Asking for forgiveness from family and friends can be difficult, but it is an important part of your recovery to help in the healing process. Not everyone is going to be willing to give their forgiveness for your behavior and actions while struggling with addiction. This can be a hard and painful aspect of recovery to understand.
At Spero Recovery, we want to help you cope with this type of situation and move forward in your recovery.
What Is Recovery?
Recovery is a process in which you make changes to improve your mental and physical health, work towards being self-fulfilled, and learn to thrive in your new sober lifestyle. Each program is run uniquely based on the people running it, which allows you to discover what will help you most on your recovery journey.
Spero Recovery, for example, wants to improve the quality of life of those struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) by providing an affordable recovery program. They use a sponsored 12-Step based program and separate men and women to ensure everyone’s needs are being met.
What Are 12-Step Programs?
Twelve-Step programs utilize the philosophy that you need to accept your addiction as a mental health disorder that you are not in control of. Acceptance allows you to feel validated that it is a disease that needs help and a lot of hard work to manage. The steps help guide you to stop using your substance by helping change your mentality related to your addiction.
They help create a community of support from people that are experiencing similar things as you and working towards similar goals. This support is mutually beneficial and gives you the opportunity to work with understanding and nonjudgmental people. Twelve-Step programs work to help you accept the repercussions of your substance use and seek forgiveness for them from yourself and the family and friends you affected.
The Importance of Forgiveness
Seeking forgiveness is a vital part of recovery. It allows you the chance to inventory your transgressions, accept them and make amends with those they affected. Asking for forgiveness from the friends and family members that you affected helps open up a line of communication and work through any concerns and problems there may be in an effort to rekindle the relationship.
Tips for Seeking Forgiveness
Some tips to help when asking for forgiveness from those you wronged while using your substance include:
Understand What You Are Seeking Forgiveness For
Having a clear idea of what you are making amends for and who was involved is very important. It helps ensure you come across as sincere, are apologizing to the correct person, and understand what happened and why it needs an apology.
It’s not enough to just say the words. You have to show that you are truly sorry about what happened and the effect it had on the person. Empty apologies will only worsen the situation.
Expressing empathy lets the person know that you understand what you did was wrong and had an effect on them. It shows that you are validating how they feel and the need to apologize.
Taking responsibility shows them that you see the error in your behavior, which also shows you are working on changing. It also shows that you are sincere in your words, not just trying to make excuses or appease them in the situation.
Offer to Make Amends
Asking them how you can make the situation better between the two of you shows that you want to work to fix your relationship. It also says that you aren’t just apologizing as part of your treatment but because you care about them.
Reassure Them You Are Making Changes
Expressing and even describing how you are working to change tells them that you are making an effort not to repeat the behaviors that hurt them.
How to Cope if They Aren’t Willing to Forgive Youg
Accepting that someone is unable to forgive you, especially when in recovery, can be extremely hard. Here are some things to remember when working through the forgiveness process:
Maintain Your Self-Forgiveness
Having to hear that someone can’t forgive your past behavior can be very hard to hear and discouraging. You need to hold close that you tried your best, expressed your remorse, and took responsibility for your actions. This will make it easier for you to remember to forgive yourself for your actions while using the substance and ensure you remember that you are working to keep those behaviors from repeating.
They Don’t Have To
You can apologize until you are blue in the face, but that still doesn’t mean they have to accept it. They may feel what you did is inexcusable and unforgivable, and their feelings are valid. This friend or family member may not be able to forgive you because they aren’t ready to let what happened to go yet. It is their choice to decide when to let go of the anger and pain that your behavior caused. You did your part by properly apologizing, taking fault, and trying to make amends.
Look at Your Apology
Analyze your apology and make sure it follows the tips above. The way you phrased something or presented your apology may have come across as ingenuine.
Give Them Time
Let them have some time to digest your apology on their terms and without the expectation to accept it right then and there.
Let It Go
If you have thoroughly evaluated your apology and feel it was adequate, given them time to digest it and try again, but they still won’t forgive you; then it is time to walk away and let it go. You have done all you can to make amends, and you can feel good about yourself for that.
Recovery is a long process, a big part of which is coming to terms with what happened during your substance use. This includes asking for forgiveness from those you may have hurt during that time. Discussing with them what happened and asking them to pardon your actions can be terrifying. Not everyone will be willing to offer their forgiveness to you and be able to accept that you are trying to make amends for your behavior. This doesn’t mean that you stop forgiving yourself for what happened. If you are struggling to communicate and understand your family and friends’ feelings toward your substance use, reach out to Spero Recovery at (303) 351-7888 today.