Forgiving someone that you love is the fastest way to break the chains of resentment, anger and frustration that interfere with your relationship. While forgiveness is freeing, you’ll also find that it is often harder than it seems to just let go of the past. The recovering alcoholic in your life might have already made many apologies over the years that make it hard to believe that they actually mean it this time. They may have also done things that many people deem to be unforgivable. People who misuse alcohol might steal from their loved ones to get the money that they need to buy another bottle of liquor. They may also do things while they are under the influence of alcohol that don’t make sense for the person that you knew when you first met. Cheating, getting in trouble with the law and even yelling at you are all awful things to experience, but there is still hope that the person that you love could change. Trying to figure out how to forgive a recovering alcoholic often seems impossible. Yet, it is possible when you know how reaching out for help benefits both you and the person that you are trying to understand.
The first step to forgiveness is learning to accept that alcohol changes people. Any substance that affects the brain can alter someone’s behavior. The saying that it isn’t your loved one talking but the alcohol speaking is often true when it comes to relationships with an alcoholic. Try to take a step back and remember who they were before alcohol changed them into someone else. That person is still there just waiting to be forgiven, loved and understood. Once you get into the right mindset, you can start working through developing a spirit of forgiveness by using some or all of these strategies.
- write them a letter detailing how their actions made you feel
- talk to them about your feelings with the help of a counselor
- ask them what they are doing to prevent it from happening again
- seek individual counseling to address any residual trauma
- spend time doing things that don’t involve alcohol
Make Forgiveness Last by Encouraging Alcohol Addiction Treatment
If you’ve forgiven your loved one in the past, then you likely don’t want to have to go through this all over again. Feeling like you should just give up and walk away is absolutely understandable, and it is possible that your loved one has similar fears. Relapses are common among people with an alcohol addiction, and ending up drinking again has serious consequences for your relationship. The good news is that relapses are preventable, and you can do your part to help your loved one avoid having one by encouraging them to make strides in their alcohol addiction treatment.
If this is your loved one’s first time to admit that they have a problem, then helping them find an effective treatment program helps them begin the process of mending themselves. As a result, you’ll notice that your loved one’s behavior will begin to change. When they aren’t drinking, they won’t have any reason to lie to you about what they are doing. They won’t be as likely to make bad decisions such as staying out too late, and it is impossible to get a DUI when they are sober. As your loved one changes, you’ll start to notice that the way that they treat you improves. With time and professional help, your loved one will start exhibiting more kindness and integrity.
The same character traits that you miss in your loved one are the same ones that they’ll begin to strengthen in their addiction treatment. One of the basic tenants of sobriety is that honesty is essential in everything that a person in recovery does. Once one lie begins to slip in, it is easy for others to pop up, too. Recovering alcoholics learn to be brutally honest with themselves. They also learn that if something is hard to talk about, then there are always professional counselors who can make it easier. In treatment, your loved one can also get help with other mental health disorders that influence their behavior. When they are actively addressing their depression, bipolar disorder or PTSD, you’ll find that they are happier, healthier and easier to trust.
Are you struggling with a need to forgive someone who is recovering from alcoholism? We know how hard it is to decide to trust someone again, and we have ways to help. Give us a call today at 833-846-5669.