Recovery is where you’re going – not where you’ve been

By David Joel Miller.

If things are bad keep moving.

Recovery is about the future and the process of getting where you want to be.

When things are at their worse don’t look down, don’t look back, keep looking forward.

Road to a Happy Life

Road to a Happy Life
Photo courtesy of Flickr (shirokazan)

If right now things in your life look bad and you are tempted to give up, keep reminding yourself that your future is more important than your past. No matter how bad things may look from where you’re standing recovery is possible.

Whatever you issue, an emotional problem, an addiction or a severe mental illness, you should know that lots of others have had that problem or similar ones, and they have moved from being in the problem to being in the solution.

When things are bad it is easy to look down and see where you are and feel stuck in this terrible situation. You may be telling yourself that things “can’t” get better or that they will “always” be this way for you. You may feel that you are somehow different or that your issues are unique and that others are not having to struggle with the things you have to cope with.

The reality of this situation is that lots of people struggle with issues every day. Some stay stuck in the problem and some keep moving and eventually things change. The way of things is to change. People, on the other hand, they have to work at changing themselves.

We all have pasts. Some people’s pasts are a whole lot worse than others. Your past may have determined who you are today. It made you the person you are. It does not have to determine the person you become.

Whether you are 16 or 86, you can spend the rest of your life looking back over your shoulder at your past and wishing it had been different. But looking over that shoulder and saying, because a particular thing happened to you, nothing better can ever be, that keeps you stuck in the pain.

Embrace the future. Believe that change is possible. Change starts with changing you. Do new things if you want a new result. Keep your eyes focused down the road on where you want to go and see where the path of life might take you.

Without a dream, a vision of the future life can be a nightmare.

If you feel stuck look for some help. Here are some suggestions for getting that help.

Develop a support system

Getting help

Professional help.

12 step or other self-help groups.

Just because you have been in a bad place in the past does not mean your future is set in stone. There are no guarantees but people who keep moving towards recovery get a lot farther than those who give up and stay stuck in the past.

When you are living in the past you have no future. Where would you like your road of recovery to take you?

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at


One thought on “Recovery is where you’re going – not where you’ve been

  1. You’re blog is excellent. I always take something away from your posts even if its not relevant to my current situation. Thank you.


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