Addiction is a difficult path that often creates emotional damage for many people. Even if you have a lot of people supporting you through the process, it’s not easy to forgive yourself. Many people have regrets and “what ifs” they wish they could change. You can’t do that, but there may be simple things that you can do to help improve your future and give yourself a bit of a fresh start.
Recognize That How You Feel Is Normal
Feelings of anger, frustration, and even hate may come into your mind. As a person working through addiction, it’s common to feel like you made big mistakes and that it will be hard to overcome them. Self-hate, though, can get in the way of that recovery. How do you get past this? Start with understanding that these angry feelings are normal and that, with the right support and guidance, you can work through them and work to rebuild your future.
How to Recover and Be Yourself
As you work on recovery from addiction, know that there is no one single thing you need to do to start loving yourself again. Rather, try to do a few things that may help support you on this path forward. Here are some examples of places to start.
Let go of past trauma and pain
It is very common for the path of addiction to begin with the onset of pain and trauma. No matter what happened to you, recognize it. Even as hard as it may be, work with your therapist on recognizing what that pain is. Once you do that, it is then possible to begin on the path toward healing. You don’t have to be okay with what happened. You don’t have to understand the “why” of it.
Also, recognize that past trauma very commonly causes pain today. That may be anxiety or insecurity. For some people, it is intense levels of guilt that you just cannot let go of even when you try. That’s normal to feel that way. However, it doesn’t need to remain that way. With therapy, including support groups, talk therapy with a professional, and cognitive behavioral therapy, you can overcome this pain.
Forgive yourself for your past addiction
Addiction happens for many reasons. Every one of them isn’t your fault. Most people don’t set out to start an addiction. They may use drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with past trauma, stress, or pain. They may even just drink to have fun. Yet, forgiving yourself for starting on this path is critical. It also takes a lot of time to reach that point.
Remember that forgiving yourself for your past addiction is not excusing the behavior. Rather, it’s a process that allows you to simply detach from the emotions that are holding you to that pin. To forgive, accept what happened, recognize that you cannot change it, and then start on a path of recovery.
Work on healthy relationships
Another part of the process of loving yourself is working through relationships. There may be a number of relationships in your life that you simply cannot fix. Maybe there are a few that you should not fix either. You may have loved ones, though, that are hurting from what’s occurred. There are a few things to remember.
You cannot force someone to forgive or understand what’s happened to you. If they choose to end a relationship with you, respect that and let go. If someone has put you on the path to using or is a strong link to your past addiction, rebuilding that relationship isn’t healthy. For those relationships where you want to heal and recover, work closely with your loved one to overcome what’s occurred. Avoid making promises to them. Ask for forgiveness, but only when you mean it. Work in therapy to achieve a better outcome.
Apply acceptance to your life right now
Learning to love yourself means loving who you are right now. It’s not about the person you were before you went through this life-changing experience. Rather, it’s about loving who you are through this pain and trauma. That’s not easy, but it’s also something to be proud of accomplishing. Addiction therapy and recovery is a hard path, and it may be the hardest thing you do in your lifetime. Yet, you are worthy of that opportunity.
Accept what’s happened to you. Focus on living in the moment, not in the past of what could have been or the future that may not be how you thought it would look.
Are You Experiencing Pain and Need Addiction Help?
If you are like many other people battling addiction, reach out to our team at (866) 971-5531 to start on the path toward recovery.