If you haven't seen Matthew McConaughey's new Lincoln commercial, it's a must see. Not so much for the Lincoln car he's driving, (though it is nice) but for McConaughey's contemplative message about life. Once you get past the fact the one of Hollywood's sexiest guys is doing a commercial, you begin to really take in what he's saying, or pondering. It's quite existential. It's inspiring. Here is the script Matthew so wonderfully speaks, taking a rather long pause after each sentence:
"Sometimes you got to go back,to actually move forward.
And I don't mean going back to reminisce or chase ghosts.
I mean going back to see where you came from, where you've been, how you got here.
See where you're goin'.
I know there are those that say you can't go back.
Yes, you can.
You just have to look in the right place."
Is there any significance in this commercial when it comes to folks in recovery? Can recovering addicts take Matthew's words and apply them to their own lives in order to gain some mastery over their mental, emotional, and behavioral health?
Surprisingly, McConaughey's words can actually be applied by people in the recovery sphere. We dissect his script and explain its application to recovery below:
"Sometimes you got to go back to actually move forward."
This sentence packs a powerful punch. It's true. Sometimes you really do have to go back in order to move on with your life with a shot at peace and happiness. Not in the sense that you have to go back and beat yourself up over mistakes, trouble you've been in, grief you've caused others, chase ghosts, etc. No. Chances are you've beat yourself up enough.
Rather, just as Matthew states:
"I mean goingbackto see where you came from, where you've been, how you got here. See where you're goin'."
You didn't end up an alcoholic randomly. You haven't been carrying that weight of grief, anger, sadness, shame, etc. for no good reason. You aren't living with some internal emotional mayhem just because. Some "things" got you here. Family problems, a certain person, grief, anger, loss of a loved one, bullies, poverty, disappointment, ended relationships, etc. The list could go on and on.
Think about how you got here. Going back in recovery is essential for growth. In fact, it's the 4thStep in the 12 Step programs that will take you through a life inventory to see just where you came from, where you've been, and how you got here. This step is oftentimes quite scary for the newcomer, as the thought of honestly taking a look at your past can be incredibly frightening. Not only do you have to take a look at the part others may have played in your life of addiction, but first and foremost you must take a good look at how you let your instincts run amuck and how you used alcohol as a pain reliever and celebratory for the good and bad times of your life. In addition, you will be forced to stare at your pain face to face.
"I know there are those that say you can't go back. Yes, you can. You just have to look in the right place."
When it comes to recovery, just where is "the right place" to look when it comes to going back in order to move forward? Well, there are several options here. You can attend counseling, which is a wonderful tool to visit your past and with the help of a trained therapist, dig deep to get to the alcoholism. What led you to start drinking? What kept you drinking? Why in the world is it or was it so difficult to quit?
When you can identify the root issues and address them with the help of someone who has keen insights and success tips, you can experience peace. You can process and let go of the negative emotions you've been drowning in. You can move forward.
Another great place to perform some much needed "life inventory" work is the 12 Step support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). There you will have the opportunity to get yourself a sponsor/mentor and you can work the 12 Steps one by one, discussing each one with your sponsor as you go along. In Step 4 you are given the opportunity to visit your past and answer many questions about such. In Step 5 you can go over Step 4 with your sponsor, as talking to another person about your past and character defects is helpful in getting through it and moving on.
"Yes, you can."
I love how the commercial gives people permission to go back in order to tie up loose ends so that they can move forward with greater ease. After all, who wants to tote around heavy baggage from day to day? When it comes to recovery, everyone who begins to recover has some baggage from the past that holds them back. Great news is that you do not have to keep lugging that baggage around and there are tools you can use to shoot that baggage to the moon.
"See where you're goin'."
Go back. Dig deep. Unearth what's been driving you to drink. Process it. Take a look at it and understand at a deeper level. Then, take a deep breath and let it go with a firm resolve to keep your eyes on the future. Scan the horizon. Where do you want to go? What are your desires? Keep in mind you are given a clean slate in recovery. A blank canvas.
Now it's time to move forward. Go, allow the ebb and flow of life to push you forward and create a life you love.
Dominica Applegate has a BS in Psychology, an MA in Counseling and has worked in the mental health field for 12 years before launching her own business as a writer. Specializing in addictions, relationships, codependency, fitness and health, Dominica's work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck, because everyone can really create a life that they love.