The Power Of Forgiving An Alcoholic Parent
Most people dont truly understand what forgiveness is. You may believe forgiving an alcoholic parent is impossible after all youve been through. However, forgiveness doesnt mean you forget, and its not about reconciling.
Forgiveness is a personal choice you make for your own well-being. When you forgive, you let go of the past and all resentment you may still have inside. You release your parent from the debt they owe you for all the pain they caused.
When you hold on to unresolved anger, these feelings can begin to hurt you. Anger can cause fear, mistrust, bitterness and psychological and physical ramifications such as depression or anxiety. Some individuals even take on the addictive behaviors of their parent. If you find yourself wallowing in the hurts of the past, unable to move forward with your life, try to understand the immeasurable benefits youll discover by choosing forgiveness:
- Less stress
- Reduced risk of substance abuse
Learn The Difference Between Forgiveness And Forgetting
Forgiving a person for treating you badly does not mean that you accept the fact that they were, and might still be, abusive, selfish and hurtful towards you.
Contrary to what you might believe, saying that you forgive your addicted parents is very different than accepting their destructive behavior or denying the impact their addiction had and continues to have, on you.
Making peace with the fact that they struggled with the disease of addiction simply means that you choose to let go of the anger and resentment you have been living with it doesnt mean you pretend their drug abuse didnt affect you. It also doesnt mean you should suddenly expect that your parents behavior has changed for the better or that you will now be able to have a healthy relationship with them.
Remember, forgiveness is a deeply personal choice that often involves processing painful feelings so that you can let go of the invisible chains that are holding you back from your own health, wellness, and prosperity.
Why You Should Forgive
Forgiveness in addiction cases is not about just letting the addict rest easy or heal, but it is about helping you heal through the trauma that the situation caused. Forgiveness in addiction can help to lessen the burden you carry around, whether it is sadness, guilt, anger or any other powerful emotion. By forgiving, you are giving yourself permission to move on with your life again.
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How To Apologize To An Addict
Often, the process of forgiveness will involve self-evaluation. Although your addicted friend or family member ultimately put you in the position, you may have said or done some things that you, also, feel the need to apologize for. But how to apologize to an addict? Simply acknowledge the incident, and tell your loved one that youre sorry. Doing so doesnt mean youre accepting all of the responsibility. It just means that youre acknowledging that you wish youd done some things differently.
Forgiveness will make a big difference in your life if youre frequently suffering from negative emotions about your addicted friend or loved one. Making the choice to let go and move on may be one of the best choices you ever make.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at .
Number Of Families Affected By Addiction
Addiction is, unfortunately, all too common today. Families dealing with a loved one struggling with this chronic disease may feel as though they are on their own, but these statistics may help to put the issue into a different perspective.
- About 21.5 million Americans have a substance abuse disorder according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. This figure applies to people aged 12 and older.
- Of this number, about 1.9 million people developed an addiction to prescription pain medicines and 586,000 had an addiction to heroin.
- Approximately 23 percent of those people who use heroin develop an addiction to opioids .
- In 2013, the number of Americans either dependent on alcohol or had problems related to alcohol use was 17.3 million, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health .
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How Do I Forgive A Drug Addict
Forgiveness doesnt happen overnight. Youve been hurt repeatedly by someone you love, and your concern and caring has been used to his or her advantage. How many times have you asked yourself, How do I forgive a drug addict? or Why should I forgive a drug addict? When you cling to the anger and bitterness caused by the actions of someone addicted to drugs, only one person suffers, and that is you. The person who is addicted is not in a state of mental awareness to even care about the harm his or her actions are causing.
You are not the addict, yet your life is being affected by another persons actions and indifference. When you add anger and bitterness to the situation, you only make it worse. By forgiving an addict, you are not accepting their actions, not giving up your right to emotions, not reconciling, not eliminating the consequences, and not trusting him or her. Resentment, bitterness, and fear can prevent you from living your life and cause you to be stuck in an angry and toxic time warp. Forgiveness puts you in charge of your feelings and emotions and frees you to start enjoying your life again.
