Self-Forgiveness in Recovery
Once an addiction recovery process begins, the recovering individual will be dealing with an array of intense emotions, including feelings of guilt and shame. Self-forgiveness is an essential part of the process, allowing recovering individuals to help themselves deal with negative emotions and thoughts.
At this time in a recovering person’s life, they need as many friends and family members around them as possible. The recovering individuals’ mental health is an absolute priority within the self-forgiveness recovery process. When they begin to have negative feelings, it is the job of friends and family to ensure they are taking one day at a time and not overthinking. They need to believe in themselves and stay as positive as possible. Having loved ones around will increase their confidence level and allow them to see that they have a support group to catch them if they fall. No matter whether an individual abused drugs or alcohol, the recovery process is going to be an incredible journey for them to take, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Self-forgiveness is an important part of the process that every recovering addict must face for their recovery to be truly successful. Many people believe that once they learn to stop abusing, their recovery process is over, and they will never relapse again. However, if you do not deal with the mental, guilty side of the recovery process, the chances of a relapse occurring are incredibly high.
Guilt and shame in self-forgiveness
Many recovering addicts hold onto a lot of shame and guilt, contributing to many relapses. Despite the uncomfortable feeling of these intense emotions, they play an essential role within the process. These feelings will force you to face your wrongdoings straight on and understand where you went wrong in life. These feelings will help you accept not only the past but that you are a human.
There is no doubt that you may have taken a wrong turn in life, but so has every other person on this planet, we are not perfect individuals and need to allow ourselves to be forgiven. If you cannot mentally find peace within yourself, your chances of relapse are incredibly high.
Why is self-forgiveness so crucial in the recovery
Self-forgiveness is considered one of the most powerful weapons within recovery. Not only will the recovering addict feel more confident and mentally strong if they are to forgive themselves for continuing on the path to sobriety, but it also increases their self-esteem.
Self-esteem is a necessary trait to have no matter who you are. Low self-esteem could be one of the reasons you were overcome by addiction in the first place.
How to practice self-forgiveness
Practising self-forgiveness is the only way to let yourself move on in life. Many individuals will begin with talk therapy; this will allow the individual to express themselves in a safe place. Whether the person you talk to is a family member, friend, or a therapist ensure that the person you use is someone you can trust.
If you prefer not to seek professional help and instead attempt to master self-recovering yourself, don’t be afraid to talk to yourself. Positively reinforcing encouraging statements to yourself, such as “I forgive myself”. This is a highly beneficial practise for any individual who lacks confidence.
Break the cycle
Before you can completely forgive yourself, you need to break the constant cycle of shame and guilt that you feel. This will generally include four steps beginning with:
Face your past
Do not try to deny or hide the past traumas or bury the feelings you are experiencing; otherwise, you will stay in a negative cycle and never fully recover. Admit to yourself that you have made mistakes in the past, and you can learn to move forward.
Correct your wrongdoings
Depending on the situation, you may not be able to fix every problem that may have happened; however, you can show that you are sorry and have accepted the mistakes you have made. Merely sending a card, buy a small gift, helping the individual you have hurt with a task. Small gestures go a long way.
Ask for forgiveness
If you have the opportunity to, speak to the ones you have hurt and ask for forgiveness. You may not always be given a positive response so ensure you consider the people you are asking for forgiveness from.
Once you have completed the above three steps, the last thing you need to do is to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made. You are only human, you are going to make a mistake, and that is okay as long as you acknowledge the mistakes made and attempt to correct them. You must learn to forgive yourself to move forward with your life.
Tips for forgiving yourself
Self-forgiveness is entirely about addressing the wrongdoings that resulted in you becoming an addict. What you need to think about are the situations, the environment and the people you surround yourself with before choosing to start abusing. This could help you understand the unpleasant and harmful environment you were surrounding yourself with.
Everyone makes mistakes in life; the only way to get past them is to take responsibility for them, own up and stop blaming others. Below we talk through some tips on how you can learn self-forgiveness, the first is:
- Write about your past, your traumas, the people who hurt you, the environment you were living in. Get it out of your head and onto a piece of paper
- Take up meditation, learn to control your mind when it sinks you into a harmful place
- If you need to have a day of symbolic forgiveness. Burn the paper you wrote all of your wrongdoing on.
Practising self-forgiveness with you in a recovery process is always going to be a vital step. It is going to be tough for anyone, but you do not need to face this alone. Ask for a medical professional such as the therapists here at Shoreline Sober Living to help guide you, lean on trusted family members and friends.
Going through a recovery sage along is hard and completely unnecessary. Here are Shoreline Sober Living provides professional guidance and support to set you on the right trajectory to achieve long term sobriety.
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