When I met her, I thought I wouldn’t use dope anymore. I had been clean for a year but then I started using again and then she took my second daughter to Turks and Caicos to raise her around her family. I moved there with them and because it was a new location, I thought I wouldn’t use dope. It didn’t change anything, I smoked dope and my relationship with my daughter and her mother went up in smoke literally…
Forgiveness is one of the most crucial and difficult principles to practice on our journey to freedom from active addictions. Forgiveness is a two-way street and requires that we walk the entire trip through on both sides of the street. One path has our name written on it and the other has the names of all the people we hurt and negatively impacted when we were active in addiction.
The first path to clear on this journey of recovery is the one that has our name written on it because if we don’t forgive ourselves first there’s no way we can forgive others. Substance abuse makes us different people, when we are deep and rotting in it, we may not realize the magnitude of harm we are causing for ourselves and the people around us until we start taking steps towards freeing ourselves from ourselves. Forgiveness is the key to the gateway of new beginnings, new beginnings for us and for the people around us, our loved ones, coworkers, and anyone that frequents our space.
Forgiveness is essential for our healing process; forgiveness helps us come to terms with what we have done and prepares us for where we are headed. The success of our journey through all the steps to freeing yourself from yourself hinges on how successfully we execute this principle of forgiveness.
You are important! A popular saying goes “you can’t receive love from others if you don’t love yourself” the same thing holds for forgiveness, until we can love ourselves wholly, we can’t receive the forgiveness anyone else will give. Our mental health will benefit from our acceptance of the mistakes of the past, we should hang them up as reminders of things we never want to go back to.
In our walk to freedom if we don’t forgive ourselves then we can’t live. When I first tried to ask my first daughter for forgiveness, she was in her early teens, she refused my apology and didn’t offer her forgiveness. I kept trying for years but still, we rarely talked and when we did, she gave me one-word answers, now years later it’s still the same. When I talked to my sponsor, I realized that the reason why I kept trying was that I hadn’t forgiven myself for not being there for her and all the broken promises. My sponsor told me to forgive myself for everything, keep living, and allow her to have access to me so she can reach out when she likes, and if she chooses not to it’s still fine. Just forgive yourself and live your life!
The essence of forgiveness is that it helps us to let go of guilt, to live above the actions of our past and gives us strength to walk away from the anger and sadness we may feel. Forgiveness starts from within; we must look within ourselves and be unafraid to open up the dusty closets, clean them, lock them up and throw away the key, leaving all the sadness, blame, guilt, shame, depression, and pain behind us.