Forgiveness is often defined as the process of concluding resentments, and is a process absolutely essential to achieving meaningful and prolonged sobriety. Holding onto resentments is both counterproductive to recovery and potentially conducive to relapse. Dwelling on past harms you have undergone will keep you stagnant, and refusing to forgive those who may have hurt you will only keep you stuck, unable to progress. However, forgiveness is not an easy skill to learn. Some individuals may have hurt you deeply, and the idea of exonerating them may seem quite unfathomable. In order to truly pardon the misdoings of others, it is important to change your perception. In doing so you not only widen your outlook and grow as an individual, but you make a change necessary to bolstering your sobriety and ensuring no imminent danger to your recovery as a result of grudges or resentments.
Changing Your Perception and Learning to Forgive
Recovery in its entirety requires you to change your outlook on many different situations, accepting things as they are and viewing yourself and other people in a far more forgiving light. In order to forgive those who have wronged you, first try considering the fact that you have undeniably done immense harm to others while active in your addiction. Does this mean you are a bad person? Of course not. While caught up in the all-consuming battle against your own demons, disregarding the feelings and privations of others is unfortunately very easy. Keeping in mind that you were sick, mentally and physically incapable of showing and experiencing any true compassion for others, it will be somewhat simpler to forgive yourself for lacking. Remember that those who have harmed you are battling their own demons, and are likely mentally ill in their own right.
The Dangers of Holding Grudges
Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die. The individual you are unable to forgive is most likely blissfully unaware that they have even harmed you significantly, thus the only person that continues to suffer at the hands of the memory is you. Holding on to a grudge will diminish emotional growth, and it will be difficult to successfully develop substantial serenity while dwelling on past injuries. Even if someone has acted in a way you consider utterly inexcusable, begin by trying to consider them as sick and suffering, and see if you cannot eventually form some sense of compassion for his or her assumed moral anguish or blatant deficiency. Learning to forgive is sometimes a slow process, but it is one you will need to practice in order to reap the most reward out of your personal recovery.