Be Realistic About Their Recovery
If this person has a history of relapse, you may need to be patient with their recovery process. Try not to set too many expectations for them as they may disappoint you very quickly if they cannot meet these expectations. You can still offer your support and encouragement, but try not to make it all about the recovery. It is also essential that you avoid allowing yourself to hope that they will get clean and remain sober, only for them to relapse later after time passes by.
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Understand What Addiction Is
In order to reach forgiveness, it helps to understand that addiction is a disease. It led the individual to do harmful things that hurt themselves and those around them, but those acts do not define who they are as a person. They likely feel terrible about what they did in the past. You can still feel upset about what occurred, but knowing that the addictive brain lacks the ability to control can make it easier to move towards forgiveness.
How To Forgive Someone Who Is A Recovering Drug Addict
Forgiving a person who has been addicted to drugs can be very hard. You may feel that they have taken advantage of you and the love that you had for them. They may have made promises to change but then broken those promises time and time again. It is not easy to trust someone who has betrayed your trust so many times before. If you are struggling with forgiving someone in this situation, here are some tips on how you can find forgiveness:
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Additional Reasons Loved Ones Cant Forgive After Years Of Sobriety
The first is that you have stopped drinking but are not fully treating your disease. You may be sober in the sense youre not drinking , but you have not treated/dealt with the reasons you drank or used in the first place. So in essence, youre behaving the same way just without alcohol / drug. What are these reasons? Untreated childhood trauma, mental health disorders and your brain mapping around toxic stress as a result of trauma, to name a few. For example, a 12 step program does not treat trauma nor mental health disorders. To better understand what it takes to fully treat substance use disorders, check out NIDAs Principles of Effective Treatment. Check out my post, Pay Particular Attention to Mental Illness and Childhood Trauma When Treating Addiction.
The second is that it may not be just the drinking. There may have been other behaviors unrelated to drinking that have not been addressed or changed and are unsafe or unhealthy for your loved one or your children to live or have a relationship with.
Forgiving Your Addicted Spouse
Actively trying to forgive is an important step in your healing, because you know you cant keep living this way filled with resentment. Its exhausting! At Transformations Care, we will give your partner the tools they need to help mend your relationship. Taking a dual diagnosis approach, we work with your partner on communication and relationship skills. We will also teach your partner healthy coping mechanisms, alternative to drugs and alcohol. The combination of your partner coming home sober with new tools to work through lifes issues and you forgiving them for the past, your relationship can be mended for the better.
If your spouse has not gone to residential addiction treatment yet and you are struggling with their addiction firsthand, its time to talk about it with them. Approach your partner in a calm and helpful manner. By showing them the right residential treatment facility, they will see it as their solution rather than you two playing another blame game of their alcohol abuse.
Showing them the addiction treatment center is especially helpful when your partner sees that the facility doesnt have a hospital vibe. Transformations Care is tucked away in a quiet Neighborhood in sunny Los Angeles, making your partner feel right at home and ready to focus on their path to recovery. For more information on how to approach your loved one about their substance abuse or more tips to help you forgive your addicted spouse, give us a call at .
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Addiction: A Family Disease
When one person in the family develops a substance abuse issue, it doesnt solely affect them. No matter what their particular drug of choice happens to be, their addiction is a family disease, since it causes stress to the people living in the family home and to those people closest to the addict.
This disease has the potential to interfere with normal family life and routines. A person living with an addiction may behave in an erratic manner, depending on whether they are sober, drunk or high, or recovering from a time when they were drinking or using drugs.
Someone who is in the throes of an active addiction may lie about how much they are drinking, how many drugs they are taking or even that they are taking drugs at all. This is one of the symptoms of the disease, and its quite common for addicts to manipulate loved ones if it means they can get resources that will support the addiction.
Family members may also react to a loved ones addiction by stepping in to help. Their motives may be for the best of intentions, at least at first. It can take time for a family to realize that they are dealing with a loved one who has developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The early stages of the disease can be subtle. Addicts can be very good at persuading family members that an episode where they were under the influence was an isolated one and that it will never happen again. Unfortunately, in the case of someone who is living with an addiction, it always happens again.
Successful Treatment Guarantee At Covenant Hills
Every addict can get clean. If your loved one has expressed the desire to get help and recover, there is hope. At Covenant Hills, we believe that your loved one can get back to being the person you know is still inside them.
