Can't escape the past

So my name is Melissa. I’m 44 years old and have a colorful past, as they say. I’m not exactly sure where to start, so I’m just going to talk. So when I was 33, I tried meth for the first time. Before that I had dabbled in a lot of different things, but with meth it was like a love affair. I was a college student in the process of getting my masters degree in communication studies. What happened was I was betrayed by my best friend, who slept with the guy I was in love with at the time. After that happened, I just thought I needed new friends. And I found them, in spades unfortunately. My life went down so fast and so hard, I can’t begin to explain the hell that is meth addiction. You will find yourself in situations that you never dreamed would happen and you find yourself making choices you never thought you would make. I met my ex fiance during that time, and we eventually got together. What attracted me to him was that he carried himself differently then the tweaker guys I was surrounded by. He was working, he was confident and clean cut. He had just gotten out of prison for 2nd degree murder for a horrible crime that occured when he was 16. I thought I could trust him, but I was wrong. I caught him in a lot of lies, but I stayed because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. But after two miscarriages we were both wreaked. In 2013 he got arrested for getting into a fight with our neighbors and went back to jail for parole violation. Almost a month later, he and two other guys broke out of jail, and I went with him. They caught the other two that night. They caught me and my ex about four days later in salt lake city. I had never been to jail before, but it wasn’t a completely negative experience. But it was a life changing one. It’s been ten years now and I have worked hard to move on, to change. I go to NA, I have been sober off meth for 8 years. But people still bring up the past, and I have a really hard time trusting anyone. I can’t control what people think, I get it. What happened was awful, and what I did wasn’t any better. But I wish I could be allowed to move on. Now I feel like I have spent so much time painting a picture that I’m a changed woman that I created a life that I don’t recognize myself in. And I just feel exhausted from trying to prove that I’m not who I used to be. I’m not mad at anyone, but I definitely need to make some changes.


Hey @Melissa, first off, welcome to Heartsupport! You’re in a good place here.

Second off, congratulations for 8 years clean! That’s a huge achievement!

It’s a damn shame that people can’t let go of who you used to be. I’m glad you recognize that you can’t control what they think, but how the hell do they expect you to move on with your life if they keep you in the same box? How are you supposed to grow in their eyes if they keep cutting you down? This hits near and dear to me because by brother battled with meth and fighting off a felony before he got clean almost 10 years ago. No one has forgotten, but it’s irrelevant now. He’s not the same person he was then. He’s a positive light in the family, a hard worker, a good husband and dad. What kind of terrible people would we be if we didn’t let him grow into himself? What kind of relationship would we have if we kept him in the same spot he was a decade ago? If under those circumstances he was committed to his sobriety, he would have been best off cutting ties with us. That would have been such a waste of potential for a great relationship.

I feel for you having people in your life who can’t see who you are now. I know you know this, but you get to decide what you can live with. If you can live with people bringing up your past, that’s okay. If, however, you’re looking for a change like you said, maybe the right thing would be not necessarily to find new people, but to fall in love with yourself. To that end, if the old people are keeping you down, you might consider the Al-Anon concept of “letting go with love.” You can still love and care about them, but tell them you can’t let them dictate your life anymore, and until they can accept you on your terms, you don’t want them contacting you.

For what it’s worth, I respect you for your long sobriety. I think it’s awesome that you were working on your master’s degree. That shows a lot of drive and grit. I appreciate that you came here to tell your story, grounded but real. I think you are a good person who can do a lot of good for a lot of people. Thank you for sharing :hrtlegolove:


I’m with SheetMetalHead. You’ve overcome a great deal, in fact more than a lot of people could.

It sounds like you have escaped your past, just not the people who want to remind you of it. My son also did jail time and had a hard time getting off drugs. He didn’t really get his life in order until he moved to another part of the country.

Maybe moving doesn’t feel like something you want to do, but it’s not good to keep subjecting yourself to people who seem determined to lock you into an identity that doesn’t fit.

You also have the option of no longer trying to prove that you’ve changed. They might be more convinced of your change when you decide that reacting to their badmouthing is beneath you.

Another or additional approach would be to calmly ask questions such as, “how does it benefit you to keep reminding me of my past?” Or, “do you really believe reminding me of my past helps me?”

There’s a very strange yet common family or even friends dynamic in which they really don’t want to see each other change. They may not admit it, in fact this change resistance us usually subconscious. There are some very base motives for such behavior, none of which are very flattering. One of them is to attain dominance through triggering the insecurity of others.

No good comes from talking to people who behave this way about their possible motives. Instead, just asking those questions or something similar might make a difference.

One way or another, however you choose to do so, you have the right to assert your freedom from past baggage.

Let us know how it’s working out for you. Wings


This right here.

