The addiction and recovery landscape is, to say the very least, emotionally charged. Everyone has their own story and thus has the right to a unique alcohol recovery journey. And while we may take different paths in recovery, there are a few tenets that should be universal staples.
Forgiveness is one of them.
Holding onto the anger and pain of the past drags us down, and creates an emotional blockade. So long as you are hanging onto this kind of baggage, you won’t progress in your recovery. Dwelling on the events of the past will unwittingly bring that former frustration and pain into future relationships.
You’ll be stagnate and that will likely keep you from properly enjoying your life.
The Mayo Clinic contends that practicing forgiveness can lead to physical and mental health benefits:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety and stress
- Less hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Higher self-esteem
Deciding to Forgive
Okay so this is all sounding good and you’re ready to forgive the people and events from your past?
The first step is to respect yourself enough to make sure you’ve appropriately addressed any past trauma. Just deciding to forgive without properly dealing with any major issues will lead you right back where you started.
Seek the advice of a professional or a trusted loved one.
Reflect on the situation, pray, use guided meditation.
Don’t be afraid to actually feel the emotion associated with it, just remember that you are moving forward.
The next step is to actively decide to forgive. Just like your recovery, forgiveness requires an active commitment. You’re going to need to unlearn all of the anger and hurt to replace it with forgiveness. Truthfully assess all of the wrongs you’ve committed and those committed against you.
Everything you’ve ever experienced has had a hand in shaping who you are today. If you can process your past in a healthy way, it has the potential to give you strength for the future.
The Best Part
Here’s the kicker: forgiveness isn’t actually about other people. It’s about you.
Forgiveness is about changing YOUR life and outlook, not about changing the actions of others.
Deciding to forgive will only affect your life in positive ways. And while forgiveness doesn’t always equal reconciliation, at least the extra baggage won’t slow you down. Forgiveness may be just the catalyst you need to move forward in your recovery.
You deserve forgiveness.
If you’re ready for healing and happiness, start the process.
About the Author
Shelby Hendrix is a blogger from the Northern Midwest with close personal ties to the addiction world. She focuses on the addiction landscape to reach out to those fighting alcoholism and compel them to seek an informed, healthy recovery.