Sometimes, in active addiction, we do things we aren’t proud of. We may have hurt the ones we love, do things we are ashamed of, and caused harm to ourselves. We may feel guilty, embarrassed, and angry. Although you may have gotten substance abuse treatment and are now sober, it can be hard to forget about your past. However, moving past these feelings and learning to forgive yourself is crucial to the recovery process. Luckily, there are ways you can begin the process of forgiving yourself in recovery.
Accept Your Past
Part of the reason you may still be struggling to forgive yourself in sobriety is that you are clinging to the past. While you may have done some things you aren’t proud of, it’s essential to examine these mistakes and learn from them. Thinking about your past addiction can be difficult, but it’s necessary to accept it and learn from it. Accepting the past is a big part of learning to forgive yourself, and self-forgiveness in recovery sets up the foundation for lifelong sobriety and health.
Your morals, values, and beliefs are not what they were when you struggled with addiction, and the things you did in the past do not reflect who you are now. You are a person in recovery, and you are making an effort to change. Though you can’t change the past, you can learn from it and use it to avoid making mistakes in the future.
Make Amends and Right Wrongs
Making amends in recovery is another part of overcoming addiction and feelings about the past. You may feel like you’ve wronged people in the past, which can lead to overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame. Reaching out to these people can help you directly address your past actions and create a support system of people who support your recovery.
It can be intimidating to face someone you wronged, but it can also be therapeutic. Keep in mind that trying to make amends with some people may cause them more harm, so you need also to be able to recognize these circumstances and give them space. When you see that others can start forgiving you, it can make it easier to forgive yourself in recovery.
Recognize Your Progress
Many people in recovery get stuck in negative thought patterns, but part of the recovery process is breaking free of this destructive cycle. It can help to learn how to break down these thoughts and change them for a more positive perspective; therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help with this process. While you may have done some bad things in your past, your recovery is the time to start focusing on your progress. You have come a long way since first getting help. Whether it is going a month without using substances or getting a new job, it is crucial to recognize these accomplishments. Focusing on the positive and recognizing your progress can help you move beyond your past and forgive yourself.
Practice Self-Compassion and Gratitude
Practicing self-compassion and gratitude in recovery can help ease the negative emotions that arise during newfound sobriety. You’ve already taken a massive step by accepting that you want to overcome your addiction, and now it’s time to put things back in place. By taking a look at where you used to be and where you are now, you can feel grateful for the action you’ve taken for a better future. This gratitude can help you overcome the past, as you know that you are actively dealing with your addiction.
Forgiving yourself in recovery is impossible if you don’t learn how to love yourself. Instead of dwelling on any negativity, make practicing positive affirmations a part of your daily routine. When you feel like you are stumbling, positive affirmations can help you remember why you chose sobriety. Look in a mirror and give yourself positive affirmations every day. Write down some positive affirmations and hang them somewhere you will see them regularly. Taking the time to provide yourself with praise and love can help you eventually forgive yourself for your addiction.
Although some people may wake up one day and forgive themselves, this may not be your journey. Do not compare yourself to others. Forgiveness is a process that takes time. Try to take each day on its own and focus on the steps you are making toward forgiveness. Recovery is a lifelong process, and it won’t always be an easy one. There will be good times and bad times, and without patience in recovery, relapse is always a threat. Lifelong recovery comes from accepting both the good and bad and knowing that the bad times don’t last forever.
In active addiction, you may have done things that you aren’t proud of. As a result, you may be filled with feelings of guilt, shame, and anger. However, self-forgiveness in recovery sets up the foundation for lifelong sobriety and health. Start your journey to forgiving yourself by accepting your past, making amends, recognizing your progress, and practicing self-compassion and gratitude. Most importantly, remember to be patient. Recovery is a lifelong process, and forgiveness won’t happen overnight, so give yourself grace. If you or your loved one needs professional help to navigate a successful, sober return to independent life, a Personal Recovery Assistant may be the service for you and your family. Our Personal Recovery Assistants at Hired Power are encouraging and motivating, positively reinforcing healthy choices to build each clients’ confidence in their ability to maintain long-lasting recovery. For more information on our services, call Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299.