Grieving the Past and Moving Forward

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You can’t really move forward and progress in life and recovery unless you grieve the past. Grieving the past is not easy or comfortable. Grieving the past is necessary to your well-being. You have to let go of what you cannot change in order to move forward.

Recovery is a new path, a new life, and a new you. Just because you have made a new start does not mean that you forgot difficult times and painful memories. Using drugs and alcohol to cope with pain is common, but this type of coping is destructive. In order to move forward, you have to cope in new ways, but you also need to heal.

Being unable to heal will make recovery difficult because you are looking back at things you cannot change. Yes, these things may have been painful, but you have to let them go in order to succeed.

Here are some ways to begin the healing process:

  1. Join a support group that helps you process emotions
  2. Talk to your sponsor about past hurts
  3. If it is safe, talk to people who may have hurt you
  4. Develop a strong self-care routine
  5. Journal

The wonderful thing about the 12 step program is that the rooms are filled with people who have had to grieve the past and move forward. Take advantage of this. Talk to sober friends and your sponsor about your experiences. If you need more support, consider attending Emotions Anonymous (EA). EA is a group of people who use the 12 steps to process difficult emotions.

Journaling is a wonderful way to get your feelings out on paper. By journaling, you are being honest and open with yourself. Journaling is a good step towards healing. If you want, you can journal and then process your writings with your sponsor or trusted sober friend.

As you get more involved in recovery, you will notice that family and loved ones begin to trust you more. Perhaps you had a falling out with someone you care about. Moving away from past hurts may involve talking directly to people who you have hurt or who have hurt you. This is a deep process, so again involve your sponsor and sober support system.

Overall, forgiving yourself and others is an important step towards long term recovery. Grieving the past is not easy, but it is possible. Take advantage of your sober friends and sponsor. Chances are that they have been through similar experiences and can be a offer you a shoulder to lean on.


Getting through the past can be really hard. The Kimberly Center knows how to help you through the ups and downs of early recovery. Call us now at 855-4-KCENTER, we can teach you how to work through your past and stay sober.

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