trying to let go of my past

by James
(North Yorkshire, England.)

I was what I consider a happy person through my childhood and adolescence. I went to university when I was eighteen and developed a drink and drug problem. The drugs stopped when I finished university and the drinking has slowed right down- I have virtually stopped now. I had a pretty large breakdown upon leaving university as a result of the drink and drugs and while I have carried on with my life and embarked upon a teaching career, I can't seem to let go of that period 1995- 1998. I am now 32 and I blame my lack of progress in teaching on that period. I have very little sense of self worth and when teaching and working with children I have an overwhelming sense of shame that I am this negative person not because of lack of opportunities in life but because I screwed up- I didn't have to take the drink or drugs after all.

I am constantly trying to forgive myself and pick myself up but always seem to fall flat on my face. I find it really hard seeing all my friends and brother making progress with their lives and start families. I am not sure whether I want to have children because if I can't be a positive male role model then there is little point. I have a feeling that I will always consider myself a drugs breakdown failure- you don't get any sympathy for that- more derision, as it is after all my own fault.

I have just completed a two part swim cycle challenge for the Mental Health Foundation- I swam 12 miles and cycled 150- both over two days- it is a charity that is dear to my heart- raising awareness and challenging stigma of mental health and learning difficulties like autism. I am starting therapy tomorrow and plan to stick with it- I have previously only had 3 or 4 four sessions in succession. I also look forward to receiving your emails.

I hope and pray that one day I can forgive myself for the mistakes made years ago.


Hi James, thanks for sharing. Good for you for your swim challenge! Way to go!!

You are so right. It's the act of not forgiving yourself that is beating you up and tearing you a part.

For me, I had a hard time forgiving others and that was what was tearing me a part.

I encourage you to see your past as a positive thing. Why? Now, you can encourage those who may be struggling with the hurtful decisions of youth and encourage them to choose healthy choices- not like you had made. The act of helping others is a great way to defeat depression. Use your mistakes to learn from, rise above and now encourage others.

I found great hope in stories of the past where lives where changed -allowing God to do the work and carry the burden. Once these people asked God to heal and carry the burden, their lives were changed. I chose to do the same. For me, it was a life changing moment. Ask God to forgive you and ask Him to help you forgive yourself...

"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." - 1 John 1:9 (New Living Translation)

There is hope! You are worth it James! Allow God to take your burden from you.

Read inspiring stories and ask for someone to pray for you at:

Merri Ellen

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