It is often tempting to hold on to old feelings of bitterness when someone wrongs us, but this is not healthy, nor is it conducive to recovery. Forgiveness and recovery go hand-in-hand because letting go of wrongs is the only way to effectively deal with the past and release its control over you.

Five Ways Forgiveness Helps with Recovery

  1. Acknowledge the wrong. Forgiving someone for causing you pain does not mean you are minimizing the wrong. It actually means you are acknowledging it, but that you are a big enough person to move past it. Yes, you were wronged, but you can and should move past that wrong. Don't let it define you any longer.
  2. Put aside anger and bitterness. You've probably been carrying around quite a bit of anger and bitterness over the past several years, and those feelings have contributed to your addiction. Whether you have turned to drugs or alcohol to manage stress, or self-medicated your emotional pain, you don't need to let these emotions control you any longer. Forgive and forget, and you will move past the pain.
  3. Release the wrongdoer. Sometimes that wrongdoer is you. If you have been using drugs or alcohol and have hurt others and yourself along the way, give yourself permission to forgive. Don't let your past actions haunt you any longer. Move on.
  4. Aid in psychological healing. Forgiveness helps relieve anxiety and stress. It promotes healing. It allows you to reevaluate your life and begin to live again. When you hold on to those feelings of bitterness and resentment, they can cause fatigue, moodiness, headaches, and other symptoms. When you forgive someone for something they did in the past, you are giving your body permission to relax and be free from those harmful feelings.
  5. Refocus on recovery. The most important thing right now is your recovery. Don't let anger stand in your way of accomplishing your goals. Allow yourself to forgive others so they don't become a stumbling block to you any longer. If you work on forgiveness and recovery at the same time, you will find that you will more easily achieve your goals of sobriety.
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