The Advantages of Learning Forgiveness in Addiction Recovery
Addicts are likely to experience feelings of resentment, betrayal, and bitterness for their past. It is important to address these feelings during treatment so that the recovering addict can discover where they stem from and move forward. Leaving negative feelings uncovered in recovery can cause reason for relapse. Developing forgiveness in addiction recovery provides an addict with the release of guilt, shame, and the strive for vengeance.
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the act of releasing the feelings of resentment toward an offender. A decision to forgive means letting go of the rage tied to any past wrongdoings. To forgive is also to not wish ill for the offender any longer. The act of forgiveness is not only a gift to the offender, but also an inner reward gifted to the self for peace.
Negativity of the Unforgiving
Without forgiveness, an addict will harbor feelings of resentment and remorse for a person, situation, or self and it will hinder growth and healing during recovery. Holding a grudge does nothing but harm the person who can not let go. It prevents the blossoming of new knowledge and growth in addiction recovery because instead of focusing on treatment, the unforgiving addict focuses on revenge and hostility. Not only is the unforgiving addict harmed by a wrongdoing, they also bring harm to themselves by harboring these negative emotions.
There are many reasons why an addict might hold a grudge or keep feelings of resentment bottled up. Every walk of life differs and each addiction comes with its own battles. But, there are addicts that use wrongdoings done to them as justification for their drug or alcohol abuse. Holding grudges and blaming others are excuses the unforgiving addict gives to be able to continue negative behavior. These addicts don’t see their addiction as something they did but as a result of something done wrong to them. Addicts will hold their grudge until death unless they take responsibility for their own actions and forgive others for their wrongdoings.
Common Resentments Felt by Addicts in Recovery
- Addicts sometimes have high expectations for those around them and low expectations for themselves. This means that their own wrongdoings don’t bother them but the wrongdoings of others are blown out of proportion.
- Some addicts do not respond well to directions from authority figures or loved ones, causing resentment when others try to help by telling them what to do.
- Managing trauma from childhood abuse, sexual assault, or an array of other situations can cause resentment in a person, driving them to use drugs or alcohol and thus form addictions.
- The unforgiving addict may have been wronged or deceived by a friend, family member, or significant other in the past and still harbors resentment for that person.
- Addicts struggling to forgive may have experienced injustices by an authority figure abusing his or her power.
Consequences of Holding on to Resentment in Addiction Recovery
There are many reasons to forgive in recovery, but the consequences of not forgiving should be the driving factor. Negative outcomes of harboring grudges and resentment in addiction recovery include:
- An addict can use negative feelings brought on by anger and resentment as justification for relapse. They feel that continual drug or alcohol use is better than embracing forgiveness and focusing on recovery.
- Harboring negative emotions hinders a person from taking responsibility for their actions and work on their own recovery. Instead, these addicts blame others for the consequences in their lives brought on by nothing other than their addiction.
- Negative thought emerges as negative behaviors. If an addict allows the negative emotions to take over the mind, they will begin to show undesired behaviors like reluctance to learn and cooperate throughout treatment.
- Without forgiveness, an addict is in jeopardy of never attaining inner peace. When a recovering addict attains inner peace, the sober life comes much more naturally because drugs and alcohol are not needed to acquire peace any longer.
- Not being able to forgive will hinder the growth of other relationships in addiction recovery. Hanging on to resentment will only make a recovering addict less trusting of others trying to get close.
The Advantages of Implementing Forgiveness in Addiction Recovery
There are many benefits to forgiving than holding onto the pain others have caused. Everyone can benefit from the forgiveness of others especially addicts. The recovering addict has no time or room for negative thoughts because they are just a trigger to using. Forgiveness allows an addict to be free from the past and begin healing. Some of the benefits of forgiveness in addiction recovery are:
- The reduction of stress caused by holding a grudge or held resentment.
- Prevention of stress related diseases like heart failure.
- Being less likely to struggle with mental illness like depression.
- Acceptance of the self and the release of feelings of guilt.
- Improvement in relationships because of a higher chance for developed trust.