Why Forgiving Yourself is Essential: Maintain Happiness and Fulfillment in Recovery
I was sitting with a friend and said, “Peace of mind and fulfillment begin once you begin forgiving yourself.”
He looked at me and said, “I don’t buy that shit! Why do I have to forgive myself? Better yet, What the F#$K, do I have to forgive myself for?”
We sat and brainstormed and had a conversation about life. And then he quoted Carl Sagen and being insignificant in the universe. In short, he said,”I DONT MATTER!
Light Bulb! Did I mention he is a scientist, an engineer, a thinker? Well, he really took Sagen’s idea and ran with it. He based all thoughts of himself on this quote.
I said to him, “Bullshit! Yes on a cosmic scale, you and I do not matter. But on the smallest unit, self, family, humanity You matter immensely.” I looked up as he was grabbing his phone with the giddy of a boy scientist the first time he gets to dissect a frog. He repeated my words into his phone.
“Now what do I do?”
Smiling, I said, “Peace of mind and fulfillment begin once you forgiving yourself.”He laughed. Then I added, “Oh, and publish, so you can help others.”
The moment you understand how forgiving yourself for being powerless is the moment recovery begins
About 10 years ago I was sitting on top of the world living in a 15K sq.ft building, running three businesses, playing in No Fucker (the best D-beat Punk band from the USA – EVER) *sigh*, and surrounded by great friends. But I was never happy. I was always scared. Nervousness and anxiety would settle into my body at any point of the day crippling me.
The answer to this was to never allow myself to sit still, so I traded an 18-year Heroin-addiction for an obsession with work and fitness. In other words; I wasn’t in recovery. I had stopped doing heroin, yet my life was still unmanageable.
Everything crumbled around me because of poor decisions, no support, no routine, insanity, and not being able to listen to people tell me I was wrong.
When the shit finally hit the fan, I’d already pushed what bit of support I had outta my life, so the only solution I could think of was sliding a needle into my veins. Heroin would comfort me. I’d forget about this nightmare I created. Within 6 months of that fateful decision I found myself on the streets of NYC homeless, alone, hungry, and cold; again.
Why you need to strive to be happy with yourself
Once I decided to stop using and sober up, I found freedom in my life for the first time. It didn’t last. I was always uneasy. Sitting still was next to impossible, waiting patiently just was not something I could do. I fooled myself into thinking that I was happy, and to an extent, I was happy. But I was not satisfied with myself; as a person.
When I was using drugs, I had one goal Make money to buy drugs. Shooting heroin was the response to happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, worry, elation, celebration, and joy. Emotions and feelings were never experienced because I followed a process of sedating all emotions.
When I took heroin out of the equation I stood naked and alone with a flood of emotions. I had no idea where to begin the process of becoming my own friend.
I had to learn to that loving and forgiving myself for my ugly past was not as difficult as I was making it. Of course, once again, I was overthinking it.
At first, it wasn’t easy to forgive myself, especially after I had relapsed. Looking at my past was tough. There was no way I’d do it alone. First I’d need to learn how to trust others. Years of living with junkies and criminals kept me from fully trusting anyone not to take advantage of me. A few years into my recovery process, I finally understood what the first step meant.
For those not familiar with the 12 steps; the first step:
~ To admit we are powerless and our lives have become unmanageable~
Powerlessness: This word is huge and it is the key to your forgiveness. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use substances successfully. When you use the end result is incarceration, institution or death. Death is, of course, the most final of the final. I OD’d 5 times before understanding powerlessness. Aside from being powerless over alcohol and other drugs, you are POWERLESS over your ACTIONS while under the influence.
Finally, I realized; I’m not a criminal, prostitute, or scheming drug-crazed lunatic when I’m not shooting drugs. However, I’m definitely compulsive and obsessive. But I can work overcome or at least learn to live with this, with practice and support. Therefore, I was able to forgive all the bullshit in my life because I was powerless over my actions when heroin’s running through me.
Once I was finally able to forgive myself for my past I was on the road to recovery. Now I truly have freedom from resentment, regret, and grief in my life. This is how I found my new path onto a successful path of recovery. Once I truly forgave myself, I was able to work on finding happiness and satisfaction in my life.
Feeling fulfillment in your life or recovery to avoid unhappiness: It is apparent to me that one of my failures in life was the ability to be my own best friend. Learning how to be alone with me was not easy but, with practice, I learned to overcome this fear. Now that I am my own best friend I am able to give unconditional love and care to others. I now know the reasons for my boundaries, goals, and dreams.
Wrapping It Up
It is important to learn to be your own best friend in order to find fulfillment. Sitting in quiet contemplation is difficult if you do not like yourself, have regrets, or resentment. Let go of fear and stress, worry and anxiety by forgiving yourself of your past. Make a decision to draw a line in the sand so you can find fulfillment and gratitude in life. Once you have reached the point of true powerlessness and fulfillment, life takes on a new meaning. Success becomes inevitable because you only have to look inside and contemplate on gratitude. This is impossible without truly forgiving yourself for your past mistakes, failures, and shortcomings.
How have you learned to become your own best friend? Are you ready to take that giant step towards forgiving yourself for you drug-fueled insanity?