How to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward

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Addiction is an ailment of the body, mind, and spirit. Addiction negatively affects you by causing physical withdrawal when the substance is not taken. Addiction also damages emotions and self-esteem.

Addiction is more than the act of using drugs or drinking alcohol. In order to obtain drugs and alcohol, many people end up stealing, lying, and engaging in behaviors that are self-defeating and even. If you struggle with addiction, you may not mean to hurt yourself or others. The unfortunate truth is that addiction causes intense emotional pain.

Forgiving yourself is a necessity in order to gain long-term recovery. You cannot move forward if you continue hanging onto past mistakes and pain. Forgiving yourself is a process and you have to take it one step at a time.

First, you must be honest with yourself. If you are in a 12 step program, one of the steps is making a list of past wrongs and making amends to people. Even if you are not in a 12 step program, this may be a beneficial endeavor. Take some time to journal about your regrets. Sit with a trusted person like a therapist or sober friend and talk about your feelings. If you have the opportunity to make direct amends to family and friends, do so. You may find that this is an incredibly healing process.

Be patient with yourself. Try to recognize that no one alive is perfect. Even people who do not have addictions to drugs and alcohol make mistakes. Beating yourself up will only hold you back and prevent you from moving forward.

Now that you have done some journaling about the areas you regret and have talked with a trusted friend, allow yourself to grieve and release it. You cannot hang on to the past and succeed. Some people find it helpful to learn mindfulness techniques during this process. Mindfulness teaches you how to stay in the moment and not fixate on the past or future, of which you have no control over.

Use your past mistakes as motivation to succeed. You do not have to repeat the past. Instead, take responsibility for past choices and let them motivate you to not engage in the same behaviors. Learn from the past and move forward.

Learning to forgive yourself is never easy. However, forgiving self is a necessary and critical step to recovery. If you allow yourself to live in the regrets of the past, they could become a trigger to relapse.

The Kimberly Center offers the best in partial care programming for the treatment of addictions and co-occurring disorders. Providing a variety of treatment services with love and compassion, our clinical team serves to help clients heal mind, body, and spirit. Call us today for information: 855-4-KCENTER

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