How Can Learning About Forgiveness Help Me Recover from Addiction?


The road to recovery relies upon setting realistic goals and having realistic expectations. These goals serve as stepping stones to aid in the healing process after perhaps years of substance use. Setting goals also helps you manage your progress and attain confidence and resiliency upon each new accomplishment. Part of the process is learning to forgive.

Forgiveness is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of recovery. The action of letting go has many mental and physical health benefits. Learning how to forgive yourself and others also provides vital teaching tools needed to sustain lasting recovery.

However, if you find yourself unable to reconcile unresolved feelings, you essentially erode your physical and emotional health. One study on forgiveness suggested that the act of forgiveness can immediately calm stress levels and lower heart rate and blood pressure. While some are more inclined toward forgiveness, the good news is that you can learn to become more forgiving. Just as with other skills learned in recovery, you can work on making a conscious effort to hone your ability to let go of past mistakes.

Accepting Yourself

No healing or mending relationship happens without first mending the relationship you have with yourself. Coming to terms with yourself and your life is the essence of acceptance. Without first sitting with your thoughts and emotions, it will only create more difficulties when moving forward. Looking at your past mistakes helps you understand that what happened in the past remains in the past. Such a practice helps you separate the person you once were when using, the person you are now in sobriety, and the person you want to be.

Analyze Your Feelings

Accepting yourself is a challenging process that could come with shame, guilt, and resentment. However, practicing mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or mediation allows you to move on from dwelling on your past. Such therapies also help you take the time to identify, examine and learn from the situations that trouble you. Reaching a place of forgiveness from these practices helps you realize why you did something. Such a realization is crucial to shedding light that there was likely some underlying belief or attitude rather than the addiction itself that prompted your behavior.

Analyzing your feelings also helps you acknowledge any residual negative emotions and find resolve for a better future. Reaching an understanding about the when and why also helps you gain perspective and makes it easier to forgive yourself and others. Remember, when you forgive yourself of your mistakes, you allow yourself the freedom to get to know and develop into what you’re about today and begin repairing your bonds with others.

Forgiveness Builds Bonds

Maintaining connections with others that support you, such as friends, family, peers, or therapists, is one of the best things you can do. Sharing your thoughts with others creates a soundboard for feedback. Getting another person’s feedback could offer you enlightenment to manage a troubling situation where you might have overlooked other possibilities or solutions. Feedback can also help you realize that you are too hard on yourself and others. Exaggerating a negative situation in your head is common and can make things appear worse than they are.

Sharing your emotions and what bothers you can also provide an immediate release of stress that you have been holding inside. Talking with a support group, therapist or friend, or family member is also good in reminding you that you are never alone with your challenges and that others share some of your experiences and troubles. Ultimately, sharing your emotions and staying connected with people that support you can also help you navigate and motivate you toward the forgiveness of yourself and others.

Be Patient With Yourself and Others

Apologies might not be enough to mend a relationship, and you might even get rejected. However, repairing a relationship takes time, and just because you are ready to move forward does not mean the one you are apologizing to is ready to forgive. You have to accept this and understand that when you forgive yourself and apologize sincerely, you will realize that you are no longer the person you were when using. Thinking carefully before making amends is essential; you should prepare for a response that might not be welcoming.

Remember, actions speak louder than words, and sometimes the person you are apologizing to might have a hard time believing or trusting that you are this new person. However, the act of forgiving yourself and apologizing helps you move forward to becoming the person you want to be. Being patient during this process and focusing on your recovery will, in time, help others see how far you have come. In some cases, they will welcome you back into their lives, and others might never reach this point, but you have to prepare to be okay with this.

The act of forgiveness, however hard, is beneficial to your mental and physical health as well as your recovery. It is essential to remember how far you have come and that you are a better person today. Though, if you are still finding it difficult, then the time to seek help is now. Choice House provides a comfortable and safe space where men can explore their emotions and work on the tools to sustaining long-term recovery. Choice House will help you realize your progress through effective treatment and therapy. We will also provide for you a setting like no other to develop trust and bonds with others that help set the foundation for lasting recovery. Remember, recovery is an opportunity for a fresh start in your life and that all begins with taking the first step toward sobriety. If you are ready to regain your self-confidence and rebuild connections with yourself and others, reach out to Choice House today by calling (720) 577-4422.

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