Monday, July 16, 2012

Forgiveness and Relapse


By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.
"Forgiveness comes first from the mind with awareness and understanding, then from the heart, with healing acceptance, releasing resentment"  - Anonymous


Forgiveness.  It is a word that causes many people to cringe when they see it.  It brings up all kinds of junk from the past.  It can make the present difficult and the future look dim.  Shouldn't something so plain and simple as forgiveness spark excitement and hope in our hearts and minds?  Yes, but most people people fail to understand forgiveness.  Therefore, they dread it.  

The reality is that forgiveness is a process.  It is a deliberate decision of the mind and then it can become a change in the heart or the emotions.  Unfortunately, most people think they have to wait until they feel like forgiving to go ahead and do so.  That is a fatal mistake.  

Forgiveness is not about the offender.   It is actually about the offended.  We choose to forgive because we realize that it sets us free from our chains of hatred, bitterness, malice, rage, and depression.  We realize that no matter how much we hold the other person in contempt on the inside that it will not change what happened on the outside.  It's not fair.  It's not right.  It's awful.  It is, "life on life's terms".  

Most people are afraid to forgive because they fear that forgiveness implies condoning the offender and the offending behavior.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Forgiveness, again, doesn't focus on the offender or the offense.  It focuses on the condition of the offended person's heart.  

We choose to forgive so we can move forward.  Will we remember always or eventually forget?  It doesn't matter.  If we remember and realize we need to forgive again, we choose to do so.  If bad feelings come up with that realization, we choose to honor those feelings and feel them.  We can share them with a trusted friend or confidante if they feel overwhelming.  We don't, however, need to pick up the chains of resentment again.  

Why does all this matter?  Besides the fact that holding resentment and angry has been linked to poor health and even death, it is crucial for people in recovery.  Resentment is the number one killer of addicts and alcoholics.  What does resentment cause, you might ask?  Relapse.  What does relapse lead to?  Jails.  Insanity.  And death.  

Today can be the first day of your journey into forgiveness.  Take some time and think about the grudges, pains, and hurts you have that are keeping you from walking out of the prison of resentment.  Choose the key of forgiveness to unlock that door so you can walk out free on the inside.  Yes, you will remember the offense and the offender but you will no longer feel like Mt. St. Helen's on the inside.  That is a great feeling to never experience again.  Trust me...it will get better.  Press on and forgive! 

 At The Coleman Institute, we love to help people get clean and stay clean.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcoholbenzosMethadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  We are here to help you and yours get clean and stay clean! 




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