Part of recovery is making amends to those we have hurt in our addictive disease. In order to make amends to others, we must first make amends to ourselves. Forgiveness, like charity and love, starts at home. It requires us to feel and acknowledge the pain we have caused, to accept our wrongs. Only then will we be able to truly make amends to those we have hurt.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“To ache with my own forgiveness is to be wholly accepting of myself. None of us is without need of forgiveness. In our disease, we have all done injury to those closest to us. This is one of the most painful aspects of addictive diseases: we hurt those we love the most. We hurt ourselves when we hurt those we love. When we are preparing to make amends to others, we must first make amends to ourselves for the wrongs we have done. Only then can we be truly ready to make our amends to others.
There is, indeed, a beauty in our forgiveness of ourselves. We can be simple, direct, and without fanfare in our forgiveness of ourselves.”
Forgiveness is beautiful. Through forgiveness, we accept that life is imperfect and acknowledge our own imperfections. While we all have flaws, we recognize that we are trying to improve, to be a little better than we were yesterday. Forgiveness means hope. It requires us to be honest and feel pain in order to heal. Forgiveness and making amends are one step on our journey to recovery. They are the foundation on which stronger ties and a better life are built.