Addiction Recovery

26: Who I Was. Not Who I Am. Not Who I Will Be

April 01, 2024 Steven T. Ginsburg Season 1 Episode 26
Addiction Recovery
26: Who I Was. Not Who I Am. Not Who I Will Be
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us as we dive into the transformative power of self-forgiveness on the road to reclaiming life from addiction. We'll be navigating the tricky waters of self-doubt and shame, charting a course toward a future where our past no longer casts a shadow over us. Steven shares his wisdom on the art of making amends and finding grace in gratitude, offering listeners not just hope, but a practical roadmap to a brighter, sober tomorrow. His personal anecdotes and insightful advice act as a guiding light for those feeling lost in the tumult of their past selves.

This episode is a celebration of second chances and the resilience of the human spirit. It's a reminder that while our past may shape us, it doesn't define us, and with each new day comes an opportunity for renewal. I'll be unpacking the strategy of tackling life's hurdles step by step, showing how even small actions – a conversation, a decision, a kind gesture – can lead to tangible progress.

Helpful Links:
Learn more about Restore Detox Centers
Filling the Void book by Steven T. Ginsburg
Overcoming the Fear and Lies of Addiction e-book
How to Love and Set Boundaries Without Enabling Addiction e-book
Call Us for Addiction Recovery:  1-800-982-5530

DISCLAIMER:

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Steve Coughran:

Talk to me a little bit more about what gets in the way of people reinventing themselves and getting past this idea, like, what do you have to say to them or how do you help them to move forward? This is the Addiction Recovery Podcast with Steven T Ginsburg, founder of Restored Detox Centers in sunny California. Enjoy your experience, stephen.

Steven Ginsburg:

The other day you texted me this phrase who I was not, who I am, not who I will be.

Steven Ginsburg:

What did you mean by that, Steve? Thank you. I texted you that because it's such a central point as to what we were focusing on that day in group at Restore, and I think it's so important that we live by the fact that we don't regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it, and who we are in that moment where we're starting our journey in sobriety isn't defined by the transgressions of our past, and it doesn't begin to let us understand or know what's coming for us down the road if we don't leave before the miracle. So I just feel like that foundation piece, that phrase, if you would gives people who are new to this journey and who are finding their way back again to a path of sobriety one of the most imperative positions, which is a position of hope, understanding that they are not defined by what's occurred and nor are they limited to any outcome by what will be, as long as they do their part and stay sober.

Steve Coughran:

I mean you work with a lot of individuals. Do you feel like that's a common theme? In other words, do people feel like this shame and these barriers, like mindset barriers, when they have had a trouble past, and is it hard for them to get past that and to move forward into the future?

Steven Ginsburg:

That's such a good follow-up right there, brother, because remorse has no place in the journey. We've got to give ourselves grace, we've got to let ourselves off the hook and we've got to not sit there and beat ourselves up People who are struggling and who are suffering or who have setbacks. There's been enough wreckage. We don't need to inflict more upon ourselves. So I want to get people away from remorse and I want to get them into the half full side where they can understand there is a gain to be had from our experience. There's something better that lies ahead, but make no mistake about it. We've got to see what occurred, why it occurred, how we're going to use that to our benefit and how we're going to use that as the fuel to propel us forward in our sober journey.

Steve Coughran:

So what if somebody's listening to this and they feel like what they've done was really really bad, like a terrible thing, and they just can't forgive themselves? What advice would you have for them to help them to overcome this thinking and to have this fresh start in life?

Steven Ginsburg:

I would implore them to understand that that is a very huge version of low hanging fruit for the disease of addiction and alcoholism to try to keep people from finding their way to recovery and to hope, and that it's a lot. They are not terminally unique. We all have transgressions that have occurred, we've all fallen short, we've all comprised a great list of people we have to make amends to, and that by living those amends and by forgiving ourselves first and doing the footwork. That's the way to bridge that gap, to where we're in this place, where we think which again is a fallacy we are so awful we don't deserve the benefit or the gift of sobriety. That is a lie of the enemy and I will not let that lie live in my presence.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, I agree. I mean, when I was 20 years old I was somewhat out of control. I mean, I wasn't like super crazy, but for me I was making a lot of terrible mistakes and they're just compounding. Well, finally, I decided to get my life in order and as part of that process I got out the pad of paper and a pen and I would just write letters to different people.

