How Can You Forgive A Recovering Addict?
If you have suffered because of a loved one’s addiction, forgiveness may be difficult for you to give to that person. Many addicts in recovery apologize to those they have wronged. They do not expect or require forgiveness, but if you can find it in your heart to give it, forgiveness can be good for everyone. At a very minimum, forgiveness will allow you to reestablish a relationship. If you can’t forgive your loved one, you can no longer have a real relationship. Consider the benefits and then work toward real forgiveness.
What Does It Mean To Forgive An Addict?
Before giving this gift of forgiveness, both to yourself and to the recovering addict, make sure you understand what it means. Forgiveness is a conscious decision. You must decide to give it and then live with it. Do not do it until you are ready.
What forgiveness does not mean is forgetting what your loved one did to you. It does not mean that you are letting him off the hook or that there are no consequences because of his actions. It does not mean that you have to stop being angry. Forgiveness does not even mean that you have to reconcile with the person who hurt you.
How Can I Forgive?
Keep in mind that forgiveness is a journey. If you are just starting to think about forgiving a recovering addict, you may still be days, weeks, or months away from being ready to be in that state of mind. Take your time, but do think about forgiveness and what it would mean to you and your loved one. Make this process your own. Don’t wait for your loved one to apologize because it may never happen. Forgiveness is your choice.
Learn about addiction in an effort to get to the point at which you can forgive. Not being an addict yourself, it can be almost impossible to understand what your loved one went through. If you still struggle to find forgiveness in your heart, consider seeing a therapist or counselor. A professional can help you work through all the painful and confusing emotions you are feeling.
How Can Forgiveness Help?
Forgiveness is something you should largely do for yourself, but it can also help your loved one. He has been carrying around shame and guilt to an extent that you may never realize. Whether he has vocalized this to you yet or not, he is feeling bad. Your forgiveness would probably mean the world to him and studies have found that being forgiven is a powerful tool to help addicts stay sober.
By forgiving your loved one, you also give yourself an important gift. Research shows that people who forgive others often are less likely to be depressed, have higher self-esteem, have more friends and better marriages, have lower blood pressure, have a stronger immune system, and are less likely to have heart disease. Not only is forgiveness good for your mental health, it also impacts your physical wellbeing. Holding a grudge has a powerful effect on your psyche and your physical body.
You owe it to yourself at the least to find the room in your heart for forgiveness. Once you do it you will find that a weight has been lifted. You will feel lighter and freer without the burden of holding on to negative feelings. Take your time, but do try to get to that place. You won’t regret it.
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