Why Is It Important to Show Myself Grace?

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Why Is It Important to Show Myself Grace?

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we do not recognize the impact of certain decisions until the consequences are revealed. The outcome is not always what we expect. This can impact our mental or physical health either positively or negatively. Maybe a friend introduced us to drugs or alcohol. Perhaps we felt pressured in a social setting to partake in risky behaviors. The bottom line is no one chose for us. Free will should never be taken lightly. However, we can always be forgiven.

No matter the situation, when we recognize a certain choice snowballed into addiction, it is important to learn about recovery and to forgive ourselves as well. Letting go of our past and developing the patience needed to mentally heal can be beneficial to our health.

Mental Health Effects of Addiction

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIH), substance use disorder (SUD) is a mental health condition that affects an individual’s brain structure and behavior. This disorder can impair a person’s ability to control their intake of certain substances such as illicit drugs or alcohol. Those with SUD may also misuse prescription drugs. Addiction and dependence symptoms can either be moderate or severe.

A person diagnosed with SUD at any time can also be at risk for a co-occurring mental illness, and vice versa. Unfortunately, in some cases, SUD can contribute to developing mental health conditions.

Co-occurring mental illnesses can consist of:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders

Moderate mental health issues mostly caused by periods of withdrawal may include:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Intense Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive perspiration

Benefits of Forgiveness and Showing Yourself Grace

Choosing to forgive others or ourselves for any specific reason can be a difficult process. In this case, it can be challenging to forgive others for making stigmatizing comments, talking negatively about our addiction, or judging our decisions to use certain substances. Even when we do choose to forgive someone for their actions, we do not have to continue being in that relationship.

Dealing With Judgment

Unfortunately, once we receive treatment, people still may label or judge us for our past. Even being related to or being intimately involved with someone who has struggled with SUD can put us at risk of judgment. Sometimes what is said and done is so painful that we start to believe what was said about us is true.

It is essential to understand that everyone with SUD has a unique story that led to the behavior. However, no one outside of our healthcare team deserves an explanation for our behavior unless we choose to open up and mend a specific relationship. First, forgive and show yourself grace, then learn to forgive others.

Releasing Resentment to Feel Better

Holding onto feelings of anger and resentment can be emotionally painful and leave you with a bitter perception of any situation. Feelings of resentment can potentially be psychologically or even physically harmful. If we choose to remain bitter or continue to beat ourselves up for our mistakes, we can be headed toward a lifetime of unhappiness.

Some beneficial effects of learning to forgive ourselves and others can consist of the following:

  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced negative thoughts
  • An increased positive outlook on life
  • Less stress
  • Balanced eating habits
  • Decreased physical ailments
  • Efficient sleep patterns
  • Growth in wisdom

Self-Care Practices

Even though it’s stressful, it’s important to acknowledge and address the factors that led to addiction. This may include experiencing trauma, divorce or separation, grieving after loss, or just simply trying to fit in. A co-occurring mental health condition may also have led to the addiction.

Taking the time to practice a healthy self-care routine can help us address the underlying causes of addiction. Self-care may also help us cope with the effects of addiction. It can also substantially benefit our mental health. Part of forgiving ourselves and others is making self-care a priority.

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a few self-care tips include:

  • Exercise daily: This includes physical activity
  • Follow the rainbow diet: Add more colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet
  • Explore nature: Go hiking or walk some trails for peace and tranquility
  • Develop healthy relationships: Utilize family and friends for support
  • Partake in fun activities: Explore a favorite hobby or attend a fun and sober event
  • Get in touch with your religion or stay spiritual: Themes in spirituality include love and forgiveness
  • Volunteer: Helping others reduces feelings of greed and jealousy
  • Meditate: Relax and practice self-management

Moving Forward With Grace

The mental health effects of addiction can be detrimental to our well-being. Self-forgiveness and forgiveness in general can be very beneficial to our mental health. Moving forward with grace and self-forgiveness can free us from past behaviors and feelings. When we practice self-care and learn new strategies for looking beyond the past, this gives us a renewed path forward.

Not everyone has it in them to forgive, but the benefits of forgiveness can be substantial. Forgiveness helps us move through challenges and setbacks without experiencing intense emotions and repetitive negative thoughts.

Certain facilities like ours offer therapeutic solutions such as individual and group therapy, art and music therapy, and a variety of other options. Family programs can offer additional support. Receiving treatment and speaking with a mental health professional can help all of us learn the skills needed to move forward and put feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, embarrassment, or anger behind us. This can improve our quality of life as a whole.