I like the idea that we evolve as a person, and that there is no way to divorce or ignore any part of our past, present, or future. I like that we build on our strengths from the past and learn from our weaknesses.
I consider the before recovery (BR) and after recovery (AR) time periods as quite different. BR is marked by a dwelling in the problem, numbing myself with alcohol and other drugs so that I could simply exist, but not really live. Since the first day, AR has been a solution oriented existence where I am strive for accountability in my actions and to live life on life’s terms to the fullest extent possible. Yet the BR is not a period with no merit and only misery. Nor is the AR a period of only bliss. Rather, I see the distinction between the two periods as one of direction or orientation – something as simple as the glass being half empty (BR) vs. half full (AR).
Importantly, the BR and AR periods work with the same basic materials of self. I find that in both periods, many of my interests, beliefs, avocations, pleasures, are similar. A clear distinction is in the BR period so much of my existence was a matter of potential and in the AR period actualizing that potential.
For a bunch of years now I have said and firmly believe that if everything I have ever done and every breath I have ever taken has gotten me to right where I am today, I would not change a thing. I realize that is a rather self-indulgent statement, and does not account for the trail of destruction I left while actively practicing my addictions, and I still do leave today but to a lesser extent. Recovery is a matter of progress and not perfection after all. I have a choice today of living into my experience, strength, and hope, or not, as I continue to build on my past self into my future self through my present day life.