Coming to terms with one’s own past

This week’s Sunday New York Times has a great piece by David Carr where he goes back 20 years in his life to when he was a crack addict.  He investigates his experience through interviews with people that knew him, medical and arrest records, and most powerfully, people that took custody of his twin infant daughters while he took years to get clean.

There’s a lot of great aspects to the story.  One of my favorite is his ability to learn from the addict experience without romantic notions, or denial of responsibility:

I always thought that people who spent endless amounts of time
drilling into their personal histories are fundamentally unhappy in
their lives, and I’m not. I’m ecstatic in my own dark, morbid way and
subscribe to a theory of the past that allows the future to unfold: We
all did the best we could.

I find that the ability to forgive yourself for your mistakes, something Buddhists refer to as avoiding the "second arrow" is really about cutting yourself some slack.  Cutting yourself slack for time spent as a crack addict poorly parenting two twins is somewhat monumental, but clearly possible.  Check it out.