Shutting the Door on My Coked-Up Past

By Sam Lansky August 5, 2011

While my dad was recovering from a massive heart attack, I was on a coke run. Since then, I’ve tried to become a better son, while still struggling to shut the door on memories I want to forget.

I’ve been sober for several years now. But once a month, or maybe even more frequently, my past sneaks up on me and reminds me of the person I used to be. Always, I carry with me a low-level simmering anxiety, a flame that flickers now and again—when a man on the street looks familiar (didn’t I steal pills from that guy?), or when I’m walking down a side street somewhere in Hell’s Kitchen and suddenly remember stumbling down the block in a drunken stupor—but some fires burn brighter than others. Though I have made my amends, there remain transgressions that are unfixable, regardless of whatever 12-step dogma says about not regretting the past or wishing to shut the door on it. I regret many things in my past; I would shut the door on it if I could; and I am wary of the rhetoric of regretlessness that is so pervasive in recovery circles. “I wouldn’t take any [...] continue the story