Once recovery begins a former teen suffering from drug addict can see and think clearly about the life and the choices that she or he has made. Many begin to experience guilt as they recall their poor decision making. But, surprisingly, guilt is a healthy emotion and can be very useful for teen addiction recovery. This emotion will allow them to make amends for those they hurt and serve a great reminder why they cannot fall back on old habits.
While some teens are able to handle guilt for others not so much. They begin to feel helpless and think that nothing can be done to amend for their mistakes. For teens in recovery it is important that they rebuild the broken trust that they have created during their addiction. This is the first step to a healthy recovery. And the cardinal rule is that before others can forgive them they must forgive themselves.
Here are five ways teen can forgive themselves during addiction recovery:
Focus on the present! What has been done cannot be changed. Focusing on what you did before or used to do will only hinder you going forward. You have accepted the consequences of your past choices and have worked hard to change yourself. You are no longer that same person who hurt people because of your addiction. Don’t be so hard on yourself, you have earned forgiveness.
During your time in treatment you were able to identify your triggers and why you were using drugs or abusing alcohol. Whether it was a form of self medication or just boredom think of what caused or influenced your addiction. Find the situations, desires or emotions behind what drove you to use. Identifying what cause this change in you will make forgiving yourself and your actions easier. You are only human and as a teen still learning and making mistakes, which is a part of growing up.
Now that you know what drove you to use it is important not to build an excuse around that. Yes you made a mistake(s) however, you need to examine yourself and the changes you’ve made in order to make sure this mistake won’t happen again. You are not perfect but by listening you will begin to understand why you do what you do. You can then form preventative methods to help maintain your sobriety.
Now that you’ve been brutally honest with yourself about your addiction you need to reveal this experience to others. Whether it’s a support group, therapist or friend you have to share your findings with someone else. Recovery is no easy journey but it will become easier if you understand others can help you. Bottling up feelings or hiding your past will only make things worse. You worked hard to overcome a very difficult disease and should be proud of your efforts.
The last step is to forgive yourself. Each step will make this act easier but you should still take the time to tell yourself its okay to make mistakes. Reveal your mistakes out loud and take ownership of them. Accept that you have changed, and accept that you hurt others and yourself. Accept that you may mess up again but will be doing everything in your power not to let that happen. Forgive yourself for all that you have done so you can begin working on apologizing and repairing relationships with the ones you’ve hurt.