Figuring out how to forgive yourself is not easy. Although you’ve heard the supportive replies to your many apologies, you still can’t shake that heavy feeling of guilt about prior actions and the consciousness that you’ve mistreated someone.
And for many substance abusers, indeed, you probably have hurt many loved ones. Whether through verbal or physical harm or emotional and mental abandonment, substance abuse is often the cause of a vast amount of pain. But despite all the prior trials, one thing that forever remains true is that you deserve forgiveness.
Contrary to popular opinion, substance addiction doesn’t begin solely from wanting to have a good time relieve boredom. Indeed, substance abuse can originate from these emotions. Still, full-blown addiction is a constant pattern of behaviors that cover feelings and experiences, not just creating them.
For those with substance addiction, learning how to forgive yourself requires getting over previous outbursts, past the substance abuse, and into the core reason why you started using in the beginning. This is where forgiveness must start. Only after the origin is healed can you learn how to forgive yourself and begin to recover.
The initial step of the healing process starts by examining how your feelings in any given situation. What causes you to get angry or defensive? Which activities do you dodge because they are too difficult to handle? What or who forces you to feel self-conscious?
Depending on the level of substance abuse, this process may be incredibly difficult. You might’ve dealt with these emotions by numbing yourself with drugs or alcohol, making you unable to confront the feelings that are on the surface.
But regardless of the uncomfortable feeling, you must identify your feelings and where they originate. It might help to conceive them as something separate from yourself that you can view objectively. Or even try mindful meditation to become more conscious of your emotions.
The next step is tracking back to where and why the addiction started in the first place. This part takes a lot of work and is best done with a therapist’s guidance during rehab. During therapy sessions, the specialist could find that your dependence was caused by past trauma or too high expectations from loved ones.
However, these kinds of therapy sessions are rarely how they’re portrayed in movies. Substance addiction is a complicated disease that usually can’t be traced back to a particular cause. Therefore, once you’ve narrowed down an emotion you’ve been attempting to numb, more will reveal themselves. Treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse can be a lengthy and constant process. One of the most significant benefits of it will be learning how to forgive yourself and others. Whether it was an abusive parent, a negligent sibling, or an emotionally separated spouse, you must forgive others before you can forgive yourself.
Once you’ve learned to recognize and deal with your emotions and forgive those who’ve wronged you, you can finally learn how to forgive yourself.
Just like recovering from physical addiction, mental recovery is based on continuous development. The change certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but you can recover fully if you can be a little more merciful every day.
Start by identifying and eliminating self-chastisement when it isn’t deserved. Regarding acknowledging previous actions while suffering from substance abuse, remember that you were physically impaired and could not think straight.
From there, once you realize that addiction is not a choice but a disease, you can begin to reconcile your actions and start moving on. The most crucial consciousness you can recognize in recovery is that everybody is imperfect. And that means you and everyone makes mistakes, so give yourself a break.
Now that you’ve got the tools required to overcome shameful feelings, you can continue the process of emotional healing to help you recover. And remember, although nobody’s perfect, you do deserve a better life.
During rehab, treatment staff helps patients using several different techniques, which include:
Newly sober patients need to feel optimistic about their progress in the early stages of sobriety and be ready for a fresh start in a healthy relationship. Don’t focus on the past, where you’ve probably had many years of malicious behavior in a relationship. These issues cant be resolved quickly, even if the patient offers a sincere apology for prior actions. Any action exercised towards rebuilding previous relationships is an achievement, and these small steps must be celebrated.
Once trust has been broken, rebuilding it is a lengthy process. Someone living with a substance addiction will always feed their disease first. To guarantee they keep a steady supply of drugs, they’ll lie, cheat, and steal to get their next fix. This pattern is also used to hide their disease from others to keep it going.
Communication goes both ways, which includes both speaking and listening. During rehab, patients will learn practical communication skills and how to listen to others. There are many healthy alternatives to cope with struggles that don’t require sedating yourself to deal with them.
Not all relationships are healthy and positive—people who are codependent present another obstacle for patents in recovery. Once the patient recovers and learns to take responsibility for their actions sober, there is no room for excuses anymore. Codependent family members must also seek counseling to acquire new behavioral patterns.
Tips that can help you to rebuild relationships include:
The initial step in repairing relationships is to reach out to others. If you’re uncertain how a previous friend will receive a phone call or need time to consider what you’d like to say, send an e-mail or a letter. Tell them you’re currently in or have completed addiction treatment, as the case may be. Inform them know you’re in the process of getting your life back together and that you’d like them to be part of it.
Those who knew you during the addiction phase remember you denying the addiction or somehow using them. Now when you communicate with them, your conversation will be more direct and transparent. Apologize for what happened between you and ask for forgiveness.
After asking for forgiveness over prior events, draw a line beneath them. Nobody can change the past, but you can move forward and make better decisions from here on out.
Friends and family might be reluctant about contacting you in the early stages of recovery. They usually don’t know what to anticipate or understand. Take leadership by reaching out to them and demonstrate that you’re still the same person as you once were. You are now healthy and sober with a sense of humor and can always have fun.
Friends and family members must witness your progress to prove you’re serious about recovery. While you don’t need to explain what happens during therapy and 12-step meetings are confidential, you can confirm that you’re continuing treatment.
It takes time for your friends and family to learn how to trust you again. They might not visualize how a substance abuse treatment program for substance abuse would suddenly make you change. As you and your loved ones navigate circumstances where you can be honest and direct, the trust will evolve.
When trying to figure out how to forgive a drug addict spouse, here are some recommendations to keep in mind:
You wouldn’t blame a loved one if they had another chronic, relapsing condition. Addiction is a disease that affects the way someone reasons and thinks. Once addiction takes hold, satisfying the cravings comes first, and people will do anything to get impaired. There is no logic, morals, or reason for addiction; it is an illness that can affect anyone.
At some point, decide that you’ll stop making your loved one pay for previous actions. The past cannot be changed, and holding grudges do anything for your current relationship. Accept the past and make amends, then close the door on the issue permanently. Please do not bring it up again; no matter how hurt or upset you become, it must remain resolved.
Regarding how to forgive a drug addict spouse, you must deal with current issues once they appear. Allow yourself to have all the human emotions you regularly have. Your loved one in rehab isn’t a fragile human being. Express good feelings, and when issues come up, deal with them, and move on.
If you or a loved one struggles with substance addiction and is wondering how to forgive yourself or forgive a drug addict spouse, we can help.
Here at Unity Behavioral Health, we can show you the importance of forgiveness in yourself and others with a comprehensive treatment plan. Our specialists have years of experiencing helping patients recover from even the worst addictions. The first step to recovery is to contact us and allow our team to answer any questions you have.
Speak to one of our experienced and caring representatives at Unity Behavioral Health to learn about how our rehab programs can help your loved one defeat addiction.