Forgiving yourself is not easy. Though you may have heard the supportive responses to your countless apologies, you still can’t shake that heavy feeling in your stomach—the guilt of your past actions and the knowledge that you’ve wronged someone. If you’re in recovery, it’s true—you probably have hurt people. Whether through physical or verbal harm directed at them explicitly or emotional and intellectual abandonment, substance abuse is typically the cause of a significant amount of pain. Despite all the past tribulations, one thing remains true—you deserve to learn how to forgive yourself in addiction recovery.
At Northpoint Recovery, we’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is for people in recovery to forgive themselves. For some, their addiction has led to such horrible things that they believe there’s no way they could ever be forgiven. But the truth is, no matter what you’ve done, you can be forgiven—but first, you must forgive yourself. Get started on the road to recovery today by calling 208.486.0130 or contacting us online to start an addiction treatment program.
How Do I Forgive Myself?
Contrary to popular belief, addiction does not stem solely from a desire to relieve boredom or simply have a good time. Yes, substance abuse can start from these emotions, but addiction is a continuous pattern of behaviors that tend to cover up experiences and emotions, not just create them.
As you begin recovery, forgiving yourself requires reaching back past the outbursts and the drug abuse into the core reason you continued to use in the first place. This is where forgiveness has to start. Only after the root problem is healed can you truly forgive yourself and begin to grow anew.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
The first step in the healing process is examining your feelings in different situations. Start by asking yourself questions like:
- What makes you especially angry or defensive?
- Which experiences do you avoid because they are too hard to handle?
- Who or what causes you to feel ashamed of yourself?
Depending on your level of substance abuse, this process might be challenging for you. It’s likely that you may have dealt with these kinds of emotions by numbing yourself with drugs. As such, you may not be used to confronting the feelings that bubble to the surface. But no matter how uncomfortable you may feel, try your best to think about your feelings and where they’re coming from. It may be helpful to consider them as something separate from yourself that you can look at objectively. You could also try mindful meditation to help yourself become even more aware of your emotions.
Find the Root of Addiction
The next step is tracing your addiction back to why it started in the first place. This part can take a lot of work and is likely best done under the guidance of a trained therapist during rehabilitation counseling sessions. During your sessions, you may discover that your addiction stems from past trauma or lofty expectations from your parents or spouse.
The truth is, however, that these types of counseling sessions are rarely like they appear in the movies. Addiction is a complex disease that, more often than not, can’t be traced back to a single cause. Thus, once you’ve narrowed down one feeling you’ve been trying to numb, there will likely be more. Counseling, then, can be a long and continuous process. One of the biggest takeaways is learning how to forgive others. Whether it’s an abusive father, a neglectful sibling, or an emotionally distant spouse, you need to be able to forgive others before you can even begin to forgive yourself.
Once you’ve learned to acknowledge and deal with your own emotions and have found a way to forgive the people who have wronged you, you can finally begin forgiving yourself. Just like recovering from the physical side of addiction, mental recovery is based on gradual improvement. The change certainly won’t come overnight, but if you become more forgiving each day, you’ll be on your way to full recovery.
Start by recognizing and actively eliminating self-chastisement when you don’t deserve it. When looking back on your actions while under the influence, let yourself acknowledge that you were impaired and incapable of thinking straight. Once you realize that addiction is a disease, not a choice, you can start to reconcile your actions and move on. The most important realization you can come to in recovery is that no matter what happens, you are imperfect. So is everyone else, so you also deserve forgiveness.
Forgive Yourself and Begin to Heal
Now that you have the tools to overcome your shame, you can continue the emotional healing process that will lead you to a life free from addiction. Just because you aren’t perfect doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a better life.
Start Healing at Northpoint Recovery
If you’re looking for a rehab center to help you overcome your addiction, look no further than Northpoint Recovery in Boise, Idaho. Our treatment programs are designed to help you get your life back on track.
- Detox program – Our detox program is the first step in your journey to recovery. During this program, you’ll receive around-the-clock care from our team of medical professionals as your body clears itself of drugs and alcohol.
- Inpatient program – After you’ve completed detox, you’ll move on to our inpatient program. This program will help you transition into a life of sobriety and teach you the skills you need to stay sober for the long term.
- Aftercare planning – After you’ve completed our inpatient program, we’ll help you plan for your continued care. We know that the road to recovery is long, but we’ll be with you every step of the way.