Asking for forgiveness is one of the most important steps in addiction recovery. Substance abuse can alter a person’s behavior to such a degree that they can even hurt the people they love most.
Whether it’s part of a 12-step program or simply a revelation that comes during therapy, many recovering addicts will ask for forgiveness from their loved ones for their past behavior.
However, it’s not just the loved ones that need to offer forgiveness. In many cases, self-forgiveness is crucial to addiction recovery. Here are three reasons why:
- Ending Guilt
People dealing with substance abuse often feel extremely guilty when acknowledging their past behavior. Unfortunately, while it’s a good sign when you realize the effects your actions have had, without the ability to forgive yourself, this guilt can bring up many negative emotions:
- Even anger
Emotions are always high during recovery. But without the ability to forgive yourself, you will needlessly have to battle through your recovery through the lens of guilt, which may make you wonder whether you deserve forgiveness or to stay sober.
- Confronting the Past
When you don’t forgive yourself, you may also try to avoid thinking about your past actions and mistakes. It can be painful to bring up those moments, especially when recovering from substance addiction and in a vulnerable place.
But self-forgiveness can offer you the courage to confront your past and start dealing with it. This is the foundation of addiction recovery. Many behavioral therapies seek to clarify past pains and traumas that may have led you to substance abuse. You can negatively impact your recovery when you don’t dare to confront this past.
- Becoming More Positive
A positive mindset can do a lot to help you during your recovery. However, it’s almost impossible to remain positive when you don’t forgive yourself for your addiction and past actions.
Because on some level, this lack of forgiveness may reflect that you still blame yourself and don’t truly believe you can move past your addiction.
But learning to forgive yourself can help you see your life from a new and more positive perspective. It can help you get a clean slate and make peace with yourself during your recovery. Patients who forgive themselves often develop a more positive outlook that helps them envision their future without drugs and alcohol.
Forgive Yourself to Move on
Human beings make mistakes. Some are small, and some may hurt people. The important thing to remember is that you can move on from your mistakes and redeem yourself.
And the road to redemption and sobriety begins with self-forgiveness. And the ability to acknowledge past mistakes. Once you can make peace with yourself and build a more positive outlook, you can manage your recovery effectively.