In Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust there is a classic moment where he is eating a small cake called a madeleine. As he dips it in his tea he experiences a rush of memories from when he was a little boy and his Aunt Leonie would give him madeleine which had been dipped in tea as well. The memory was a very sweet one for the main character of the book. Yes, memories can be quite wonderful. They can also be quite instructive. As we review our past we can identify mistakes which were made and take action in the present to correct them. Where we get into trouble with memory is where we become so enwrapped in thoughts of the past that we neglect to take care of issues in the present. This can often happen when we have fears about moving forward and seek the past as a hiding place. It’s a funny thing about the past. When we’re waxing nostalgic, our past often seems rosy. This often happens with people in the program who miss some aspect of their drinking or drugging career because they have romanticized it. They might even begin to obsess about it. At that point it’s important for them to think about some of their not so rosy memories. That will jar their focus back to the present.
Personal Reflection: Do I spend too much time in the past?