Amazing Grace: How Unconditional Forgiveness Assists Recovery

Amazing Grace: How Unconditional Forgiveness Assists Recovery

Written by Melissa Franks.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks people in recovery have to face, is forgiveness. Understanding that they, too, like everyone else, are entitled to an unmerited favor from a Higher Power to assist them when they cannot assist themselves, is a cornerstone of The 12 Step Program, and a vital step on the road to recovery.

One Step Forward
Shame, guilt and blame often hinder the progress of recovering individuals, yet forgiveness enables them to accept the past and build a new future. Those who cannot forgive themselves or connect with a Higher Power and accept its grace, become stuck in a downward spiral that can leave them feeling so worthless, they turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of escape.

Reaping the Rewards of Forgiveness
According to the Mayo Clinic staff, the bestowed by forgiveness are plentiful; they include reducing stress and encouraging stronger, more supportive social networks.

Compassionate Self-Acceptance
Compassionate self-acceptance i involves accepting where we are at this exact point in time, and choosing to focus on positive behavioral options, instead of on pain, guilt and shame about the past.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
One tool for addressing denial and resistance to change is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It involves viewing our strengths and weaknesses objectively and making an informed decision about the best action to take to lead us toward positive change and self-acceptance.

Allow Yourself to Forgive
It can be just as hard to forgive those who have hurt as, as it is to forgive ourselves, yet doing so enables us to move forward. Forgiving others does not mean condoning what they have done or belittling a wrong we have felt; it simply involves letting go of the negative emotions and suffering that have arisen from their actions.

Forgiveness Imagery Exercise
A useful exercise to invite forgiveness into our hearts is to sit in a quite spot and imagine ourselves with someone who has hurt us. We should imagine ourselves telling them why we can’t forgive them. Later, we should listen to them tell us why they behaved as they did. Finally, we should send the person our love in the form of a pink cloud that completely covers them. In time, the pink cloud should begin to dissipate and we should say, three times, “I forgive you. I release you from my life.” As we begin to feel more relaxed, we should say, “I love and approve of myself.

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