Learning how to forgive is something we should do regardless our situation. Living life to the fullest is only possible once we have made peace with everything and everyone around us and most importantly, with ourselves. Through our time on earth, we will all be presented with situations where our judgment will be put to the test. Moments where letting all sorts of negative feelings take over our minds can happen in a split second without us even noticing what’s going on.
These moments lead to bigger choices, and these choices can be the entry gate to regret or resentment towards a situation, a person or a moment in life. The importance of forgiveness becomes more relevant as time goes by and we start to realize on our own, that at the end of the day, all those memories, thoughts, grudges and so on, bring nothing to our lives other than unnecessary weight.
If you are experiencing difficulties, obstacles and hardships, learning how to forgive others is crucial; and learning how to forgive yourself is what defines whether we get to move forward with our life or not. Such situations, where everything goes down a path of despair and isolation like in my case when I was a drug addict, mold the better part of what our remaining time on earth will be like.
Here are 6 things you need to know about forgiveness and addiction.
Grudges won’t let you heal
To me, addiction has always been about losing, and recovery about regaining. I got back in contact with all of those who really loved me, those who had stood by my side through thick and thin. Recovery was also a period to evaluate who I really needed or was worthy of being in my life. There are many people that will come for a while and leave. Some of them will stay for longer than others, some will cause more harm than calm, and some will just be there whenever we need them.
The people or situations that hurt us or affect us in any negative way more than once, shouldn’t be welcomed back in our life. Even though pain and suffering can be great teachers, it is important that we find constructive ways to grow and learn in life. However, when we do feel them, the main thing we should do is take the lesson and let the bad feelings pass and disappear, don’t hold on to them, it will not be worth it.
Resentment tends to be present quite often in the life of an addict. When I was going through addiction recovery I realized that I used to blame every person, every situation or any factor for my problems, looking to escape my own responsibility and have a ‘good’ excuse to keep using drugs and alcohol.
This attitude led me to resent and hate deeply pretty much everyone and everything because ‘they were making my life miserable’. The anger and bitterness blinded me to the point where I actually believed I was a victim of my addiction and I had no options whatsoever.
After going through my rehab process I realized that getting past that blame game and away from those feelings was the only way to reborn and grow towards my second chance in life. It allowed me to welcome people that only wanted the best for me, it let me enjoy new situations and live truly; think of resentment as a weight that’s so heavy it won’t allow you to move on until you drop it.
Respect the past & embrace the present
Whenever you go through an addiction, there are two very common trains of thoughts. The first one is the hopelessness when you hit rock bottom and just feel nothing will ever be better; and the second one is when you start to believe that everything you did in your past has gotten you here, you have wasted it and it’s something you will never get back.
The truth is that the past is gone and nothing can be changed, and dueling over it will certainly not change our present either. I am a firm believer that in life everything happens for a reason, so, what has happened in the past has brought you up to this moment and whether you like it or not, if you don’t start to look to your front, this exact present will pass without you seizing it too.
We have to embrace the moment we’re in. If things aren’t going the way we wanted, instead of looking back with regret, look forward with hope, because though everything we’ve left cannot be changed, everything ahead of ourselves is waiting for us to mold it.
In order to move on with my life and continue with the process of rehabilitation, I understood that addiction is a disease, and that was the key to forgiving others as well as forgiving myself.
There are a billion things that most addicts wish we had known from the start, and a million things we’d love to share with our loved ones regarding addiction. From understanding how it works to acknowledging that deep inside we never wanted to hurt or disappoint anyone who loves us. The sooner we accept addiction as the disease it is and understand what that implies for everyone going through the process, the more we will be able to help and ensure that things will get better with each passing day.
Addiction recovery is not only about giving up abusing any substance. It’s also about accepting and loving ourselves again. It’s imperative to learn how to deal with our best and our worst before we can move onto a new life.
Leaving behind the pain and sadness caused by others and ourselves won’t make much of a difference if we’re unable to make peace with our own past, our decisions and our life as it is right now.
Forgiving ourselves is the first step; it means we will be embracing who we really are and not an idealized version of ourselves grown in our minds by others. We will be taking everything in, the good and the bad and accepting that even though we are not perfect, we are a better person after leaving rehab and we will continue to improve as time goes by.
Meditation to control
Gaining control over our minds is the best way to gain control over our emotions. Meditating is the key to achieving this. As an addict you learn how important it is to control yourself, everyday stress, anxiety, and even social pressure can act as triggers that would send us back to the addiction path.
Taking a moment to relax, breathe and concentrate daily through meditation can help us focus on ourselves, the solutions we need and how to sort through the regular problems without losing what we’ve worked so hard to get.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction, know that with patience and forgiveness everything can be done. With love as the fuel to its engine, succeeding in a recovery program will become much more likely once we are able to move on from all negative feelings we hold against old memories, actions or people who don’t deserve to be with us.
If you’d like to ask a question or know more about forgiveness through recovery, leave us a comment below.