a thousand pasts and no future

“Choose [your memories] carefully. Memories are all we end up with … You’ll have a thousand pasts and no future.” –The Secret Behind Their Eyes (film)

forget about the sunshine by whatmegsaid

A friend shared this On Point episode with me and made a connection between it and resentments.

This matter of appropriate, helpful, deliberate forgetting is very fascinating.

We’ve talked before about role of the brain’s memory circuits. I’ve also been very interested in the similarities between PTSD and addiction. Both are characterized by intrusive, powerful, multi-sensory, involuntary memories.

The On Point episode discusses that the capacity this helpful forgetting relies on executive function which we’ve discussed is impaired AND depleted.

So…addicts may have limited capacity for this kind of helpful forgetting. Maybe this explains and supports 12 step recovery’s emphasis on letting go of resentments.

Further, the idea in the quote above may help explain the emphasis on gratitude and the power of gratitude lists. Aren’t gratitude lists really an attempt to choose what to remember?

1 Comment

Filed under Research, Treatment

One response to “a thousand pasts and no future

  1. PTSD is the result of a major crisis. It takes a “crisis” to awaken us from our unsciousness. The connection between PTSD and addiction is that the experience of the crisis is severly painful..because it awakens deep rooted emotions. Addictions will distract us from the pain of the emotion…until we discover the path to healing is through the experience of the emotional pain. This “paradox” is the key to total freedom… from PTSD and the associated addictions…
    Chuck Barbarow