Asking for forgiveness and forgiving others goes hand in hand in recovery. Harboring resentment and anger towards others is a way of avoiding making amends and is detrimental to recovery from addiction. Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened was okay, and it doesn’t mean the person who hurt you should be welcome in your life. It just means you have made peace with your pain and you are ready to let it go.
I remember when I was little and I pushed a kid on the playground. My teacher told me to say sorry, and I said it, but I didn’t mean it because the kid I pushed deserved it. But as I get older, making amends isn’t so simple. After the playground days are over you can’t just say sorry, you have to mean it. Being in recovery means that sometimes I have to shut up, swallow my pride, and accept that I’m wrong, which I used to confuse with giving up.
As an addict I can’t undo my mistakes, and I rarely forgive myself for them – it’s a byproduct of addiction. But as an addict in recovery I can always try to do better, to be better, to right a wrong. Even when it feels irreversible. Of course, “I’m sorry” doesn’t always cut it. Maybe because we use it in so many different ways; as a weapon, as an excuse. But when I really am sorry, when I mean it, when my actions say more than my words ever can – When I get it right, “I’m sorry” is perfect. When I get it right “I’m sorry” is redemption!