Forgiveness is a Value you can Expand When you Stop Drinking


Have you ever been hurt by someone you love? Physically or emotionally hurt? Have you ever decided to shut someone out of your life for good, because they hurt you? Maybe someone you know well said something to you and you decided that you no longer want to talk to them, ever? Have you ever fallen out with a family member and faced that rift every day, a rift that remains unhealed like a suppurating sore?

This is where the big F word, forgiveness, comes in. I remember growing up with my father, a veterinary surgeon, with very strong ideas. If someone crossed his path or hurt him, he simply cut them off forever. I have also done that, several times. If someone triggers me constantly or hurts my feelings, steps over my boundaries or continually disagrees with me, I cut them off, sometimes forever. Maybe I am taking the easy way out, maybe I am being unfair. But when I do it, I feel immediate relief and I know deep down inside that I was meant to do that.

“People come and go in and out of your life but remember that it’s up to you to choose who is worth keeping.” — Casper Smith

So, What IS Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a complex psychological and emotional process that involves letting go of negative feelings, resentment, anger, and the desire for revenge toward someone who has wronged you. It is the act of granting pardon or absolution to someone who has caused harm, hurt, or offence. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily excuse or condone the wrongdoing; instead, it is a choice to release negative emotions and move forward more positively and constructively.

Forgiveness often involves several key dimensions:

  • Acknowledgement of the Hurt: understanding the impact of the wrongdoing on your emotions, well-being, and relationships.
  • Letting Go of Resentment: releasing feelings of anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge – choose not to hold onto these negative emotions.
  • Empathy and Compassion: trying to understand the perspective of the person who harmed you, helping create empathy and compassion, making it easier to let go of negative feelings.
  • Healing and Reconciliation: healing for both the victim and the perpetrator might lead to reconciliation and the restoration of trust in relationships.
  • Personal Growth: a way to grow emotionally and spiritually, leading to increased self-awareness, resilience, and a more positive outlook on life.

It’s important to note that forgiveness is a personal and individual process. It doesn’t require reconciliation with the wrongdoer, and it doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened. Forgiveness is a choice that individuals make for their well-being, allowing them to free themselves from the burden of holding onto anger and resentment.

There are also times in our lives when we make mistakes that go against our inner integrity, and our self-knowledge and we feel terrible guilt and shame. Often, this involves drinking too much and making stupid mistakes because we are not our normal sober selves. Then we need to get assistance, look at why we are drinking and what has caused this discomfort and what we can do in our own lives to find balance.

What, then, is Self-Forgiveness?

Self-forgiveness is the letting go of self-blame, guilt, and negative feelings towards yourself for mistakes, shortcomings, or wrongdoings that you may have committed. It involves showing the same understanding, compassion, and empathy towards yourself that you might extend to others when practising forgiveness. Self-forgiveness is a crucial aspect of self-compassion and personal growth, as it allows us to heal, learn from our mistakes, and move forward more healthily.

Self-forgiveness includes:

  • Acknowledgement of Mistakes: It’s important to take responsibility for your actions without being overly harsh on yourself.
  • Acceptance of Imperfection: Recognize that everyone makes mistakes and it’s okay to have flaws and make errors.
  • Compassion for Yourself: Understand that you are not defined solely by your actions.
  • Learning and Growth: Reflect on what led to the mistake and consider how you can avoid making the same choices in the future.
  • Letting Go of Guilt and Shame: Holding onto these emotions can hinder your personal development and well-being.
  • Making Amends: This can help in the process of self-forgiveness and can also contribute to healing relationships with others.
  • Moving Forward: Once you’ve acknowledged your mistakes, learned from them, and worked on self-compassion, focus on moving forward with a positive mindset. Use the experience as a stepping stone toward personal growth and improvement.

Self-forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the mistakes were significant or if feelings of guilt and shame are deeply ingrained. However, practising self-forgiveness can lead to increased self-esteem, emotional well-being, and resilience. If you find it difficult to navigate this process on your own, seeking guidance from a therapist or counsellor can provide valuable support.

Please do this small activity if this article relates to you!

Practice Forgiveness

Few of us have so mastered forgiveness that we can instantly clear ourselves of all anger and petty resentments. Most of us need daily discipline to help us move toward this ideal.

Take out your journal.

  • Write a list of three to five people you feel angry or resentful toward and why. You may include yourself on this list.
  • Now, pick one and identify the boundary violation and/or loss of personal safety you’ve suffered as a result of this transgression.
  • Write about how you’ve allowed and sometimes even colluded with others in the violation of your boundaries and need for personal safety.
  • Now, make a list of actions that you are going to take and/or promises that you are going to make to yourself to restore wellness and balance to your life.
  • Finally, reread your list and see if there is anyone who you are now ready to release and absolve.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.


The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

Don’t wait for 11 years – join Tribe Sober today!