Guilt about my past immature/irresponsible behavior

Old 10-18-2009, 01:49 AM
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Guilt about my past immature/irresponsible behavior

Hi Everyone,

I have posted on this site several times in the past. I am an alcoholic with about 3-4 weeks of sobriety. Grew up in an alcoholic home. When I was in grade 10, about 15 years old, my father got me a job at a local grocery store as a stock boy. It was a great job since the pay was good. My dad stuck his neck out for me by asking the manager for the job. I worked at it for a while but then began to call in sick and come up with other false excuses for being unable to show up for my shift. The truth was I wanted to be with my friends out drinking on a Friday or Saturday night instead of out in a parking lot putting groceries into customers' cars. I admit that I dropped the ball. I was so immature and irresponsible. Two guys I know from my high school worked at the same job for years and did well since there were often pay increases. I have written extensively on this site about the anger and resentment I hold towards my parents for not helping me with my university education. I will never know if I would have been able to save enough money for tuition, housing etc. if I had continued with the job until I graduted from high school. I feel guilty since I know of so many other people who DID suck it up and do the job, whatever it might have been to earn money for their future university studies. My two older brothers never worked during high school and had no problems paying for their university education since they were both able to live at home during the school year and in the summer while doing summer work....I feel so terrible about my lack of maturity. I had the same trouble in university; unable to hold down a part-time job to try and help pay for my tuition, rent... since I was in a difficult program (difficult for me), Commerce, and just could not balance my life-work and school, like so many other students did. I ended up dropping out of university because of financial difficulties on three different occassions, and remember a friend telling me that "working part-time and going to school full-time is not that difficult..." I felt resentful because he was so gifted ( he later won a Rhodes Scholarship), and I did not have the confidence or belief in myself that I could pass my courses while working....

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Old 10-18-2009, 06:34 AM
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Hi Patk! I can understand having guilt over past behavior. I've done my own long list of things I am ashamed of. I'm only 4 months sober and going through the steps by myself and trying to figure this stuff out.

Given that, the only thing I could say have no control over those things now. Right now I think you should just leave those things in the past and realize that you can't change them.

Going through the steps could help you discover some of the reasons you did the things you are feeling guilty about. There are some great questions in the step study section that helps one to attempt to figure these things out and come to terms with them. I highly recommend them!
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Old 10-18-2009, 03:47 PM
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AKA 'grewupinabarn'
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I am paraphrasing this a bit:
"Recovery/serenity happens when we give up hoping for a better past"
Learn from the past, and learn well, but don't expect the past to get any better. And it may get ugly on close inspection. Even in alanon, working the steps can be challenging as one turns over life's rocks and logs. I am guessing that you are experiencing a bit of that 'eewww' reaction that can result from a moral inventory. But you will find some gems and gold along with the bugs and worms.
(I actually think some of the bugs under rocks are really cool, but that is a treehugger's opinion)

Recovery is hard work and you are to be applauded for the time you have stayed sober so far.
I attend an AA meeting along with alanon meetings because recovery in AA is about life and death, and is so inspiring.
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:05 PM
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To thine own self be true.
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Patk, one of the rules I live by is to NEVER compare myself to others. There is just no comparison between you and your brothers; or you and your acquaintances. Where you have unique strengths and talents, they do not. You may not be able to see them right now, but you will.

Another rule I live by is that whenever I feel guilty, I stomp it out. The past is past; live for today. Easier said than done, I know, but once you teach yourself to recognize guilt when it comes up, and once you recognize that it will POISON your mind and your life, you will be better able to make healthy decisions for yourself. And remember, you may have been immature, but THAT is exactly what your teenage years are for: to try things out and do the best you can; but it's really only practice. As you get older, you will see how far you have come since then. Try not to be so hard on yourself. We were ALL teens once and we all did stupid things back then.

One thing that helps me immensely that I have recently learned to do, is to cultivate a life of gratitude. Try to find the "blessings" in all that you see, think and do. Be grateful for the small things in life. Thank your Dad for helping you to get that job and you will see that something comes of doing so.

Lastly, it is NEVER too late to start changing your life. I can't tell you all the ways I messed up from age 13 onward. I spent my entire twenties drunk and doing stupid things. I honestly don't know how I made it. But I sobered up and when I was about 31, I went back to school. I worked for the school and received housing for payment, and I lived with three 18 years olds on campus. I didn't finish college until I was 35 years old but I did it. My life is a hundred thousand times better now.

Look toward the future sweetheart. Keep your head up and your eyes straight ahead. Don't look back, don't look down, don't look side-to-side; just straight ahead. You're doing great!
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