Many of us have perhaps been hurt by someone, or lost faith in someone, which was the germination of our addiction. This world can be cruel – hell, many people are cruel – and thus, we probably have had to deal with the cruelty of others in our own ways, which has no doubt fueled or contributed to our addictions.
Coming to terms with this – either acknowledging our anger toward these person(s), or forgiving them, is something that can be addressed in a different post. What I would like to now address is something that can be far more difficult than forgiving those that have wronged us: I am speaking about forgiving ourselves.
Addiction hurts so many people – it hurts our parents, and our spouses, and our children, or our friends, or coworkers.
But you know what? It also hurts ourselves. Deeply, irrevocably.
Forgiving people who have hurt us or wronged us is difficult. But when in addiction treatment, and on the road to recovery, forgiving ourselves is perhaps the hardest of all.
Addictions are sneaky, and cowardly, and hurtful, and devastating. They hurt not just our loved ones, but they hurt us, because they can turn us into someone that we not normally would be – a liar, perhaps, or someone who does not keep promises. Someone who can no longer carry responsibilities, or care for our children or our spouse, more than our addiction.
That is hard, heavy stuff.
But it doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve to be forgiven. It does not mean that we don’t deserve self-love. Addictions turn even the best people into persons that they would never wish to be. They lie, they manipulate, they serve guilt and anger on a platter to anybody they think deserves it. And all of this is hard.
But, it seems, nothing is harder than forgiving yourself. When in recovery, it is much easier to see the person you were as an addict, and it is not always the prettiest picture. But that person – that person in that picture, who is scared, and doing whatever they think they need to do to get by, to deserve another day… that addicted person? Guess what?
They deserve forgiveness, too.
I’m not saying it is easy. But, please, begin the journey of self-forgiveness, because true recovery cannot be attained without it.
It can be hard to think of anything positive about yourself when you are feeling shame for the way you behaved in your addiction. Because addictions are like that – they will make you feel ugly, and small, and replaceable, and finite, because they are selfish, and they want all of you, until there is nothing left to give.
Do not let this addictive mindset win. And until you can think of all the wonderful, beautiful things about yourself, remember this:
You are Good. You are Beautiful. You are Imperfect, but you are Okay. You deserve recovery. You deserve life. You deserve forgiveness.
Please, give this to yourself. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness.