They passed away before I made it through a successful recovery program, but I still wrote them a letter apologizing for my behavior, I told them how grateful I was for their love and everything they did for me…
The wholeness we seek in our journey to recovery from ourselves lies in forgiveness, forgiving ourselves first, then asking for and receiving forgiveness from others. We must bear in mind that everyone is different and although we owe it to them to apologize in an attempt to right the wrongs we caused, they don’t owe it to us to forgive. We cannot quantify the amount of harm we might have caused our loved ones, for me it was broken promises and the felt absence from both of my daughter’s childhood.
We cannot take back the terrible things and the harm we caused but we can try to amend them. In seeking forgiveness, expect anything! We can be rejected, dismissed, accepted, and hugged; whichever one comes be ready to hold on to the fact that we forgave ourselves first. This journey will not be easy, it takes years of practice and consistency, but with humility and discipline, we can do it.
Steps to take in Asking for forgiveness
Even though my grandparents have passed, I keep showing them how grateful I am for their love when I was broken by living a life that will make them proud. The same thing goes for everyone we love, we must live in a way that our loved ones would be proud of. I asked for forgiveness from both of my daughters, after a while one of them gave me her forgiveness but the other one still didn’t either way, I’m still living my life because I have forgiven myself for all the harm I caused. We can all live free and whole when we seek forgiveness from ourselves first and then from others.
- The first step is to make a list of all the people that were hurt during the time of substance abuse or addiction. As TalkManTalk, I always encourage ‘doing’ not just talking, so we emphasize on turning the things we write into action.
- The next step is to take a piece of paper and draw 4 columns, in one column write down the headings: name, type of harm, how can we correct the situation, when can we correct the situation? We can choose letters, gifts, a lunch meeting in the how column, our response to when can be right away, their next birthday, or even never. The point is to have actionable plans and goals rather than to keep wishing we can make things right. Make sure to be open and humble throughout the entire process.
The process of seeking forgiveness may bring back guilt, shame, and even regret, however, that shouldn’t stop us from trying, get started and not stop unless it’s going to cause more harm or open up a wound that’s already been healed, that’s when we should leave it alone.