Forgive and forget. It sounds simple enough, but forgiveness is not always easy to achieve. In fact, it is often one of the most difficult things that you can do.
Forgiveness is woven into the fabric of drug rehab in Florida. It is an essential element of recovery that most people deal with along the way. While you will probably struggle with letting go of resentments for wrongs done to you, the most difficult person to forgive—and the one who needs it most—might be yourself.
Forgiveness Can be an Active Choice
Oftentimes, forgiveness is viewed as a state of emotion, like falling in love or crying over a sad movie. Either you can naturally forgive or you cannot. However, that is not necessarily true. Forgiveness in recovery can be a choice that begins with taking action.
Like any major life decision, working through appropriate steps can help. The somewhat controversial Austrian doctor and psychotherapist, Alfred Adler, called it “acting as if.” A more modern adaptation is probably more familiar, namely, “fake it until you make it.”
Because addiction can, in many cases, alter your abilities to feel certain emotions and act appropriately, you might think of “acting as if” as a sort of psychological training. It can help you learn how to forgive.
Grudges Hold You Back in Recovery
Forgiveness is one of the most common stages of addiction recovery for a reason. Without it, grudges continue to gnaw at your emotional well-being. They give you something else to focus on besides dealing with addiction. Letting go helps put you back in control, which might be a scary concept after being controlled by drugs or alcohol.
As a person battling addiction, you may have numerous layers that cover the person you really are. They grow over time as protective devices that shield you from others and from yourself. Grudges are one of those layers. Letting go peels away one of those layers that stands between you and the help that you need.
Forgiveness is Power recommends grabbing a pen and paper to work through these four steps:
- Write the name of the person you need to forgive.
- Elaborate with total honesty on how you feel about this person.
- Explain how forgiving this person will benefit you, no matter how it conflicts with how you feel right now.
- Acknowledge that need to forgive and commit to doing it.
Forgiving Yourself Might be the Hardest Thing You Have Ever Done
You did not become an addict on your own. Many people become addicts from wittingly or unwittingly self-medicating an underlying condition, such as PTSD. Some people are coerced into taking drugs or drinking. As addiction progresses, people filter through the life of an addict that take advantage and inflict intentional harm. All of them need your forgiveness, especially the ones you want to forgive least of all. Holding onto grudges only holds you back.
More importantly, the person who needs your forgiveness the most is probably you. That is usually the hardest step of all. Only through self-compassion can you ever hope to heal.
As an addicted person, you might feel shame. You may think you are unworthy of love or forgiveness. You may have faced societal and legal barriers between you and the normal life that you want. When you hold a grudge against yourself, you fortify those barriers instead of working your way through them.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest parts of recovery. When someone else caused you harm, it is natural to hold a grudge. When you feel shame about the past and anger about the ways you have mistreated yourself and others, a self-grudge might feel like the most logical result. However, it is only through forgiveness that you can really recover from the life that you want to leave behind.
Do not let traumas of the past dictate who you are today and who you have the potential to become. Drug rehab in Florida can help you leave addictive substances behind for good.
Contact us to learn more about our treatment programs and admissions.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.