I won’t pretend I’ve been through half of what you’ve been through, @Melissa, but I did have the same issue where for many years of my life I struggled to be a functional member of society, but I did eventually turn my life around and, ironically like Wings said, I had to move away from everything and start fresh in order to do it. When I eventually returned home, nobody wanted anything to do with me because the couldn’t believe the drastic changes I had made, pulling myself up and back around. After a while it just wasn’t worth it to me anymore. I know the work I put in to change and I don’t need anyone’s approval that bad.

I had a similar situation when my husband and I got married after knowing each other for like 2 months (I encourage everyone NOT to do this for the record.) But as one might expect, we both got tons of shit for it from both sides of the family before we both finally decided all we need is each other. I think around the 5 year mark in our marriage they stopped doubting out decision. We’ve now been married for just short of 9 years (anniversary in a couple weeks) and just had a daughter. I’ve never been happier with anyone than I am with my husband.

People like to think they know what they would do in given situations or assume what the best choices are, but the honest truth is they have not walked in your shoes and so they can never fully understand your motivations and choices. They don’t have to though. Take pride in what you’ve been through and overcome. While it’s nice to have backup, I’ve found that life gets a lot less stressful when you can decide those people aren’t worth stressing over because you’re better than that. You’ve overcome many very hard things in your life and nothing anyone says or does can diminish those accomplishments.


Thank you all so so much for the encouragement and wisdom. You really don’t know how much it means. Yeah after ten years I don’t have much to prove anymore. I think my actions and attitude speak for themselves. I am seriously considering moving in a year, I just have some affairs to take care of, and then decide exactly where to go. Being in a small town can be brutal when you make mistakes. I know it’s not just me. There’s others I was locked up with who struggle as well. Some can rise above, and I applaud their success and hard work. Others are caught in a continuous spiral of self destruction. I’ve seen a few who didn’t survive it, while others managed to get the help they needed. I’m just glad that I could go a different route, especially after everything that happened to me. And I’m grateful for support like this, to be honest and finally have no judgement.


From: Rohini_868

hi Melissa!!

My goodness, that is a whole lot of stuff to undergo in such a short period of time! There is so much loss and pain and suffering that you’ve experienced and I’m truly sorry that life has thrown so many things your way!

But I wanna tell you that you have survived it. You’ve gone through so much and I’m glad you’re here with us, glad you’re still fighting today. Your past doesn’t define you. It helps shape you yes, but it does not affect your value or worth as a human being. You’re done your time and you’re now a fre woman. I’m not sure who are the persons who bring up the past with you, but I’d like you to be able to say:
That person you’re talking about? She’s from the past. The one who did those things, made those mistakes, she’s gone, she’s buried in the past. Right now, who you’re talking to is the woman I am now. I have grown from that, learnt from that, and I don’t intend to be that anymore. So if we’re going to talk, please let me know which version of me you want to have a relationship with, whichversion of me you’re holding on to, because if it’s the old me, then you can’t make space in your heart for the new, improved me and I’d like you to get to know her."

I’m proud of you, friend. This was a LOT to go through, and you’re so strong to be here still kicking butt and still standing! I hope you have found a way to make peace with your past too, and I do hope that those around you can embrace the person you are now. Everyone deserves to feel peaceful inside, and that’s my hope for you. Once you’re okay with you, others will respond to that. So many life coahes out there have similar stories, and I hope others can find inspiration here in your story.

Thank you for your trust in sharing here with us!


From: eloquentpetrichor

Welcome to the forum, Melissa! It is lovely to meet you and read your story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us and trusting us with your story.

You are an incredible person. Addiction is so difficult. It can take hold of you at a low point and stick around forever. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Nor do the decisions of your past. You have overcome so much and you have made such incredible strides to better yourself and move forward.

The point of jail is to rehabilitate people who take missteps on their path in life and it sounds like you have righted your footing and are powering on in so many positive and wonderful ways. I know I’m just a stranger on the internet but I am proud of you for being sober for 8 years and for working to improve your life and move on from your past. You are amazing for that :hrtlegolove:

Who are the people who keep bringing up the past? Are they your close friends and family? If so could you tell them that you want to move on and put your past behind you and to please stop mentioning it? If they are coworkers or acquaintances would you be able to do the same or be able to find a way to not have to be around them. Like Wings suggested with possibly moving to a new place. It can be a scary thing to move somewhere new and to leave people and places that are familiar but sometimes it is the best thing for us to do to grow.

Thank you again for sharing your journey with us and for opening up. You are indeed in a safe place to find support and share anything you need or want to share and I hope you keep sharing with us whenever you wish. I look forward to hearing from you again. Stay strong :hrtlegolove:

P.S. I see that you responded while I was typing this so I just wanted to say that I am also from a small town and I know how difficult it can be to be in that environment and have people know your issues. It seems like everyone is always in everyone else’s business even if they have no right to be. I’m glad you are looking into moving and you are planning it out so you can find a good new location to move to and hopefully find a fresh start the way you deserve. You’ve got this, new friend :hrtlegolove:


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