Overcoming any addiction is challenging. Feelings of regret or remorse will surface, and a desire to revert to old behaviors will emerge. Often, the relationships, lifestyle, and livelihood of one’s life are stripped away – it can be hard to forgive yourself.
When engaging in recovery, it is common to yearn for what was lost. However, the recovery process entails letting go permanently of your old identity and creating a new one.
Forgiving oneself is necessary to release the heavy guilt of letting go when working through recovery. To truly forgive yourself and successfully engage in recovery, you must overcome the loss of who you thought you were, move forward and determine who you want to be now.
Overcoming the Loss
If turning back the hands of time were possible, we would never live in the present or move toward the future. Unsatisfied with our life decisions, we would constantly go back in time and redo history.
Ironically, we do go back in time consistently — with our thoughts. We replay embarrassing memories, bad decisions and regretful interactions. These repeated negative memories and thoughts make it difficult to improve and prevent possible relapse.
Research shows that individuals in addiction treatment who also participate in therapy focusing on forgiveness can increase hope and self-esteem and decrease the risk of relapse. The following steps can help ease into the process of forgiveness and help overcome your past:
- Acknowledge the past. Denial makes you stagnant. Accept who you were, but don’t use it to define you now.
- Allow grief to take place. Recovery involves grief. Give yourself a safe space to flush out the thoughts and emotions that you’ve painfully held in.
- Bury the past. You lived it, lost it and grieved it. Leave the old self behind and make room for a new being.
Overcoming the loss of who you were can create a sense of loneliness. Simple exercises such as practicing daily affirmations and integrating forgiveness can create a sense of meaning in your life. Professionals working in addictions are encouraged to incorporate the theme of forgiveness as patients work through treatment programs. Filling the void of loneliness with healthy practices such as gratitude and forgiveness can create a sense of purpose and motivation to rebuild yourself positively.
Who You Are Now
Leaving the past and moving into the unknown can be a scary and uneasy task, especially when you’re trying to figure yourself out. The fear of making the same mistakes and repeating the past is common.
Start with creating a foundation of values and beliefs that will set you up for success. Be open to exploring new activities or career paths you wouldn’t have before. Lastly, form a positive support system that will believe in you and reinforce your recovery.
Confronting your past and forgiving yourself can be painful. However, the process of reestablishing your identity doesn’t have to be. Here at The Right Step, we have licensed and trained specialists to help make your recovery healing.
When you are ready to free yourself from guilt and forgive your faults, please call The Right Step at 844-675-1557. Your new self will appreciate the chance to thrive.