If you are familiar with the 12-Step group, you will notice the emphasis on letting go and forgiving when it comes to long-term recovery from substance addiction. Why is forgiveness important in this journey? Many people with addiction face relationship difficulties. Freeing oneself from resentment and letting go of past relationship conflicts is key to maintaining positive mental health.
The Value of Forgiveness
Although we have been taught the value of forgiveness from a young age, its concept can still be difficult to grasp. In the context of addiction recovery, forgiveness becomes even more complicated and challenging. Addiction can be caused by trauma and abuse by significant others in the past. It is hard to forgive people who have harmed you in such deep, life-changing ways.
Recovering individuals who want to achieve sobriety and emotional wellness need not only detox the body of substances but also the mind of various emotional distress. Many deeply harbored emotional pains can be traced to past wounds. This requires a person to practice letting go as a way to maintain emotional sobriety.
Letting Go the Emotional Pain by Forgiveness
Recalling past wrongs done by others can invite resentment, anger, and emotional stress. When locking someone up in the jail of your painful memory, you are also becoming its prisoner because resentment robs you of peace and joy. Some people develop substance addiction because they used drugs or alcohol to self-soothe from past trauma or wounds. In the process of treatment and recovery, it is essential to address that pain from the past.
Forgiveness of others is a necessary step toward emotional wellness and true healing. If one fails to let go of grudges, the emotional stress may continue, leading to relapses. From a health perspective, forgiveness is the only way to release unhealthy emotions that have built up over time. Meanwhile, forgiveness does not mean forgetting about the past. It begins with acknowledging the pain and how it affected your emotions and then allowing yourself the space to move on without carrying anger or hostility toward others.
In recovery, forgiving others is more about taking care of yourself. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can learn to buffer our emotions from being disturbed by those actions. Take toxic or abusive personalities in the family, for example. It would be futile to try to change their behaviors or even make them aware of the emotional pain they have brought you. However, you don’t have to suffer the consequences of their abusive actions. Find a way to take care of your emotions and thrive even in the face of these adversities.
The Importance of Self-Forgiveness
Sometimes forgiving oneself is more complex than forgiving others. People who have substance addiction generally live with low self-esteem. They tend to blame themselves for any issues in the family. The inability to control their use of substances only adds to that psychological burden, manifested in increasing guilt and shame. They need to learn self-forgiveness on the path of recovery because that can offer peace of mind and release them from self-blame and stress.
For people whose addictions have caused harm to their loved ones, there can be immense guilt and self-loathing. However, letting go of the past is key since things have already happened, and you cannot reverse the harm. You can only overcome it by living and thriving to your best abilities. Self-forgiveness can lead to a second chance in re-establishing relationships.
Practical Advice on Forgiveness
Recovery from substance addiction is an opportunity to begin a new phase in life, starting with physical and emotional sobriety. Practicing forgiveness allows you to identify any new emotional suffering you are inflicting on yourself. The trick is how to do it. The first step is to accept the past. Nobody can change the past, but you can gain insight by becoming more self-aware and reflexive on human behaviors.
Recovery journaling can help you verbalize and express residual emotional pains caused by past events. You cannot put these emotions to rest properly unless you have taken a deep look at them. Write down these thoughts of resentment, anger, and frustration, and get them off your chest. By directly facing the past and processing these thoughts, you create a safe space for emotional healing.
There are many other benefits of recovery journaling. You can gain more insight into how you perceive present situations and adjust your emotional responses. You can also work with experienced therapists who understand the role of past trauma in recovery. They can help you build healthy habits of showing self-compassion.
For recovering individuals who want to achieve sobriety and emotional wellness, they need not only detox the body of substances but also the mind of various emotional stresses. Many deeply harbored emotional pains can be traced to past wounds. This requires a person to practice letting go as a way to maintain emotional sobriety. If you struggle with forgiving others, there are professional therapists who can help you. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA., we believe in a holistic, incremental path to sustainable and long-term recovery. We treat each stage uniquely, both in terms of physical health and mental health. With an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden, we’re here to help you on your journey to sobriety. With Capo Canyon Recovery, you can rely on us to help you achieve long-term sobriety. We coach you to cope with relationship challenges. Start your journey with experienced recovery experts today. Call us at (800) 804-8714.