How to forgive during addiction


Forgiveness is an important step in the process of overcoming substance problems or addiction. Learning how to forgive during addiction is usually easier said than done, but without forgiveness – of yourself and others – moving forward and getting past your problems will not be complete.

Substance use creates many painful experiences that touch everyone involved. You, the members of your family who want you to stop using drugs and alcohol, your employer who would like to see the old “you” return to work, and the friends you had before you started using; all of your relationships have been affected by your choices.

Not only have you been the source of pain to others but you have also brought psychological, emotional and physical pain to yourself. You may be holding a certain amount of bitterness against your family for turning you away when you needed them most, or toward a boss for letting you go when they knew you needed your job, or toward friends for cutting you off when you had no one else. Most of all, you may have developed a deep guilt and hatred of yourself for letting your life get so out of control.

Unresolved feelings such as these can prevent you from moving forward, being able to leave the past behind, overcoming your situation, and having a life free of substance use. Not being able to forgive during addiction is one of the main reasons why individuals with substance use problems end up returning  to drugs and alcohol.

Forgiveness is a choice and it is something that you determine to do both mentally and emotionally. Individuals who hold on to resentment do an injustice to others, but the bigger injustice is to themselves and prevents them from overcoming their substance use problems. As resentment and bitterness build within, the individual will look for anything to ease those feelings and, in the case of a substance user, that will most likely be drugs and alcohol.

Learning how to forgive during addiction and letting go of any feelings of anger and bitterness toward yourself and others is the first step in moving forward. If you have been holding on to a checklist of people who have wronged you, then you need to mentally throw the checklist away.

The non-religious St. Jude Retreats use Cognitive Behavioral Education. This very effective approach teaches guests how to prioritize their personal goals, how to use self-assessment to make choices that promote achieving their goals, and how to form behavioral pattern that enrich their lives. Guests learn the importance of forgiving themselves and others and that without forgiveness, it is difficult to impossible to move forward and have a life that is permanently free from substance use.

Periodic independently conducted research has found that past guests of the Saint Jude Retreats have an 5 to 10 times higher success rate than those who enroll in traditional rehab and treatment programs.  If you are ready to move beyond drug or alcohol use, call us today to start changing your life.