Steve Coughran:

Now they weren't necessarily people that I did terrible things to, but there are some people from my past that I wanted to express appreciation to. So, for example, like my wrestling coach, he was a huge mentor in my life, a huge father figure, and he covered the cost of a lot of tournaments that we went to that otherwise we weren't able to afford my mom and I I was being raised by a single mom at the time, so I would have missed out on those tournaments if it wasn't for his support and sponsorship. So I wrote him a letter and just told him how much he meant to me and I just dropped it in the mail. And then I'd do another letter to another mentor, to another person who impacted my life, but also I'd mix in letters to people that I did terrible things to or I said mean things to or whatever, and it was such a healing process.

Steve Coughran:

I probably wrote like 20 to 30 letters and some people I heard back from and they're like, oh my goodness, it's so great to hear from you. I cannot believe you reached out and you shared your story and your thoughts and everything else, your feelings, with me and other people I never heard from. But regardless of that, it's a part of my healing process, my healing journey. What type of advice do you have, steven, as it relates to somebody who's trying to get their life back in order and maybe they've done some bad things? Do you recommend them like going back to the past and reaching out to people and making amends, or is it more like, hey, just move forward and don't do that stuff again? What are your thoughts on that?

Steven Ginsburg:

I think it's really imperative and I love what you did and I think that's there's a version of inventory contextually being done there, which is super healthy. And I think it's important for people to make direct amends wherever possible, just like it says in the steps, except when to do so it injure them or others. And then, one of the more important things, I want to come alongside people and help them understand. We need to make amends without expectations. Sometimes we'll hear back.

Steven Ginsburg:

Sometimes we'll hear back something we don't love. Sometimes we'll hear back something that feeds us and lifts us up beyond any measure that we expected. It doesn't matter what the response is or if there's any response to these amends. What matters is that we've taken care of our part in it, and taking care of our part in things is what keeps us from carrying around that shame, and that shame is the fuel and the propulsion for what Remorse. And so then, we are out of that trick box and we are starting to live life as we should, which is, we're clear, we're clean, there's hope, we're moving forward and we're finding out more and more about ourselves through this journey every day.

Steve Coughran:

What if somebody simply won't forgive us? Yeah, you reach out to them and you try to make amends, but they're like hey look, what you did is terrible, or you're a terrible person, I hate your guts, I'm not going to forgive you. Do you feel like somebody could still move forward, or what are your thoughts on that?

Steven Ginsburg:

I feel like they must move forward. The individual who reached out took care of their part, but we must do it without expectations and sometimes we need support from others to help us not have expectations. Once that part is completed, that's the response. Whatever the individual's version of prayer is, put that person in prayer, let it go, your hands are clean, your side of the street is taken care of and move on with your life. If you're still having a terrible time with that because of the response, find someone. If you're in my walk of life you're turning to a sponsor or a contemporary in the program to process with and through and to about. If you're just out there in the world, you know someone trusted in your life, talk it through with them, process it, get clear of it, move on because you've taken care of your part no, and then I think that's absolutely right.

Steve Coughran:

You know, our forgiveness is not based on somebody's willingness to forgive, I mean. Otherwise we just remain stuck and we wouldn't be able to progress. So I agree with that. I want to go back to this idea who I was, not, who I am not who I will be.

