Addiction hurts everyone involved; not just the addict. Even so, it’s difficult to forgive and forget.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million adults battled substance abuse in 2017. That’s a lot of forgiveness to work through.
If your loved one recently battled their own addiction, it’s understandable that you’re 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.
1. Understanding Addiction
Before you can forgive your loved one, it’s important to understand what they experienced.
Understanding their choices and actions doesn’t mean accepting them, though. Rather, this will give you their perspective of what happened.
Often enough, the addict never set out to hurt you in the first place.
Addiction causes people to lose sight of anything beyond their substance abuse.
They’re concerned about getting their next fix, or not getting caught. This causes them to neglect their relationships in favor of drugs or alcohol.
Your loved one might have felt imprisoned by their addiction. They might also have felt so guilty that they couldn’t admit or discuss the addiction.
This can cause them to draw up walls and isolate themselves.
Think about the emotions your loved one experienced during their addiction. Empathy does not minimize the pain you feel. However, it can make it easier for you to forgive them.
2. Make an Effort
If you really want to answer the question “how do I forgive my loved one for their addiction”, you need to make an effort.
Remind yourself why you want to find a way to forgive them. Does strengthening your relationship after their addiction matter to you? Do you want to support your loved one on the path to recovery?
Determine that reason. Then, focus on letting go of your negative emotions.
You’re in control here. It’s in your power to choose a healthier path for you both.
Forgiveness isn’t instantaneous. It requires effort and commitment. If you want to forgive your loved one, focus on making that effort every day.
In a way, you’re experiencing your own road to recovery, too.
3. Recap Lessons Learned
An experience like this can teach you a lot in life. It can even prepare you for difficult situations down the road.
As you work towards forgiveness, ask yourself what the overall situation taught you.
If something similar happened in the future, would you react differently?
You might even decide to learn the signs of addiction during your research. That way, you can recognize the signs in the future. You might even be able to save a life by recognizing those signs.
Step back and review everything you’ve learned.
This can help you appreciate the growth you’ve experienced. That way, you can move beyond this situation with more wisdom than you had going in.
4. Don’t Wait
Choosing to forgive your loved one is your choice. That means you don’t have to wait for the addict to make amends first.
Instead, remember you’re doing this for your own emotional health. In fact, forgiveness can improve our physical wellness, too. Forgiveness can also:
- Lower anxiety
- Improve mental health
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce depression symptoms
- Improve heart health
- Improve self-esteem
- Reduce stress
Why wait for all of those health benefits?
Instead, set a positive example for your loved one. They might not feel capable of apologizing or making healthy choices right now. If you step forward first, you can help them through their struggles.
That way, you’re making a healthy decision for you both.
5. Ask for Help
It’s okay if you need a little help. With 19.7 million Americans struggling with substance abuse, there are plenty of other family members and friends asking the same question you are.
“How do you forgive the addict in your life?”
Asking for help can help you gain a fresh perspective. Whether you go to a therapist, support group, or friend, you also gain a sounding board.
That way, you have help navigating this situation.
You can also contact one of our representatives to learn more about the road to recovery.
6. Don’t Keep Score
According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce.
Keeping our emotions bottled up or building a list of negatives isn’t healthy. In fact, that list of negatives can cause resentment. As a result, the statistic above will increase every year.
Try not to keep score or remind the addict of their past mistakes. This can increase their guilt, making it more difficult for them to recover.
Instead, focus on the future. Looking ahead can help you let go of your grip on the past.
7. Assess Your Emotions
It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. However, bottling up your emotions isn’t healthy.
Instead, assess what you’re feeling, then try to release these negative emotions.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to achieve true forgiveness.
It’s up to you whether to say the words “I forgive you” aloud. When you truly forgive your loved one, it will show.
It’s important to forgive yourself, too. Not everyone makes the right choices or reacts the right way.
You may have given your loved one money you didn’t know supported their drug abuse. You may have also reacted in anger when discovering the truth.
Instead of harboring your own guilt, learn from these mistakes. That way, you know how to handle these situations in a healthier way.
8. Give Yourself Time
Remember, forgiveness isn’t immediate. Don’t rush yourself.
Instead, use these tips to the best of your ability and give your emotional wounds time to heal.
How Do You Forgive Drug Abuse: 8 Tips for Mending Relationships
How do you forgive drug abuse? There’s isn’t one easy answer. This forgiveness takes time, effort, and the desire to forgive.
With these eight tips, you can take the first steps toward forgiveness.
Remember, you’re not alone—and neither is your loved one. Get your loved one the help they need today by exploring our treatment options.