The correlation between forgiveness and addiction recovery is vast. There is a lot to unpack regarding forgiveness, and forgiveness isn’t just a simple act. Whether you are trying to forgive others, seeking forgiveness from others, or working on forgiving yourself, these are all vital parts of your recovery.
Withholding forgiveness means you’re holding onto anger, resentment, and other negative feelings that do nothing to further your recovery. They can hold you back from your fullest potential.
When you grasp onto your own shame or blame others for their part in your addiction, you are living in the past. Rather than taking responsibility and feeling proud of the strides you’ve made, you are sulking in negative emotions. These do nothing to further your progress or growth.
Working to forgive is not just an important life skill but a necessary one while navigating recovery.
Holding onto resentment or blame may feel good in theory but blaming someone else for your mistakes or choices means you aren’t taking responsibility for yourself. This is the easy way out of facing yourself, but it doesn’t work. By sitting in that blame and soaking it in, you are letting anger control you.
When anger controls you, it can put you at risk for relapse. An article from the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine discusses the importance of maneuvering negative thinking and developing coping skills as the main tools of relapse prevention.
It isn’t a matter of avoiding those negative feelings but working through them to find peace. Forgiveness is the cognitive decision to release feelings of anger and resentment. Even if the person you are trying to forgive doesn’t necessarily deserve it, the act of forgiveness isn’t for them; it is for you. It isn’t about removing their responsibility or blame, but about you letting go of those feelings so you can take that first step to a healthier mindset.
Seeking Forgiveness From Others
Making amends is a significant part of your recovery. Even without forgiveness from others, the humility it takes to ask for forgiveness shows true strength and acceptance. If you can face someone you hurt during your time using, you are working toward facing yourself.
Speaking with someone you may have used, lied to, or treated poorly isn’t easy. You are probably facing some embarrassment. You may not even remember the thing you’re apologizing for. However, no one ever said asking for forgiveness was easy. You may be facing someone who is hurt, feels betrayed, or is angry, and they might not be ready to forgive you. That is something you need to accept in this process.
Those around you are facing their own battles within your recovery. You do not need their forgiveness to move forward. Knowing that you are facing them, listening to them, and making peace with yourself is what helps you move forward.
Forgiving yourself may be the most vital aspect of forgiveness in recovery, but it is also the most challenging. While working on your recovery, looking back at things you did while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can feel shameful. You probably feel guilty for something you did or said. Feelings of guilt and shame are strong and overpowering, which means they can easily lead to relapse. Using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for those emotions is expected but not necessary. Working on self-forgiveness can result in an improved sense of self.
It is essential to accept that you cannot undo the past but live with it and move forward during recovery. You don’t have to forget what you might have done that seems to lower your confidence, but rather release the negative emotions that correspond to those actions. Forgiving yourself goes a long way when seeking forgiveness from others. Even if they cannot let go of their anger, knowing you have accepted responsibility and learned from the past can help you. Knowing how you feel about yourself offers peace of mind through your important journey of recovery.
If you believe that you deserve to suffer for things you’ve done in the past, you are likely to sabotage your sobriety and relapse. Putting yourself at risk when you think you don’t deserve a full life is common. However, allowing yourself to let go of negative feelings such as shame and guilt puts you in a safer space mentally and emotionally.
Recovery means you need to confront your demons. You need to face your past, accept your actions, and keep working to do better. Knowing you are trying your hardest and deserve a happy life filled with possibilities doesn’t have to be such a distant idea. With self-forgiveness, you can achieve that goal.
Forgiveness Is Powerful In Recovery
Actively deciding to let go of negative emotions to focus on the future and its possibilities sounds lovely, but it isn’t easy. There is a lot of your past to work through and many people to speak with and listen to, including yourself. Discovering that you can find peace with your past, whatever that may be, can help you develop a more positive sense of self.
Sober living can also help you develop these skills in recovery. When you’re living with a group of sober people who share your recovery goals, you’re able to work on forgiveness and acceptance without distractions or potential addiction triggers.
SoberLivingNearYou.com is the ideal place to find a sober home to call your own. Whether it’s independent, part of a drug rehab, or owned by an addiction center, we’ll help you find a sober home for your specific needs and budget.
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