Your loved one’s addiction has ripped through yours and your family’s life like an F5 tornado. The winds came first, steadily growing stronger. Dark skies and torrential rain followed close behind. When the tornado came roaring through, it nearly leveled everything in your life.
Understandably, you’ve felt scared, angry, hurt and perhaps downright resentful. You now know first-hand that the impact of addiction extends far beyond the addict. Your loved one’s actions, choices and behaviors have caused you and your family great suffering. But, of course, you still care deeply for your loved one and only want to see them recover and reclaim control over their life.
You know that forgiveness is a crucial step in the recovery process – for both you and your loved one. And you’ve probably landed here today because, deep down, you feel you’re ready to take that step but unsure how to forgive an addict and let go of the pain.
Start here and start slow. The forgiveness in addiction recovery is delicate and not meant to be rushed. While everyone’s forgiveness path is different, these seven tips will help you set your mind right and begin your recovery and forgiveness journey.
1. Find Silence and Take a Deep Breath
The path that led you here didn’t happen overnight. The same must be true for the forgiveness phase. Everything is a journey, and this extremely sensitive and important phase cannot be resolved overnight.
Forgiving an addict starts inside you. It does not start with a conversation, an argument, a hug or an ‘I’m sorry.’ For you to fully prepare for a meaningful forgiveness that will last a lifetime, you must take time to sit with your thoughts and breathe.
Detangle your thoughts and get your mind right. Taking deep breaths during this exercise will help you remain calm and relaxed. It may prove beneficial to write in a journal to gain inner tranquility and clarity. However, many sessions you need and whatever method works for you, the goal is to step into the right frame of mind with peace.
2. Choose This Path with All Your Heart
Moments of solitude to reflect and collect your intention can be powerful. What did you gather about yourself? Your addicted loved one? The situation as a whole?
It must be said now: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – A quote from Confucius
If you feel you can eventually forgive your loved one, continue to give yourself and this process the respect you both deserve. Be patient and continue with all your heart.
If you feel you’re not ready or that you can’t forgive your loved one, that’s more than OK. Be kind to this awakening that has been placed in your heart. This realization doesn’t mean that you will never reach acceptance and forgiveness; it simply means not yet. Time heals all wounds.
3. Educate Yourself
When you are ready to move forward in your forgiveness journey, educate yourself and learn as much as you can about how and why addiction starts.
• How drugs and alcohol affect the mind and body
• Addiction triggers
• Withdrawal symptoms
• Recovery options and approaches
• How an addict can achieve lifelong sobriety after rehab
Learning about what addiction is like and what your loved one is going through can help put a lot into perspective and help you learn how to effectively approach certain situations.
4. Consider Therapy
Therapy is about releasing emotions and thoughts to an unbiased expert who will help you navigate everything you’re going through and provide a new outlook. Therapy can truly become a weekly breath of fresh air as you work one-on-one with your therapist to understand your ever-changing needs and feelings.
The forgiveness process necessitates that you let go of all toxic, negative energy and thoughts – for that’s the only way real forgiveness can live. Therapy sessions can help you start to release the hurt and pain you’ve kept bottled up for so long because of your loved one’s addiction.
5. Move Forward Without an Apology
While the thought of forgiving someone may seem good-hearted, it’s actually more of an inner-directed act. This means that you can forgive someone without receiving an apology or explanation from them.
Because the act of forgiveness serves you, you can move forward with your life even if your loved one never expresses remorse. If forgiveness is within you, don’t wait for your loved one to come around.
6. Release Pressure, Pain and Anger
Your loved one’s addiction has hurt you so deep. You’ve endured relentless manipulation, lies, theft, embarrassment and neglect. In total, you’ve accumulated an immense amount of pain and anger that has led to constant stress and anxiety. For the sake of your own well-being, it’s time to release every ounce of heartache, grief and sadness you feel. A wholehearted pardon does not possess feelings of hurt.
Make a declaration that your loved one’s addiction cannot steal your health and happiness anymore.
7. Follow Your Intuition
You will know when you’re ready to express your forgiveness to your loved one. Forgiving does not have to mean you erase the past; it means that you’re willing to learn from it and forge a new, healthier future.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that you have to allow them to remain a part of your life. If your loved one refuses to get help or you feel the damage is beyond repair and all trust is lost, you can forgive and carry on without them.
Successful Treatment Guarantee at Covenant Hills
Every addict can get clean. If your loved one has expressed the desire to get help and recover, there is hope. At Covenant Hills, we believe that your loved one can get back to being the person you know is still inside them.
Through our faith-based treatment program, their whole person health will be treated – an approach that focuses on restoring the mind, body and soul. With our Recovery Assurance Guarantee, we promise that our clients won’t experience relapse upon successful completion of treatment. If for any reason your loved one does relapse within one year of completing treatment, they can return for a week of stabilization and evaluation at no cost.