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What Does Forgiving Our Parents Have to Do with Recovery?

As we’re working to recover, we start to discover that for many of us, our addictions are our way of distracting ourselves from the pain we’re unable to confront and heal within ourselves. Sometimes it’s the pain of our childhoods we’re most trying to distract ourselves from. Many of us experienced some form of trauma pertaining to our parents, whether we feel they abandoned us in certain ways, neglected or mistreated us, or harmed or abused us. There is a broad spectrum of the many kinds of trauma we experience when growing up, and our painful experiences as children can cause lasting effects later well into adulthood. One of the ways we’re most impacted is in the relationships we develop with our parents. Many of us have a hard time forgiving our parents for the ways in which they treated us. For many of us who later go on to experience toxic or abusive relationships, we feel it was our parents’ abuse that familiarized us with violence, that normalized it and made us feel it was acceptable.  We learned to resolve conflicts with hitting. We learned to harm ourselves. We learned to use drugs and alcohol to numb our pain. Forgiving our parents has everything to do with recovering from addiction and mental illness.

Many of us who struggle with addiction are also coping with mental health issues such as depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Much of the underlying pain fueling our mental illnesses comes from the trauma we experienced as children. When we’re working to heal ourselves and all of the painful emotions, memories, associations and triggers we’re experiencing now, as adults, we have to revisit this trauma and really heal it at the root level. We can’t expect to be able to sweep the past under the rug and just move on from it. Forgiving our parents is a hugely important part of healing ourselves and moving forward, of being able to have healthy relationships and be at peace with ourselves. Whether or not we choose to maintain a relationship with our parents, forgiving them means freeing ourselves from the destructiveness of our anger, spite, resentment and bitterness, from the heavy sad weight of disappointment and grief. It is in this space of clarity, release, detachment and transformation that we can really work to heal our addictions and mental health issues.

The Guest House is a welcoming and supportive recovery home where you will be met with open arms, wherever where you are on your journey, without judgment or expectation. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.