Forgiveness is part of the healing process that you will go through as you strive to overcome addiction. While you may recognize that you have to forgive others, you may have a really hard time figuring out how to forgive yourself. There are probably a lot of things that you did in the past while under the influence of alcohol or drugs that you feel really ashamed about. The problem is, the more you dwell on thinking of yourself as a bad person because of your past actions, the more you set yourself up to repeat the cycle of self-destruction.
Guilt: The Useless Emotion
Guilt is one of the most useless emotions. When you dwell on feelings of guilt or shame, you are using your present energy to react to things you have done in the past. The problem is that there is no way to undo the choices you made months or years ago. The more guilt and shame you feel as you dwell on the past, the more you are likely to repeat the same type of behavior, giving you even more to feel guilty about.
Letting Go of the Past
In making the decision to get sober, you have decided not to be the person you used to be. When you are wondering how to forgive yourself, start by recognizing that the past has to stay in the past. It’s important to release the feelings of anger that you have toward yourself so that you can focus on leading a sober and productive life moving forward, starting now.
Learning how to forgive yourself starts with living in today, which is the only day that you can do anything about. Today you are making the choice to stay away from a drink or a drug. Give yourself credit for your efforts to live a sober life. Letting go of shame and guilt and forgiving yourself for a past history that you can’t change are important parts of healing from the disease of addiction.
Psych Central: Shame: The Core of Addiction and Codependency