The First Person to Forgive is Yourself

Forgiveness isn’t the easiest thing to do. Unfortunately, no one warns us of this. When we’re kids, we’re forced to throw out “I’m sorry’s” and “It’s okay’s” all of the time. But how often are we truly sorry for our mistakes? And when we say, “I forgive you,” do we really mean it? It’s hard to forgive someone who isn’t sorry, after all.

Forgiveness is a Gift. YOUR Gift.

One of our favorite quotes here at The River Source is, “Forgiveness is a gift to yourself.” It reminds us that forgiveness isn’t something that you do for the other person. It doesn’t matter if that person is sorry or not sorry or even aware of what they did. While it may be helpful to talk to them about the issue, forgiveness lies in yourself.


When going through the recovery process, you’re rebuilding yourself. There are a lot of skills that have to be relearned. Forgiveness is one of them. However, it’s difficult to forgive others when you haven’t forgiven yourself. And that’s why the first person to forgive in recovery is YOU.

Forgiveness is letting go of negative feelings like bitterness and resentment. If you don’t forgive yourself, it will impact your recovery. In fact, resentment can delay recovery, sabotage relationships and harm your physical health. Do you really want to give that power to your feelings?

Tips for Forgiving Yourself

Here are some steps to freeing yourself from negative emotions.

  • Acknowledge your pain
  • Express your emotions on paper
  • Understand what you want
  • Let go of hurt feelings and guilty thoughts
  • Stop replaying what happened
  • Tell yourself that you’re sorry
  • Start making changes to show your growth

How Forgiveness Works with the 12 Steps

Forgiveness is so important in recovery, it’s a component of the 12 steps. In step 8, for instance, it’s recommended to write down a list of people you may have offended and make amends with them. This is also the time to work on forgiving yourself and others, allowing your mind and spirit to be free. Think of what the world will give back to you when you treat it with love and kindness.

Aside from the 12 steps, there is the simple fact that forgiveness forces us to stop wallowing in our self-pity. Self-pity is the worst. This selfish, excessive thinking will only stand in your way of a successful recovery. Who wants that?

Remember, forgiveness if for you. It’s the best way to break away from the constant weight of pain and anger.

If you’re ready to start rebuilding your life, call The River Source today. With counseling, alternative therapies and an introduction to the 12 steps, we can help you move past your addiction.