Important Characteristics of Sobriety: Forgiveness
Once we start recovery, we are made aware of the havoc our addiction has caused. This awareness can lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Does forgiving ourselves let us off the hook and release us from our responsibilities? Of course not. Forgiveness, hopefully, helps us heal so that we can take responsibility for our recovery and our need for help. We must not lose sight of the damage we have done. But forgiveness allows us to make peace, to learn that we are afflicted with a deadly disease that could have killed us, and to learn that we have to work hard to keep it at bay.
We must also forgive others around us that we think didn’t treat us fairly. Why? Refusing to forgive is like poisoning ourselves, even though our anger is directed at someone else. Sure, some of our anger is justified, and those around us may have exhibited inappropriate behavior. But how much of it was a reaction to our addiction? A new life means a clean slate. Forgiveness is rolled out in The Twelve Steps (especially steps eight and nine) when we make amends so that we are also forgiven; however, that sometimes doesn’t happen and we need to move on and hope that, in time, our sober actions will help in that process. The best amend we can offer is to lead a wonderful and caring life, living the principals of recovery every day.