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When a person is struggling with substance abuse, feelings of guilt can become all too common. These feelings can greatly affect a person’s recovery and prevent them from successfully moving through the healing process. In order to overcome the guilt and shame that stems from substance abuse, you need to be able to forgive yourself and let things go. 

The road to self-forgiveness may be rocky, but it is not impossible. With a little dedication, compassion, and openness, you will learn how to forgive yourself and experience why self-forgiveness can be the most powerful gift you hold.

What Is Self-Forgiveness?

According to Psychology Research and Behavior Management, “Self-forgiveness requires a cognitive reframing of one’s views of the self. It may be a positive situational strength, and it has been shown that higher levels of self-forgiveness are related to well-being and a specific personality type.”

Self-forgiveness is a powerful act where you let go of negative emotions associated with yourself and substance abuse. Self-forgiveness can help you heal from past mistakes, wrongdoings, and any other situation that holds power over you. 

Why Is Self-Forgiveness So Important in Recovery?

Many people struggling with substance abuse will formulate negative perceptions of themselves over time, in addition to heavy feelings of guilt. In 2011, the Journal of Addictive Diseases published a study that found individuals who misuse alcohol may feel emotions such as shame and guilt for damaging behaviors performed while intoxicated. These emotions are not specific to alcohol and can be felt when people misuse any substances. 

When heavy emotions like shame and guilt go unchecked, they can become exacerbated and seriously derail a person’s treatment. This is why self-forgiveness is crucial for those in addiction recovery. When you continuously beat yourself up over past experiences, this can throw you off your recovery path and even lead to relapse.

How to Forgive Yourself

In order to release negative feelings you have about yourself, you first need to face them head-on. When you start the process of self-forgiveness, you will be able to acknowledge your substance use in a very profound way. 

You can begin to practice self-forgiveness by taking some time out to write down all of the things in your life that bring you feelings of shame and guilt. Some things to forgive and release might include: 

  • Arguments that stemmed from your substance use
  • Legal implications
  • Issues with friends and family
  • Ignoring responsibilities like work

The most important thing to remember is that none of these things make you a bad person. Substance abuse is a disease, and the sheer fact that you are looking to overcome your disease is a strong reason for celebration. Forgive yourself with love and compassion, and be grateful for the lessons you have learned along the way.

Practicing Self-Forgiveness With Peers

When enrolled in a quality outpatient program, group therapy is a wonderful component that will support you. When you’re in a group, you have the chance to talk about your feelings of guilt and shame with others who have been through similar experiences. This collective healing can help you grow and stay accountable along your road to recovery.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, group therapy has therapeutic advantages. It provides potential benefits in promoting social support, reducing isolation and stigma, developing effective communication and interpersonal skills, and practicing recovery-oriented coping strategies with group members. 

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

PHPs are highly-structured treatment programs that are comparable to residential treatment. The difference between the two is that people enrolled in a PHP still live at home and can carry on many of their regular responsibilities. Group programming is a big component of any PHP. This is where you can find the support you need to learn how to forgive yourself and release feelings of shame and guilt once and for all.

At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, the PHP lasts for four weeks and consists of 30 hours of group programming per week. Individual therapy and psychiatric care are also included in treatment so that you have complete and comprehensive care.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

IOPs are less intensive treatment programs, where you will learn the life skills needed to re-enter daily life. Group programming is still an important part of the IOP, and you will find strong support as you continue to forgive yourself and move along your recovery journey.

At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, IOP is usually the next step down after you complete the PHP. This level of care will give you the tools you need to build strength and confidence in your recovery. Lighthouse utilizes holistic methods to help you through the process of forgiveness, and you will find the accountability you need to ensure lasting success.

Utilizing Therapy for Continued Support

When you are enrolled in an addiction treatment program, you will have access to various therapy modalities to help treat you and your unique needs. Individual counseling with a clinically-trained therapist can help you overcome the unhealthy and controlling feelings of guilt and shame. Make sure you utilize these sessions to your advantage in order to truly forgive yourself, release the past, and make the most out of the recovery process.

When it comes to self-forgiveness, the important thing to remember is the word “self.” Once you forgive yourself and release your past mistakes and limitations, you will find yourself feeling lighter and freer. Your addiction recovery journey is all about you, and you deserve to live a beautiful and fulfilling life away from the chains of addiction.

Feelings of guilt and shame can become all too common when a person is struggling with substance abuse. In order to truly move forward and find success in your recovery, you must be able to forgive yourself for all the negativity you hold deep inside. Constant belittling of the self can push you to relapse, but once you learn how to practice self-forgiveness, you will feel much freer in your recovery journey. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, we utilize holistic techniques to help you forgive yourself and release the shame and guilt associated with your addiction. Our PHP and IOP programs come along with strong group components where you can lean on peers with similar struggles for support. Our clinically-trained staff will create a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. This will help you forgive yourself and release negative emotions through recovery. Call us today at (214) 396-0259.