Through our faith-based treatment program, their whole person health will be treated an approach that focuses on restoring the mind, body and soul. With our Recovery Assurance Guarantee, we promise that our clients wont experience relapse upon successful completion of treatment. If for any reason your loved one does relapse within one year of completing treatment, they can return for a week of stabilization and evaluation at no cost.
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Forgiving An Addicted Loved One In 5 Steps
Having an addict or alcoholic in your family is devastating. For years, youre hurt, disappointed, and frustrated over and over again. Theyre harming themselves with their drug of choice, but youre filling up with resentment and anger that will eat at you from the inside, like poison. Sometimes, it feels like youll never know how to forgive an addicted loved one.
When they finally get on the path of recovery, though, its time for you to start your own healing too. That can take many forms, but a key step in any process is to forgive them. Depending on where you are at in your own journey, that might sound like total BS to you. How do you forgive your addicted partner after everything they did while using? Its possible, and its actually necessary. Heres how to do it.
1. Accept that Addiction is a Disease
Rebuilding Trust After Addiction
Rebuilding trust after addiction is critical for family relationships to regain normalcy. If you contributed by enabling your family member, it is time to forgive yourself. Many things influence the development of the disease of addiction. Let your loved one know that you forgive them, but you will do something if you see them drifting toward a relapse. Family therapy is an excellent help for rebuilding trust after addiction, and its best to start when your loved one is still in rehab. In family therapy you are free to explain with your loved one why you were hurt and why your trust was broken. You can also discuss the steps necessary to rebuild the family trust and relationships.
If you need help with forgiveness and rebuilding trust after addiction, contact WhiteSands Addiction Treatment Centers. They can also lead interventions with family and friends of someone needing treatment or who is relapsing.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at . Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.
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The Next Step: Forgiving Yourself
Perhaps the hardest person to forgive is yourself. And, holding onto these feelings can be even more detrimental than holding onto resentment from others. People going through outpatient drug rehab in Agoura tend to remember some of their lowest points. But feelings of guilt and shame do nothing to support your recovery.
As you learn how to forgive others, it will be easier to forgive yourself. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of strength. Again, your group sessions and 12-step meetings will help you practice forgiveness. Its a process that happens over time, but its essential to a healthy and complete recovery.
Putting Yourself Down Is Self
The act of forgiveness, to others or to yourself, is always beneficial however hard it may be. The opposite feelings of anger, resentment and self-hatred are invariably toxic.
It is crucial to tell yourself that you are fundamentally a good person. Addiction may have led you to do bad things, but behaviours can be changed and attitudes can be altered. The only thing that cant be undone is the past.
For many, believing that they are fundamentally good people takes time but it can be achieved, a step at a time. Self esteem comes from the feeling that we are doing our best in everything that we try to do. Doing our best means following our conscience and being true to ourselves and our values. After the chaos of addiction, many people need time to sort all this out. So give yourself time and watch your self esteem build A day at a time.
Whatever you addiction is, it was a way to numb your emotions, and an excuse to act like someone youre not. You are not that person anymore. Others may not recognise this right away, but you have already been witness to the progress youve made. If you want to earn someone elses forgiveness, you have to forgive yourself first. If you cannot forgive yourself, how can you expect someone else to?
Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked |
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Make Up For Your Mistakes
Often, an apology is not enough and may even be rejected. This can be very damaging to self-esteem. For this reason, people in early recovery are advised to think very carefully before attempting to make amends by way of apology. Actions speak louder than words.
One thing that can help yourself is volunteering or doing something good for the community. Even if a person doesnt immediately accept your apology, your efforts will shine more than words ever will, and you will feel better about yourself.
How Do You Forgive The Addict In Your Life 8 Tips For Accepting Amends
Addiction hurts everyone involved not just the addict. Even so, its difficult to forgive and forget.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million adults battled substance abuse in 2017. Thats a lot of forgiveness to work through.
If your loved one recently battled their own addiction, its understandable that youre hurt. If your loved one recently attended an addiction treatment program, it may be time to consider forgiveness.
How do you forgive that hurt?
With these eight tips, you can forge a path toward forgiveness. Then, you can mend the broken bridges of your relationship and get back on track.
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