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Will My Family Finally Forgive Me Once I Get Clean?

Addiction is hard on families. Your family may have endured years of lying, stealing, erratic behavior, and probably many promises to get clean this time. If you are finally getting treatment or starting recovery, you be starting to realize how much damage your addiction caused. You might feel remorse and you might feel the weight of your family’s judgment. You might wonder if they will ever forgive you.

The answer depends on you, your family, and your situation. If your family has stayed by you until now, they are clearly invested in your recovery and will likely forgive you, although it may take time. If they have been putting up with your bad behavior for years, they may not be quick to forgive, even if they want to help you get better. After years of frustration and disappointment, they may be a bit guarded.

If they are invested in your recovery, they will be willing to participate in therapy and learn about how addiction works. The more they understand addiction, how it affects you, and above all your commitment to fighting it, the easier it will be for them to forgive you.

Just because they forgive you might not necessarily mean they trust you or that they won’t hold you accountable for things you did before getting clean. Trust will have to be earned back, which may take a while. Forgiveness also doesn’t mean they can’t be mad at you sometimes. Recovery is a bumpy road and they have a lot at stake just like you do. Forgiveness means they let go of their resentment towards you. They can be mad about your mistakes, just not all of your mistakes–only the fresh ones.

Neither is the whole process their responsibility. As part of the 12 Steps, you will have to think deeply about your mistakes, ask forgiveness of those you wronged, and try to make amends. This is no trivial task, as it forces you to really understand how you have hurt others. It’s especially hard to accept responsibility for having hurt people close to you, people who despite the hurt, still supported you. You can’t assume their forgiveness will be forthcoming. You have to ask for it.

If it turns out that some people in your life are not willing to forgive you, at least not yet, you have to accept that. If you make a good faith effort, you’ve done all you can do. Ultimately, how the other person feels is out of your control. Worrying about things you can’t control is not a road you want to go down. Eventually, the person may come around. It is better for her if she does because holding onto resentment is toxic. All you can do is apologize, ask forgiveness, try to make amends, and do everything you can to stay in recovery.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you  detox in a comfortable environment and take advantage of a variety of complementary therapeutic approaches. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.