Forgiving Yourself

The way people look at you when they find out you have an alcohol problem can be one of the hardest things in the world to take, and one of the biggest roadblocks in maintaining your sobriety. I’ve had to put up with skeptics, judgment and isolation ever since my recovery; but the people who truly love me have stuck by me and it’s made all the difference. There will always be people who try and tear you down by spouting hurtful things and dwelling on the past. Part of alcohol recovery involves owning what you did when you were drinking and doing everything you can to be a better person. Some people, however, don’t want to let you move on from your mistakes.

Even at the height of my drinking, I was never what I would consider a mean of spiteful person. If I hurt anyone-which I admit I did-it was never intentional. As I write this, I realize it sounds as though I’m making excuses; but I think that rationalization comes with the recovery territory. I’m just trying to plead my case. The guilt of addiction and knowing that you wronged peopled when you were drinking can act like a weight around your ankle, forever pulling you to the bottom. You can’t come up for air until you shake it off; but you also have to remember what it felt like when it was there.

Thankfully, I never had any children. I was too screwed up at any given point in my life to raise a family. There are, however, other loved ones that I wasn’t so great to. I can remember with remarkable accuracy lying to my sister, driving my nieces and nephews around when I was buzzed and committing a string of other unforgettable trespasses. What are even scarier are the incidents that I don’t remember until people remind me of them years later. It was like I was walking around as someone else for six years and I get sick when I think about what I might have done.

When I entered rehab for alcohol abuse, I was in a complete fog. Nothing made sense, I’d had a headache for about a year and everything was too loud—there was just no clarity. As my treatment progressed, I felt myself start to regain control of my senses; and I don’t just mean my five senses, I also mean my sense of guilt, my sense of responsibility and my sense of right and wrong. It was like someone was taking a blindfold off of me. When I regained my lucidity, I was filled with remorse that almost derailed my recovery; but my therapist told not to dwell, but rather learn from these mistakes.

I wrote this mainly because I know that there are others out there that let the grief and the guild of their past dictate where they go in the future. Take it from me, you can spend your whole life apologizing and dwelling; but the best way to “make it up” to people is to take control of your own life and stand on your own two feet. This is hard to do if you keep wallowing in the past. 

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.