Letting Go: Forgiveness in Addiction Recovery

Home | Letting Go: Forgiveness in Addiction Recovery

Forgiveness in Addiction Recovery

Through the process of healing from a substance abuse process, you may discover that you hold onto feelings of resentment, anger, and disappointment in yourself. While these feelings are very common for people in your situation, they can also hinder your progress. For this reason, forgiveness in addiction recovery is a valuable topic that warrants attention. The information below is dedicated to discussing the gift of self-forgiveness in addiction recovery.

The Damaging Power of Regret and Resentment in Addiction

As you make advancements in breaking free from damaging addictive substances, you may be surprised at how strong your feelings of anger, resentment, and regret can be. When we are seeing things clearly, it only makes sense that we will feel an enormous amount of regret over things we have done in the past.

Anger, resentment, and feelings of worthlessness relating to past transgressions can be heavy weights that are difficult to bear. These feelings can keep you trapped in a non-productive cycle of feeling that a happy life is something you simply don’t deserve. It can be beneficial to try to think about this from the perspective of a higher being. Would God want you to spend your entire existence suffering from the wrongs of the past? Or, on the other hand, would he want you to acknowledge your mistakes and move forward to a brighter future? Hanging on to negative emotions associated with things you’ve done wrong in the past only prevents you from fully recovering from your addiction.

Continued after video:

What Does Self-Forgiveness Really Mean?

Contrary to what some people believe, forgiveness is not the same as forgetting that an action was taken. You may never truly forget some of the wrongs you’ve committed in the past. You can, however, forgive yourself for these actions without forgetting that they occurred. In fact, failing to completely forget the actions can be a blessing. It can serve to remind you of how far you have come and the position you don’t ever want to return to.

If forgiveness does not mean forgetting the wrongs you’ve committed, what does it mean? To put it simply, forgiving yourself means that you are aware you have done inappropriate things and you love yourself enough to move past them. Forgiveness means you hate the actions you may have performed in the past, but you do not hate yourself. Rather, you’ve come to learn that you have an intrinsic value that far exceeds any wrong action you could have committed. Forgiveness, in essence, means you choose to see yourself the way God sees you.

How Does Self-Forgiveness Influence Recovery?

When discussing forgiveness in addiction recovery, it’s important to touch on the ways that this act can influence your recovery journey. Releasing self-hatred, blame, and regret can open the door for a much deeper healing journey. Showing the same compassion for yourself that you would demonstrate for others can be a completely liberating experience. You may very well find that you unlock deeper emotions that you didn’t even know you had buried deep within yourself. Unleashing the true essence of who you are as a person can also facilitate rich and meaningful relationships with others.

Important Steps on the Path to Forgiving Yourself

Forgiving yourself fully for past mistakes can involve the following steps:

1. Gaining a Clear Picture of the Situation

This step involves letting go of the past and recognizing the current situation for what it is.

2. Gaining Determination to Forge Ahead

Develop a headstrong determination to keep making positive advancements in your life.

3. Developing Your Own Meaning of Forgiveness

Gain a full understanding of what forgiveness means to you and how it will empower your healing journey.

4. Developing a Positive Perspective on Life Situations

You can’t change all things that happen to you. However, you can control how you react to life events. Try to develop the beneficial trait of viewing life experiences in the most positive way possible.

5. Handling Stress Related to Self-Forgiveness

Forgiving yourself is a process that may unlock some very powerful feelings you have kept hidden for a long time. Sorting through these emotions can be stressful. Be kind to yourself during this process. Give yourself time to work through this self-revealing period carefully.

How Developing a Positive Self-Care Routine Helps

Forgiveness in addiction recovery also involves learning to take care of yourself the way God would want you to. He gives you all the tools you need to care for your own body in the same loving way you would care for a partner or a child. Consider the following ways you can show love for yourself:

1. Exercise Routine

Regular exercise can improve your physical and emotional well-being, prevent some health problems, relieve stress, and promote good sleep.

2. Healthy Diet

Give yourself permission to realize that you deserve to nourish the body God gave you with healthy foods. You may even find joy and peace in preparing nourishing meals for yourself on a regular basis.

3. Rest and Relaxation

Rest and relaxation are essential self-care elements that we all tend to overlook. In addition to quality sleep, relaxation on a regular basis can help you unwind and gain a fresh perspective on a situation.

4. Association with Positive Role Models

God created us to be social beings who enjoy interacting with others. Good friends and role models can enrich your life in a number of ways. Simply associating with people who lift you up can be such a blessing.

5. Meditation or Prayer

Meditation and prayer can offer you peace and bring you closer to God in recovery. These activities can often promote inner reflection that can sometimes reveal the solution to something that may be troubling you. Meditation can also be a great way to manage stress.

6. Meaningful Hobbies

Developing hobbies you enjoy can make you feel better about yourself overall. If these hobbies involve others, it can allow you to form great and lasting relationships.

7. Proper Hygiene

Hygiene is important in a number of ways. By caring for your own bodily cleanliness, you show you respect the body and mind you have been given.

Why Forgiveness is a Gift from God

Ultimately, learn to view the act of self-forgiveness as a powerful gift from God. Since we are created in his image, he has given us the ability to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes. He designed us this way because he truly loves us and wants us to be happy. If you view forgiveness in this manner, it will likely make it much easier to carry out.

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele


Give us a call. We want to help.


carf logo
CARF ASAM Level 3.1 certification logoCARF ASAM Level 3.5 certification logoCARF ASAM Level 3.7 certification logobetter business bureau logo   Inclusive