Skip to main content

Individuals make unhealthy and regretful decisions while under the influence of mind-altering substances. Recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) involves accepting responsibility for those actions and practicing self-forgiveness. According to Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, “[F]orgiveness of self . . . requires personal acknowledgment of and accountability for wrong-doing including an element of self-acceptance, a ‘fundamental, constructive shift in one’s relationship to, reconciliation with, and acceptance of the self through human-connectedness and commitment to change.’” The Redpoint Center understands the importance of self-forgiveness and helps clients achieve it using evidence-based and holistic therapies.

What Is the Importance of Self-Forgiveness in Treatment?

Many people with SUD feel shame and regret about past actions, choices, and thoughts. Self-forgiveness allows clients to focus their energy on healing instead of shame, guilt, regret, or other unwanted and unhelpful negative emotions. According to the Journal of Addictive Diseases, “[S]elf-forgiveness can be directed at forgiving specific wrongdoings, forgiving oneself for failing to live up to one’s standards and expectations (even if wrongdoing was not present), or both.”

Self-forgiveness supports treatment for substance abuse by doing the following:

  • Increasing self-confidence, self-worth, and self-efficacy
  • Reducing stress
  • Combating internalized stigmas
  • Encouraging clients to become more actively engaged in their recovery
  • Increasing positivity and improving overall mood

Recovering from substance abuse takes time, dedication, and motivation. Self-forgiveness is empowering and helps clients in treatment remain motivated to continue moving forward and making progress. Reducing negativity and stress improves overall mental and physical health.

The Role of Self-Forgiveness in Healing

Healing emotionally and spiritually requires people to analyze their past mistakes and find healthy ways to avoid repeating them in the future. Practicing grace and forgiveness with oneself builds a foundation for healthier life choices.

Self-forgiveness allows people to heal by doing the following:

  • Making it easier to release feelings of anger, shame, guilt, regret, and sadness over past mistakes
  • Normalizing mistakes as part of life’s journey and not something people should use to punish themselves
  • Helping people move on and regain control of their lives

Healing from substance abuse involves reframing thoughts and making healthier decisions. Psychology Research and Behavior Management states, “Self-forgiveness requires a cognitive reframing of one’s views of the self.” People gain self-awareness by reframing thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Greater self-awareness is essential during treatment to ensure clients understand the need for lifestyle changes.

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness in Addressing Guilt and Shame

Guilt and shame are two of the most common reasons people refuse to engage in treatment programs. Discovering positive methods for overcoming guilt and shame provides many people with the push they need to successfully engage in treatment.

Addressing guilt and shame through self-forgiveness does the following:

  • Increases hopefulness
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Improves self-esteem

Individuals recovering from substance abuse feel better physically after reducing stress and improving self-confidence through self-forgiveness. Guilt and shame do not have to hold people back from creating a sober future.

Living With the Consequences of Addiction

Some consequences of addiction have a far-reaching and devastating impact on everyone involved. For example, separating from a spouse or losing custody of a child due to substance abuse causes long-term emotional distress. Individuals in recovery must find a way to live with the consequences of their actions, even when the outcomes are painful. Self-forgiveness is an excellent place to start and allows people to reach a place of acceptance. Forgiveness and acceptance provide clients in treatment with a place to start rebuilding relationships and self-worth.

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness in Long-Term Recovery

For many people, recovery involves participating in several levels of treatment and aftercare before transitioning to independent sobriety. Self-forgiveness increases the effectiveness of treatment services by reducing stress, improving focus, and increasing motivation. Individuals who accept their situation and let go of negativity have an easier time building a sober future for themselves and their families.

Long-term recovery comes with unexpected challenges and situations. Self-forgiveness improves resilience. According to Alcohol Research Current Reviews, treatment “approaches based on positive psychology might also help promote psychological resilience.” The Redpoint Center uses positive psychology to help clients heal and build essential skills for long-term recovery. The care team guides clients through identifying and overcoming underlying issues causing negative thoughts and behaviors.

Spirituality and Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness is a common theme among religious and spiritual beliefs. Some clients feel more comfortable approaching the idea of self-forgiveness from a spiritual perspective to reduce emotional stress. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “[S]elf-forgiveness may promote the desire for a good or flourishing life and internally unified relationship with oneself or internal peace.”

The Redpoint Center encourages clients to use spirituality and other forms of self-care to manage stress, anxiety, and other symptoms of SUD during treatment and ongoing recovery. The care team helps clients implement different forms of support and find healthy ways to accept their circumstances and engage more fully in recovery.

People experiencing substance abuse often have low self-esteem and an unhealthy self-image. Treatment programs provide clients with a safe and nurturing space where they feel safe expressing themselves and exploring different aspects of their internal experiences. Clients benefit from practicing grace and being willing to forgive themselves for past mistakes. Moving forward involves processing and letting go of the past to allow for personal growth. The Redpoint Center uses psychotherapy, other evidence-based treatments, and alternative holistic therapies to help clients find a path forward. Self-forgiveness is an essential part of recovery for many people and helps clients build a healthier self-image. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (303) 710-8496.

Close Menu

We are here to help.


The Redpoint Center
1831 Lefthand Cir, Suite H
Longmont, CO 80501

Contact Us.


Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.