Can You Forgive an Addict? A Closer Looks at the Science of Addiction
When a person abuses illicit drugs, prescription medications or alcohol, the negative effects carry over into the lives of their friends, family and co-workers. The addict may do and say things that are hurtful and repeat these things even though you’ve begged them to stop. Can you forgive an addict after everything they did?
In this article, we will discuss the science of addiction as well as look at some tips on how to forgive an addict.
Addiction causes people to do and say terrible things. Chief among them is lying. Since addicts usually know that their substance abuse is wrong, they will lie about nearly anything to cover it.
Physical and mental abuse is common too since substance abuse can cause behavioral changes, and withdrawal symptoms can cause aggression among other things. Stealing is another aspect to have to deal with since an addiction is an expensive habit. Can you forgive an addict after they lie, cheat, neglect, abuse and steal?
Addiction is a Mental Disorder
The science is in on addiction, and it is classified as a mental disorder. It received this classification because of how it alters the brain structure and chemistry of the subject. Addiction is not the due to a lack of morals or willpower. Just like any disease, some people are more prone to it than others. Quitting drugs or alcohol for good is not just about having a strong will or good intentions.
Can You Forgive an Addict?
Can you forgive an addict knowing that it is a mental disease? Depending on the situation, yes you can. Forgiveness should be a part of the recovery process and not necessarily while the person carries on with their substance abuse. Forgiving an addict’s actions before they enter into rehab and start with their recovery can border on enabling behavior, which should be avoided.
Why You Should Forgive
Forgiveness in addiction cases is not about just letting the addict rest easy or heal, but it is about helping you heal through the trauma that the situation caused. Forgiveness in addiction can help to lessen the burden you carry around, whether it is sadness, guilt, anger or any other powerful emotion. By forgiving, you are giving yourself permission to move on with your life again.
How to Forgive an Addict
There are ways to make forgiving an addict easier so that you can free yourself of the burdens it causes. The following are some useful tips to help you achieve it.
- Learn about how addiction works – It will be easier to understand what the addict is experiencing and why they did the things they did.
- An honest effort – It is up to you forgive someone, so if you honesty try to forgive someone, you will be able to.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten – Just because you forgive someone for their actions while addicted, it doesn’t mean that you have to forget about it completely. The experience should serve as a way to learn so that it does not repeat.
- Let go of anger – Few emotions are as toxic as anger. Let go of all the anger that you bottled up over the experience.
- Let enough time pass – Forgiveness is a process, and it won’t all happen at once.
- Change the relationship – If the person does not want to seek help for addiction, then you might need to distance yourself until such a time, allowing you to forgive but also move on with your life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.