Steve Coughran:

It's interesting the other day I was doing this keynote address up in Fort Collins, colorado, and that's where I went to school for a year in my undergraduate studies. And there's this one road into Fort Collins, right off the highway and it's called Prospect and that's how you get to the university. And I remember driving up and down this road multiple times while I was going to school there to come to the program and then come home and then go back and forth. But anyways, I'm driving to the speaking engagement this week and it was right off that road and so many memories popped up and I thought, oh, that's where my friend used to live, to the right. That's the gym we used to work out at, there's the restaurant we used to go to all the time, and it just brought back all these memories and these thoughts. And so here I was and it just brought back all these memories and these thoughts. And so here I was.

Steve Coughran:

That was about 25 years ago that I went to school there, and a lot of the things were the same. The businesses were pretty much the same and the houses look pretty much the same. Maybe the trees were bigger, maybe some things had gone downhill a little bit, but new things popped up, but regardless, I thought to myself you know what? The only thing that's really different is me and my mindset. That's what's changed. So oftentimes around us, we'll go back to a certain area or a certain thing and the thing is pretty much the same, but it's our mindset and it's our progression that makes all the difference. What are your thoughts on that?

Steven Ginsburg:

I love what you just said and I'll tell you what I'm really tuned into where that makes all the difference. What are your thoughts on that? I love what you just said and I'll tell you what I'm really tuned into where that's all concerned. I love that you were driving on prospect road towards that school. Wow, what a great talking point within the answer here. Yes, we are that prospect in life, driving down this road and heading towards that place, that institution of education and fulfillment, and how fitting. And that road doesn't necessarily change as we go along towards a destination where we learn, where we grow, where we heal and where we find out that it's the changes within me that matter most, it's not what everyone else around me does. So I just love again. Thank you, that's a gift for me from you today, unexpectedly. Prospect Road on the way to the university.

Steve Coughran:

SI love that and I mean it's such a great topic and that's why I'm so glad that we're talking about this, because what an amazing opportunity to be able to repent and repair and to fix ourselves and to move forward in life and have these fresh starts.

Steve Coughran:

I mean, can you imagine if you made one mistake in your life and the rest of your life, you these fresh starts? I mean, can you imagine if you made one mistake in your life and the rest of your life you had to live with it and it's like this thing that holds you back and you can never progress? I mean, how terrible would that be? Because we all make mistakes and so I'm just grateful for that, for fresh starts and just for that idea. Like, hey, who I was in the past, even the guy 20 years ago, 25 years ago at school, is not the same Steve today, and I'm constantly reinventing myself. But, steven, talk to me a little bit more about what gets in the way of people reinventing themselves, in getting past this idea Like, what do you have to say to them or how do you help them to move forward?

Steven Ginsburg:

You know, there's a little bit of repetition in my answer. I'm not apologizing for it. I think it's good that there is, because again, it's that shame and shame is such a lie, steve Areas, where we've fallen short and people fall short If that shame is going to dictate terms, if that shame is going to shackle us and many times it does into the realm and the pain and the rid ourselves and cleanse ourselves of that shame and to move forward, because that is where the healing comes from and that's where, really, spot on with what you shared, that's the important part to not get stuck. That's where we tie into. That's who I was, that's not who I am, that's not who I will be. And a day at a time that is an ongoing process through life, a day at a time that is an ongoing process through life.

Steve Coughran:

I love that and even talking before this recording, you're telling me about yesterday and how it was so hard, and I just love how you incorporate these messages even in your everyday living and you're like hey, steve, that's how to take one call at a time, get through each call and it's just one day, one call, one day, one conversation, one email, whatever it is. But when we break it down like that, we can really make progress and we won't get so overwhelmed by this like big, macro thing that we have to do. So this has been a great conversation, steven. Thanks for bringing up this topic, because it's a message that I needed to hear today and I'm sure a lot of people out there need to hear it as well. So I appreciate your insights.

Steven Ginsburg:

Steve, thank you for focusing on the solution, as always, and it is truly, fundamentally, a design for living and it truly works a day at a time for all of us and there is hope for a solution today within everything contextually.

Overcoming Shame and Rebuilding Life
Embracing Fresh Starts and Healing