How Can I Forgive Myself?

Learning to forgive yourself in recoveryWhen addiction is active, we likely have no idea the ways that our actions have been affecting others. All that we can think about is using – or how to obtain drugs, who we want to use them with, and constructing our lives in ways that place substance abuse forefront and center. Now that you’ve been in recovery for a few weeks or a few months, you may be coming to the realization that addiction didn’t just affect you – it’s affected everyone around you. Loved ones have been hurt in the process, and you may have said or done some things that truly severed some of the most important connections you’ve had in your life. It’s a cold, sobering reality to be facing the past directly and it’s natural for you to wish you could take it all back. The reality is that you can’t – but you can work towards making amends and forgiving yourself so that you can move on with your life.

Self-forgiveness is a major component of addiction recovery because if we blame ourselves forever, we won’t be able to make our lives better. A 2017 study published in the journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly emphasized that 12-Step programs address resentment and forgiveness as central components to the program – and if you’re able to become involved in this, you’ll be able to not only connect with others who are likely feeling similarly, but you’ll also be able to gain some valuable tools for healing. The 12-Steps help individuals address resentment and forgiveness in the following ways:

  • Facing one’s wrongdoings by admitting mistakes rather than hiding or denying them.
  • Correcting these wrongdoings by asking loved ones for forgiveness and admitting that a person’s life has become unmanageable; kind acts and taking an active part in making amends is highlighted as key to recovery – even if others are not as willing to forgive right away
  • Asking for forgiveness through the writing of letters or talking to loved ones in person – of course, when the situation is safe to do so; in addition to this, calling upon a Higher Power to help guide a person through their recovery
  • Forgiving oneself is considered one of the last parts to this, as those in recovery have now done everything they can to rebuild what’s been lost

We can’t change the past, but we do have a say in the present moment and in the future. Speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today to learn more about seeking treatment.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.