Whether or not we choose to acknowledge that addiction is, in fact, an illness, we can nevertheless try to soften our view of the addicts in our lives and perceive them with more compassion and understanding. As much as they’ve caused us difficulty over the years, they have been suffering internally just as much, if not more. We can try to hold space for their pain. We can try to imagine what it must be like to be torn apart by addiction. We can try to put ourselves in their shoes and empathize with their struggles. We see them desperate to quit their addictions, trying unsuccessfully for years to get clean. We see them beg to be free of their suffering. We see them filled with embarrassment, disappointment, remorse, and shame every time they disappoint us. We can try to replace our resentment with empathy, even if we’re not ready to give them our forgiveness just yet. We can try to treat them with as much love as we would want to be treated if we ourselves were going through any kind of unbearable, inexplicable pain.
The more we soften our approach with our loved ones, the more we remember how much we love them, the more we can shed our resentment. This doesn’t mean we enable their addictive patterns, condone their behaviors, or make excuses for them. It just means we stop poisoning ourselves with the bitterness of resentment so that we too can be free from the pain we’ve been feeling for so long.
At Riverside Recovery, we understand all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and are here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.