“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” ― C.R. Strahan
Someone once said that refusing to forgive was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Harboring hatred is more harmful to you than it ever will be to those who committed the crime. Addictions affect not just the addict, but friends and families as well. It may be difficult to forgive the lies, neglect, stealing, manipulation, etc. of a drug addict. Do not lose hope. Be patient with yourself as you seek healing.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ― Mark Twain
Understand what forgiveness is NOT Forgiveness is not excusing behavior.
Forgiveness is not forgetting the pain and suffering you have been caused. It does not eliminate consequences or necessarily cause reconciliation. Forgiveness is a state of mind that helps you accept what has happened. It is acknowledging the past and moving forward in a healthy way. It is more about finding your own peace than fixing the past.
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese
Understand that addiction is a disease
Addiction is a disease that affects the brain as well as the body. Addicts can become a different person while seeking and using drugs. They can create a physical dependency and tolerance that leads many to do extreme things to obtain the substance. It is hard to understand the powerful effects that drug addiction can have on an individual, but striving to understand it will help you gain peace and forgive those who have wronged you.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ― C.S. Lewis
Give it time
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Emotional wounds are deep and painful and take time to heal. Do not become frustrated with yourself if you do not find peace and forgiveness overnight. Emotions are a healthy way to express yourself. Become familiar with the 5 stages of grief and be patient with yourself.
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ― Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
Realize it is for you
You may never tell the addict “I forgive you” or in some cases, ever speak to them again. That is ok. Forgiving another person will not change their behavior or create reconciliation, but it will change the way you live. Anger and resentment are toxic emotions that can exhuberate physical illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Letting go of these emotions and learning to forgive will help you become whole.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes