A lasting recovery from addiction requires a willingness to forgive. Forgiving yourself or others is often difficult and may take repeated attempts, but the benefits of forgiveness include a sense of freedom, confidence, and hope that will help you thrive in sobriety.
Not Forgiving Can Cause Harm While in Recovery
During your addiction, you may have felt a significant amount of pain. Feelings such as guilt, anger, or disappointment may have caused you to continue using. Once you discover life without using drugs or alcohol, you may find it hard to forgive yourself for things you did in the past. You may have caused harm not only to others but also to yourself.
The biggest danger of holding a grudge or harboring feelings of guilt is relapse. Thinking negative thoughts and dwelling in anger or shame can quickly turn into a craving for drugs or alcohol as a way to escape those thoughts and feelings.
Learning How to Forgive Yourself and Others
According to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), forgiving yourself and others by letting go of past wrongs is essential for a lasting recovery. Two of AA’s twelve steps, 8 and 12, encourage you to make amends to those you may have harmed while in your addiction. Doing this allows you to accept how your addiction has affected others and show accountability for your actions.
While it may not always be easy to let go of past mistakes and move forward in your life, it is possible. There are several ways to do this, such as:
- Practice kindness and learn to forgive yourself. This is essential while in recovery. You can learn to let go of what harm you may have caused others by being accountable and acknowledging what you have done. Being kind to yourself can help you heal and forgive yourself of past wrongs.
- Push away negative thoughts. Try to avoid negative self-talk at any measure. This will only harm you and affect your recovery. If you practice positive thinking, you can find hope while in recovery and improve your self-esteem. Practicing meditation can help calm your mind and generate a more positive outlook.
- Develop new coping skills. Drugs and alcohol may have been used to help you cope with feelings of guilt or shame. Finding new coping methods can help you let go of the past and move forward. Writing down your thoughts in a journal is a great way to deal with your feelings in a positive way. You can write whatever you think and not feel judged for doing so.
- Attend support group meetings. Groups such as AA encourage forgiving yourself and others. These groups can give you the support you need so you will not feel alone in your journey. Hearing first-hand accounts of how others have learned forgiveness can help you find ways to do so yourself.
Are You Struggling with a Substance Use Disorder?
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder and need a treatment center in Indiana, Anabranch Recovery Center in Terre Haute is here to help. You are not alone. Our team of dedicated professionals can help put you on the path to recovery. We offer a range of programs to meet your needs, such as residential treatment, detox, and a family program. To find out how to begin your journey to lasting sobriety or to get answers to any questions or concerns, contact us online today.