Forgiveness and Freedom

Coming to terms with forgiveness is a great challenge and task for any recovery journey. Full of resentment, anger, and fear, we are slow to let go of our tightly gripped attachment to punishment. Why should we forgive someone who has caused us suffering? Don’t they deserve our wrath? Buddha is rumored to have said that anger is the poison we drink in an effort to hurt someone else. Intentionally causing someone else suffering, causes our own suffering. There’s a twist when it comes to resentment and forgiveness. No matter how hard we hate or how long we hold a grudge, we aren’t doing anything to them. Perhaps our attitudes, actions, and behaviors will be upsetting to them. In truth, we only cause ourselves suffering. When we allow resentment to block the natural flow of forgiveness, we close off the channel toward inner peace and possibility.

Freedom of Letting Go

Letting go is a wildly phenomenal concept. If our feelings were grains of sand we would pick them up by the handful and cast them to the wind. Unfortunately, our emotions are not tangible items. Instead, they’re invisible chemical reactions and decisions in our minds. Forgiveness is a choice as much as resentment is. Like ghosts, feelings can haunt us. Though we cannot see or touch them, they touch us. Emotions, both positive and negative, live in our bodies, stored in our very chemical make up. From muscles to blood flow, emotions are energy and energy has to move. It is impossible to say how exactly one let’s past regressions go in order to live more freely in the present. As so many journeys in recovery prove to be, it is a process.

Don’t Fear Forgiveness

Forgiveness is largely based in fear of losing control. By holding tightly to our resentments, we feel that we control the other’s person’s chances of hurting us again. Should we relinquish that sensation, we become vulnerable. Such control over another person is a fantasy. Humility requires us to take a look at what is out of our control. The poison we have concocted in our cauldron of anger may be strong, but it will never be strong enough to control free will. Regardless of our forgiveness, our our anger, that person is going to continue doing whatever they want. In the instant we can detach from this desire, we begin to find freedom and peace. Obtaining this knowledge is something like the serenity prayer. With serenity, we accept who and what we cannot change- another’s behaviors of the past and the future. Courageously, we stand up to what we can change- our own thoughts and behaviors, right now. Wisdom comes from seeing the difference between the two.

Recognize that forgiveness is as much a movement through self-compassion as it is in compassion for others. By ‘allowing’ yourself to heal your relationship with someone else, you heal your relationship with yourself.

Refuge Recovery believes that there is freedom in recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Our program uses Buddhist philosophy combined with proven methods of treatment to create a program of comprehensive care. For more information call (323) 207-0276

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