When we first get sober, our focus is often righting the wrongs we have done unto others in our active addiction. While this is an important part of working the 12 steps of recovery, equally important is our learning to let go and forgive those who have wronged us. There is a saying in the rooms of recovery: harboring a resentment is akin to drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. How can you learn to turn the other cheek and forgive others in order to succeed in achieving long term sobriety?
First, you should always remember that in order to receive mercy we must give mercy. In other words, those who wish to be forgiven should themselves forgive others. It goes without saying those who have recently transitioned from active addiction to sobriety have likely harmed others as a result of their substance abuse, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If you would like to receive forgiveness from those in your life whom you have wronged, you should first come to accept and forgive those in your life whom you are holding resentments against for sins they have committed against you in the past. How hypocritical would it be for you to ask another for forgiveness when you yourself are not willing to do the same?
Another important part of learning to let go and forgive others involves our ability to make peace with our past and live fully in the present. If you are holding on to a resentment against someone for something they have done to you, you are effectively clinging to the past, allowing events which have already transpired to occupy your mind and pull focus from what is in front of you in life. We cannot hope to succeed in recovery if we are allowing our past to invade our minds in this way. Living in the present is required for us to truly connect to our higher power, and we cannot hope to stay sober without building and maintaining a connection with a God of our understanding.
Forgiveness is an important part of recovery, both in terms of giving and receiving. In active addiction, we were prone to both harboring resentments against those who had wronged us as well as avoiding confronting the wrongs we committed against others and asking their forgiveness. This behavior must be altered in sobriety along with all our other bad habits if we are to succeed in recovery and find a new way of life. Forgive others so you may receive forgiveness yourself while seeking to make amends for your past transgressions and you will be well on your way towards cementing yourself in sobriety!