Sometimes I think about how much time I spent drinking,
stuck in the bar, stuck in the bottle; trapped in the infinity doomloop of self-obssession and chemically altered thoughts.
But I don't think of it as time wasted
(see what I did there?)
though it does occasionally take my breath away when I think about the sheer volume of hours days weeks years spent in sickness.
The AA literature suggests that we "do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it."
Sometimes when people reference that bit of the lit they sound as though they are following (or issuing) an order.
But it's not.
Not regretting the past, nor wishing to shut the door on it, is not an order to follow -- it is a result. Specifically the result of working the 12 Steps (and, not to put too fine a point on it, a particular result promised before you are "half way through" Step 9.)
For me, this result is also rooted in the beginning of the 12 Steps, and understanding the disease concept of alcoholism.
To express how I understand this with a metaphor:
Someone who spent the first 20 years of their life in a wheelchair may think wistfully about what it might have been like to grow up free from that confinement -- but they probably don't get angry with themselves for not having spent their childhood in ballet or track -- because it's not that they didn't do those things (and thus "wasted" that time/opportunity), it's that they couldn't do those things.
The same is true for me when I understand the disease concept of alcoholism, and when I take the first step in understanding how powerless I am over it. It's not that I didn't do healthier, better things -- it's that at that time in my life I couldn't do them.
I had to have been who I was to be who I am.
And if I like who I am now, then nothing that happened before is really worth regretting.