The cycle of addiction is an exhausting roller coaster of emotions which makes it understandable that after trauma and betrayal, forgiveness seems so far away. One may question why it is the person with addiction in one’s life should be forgiven at all. There are many good reasons why forgiveness should happen and how to get started.
The power of forgiveness is in the healing process. An addict must learn to forgive themselves to heal and so, too, must family and friends of a loved one who is in recovery. In order to move beyond fear, anger and resentment which can keep a person mired in negative emotions, a person must recognize forgiveness is not about making excuses for another person’s behavior, denying one’s own feelings or letting someone off the hook.
If an individual has an addiction and has caused harm, it is time to offer forgiveness. The hardest step is the first one, but is crucial to recover. The following tips may be helpful when seeking ways to forgive a loved one who has an addiction.
Make an effort to work on forgiving. The power to let go of negative emotions lies within the person offering forgiveness. Choosing a healthy path takes time but is a worthy endeavor.
Work to understand addiction. Having understanding does not mean accepting but seeing things from the addicted person’s perspective can help forgiveness become real.
See the lessons. Opportunity is around every corner. Seeing this can bring learning, healing and reflection on growth and wisdom from the experience.
Don’t wait for apologies. Forgiveness is a process for one’s own self, emotionally and physically. While a person with addiction may not be making healthy choices, an individual can still choose to move forward with forgiveness and set an example for positive change.
Time is key. Emotional wounds take time. Don’t dwell in the negative but try not to push before feeling ready to move forward.
Seek help. Counselors, therapists and support groups are great resources for helping to cope with emotions. Friends, books and other references are also great tools.
Don’t keep score. As a list grows of behavioral concerns on the part of the loved one with addiction, try not to keep tabs. This does not mean forget, rather let them go and don’t keep score.
Telling is a choice. It is not a requirement to share with someone about forgiveness. What matters is that is happens in the heart and mind, even if it is never verbalized to the person being forgiven. Remember, it is not for them, it’s for oneself.
Forgive oneself. Mistakes happen, nobody is perfect. Don’t get down about past mistakes or mishaps. Allow forgiveness for oneself and work to do better next time.
Breathe. Negative emotions take a lot of time and energy to deal with and can take a toll. Focus on breathing deeply, for several breaths and relax.
Forgiveness is a journey. If you need help moving forward, call Hired Power. We have resources available to help you. Call 800-910-9299 for more information.