Forgiveness can be hard to do when you have so much anger inside of you. When you know someone struggling with addiction, all you can think about when you look at that person is all the hurt they caused you. Practicing forgiveness is an important step in maintaining a relationship with a recovering addict to help both of you move on from the pain endured from addiction.
Addiction can be a frustrating disease to watch someone have. It involves seeing them at their worst in that they will hurt, lie, cheat, and steal to acquiring drugs or alcohol. Even if someone recovers, there is still a potential for relapse which means watching the same problems occur with this person all over again.
Forgiveness can be hard if for a big portion of your relationship, that person has lied to you repeatedly. That person has probably told you stories about what they need money from you for such as being behind on their bills, need to buy a present, gas money, etc. That person may have even stole from you before whether they broke into your house or stole from your secret stash when you were not looking. Another lie could have been feigning illness so that you can take that person to the doctor to acquire more medication to abuse. You could have been in the middle of work or an important engagement but had to leave in the middle of it to help your loved one.
Another form of deception that person could have done is tell you what you want to hear. That person could have manipulated you by telling you that they can stop at any time and will never do it again. When you find out they have still been using after telling you that, you feel betrayed. Blame could have also been placed on you that maybe you abused drugs or alcohol in the past and that person learned by you. You could have also thought it was just a phase that they will get over and that person feels like you could have stopped them before it got worse. Abuse is also very common in addiction that could result in lashing out physically and emotionally since you are not in control when under the influence. By forgiving that person for all of their wrongdoings, there is a possibility that you can turn over a new leaf.
The first way you can lean towards forgiveness is by learning everything you can about addiction. It can mean reading books from the library, watching documentaries of the testimonials people have told going through it as well as their friends and family, learning about the effects of drugs and alcohol that person abuses, and what you can do for that person. By learning about how someone struggling with addiction thinks, you will realize that addiction really is an uncontrollable disease and that any pain they may have caused you is not personal. You also need to realize that holding onto all of that anger you have will not fix what you and that person has with each other. It will make recovery difficult for that person if you are still showing anger towards them and may feel the need to continue using to avoid any feelings of guilt. Letting go will help you move on and prevent yourself from being bitter.
Remember that not all bad experiences happen for no reason. Use this horrible experience of seeing someone you love struggling with addiction as an education for you. By witnessing addiction first hand, you will learn more about it than you have before and know how to help that person treat it. You can use your experiences to help others who are struggling helping the ones they love with addiction by helping people in support groups or even volunteering at a rehab. You should not place any expectations on the person facing addiction as if you expect them to have a speedy recovery, you will be disappointed. Acknowledge that relapses are to be expected and what you will do as soon as one occurs. If you cannot handle any setbacks from that person, it is best to distance yourself if you do not know how to help or you will be too frustrated to help.
How you will know if someone deserves forgiveness is by thinking if that person is good for you, you can build a stable life with, and has the potential to work toward a healthy relationship. If you can, this person may deserve forgiveness. If your loved one does not feel like they have a problem and will make no efforts to stop abusing substances, it would be best to take a break from that person until they decide to go into treatment. Do not make any promises to your loved one that you will forgive them. All you can do is promise that you will work towards forgiveness, learn to let go, and that you will judge that person instead by who they are now instead of past behaviors. By joining Al-Anon, you can talk about the problems and behaviors of your loved ones and get information and resources on how to better help. A huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders by forgiving the one you love for their past actions as addiction is a disease that you can fight together.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 1-888-570-7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.