When someone you care about is addicted to drugs, one of the hardest things to endure is how much it affects that individual’s family and loved ones. This can be especially difficult when things like deception, lying, stealing and even worse offenses have cost them the trust that others had placed in them. In situations such as these, it can be tough for some to forgive the loved one addicted to drugs. However, forgiveness can be one of the most valuable aspects of the recovery process, both for the people who are suffering from substance abuse as well as those who care about them.
It Can Be Difficult to Forgive
When someone has hurt you in some way, it can be difficult to even want to forgive them. For example, if a loved one went into somebody’s room and stolen $100 in cash to buy drugs or lied about important matters such as having quit a job, these offenses can be hard to overlook. If he or she had not done these types of things prior to suffering an addiction, those who have been hurt can be so affected and upset that forgiveness is not something that they can comprehend or handle doing at that time.
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The Importance of Forgiveness
Forgiveness of others is one of the main points emphasized throughout the Bible and for good reason. In fact, it’s in the Lord’s Prayer: “We forgive those who trespass against us:” Matthew 6:12. The thing about forgiveness is that it is not something for those who we are forgiving, but, instead it is for those doing the forgiving. The act of forgiving a loved one helps our own peace of mind and well-being and allows us to move on and not hold grudges or judgement against others. In fact, not forgiving another usually results in our own thoughts becoming destructive and poisonous in nature. This not only causes mental anguish that doesn’t need to exist, but also causes even more stress on the relationship between the would-be forgiver and the person being forgiven. Refusing to forgive is also more apt to cause the offended to obsessively stress over past events than the person who would be forgiven does.
It should be noted that expectations must not be placed on forgiveness. In other words, what is being forgiven are the acts that the loved one addicted to drugs has done, not what he or she may do in the future. Thinking of it this way helps remove the stress from the situation and helps create a more caring environment, one that is supporting the person who is struggling with an addiction instead of adding even more pressure.
Give the Situation to God
Once someone addicted to drugs has been forgiven, hand the situation over to God. Trust that He is helping the loved one recover from his or her addiction and then come from a place of love, not a place of frustration and anger. The latter can be so easy to do in this type of situation where things like lying and cheating may have been done to help feed the addiction. Release responsibility for what is to come, and allow God to take it from there.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you:” Peter 5:7. This not only goes for the people struggling with the addiction but also those who love them and who have also been personally and sometimes significantly affected by that addiction.
Separating the Person from the Act
One thing to keep in mind that helps make the act of forgiveness easier is to separate the person from the act. Of course, what may have been done to help continue an addiction and negatively affected that person’s loved ones, can be hard to forget. But it’s important to forgive those who have done these things. What has been done doesn’t need to be approved in any manner whatsoever, but the person behind those acts should receive forgiveness to help everybody move forward in the process.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you:” Ephesians 4:32.
Note that if things have been done that are so serious that a future relationship is not wanted due to one or more issues, continuing that relationship doesn’t have to be a part of the forgiveness. It can be done from afar, perhaps in person at a different location or even online, via the phone or through a letter. It’s okay for somebody to be forgiven but also not wanted to be in somebody else’s life anymore. A lot of good for everybody can still be achieved in this situation. You don’t even have to tell the person you have forgiven them.
Is an Apology Necessary?
No, an apology is never necessary. You do not need permission from anyone to forgive someone. Just like those who apologize should never expect it to be received and appreciated, people who are forgiving others should not expect a response such as an apology or remorse. But note, once again, forgiving somebody tends to benefit the person doing the forgiving more so than the recipient. Go into the act of communicating forgiveness simply wanting the message to be heard, not necessarily appreciated.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, please give St Gregory Recovery Center a call today. We will provide you with more information on the services that we can offer to help someone overcome addiction.
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