Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
-John W. Gardner

There are no literal second chances in life. The closest we can get is to look back, glean an important lesson from a perceived mistake, and use that lesson to move forward in a different, more conscious way. This doesn’t mean that mistakes are unforgivable, they are actually an important part of life and completely unavoidable. Mistakes create lessons that can be woven back into the fabric of our lives in meaningful ways, but they can’t be undone. Addiction is an emotional pattern of coping with reality subversively—circuitously. Often, we will use our addictions to cope with the emotional distress caused by our perceived mistakes, leading to more distress and a deeper need and relationship to our addictions. But we must learn to deal with mistakes in a healthy and constructive way. There can be profound shame and disappointment, especially for those who count consecutive days of abstinence, when the “mistake” is a slip back into use of the avoided substance or behavior. Successful recovery is rarely without fault and never runs in a straight line. So, it is very important that we become adept at personal correction, that we become skillful at righting ourselves constructively when we find we have drawn the path of our lives incorrectly.

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