Forgiveness Is a State of Mind

While religions all over the world hold forgiveness in high regard – or even require it as a means of achieving a state of grace or salvation – forgiveness regarding my recovery is more a state of mind. In this respect it doesn’t matter if I am a religious person, practicing or not, an agnostic, or an atheist. Being able to forgive is a mindset that anyone can achieve, but it does take practice. It doesn’t necessarily come easy.

I also have, it seems, various stages of readiness to forgive. These are purely subjective, for the most part, and will vary by day at times. How far along I am in my recovery has a lot to do with it, according to my sponsor. But the truth of the matter is that I cannot progress very far to a sustainable degree if I don’t develop my powers of forgiveness.

But how do I do that?

I must Let Go of Resentment – resentment is the accumulation of the real or imagined wrongs I carry around with me. Let’s face it. Resentment just doesn’t accrue me any benefits. It’s like a balance sheet with a sea of red ink – no good to me. I must let go of all my resentment, period.

Moving forward in my recovery means I need to adhere closely to the 12-step principles so that I can effectively pursue my dreams in sobriety. A clean slate is required for true progress, and the only way I can achieve that clean slate is through forgiveness.

Thinking of all those resentments and issues I have eliminated from my conscience. There’s no blot on it once I have achieved the state of forgiveness in my mind. That’s the clean slate that I need to go forward.

Some in recovery refer to the feeling as an intense relief. They’re no longer crushed under the burden or weight of past misdeeds. Some see it as forgiveness of their sins. Practically speaking, when I am not emotionally tied up in knots, my mind is clear and I am free to engage in other pursuits. I also sleep better, since I won’t be rehashing old wounds and misdeeds over and over in my subconscious. Being refreshed and renewed from a good night’s sleep does wonders for my outlook as well.

With forgiveness firmly in place, I can now attend to my future goals with vigour. Make new plans as opportunities present themselves. Don’t allow myself to get stuck in a preconceived notion of how things should go in my recovery. Do give myself the freedom to explore, to veer off in different directions as something comes up that interests me, or that I have always wanted to pursue.

My future tomorrow begins with the actions I put into motion today. I already know that I am not beholding to my alcoholism, that it no longer has any control over me, that I am so much more than I could have dreamed back in my dark days before I sought sobriety.

I begin and end every day with a simple request that I forgive myself and others and ask for forgiveness for any harm that I have ever done, may do today, or inadvertently do tomorrow. Accept that I am human, that I am not perfect, but make a strong assertion that I will live each day to the best of my ability, seeking to lift up not only myself, but others as well. In this way, I will truly begin to realize the power of forgiveness in my recovery.


Arthur Z.