Is it time to try forgiving an addict who caused you heartache and pain? Can you let go of the things an alcoholic has done that have practically destroyed your life? Is it helping or harming you to hold on to past resentments and anger?
By the time you finish this article you will have a few essential tools that will help you begin the process of letting go of the past and forgiving the problem drinker for the damaging things they have done.
Do you think they actually wanted to become an addict?
I cannot imagine that anyone when they were young said to themselves; “I want to be an alcoholic when I grow up.” With this in mind, try to get a grip on what the word addiction means. It would be a good idea to just pause here and think about that for a moment.
Do you understand that this is more about your spiritual health than anything else?
This is actually about cleaning out the emotional and spiritual negative-baggage that you are carrying around. It doesn’t mean that you have to associate with them, this is about you feeling better about your life. I like to say that you are cleaning up the trash from your side of the street. You can do this even if the alcoholic’s street is still riddled with garbage. This is about you and you alone!
When I forgive them do I have to trust them again?
Forgiving an alcoholic for what they have done does not necessarily mean you have to trust them. I would say it’s more about understanding that it is an addiction they have and having compassion for their illness. If someone has a deadly contagious disease, you can forgive them for any hurts they’ve caused and love them without necessarily interacting with them.
Consider setting healthy boundaries that will not exclude them completely from your life, but will allow you to be loving towards them. Setting boundaries will protect you from their irrational behaviors. That is if they are still actively drinking. Detaching from an alcoholic can be done without shutting someone out of your life.
If they have made an indirect amend to you through their changed behavior for several years, it would be a good idea to seriously consider allowing them to be a part of your life again. Remember, an alcoholic who has recovered is not the same person that they were when they were drinking. Not even close in any way, shape or form.
Did you know that forgiveness is simply a choice?
Here’s the key, let go of what they have they have done. Holding on to anger is just hurting you.
-Pray and ask God to help you forgive the alcoholic.
-Make a list of all of the offenses and physically burn them, then never revisit those troublesome situations ever again.
-Say it out-loud, either by yourself or to them directly; “ I forgive you for the hurtful things you have done.”
-Write a letter to them stating that you are forgiving them for the past wreckage that occurred.
-Understand that forgiveness is an ongoing process. It must be maintained regularly.
Hopefully you grabbed my point that an alcoholic is sick with an addiction and cannot control much of their irrational behaviors. I feel that because they are very ill, they should be loved just like anyone else who has a horrible illness. This simply means that you must hate the addiction and love the alcoholic. Forgiving them will only accomplish one thing, your life will be free from the damaging negative emotional baggage you are carrying around.