“Our Past Matters”
“We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”
AA Big Book Page 83
We are so fortunate. We attend many AA meetings and therefore get to hear many stories that we can relate to. Stories of pain, petition, progress, perseverance, and purpose are unselfishly shared so that we can learn and grow.
There are many more stories out there that we can attach to.
Indeed.com claims that 6 billion pieces of content are produced for the internet daily. The best estimates are that to be at least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. (A quintillion is ten raised to the power 18. or a million million millions)
There are over 600 million blogs on the internet, with over 7.5 million blog posts published daily in 2023. (Read more at EarthWeb). People still read blogs today, and they will probably do so for many years to come; according to a tech jury, 77 % of Internet users say they routinely read blog articles. Demandsage reports that there are over 5 million podcasts with over 70 million episodes between them and 464.7 million podcast listeners globally.
We are just two stories. We produce mere megabytes of content, which is nothing compared to the daily mass of available information.
The sum of our existence (days alive) is measured in the 10’s of thousands. Those days are filled with experience moments from choices and lessons we’ve learned. Each moment is a memory (a data point) and represents movement closer to who we are at this exact minute. We are the aggregate of all of those occurrences. Furthermore, today’s choices will be made based on the raw data received from what we have learned, felt, and faced throughout our journey.
Every incident and event in life matters. They shape the future.
The Value of the Terrible
We put our hands too close to the hot flame somewhere in life. It hurt, and we remembered that and didn't do it too often in the future (hey, we're slow learners). In the moment, we didn’t laugh, but our brains (composed of about 85 billion neurons) learned. And, we have kept that fact in the “important” part of the cerebrum, recalling it when we are again near a fire and alerting others of our first-hand painful occurrence. So, the data keeps us AND others safe from repeating pain.
Outsiders and first-timers may feel uncomfortable and even cringe as we share, sometimes with laughter, that we flipped the car, puked up an expensive meal, or embarrassed ourselves at a family event. Yet, retelling such events reminds the teller that using begot calamity while reminding everybody in the room that the heartbreak and disaster are still out there.
The sharing of experiences is invaluable to the new and old alike.
The Power of the Pleasant
Similarly, we pull the positive when needed.
Today's world is driven by community opinion. We eat at a good restaurant, and we write good reviews. We want to try a new restaurant and learn from previous eaters’ experiences. We learn through listening to others’ histories.
Inherently, we look to mimic or mirror a positive. Instinctively, we learn through other people's actions and consequences.
An amazing transformation happens in sobriety if one allows it. We change from a basis of negativity to a foundation of positivity.
In recovery, we need to remember the consequences of our past choices. We need to remember the experience of our drinking and drugging days and what we have realized in learning since surrendering to a new lifestyle. The past is our most valuable asset for the future.
And most importantly, we need to pass these lessons on to others who have yet to live through what we have encountered. We need to reveal the negative and positive teaching through sharing. It is our responsibility as an elder statesmen.
“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.”
AA Big Book page 58
What matters is that we share our stories.
To whom our stories matter is the purpose of the share.
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a sober.coffee podcast titled #E19 AA Promises - Part II - Detailed Review… The podcast dropped on 8/11/2021. Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.