Contributor: Jane McGuire, BS, Executive Assistant for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope
It is impossible to get through life without having been wronged at some time or another. People can do things intentionally and unintentionally that can cause pain and trauma. Some wrongs are considered big, others are considered minor. Some offenses have been done repeatedly, some it only took once to leave a scar. It is how one responds to them that makes all of the difference.
Forgiveness is not easy.
From Cain and Able, to the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, we have witnessed the effects of anger over the years. It has resulted in arguments, feuds, deaths and even wars.
Anger has the ability to compound and affect generations, when not addressed appropriately and put to rest. Putting to rest hurt and anger is not easy. It’s a process.
One can say the words “I forgive you”, but even then, the mind can bring up the pain and hurt that one has been through.
Saying the words is a start to healing and forgiveness. Often the words need to be repeated in order for the person that has angered you to believe they are forgiven, and many times for you to start believing it yourself.
Pain can go so deep. In recovery, the remembrance of a painful or traumatic event has been a trigger that has brought some back into their addiction.
One can reach for drugs or alcohol in order to numb the pain, but upon sobriety the pain is still there.
It’s crucial that these hurts are addressed in treatment programs and support groups. Pain, although it may look different in the lives of others, it is a consistent part of everyone’s recovery.
Forgiveness is a process.
Seeking your Higher Power and praying about a painful event is also helpful. Asking God to help you forgive is an important step in recovery. Praying for the person that harmed you is not easy when you are filled with anger, but after praying you often feel a peace that passes all understanding.
It is a process, there are times when a few prayers are not enough. When prayer becomes your first response to painful memories, peace soon follows.
Forgiveness can be from a distance.
Many times the painful memories involves someone who is unsafe. Do not approach someone who is unsafe in order to tell them they are forgiven. Forgiveness can occur at any distance.
Sharing a traumatic event with a trusted treatment team and sponsor is healing. Praying is healing too. These steps can be made from where ever you are, and they can be about your healing.
There are times when the person in your life that you most need to forgive is you. We can be so hard on ourselves. The process remains the same. Reach out to your treatment team, share your hurts with your sponsor and walk through your recovery forgiving yourself.
This step towards healing is crucial. You cannot change what has happened in the past, but today is a new day and you can change today and tomorrow.
Give yourself the grace and forgiveness that you are willing to extend to others.
If you are continually haunted by a traumatic memory that you need to leave behind. Consider praying about it in a certain place.
Somewhere that you rarely go, somewhere that only you will know about, and pray for your forgiveness and healing in that place.
Know that you left that hurt there and move on. The next time the hurt pops up, remind yourself that it doesn’t hold power over you any longer because you left it in your secret place.
Forgiveness is a powerful part of recovery. It’s a powerful part of living. Take the time to look at the pain you are holding and take the steps to let it go. Reach out to your sponsor, your treatment team and your support group.
Chances are, there will be someone there that is also holding on to pain that needs healing. Walk through this together, and know that there is hope for you both. Forgiveness, healing and recovery is within reach.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What steps have you taken toward forgiveness in your recovery from addiction? Have you forgiven yourself and have your forgiven others? How has this peace affected your recovery?
About the author: Jane McGuire is the Executive Assistant for Jacquelyn Ekern, Founder of Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope. Jane graduated from Eastern Oregon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jane believes that everyone has a story of trial, that when shared, can be used to benefit and encourage someone else who is struggling to find hope and direction.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 18, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com