Forgiving an addict

We Do Recover

It’s not easy to forgive someone that has caused you so much pain & grief, even if they’re turning over a new leaf. I mean why should you absolve them of everything they’ve put you through?

Addiction is often known as a ‘family disease’ because it doesn’t only affect the addict, but it also hurts the people closest to them as well.

Your addicted loved one may have verbally & physically abused you, stole from you & lied to you while they were doing everything in their power to get hold of drugs or alcohol, but now that they’re in addiction recovery, you have to find it in your heart to forgive them.

Forgiving may seem difficult, but it’s an important part of addiction recovery for you & the addict.

An addict has to learn how to forgive themselves in order to recover. You on the other hand, have to learn how to forgive them in order to move past the trepidation, rage & bitterness that you’re feeling.

Forgiveness isn’t:

  • Excusing or tolerating their actions
  • Bottling up your emotions
  • Letting them off the hook

Essentially, forgiveness means that you have to be selfish towards yourself by letting go of the resentment inside yourself in order to make peace.

There’s saying that goes ‘forgive & forget’ but when you have to forgive a drug addict or alcoholic, do the opposite instead. Learn from what has happened & set boundaries to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

One of the best things that you can do is to learn more about addiction. This will help you to understand what your addicted loved one is going through.

Addiction is a prison & your loved one is the inmate. They have no control over their thoughts & actions even though they know they’re hurting themselves & the people they love. Looking at things from this point of view will help you forgive them.

Here are some other ways to help you forgive an addict:

  • Choose to forgive: Unlike an addict, you have control over thoughts & actions so make the decision to let go of the negativity keeping you away from forgiving your loved one
  • Don’t wait for the addict to make the first move: Forgiveness is something that you should be doing for your own benefit. Your loved one may still be coming to terms with their new found addiction recovery so waiting for them can prove to be fruitless. Instead, set the example for positive change in the relationship & over time, they’ll follow.
  • Don’t Rush Things: Forgiveness does take time. You’re not suddenly going to forget the damage your loved one has caused immediately. Give yourself the opportunity to work things through.
  • Get Professional Help: One of the best ways to find forgiveness is to get professional addiction help from a counsellor or therapist. Speak to them about how you feel & what you can do to let go of your feelings.

Remember, addiction recovery is a lifelong commitment to remaining clean & sober. Your addicted loved one needs all the help & support they can get. Your forgiveness may just be the catalyst they need to help them achieve this goal.

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