn to forgive yourself with the honest effort of getting better at getting better!
Keep getting after it, and you will see!
I totally get this. I have some serious guilt and shame and embarassment over things ive done while under the influence. Whenever i start to think about the past, i remind myself that I cant change what already happened. The only thing i can change is what i do today, in this moment. I find it crucial in my recovery to stay present. If i focus on the past and all the wrongs ive commited, it hurts me emotionally and mentally which in turn can increase the urge to use. So i just choose to focus on today hope this helps!
Time and altered behaviour that you can take pride in will make those flashbacks come less and less. Every now and then I will come across something that reminds me again and I have to tell myself that I can’t change the past, but I make effort to have a different present every day.
This is fantastic, thank you! I’m going to try it right away.
Hey Lou, i totally get this and ive felt it the same… i did some atrocious things while drinking too but i can tell you from my own experience that the longer you stay sober and do the work on yourself that guilt become less intense and starts being replaced with a sense of self respect and peace, its one of the many gifts that sobriety will bring u …
Heres my story i hope it might help you…
I used to suffer terribly from negative intrusive thoughts and memories that kept forcing their way into my mind, I still do from time to time. They’re like scars on my face that rear their ugly heads every single time I get a glance of my own reflection. It made my stomach turn when they appeared from the deep dark parts of my mind without any kind of warning or recognizable trigger.
The only way I found to accept them was to understand that I was ill at the time. I really wasn’t well at all. I am not that person anymore and my behaviour has changed.
One particular memory wasn’t really bad, it was more like a cringe moment. It was when I was caught drinking someone else’s drink at a bar. I can’t honestly say if I did it accidentally or not, I can’t remember, but I recently told the other person that I cringe badly when it pops in my mind. They couldn’t remember me doing it, but they knew the bar, and told me it was 7 years ago!
My point is, I believe guilt, remorse, shame - all truly come from within. These thoughts have a massive impact because you let them. You are the only one that is allowing a negative feeling to win.
You’ll probably find that speaking to trusted people will put these thoughts into perspective, you may even find that some people will find them quite funny or tell you that they’ve done worse.
It takes a while, but they will stop becoming so jarring once you process them. If you really struggle badly, or they really are terrible things you’ve done, you could always ask about cognitive behavioural therapy. That way you can work through them with a professional.
Take care of yourself
Wow, Kelly. You’re a warrior. Thank you so much for sharing that story. All the love and respect to you.
Thanks Lou, i wasnt looking for praise i just wanted you to know that ive been where youve been, what i did about it and what came from it, if i can do it you can. As addicts weve all done shitty things…yes they are your actions but those bad actions dont make u a bad person, its an illness but thankfully you can overcome it
Oh I understand, but truly - I’m speechless. I’ve been through a similar past and understand the strength, resolve and sheer stubbornness it takes to beat those demons down. And this world rarely makes it any easier. The praise is deserved. I’m humbled by your support and hope you know that you’ve strengthened me by sharing. I just know that i can never go back to the choices I was making before. I’m grateful for the chance to become who I’m supposed to be. And you’re now one of my heroes. I’ll tag you when I hit my one year!