Forgiveness is a key tool in recovery.
We can find out why by looking at its definition: Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to let go of negative feelings toward a person or a group for something that was done to you, regardless of the severity of the offense or whether they “deserve” forgiveness.
Of course, the key words here are “negative feelings.”
It is well established that negative feelings, in general, are incompatible with recovery. This doesn’t mean that unpleasant emotions can’t be sparked by other people’s behavior, but to hold onto those feelings is counterproductive and harmful.
Alcoholics and addicts seem to share a constellation of related traits and attitudes that they are best-served to be rid of: self-pity, resentment, irritability, self-centeredness, and immaturity (often dressed up as “being sensitive”).
Once you’re going through the twelve steps with a sponsor, forgiveness is a crucial part of getting over what you’ve done in the past. You’ll be making amends to others and asking for forgiveness as well. Not everything will be smooth sailing, but owning up to your past mistakes as a result of your addiction will make you a stronger person today.
Forgiving Yourself As An Addict
Forgiveness in recovery is crucial because it is part of the process of becoming free from all of these habits of being.
Most often, the process of introspection introduced as a tool of recovery leads the addict or alcoholic to discover that he or she bears some responsibility for the events leading to past anger and resentments and to damaged relationships.
That responsibility lies in actions taken out of self-centered fear—fear of not getting what one wants, of losing something one wants to hold onto, or, conversely, of getting something one doesn’t want (a jail term or unpleasant consequence)—and so those actions can be considered to have been the result of a sickness, the sickness of addiction.
If we can acknowledge our own sickness, it’s only fair to acknowledge it in others (even if it’s not specifically addiction). Thus: She lied to me because she was afraid of what would happen if she told the truth—I can identify with that because I’ve done it myself—therefore, if I am to be forgiven, can’t I, in turn, forgive others?
Forgiveness in recovery implies the acceptance of another’s humanity. It is tremendously freeing, and its opposite—holding on to grudges—is entirely destructive to the recovery process. Once you’re free from the burdens of the past and let go of the grudges holding you back, you’ll become a happier person with a greater sense of purpose. It becomes easier to stay sober once you forgive yourself and others for any destructive behaviors.
For more information on how important is forgiveness in recovery, contact Restore Health and Wellness at (818) 408-4942. We offer comprehensive programs for addiction treatment in Simi Valley and use proven methods to help you or a loved one break free from addiction. Visit us at 6918 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303 24/7 Admissions (818) 722-9019 On-Site Contact (818) 806-3914.