“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” -a quote by Dr. Maya Angelou
Most people live this way, in all reality; addicts are not exempt from this.
Believe it or not, most people who become addicts are doing all they can to cope with some deep-seated pain. It’s not that any of us wanted to become slaves to our addictions; we just didn’t know a better way out of the situation.
No one taught us how to healthily deal with pain, anger, sadness, frustration or fear without succumbing to these things; so we chose to self medicate because it was the only answer we could come up with. We didn’t know any better.
Although, it was just a temporary answer that required a more permanent solution of learning to cope with these feelings.
The ‘Do Better’ quote, possibly one of the more famous Angelou quotes, asks us to allow ourselves to recognize these misgivings and move forward guilt-free.
As we grow and learn, as addicts, we have a tendency to look back at the destruction our addictions have caused in our lives and the lives of our loved ones and feel a certain amount of guilt tied to that. Much like the quote, we begin to see the error of our old ways and how destructive they were.
We see where our lives began to go off the rails and we see the choices we made that drove the train further into the ditch.
When you do this, you need to cut yourself some slack because you were only doing the best you could with the information you had at the time. No one, not even your inner voice, can fault you for that.
Listen, anyone in the world can review the replay and say where you could have done better, or done more. Very few people are on the field trying to dodge and evade being tackled to the ground.
Don’t let their analysis of the situation, after the fact, get into your head.
Remember part of maintaining a sober lifestyle is implementing new coping mechanisms and new solutions instead of turning to old vices.
No one can fault you for not doing more when you didn’t know how. Once you know how, however, you are partly required to stand up and do better -to be more- than anything you were previously ok with accepting from yourself.
Like the great Maya Angelou said, ‘I did what I knew until I knew better. Then I did better.’