Overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction is never easy and forgiveness in drug addiction recovery can be even harder. From the early stages of addiction intervention and detox through to the later stages of aftercare support, each element of treatment plays an important role in the overall process. While medications help to treat the physical nature of drug addiction, it’s also important to grow emotionally throughout the recovery process. Forgiveness is one of the most important lessons of all, with recovering addicts much less likely to relapse when they have made peace with themselves and the world around them.
Defining Forgiveness in Drug Addiction Recovery
Forgiveness is a voluntary and intentional act that involves recognizing and releasing negative emotions. By definition, forgiveness is about letting go and starting again, two things that are essential to any successful rehabilitation. Those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction often feel the weight of resentment and bitterness, with people often unable to forgive themselves and the people around them. In order to break the bonds of addiction once and for all, it’s important to break old emotional ties and start again with a fresh new outlook.
The Nature of Addiction
Addiction is a learned behavioral response maintained by neuronal adaptations. Before anyone can truly recover from a drug or alcohol dependency, they need to break the old unhealthy relationships that lead to impulsive and compulsive behaviors. While detox and medication therapy help to reset physical associations, this is only half of the battle. By learning the gentle art of forgiveness, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to throw away unhealthy psychological associations. Rehabilitation centers can help with this process, with mental and emotional health an important aspect of drug addiction recovery.
The Benefits of Forgiveness in Drug Addiction Recovery
People who are able to forgive themselves and the people around them are much more likely to recover from a substance use disorder. By letting go of past mistakes and grudges, you are releasing negativity and making room for healthy thoughts and emotions. Forgiveness also reduces stress levels and improves mental health, with people who experience resentment, bitterness, and anger much more likely to suffer from depression disorder. Learning how to forgive can even improve your physical health by helping to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Residential drug rehab facilities and outpatient rehabilitation centers help people to forgive and start fresh every single day.
The Importance of Mindfulness
Learning how to forgive is almost as important as forgiveness itself. In order to overcome any kind of addiction, it’s important to be mindful of the sensations, feelings, and thoughts that arise throughout the recovery process. This simple act of paying attention is known as ‘mindfulness’, and it plays a central role in many drug programs. You can only forgive those things that you are already aware of, with mindfulness and meditation practices helping people to identify these problem areas. You don’t have to forget about your past or even forgive people face-to-face, you simply have to recognize the negative emotions that are holding you back and throw away the things that are no longer serving your better interests.
If you or someone you care about could benefit from outpatient addiction treatment, contact Discovery Transitions today at 1 (866) 916-3211 to speak to an addiction counselor. We can provide information about the treatment programs at our intensive outpatient addiction treatment center and answer any questions you might have about your addiction and recovery.