One of the hardest parts of recovery is overcoming the guilt and regret of past actions under the influence of addiction. Substance abuse can lead the addict to do things that, in the cold light of sobriety, can appear unforgivable. But the addict cannot accept that feeling. As long as the recovering addict allows dark feelings to hover over their psyche, they will be unable to fully move beyond their past and try to move forward into a deeper recovery.

The recovering addict must emphasize the need for forgiving yourself on the path to healing.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing and getting others to forgive you for any wrongs you may have done before recovery can be very helpful. But sometimes, harder than getting friends and family to forgive you, the hardest part is forgiving yourself. 

We’ve all had things in our past that have become sources of regret and guilt, even without addiction being at fault. They can be minor things, sometimes things the other person has even forgotten, but they still dwell in our minds, leading us to brood over the past in an unhealthy way. In such cases, getting the forgiveness of others is less important than forgiving yourself. Only by moving past this thing and clearing the mind of its negative influence can you find mental solace.

Addiction can take such regrets and magnify them tenfold or more. Much as addiction itself can dwell in the mind, taking over mental real estate in a sprawling mass of negative feelings, the guilt and regrets related to addiction can remain present in a similar manner. If the recovering addict continues to dwell on and brood on such dark feelings, it can harm the recovery process, making it harder for them to feel they have a fresh start after attempting to put their substance abuse past behind them.

Forgiving Yourself on the Path to Healing

This is why forgiveness is so important, particularly on a personal level. If the addict continues to feel guilt and regret over the past, they must find a way to rid themselves of such feelings. Remembering the past is important, as it is necessary to avoid repeating it. But it is not necessary to remember it with an ongoing sense of pain and horror. That will ultimately only be destructive and self-defeating.

So how does the recovering addict reach this point of self-forgiveness? It can require time and help, from therapy and rehab support. Addiction treatment necessarily focuses on the mental just as much as on the physical, and reaching the point where forgiveness becomes possible is an important milestone on the recovery journey.

At Good Landing Recovery, our therapists and doctors know the importance for the addict of forgiving yourself and make that an important focus in preparing for recovery and leaving rehab to move into a greater recovery on the outside. Without personal forgiveness, pain, regret and possibly even relapse become greater possibilities, threatening to undermine everything the addict has worked to achieve.

The most important aspect of recovery is finding a stable mindset to prevent relapse and guilt and regret can both threaten to undermine that goal.

Only through self-forgiveness can the recovering addict better reach that state of mind for a healthier lifestyle after addiction. By forgiving yourself on the path to healing, with the help of Good Landing, this can become possible.