I saw a picture today that contained the sentiment, every ay is a second chance. It reminded me of a saying I sometimes use “Wipe the slate clean.”
Wiping the slate clean is powerful. Every day IS a chance to do things differently. Every moment is an opportunity to change your direction. There is no point in dwelling in the pain of the past. Sometimes, for our own sanity, we must forgive and let go. Even of big things. Because holding on to anger or pain just keeps it close to your heart. And doesn’t let the love that is in there shine.
BUT…I often employed the clean slate in self serving ways. Would I rather meet friends for drinks and miss my workout??? Suuuuure. I will just wipe the slate clean tomorrow. How many times did I plan to go on some eating plan or diet and gorge myself the day before – knowing I could start fresh with a clean slate the next day? Many many.
So, although the sentiment of starting with a clean slate is HUGE, it needs to be tempered with some common sense. Is it Oprah who says “when you know better, do better”? Because that is the important factor here. IfI KNOW what you are choosing to do is not in line with your beliefs or goals, I am not choosing wisely. At some point personal responsibility (or love for myself, as I like to think of it), needs to be part of the decision making process.This is hard when it comes to addictive behaviour. But, for me, as a sober person who starts to think, maybe a glass of wine at a wedding might be ok, I will go back to being sober tomorrow, after the vacation, etc., this is the time to ask…do I know better? Does this though feel good? For now, that sort of thinking keeps me comfortable in saying no to those thoughts. I know I could start again tomorrow, but I also know it will suck.
This was definitely a problem for me when it came time to quit drinking. I would start my week with either a plan to moderate or abstain the following weekend. Then Friday would come and there would be a chance to drink on a patio, or at a bar, or alone on my couch. And I would decided I deserved it, I am a smart, successful woman, I work hard, I am taking care of the world, I need to relax. And I could always start again tomorrow. Justifying my planned behaviour. I never felt good. And it always seemed self destructive. But, at the time, I just couldn’t quite see what else to do. So I kept this up for a long, long time.
I am grateful that 17 months ago today I wiped the booze slate clean for the last. I finally said, out loud, enough. My last day one. No more doing it tomorrow. The start of my road back to living! I’ve had to wipe many other slates clean along the way. Many of them have been just as powerful. I have left behind a lot of fear, self doubt, anger, blame and resentment. And I start each day filled with the knowledge that it is a new day – free for me to make it as fantastic as I wish.
Unfortunately, for some people, tomorrow never comes. The stay caught in their cycle of abuse, unhappiness and addiction. Maybe there are legal raminfications, health issues, personal problems. Those are the real risks of living with plans to change everything tomorrow, because you can always start again.
Start today. Wipe the slate clean today. Drinking? Done. Not good for you. Not helping you. Get help. Call a therapist. Go to AA. Do whatever you need to keep that slate clean. And keep it that way. Obviously we all stumble occasionally, and then we do dust yourself off and start again. Just be honest with yourself before you go back down that path. Do you know better? If so, what could you TRY to change things before they happen?
Just some thoughts. Maybe there is another way to look at this. Let me know if you see it differently!
Embrace today! It is all we have and it can be awesome.
Stillness and peace.