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Habit saying “I’m Sorry” in early Addiction Recovery

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Early on in addiction recovery many struggle with the guilt, embarrassment, loathing, fear, anxiety, confusion, and always apologizing for it. Many struggle with saying the words: “I’m sorry.” They don’t struggle saying it by not saying, either. Most struggle with saying the words “I’m Sorry” too much and too often.

I know that early on in my recovery from heroin and alcohol I felt like I'd done a lot wrong up to this point in my life. It probably didn’t help my mental health with the darkness of my past always casting doubt on my rights and wrongs (present, past, and dreaded future).

So, the consensus that I came to is that I needed to be heard! I needed to be forgiven; forgiven for it all. But by whom?

Who was I saying I’m sorry to? Why exactly was I apologizing? Was it for my own purpose of appeasement or was it because I really wanted to move forward in my life? I think it’s a little bit of both in the beginning, but down the road things become clearer; like crystal.

So I’m telling you, I’m not sorry that I’ll be saying I’m sorry one last time to you. I’ll be saying I’m sorry to explain to you who truly needs to be forgiven, and why. That person that needs to be forgiven is very close and dear to you. That person is you.

So, I’m sorry…

When I first got clean, I felt sorry, really freaking sorry! All I could feel in the beginning of my new journey was a mask of self-loathing. I wasn’t sorry for me, but I was sorry for something I wasn’t sure of yet.

I told everyone I was so, so sorry. It was unfathomable how many times I said, “I’m sorry mom” or “I’m sorry dad.” I even said, “Hey [random stranger] I’m just… uh… sorry for that!”

Was I really sorry then? Could I actually have the capacity to be sorry for something that I didn’t understand yet? I didn’t understand myself, nor the things around me, yet it’s safe to say I felt the NEED to say those words.

Could I be sorry to someone who was truly just now trying to get sober? Myself? Is that possible? I just felt like screaming it to the world… “I’m sorry!”

I wasn’t sorry when I acted out in my active addictions because I wasn’t consciously making these decisions I did so terribly on my own… I was inhibited. It’s safe to say the words, “I’m sorry” but only to a certain extent, and then people don’t feel you’re being real with it. Sincerity is a part of this understanding to the words “I’m sorry.” How could I be sincere about something, someone, some place, some “things” I couldn’t fully understand until I had time to reflect and work on myself? But still I continued to apologize!

Maybe being able to forgive the soul contributor to my demise, then I could finally understand who, why, and when to say sorry. When I understood myself, my actions, my perspective of the situation as well as others, then I could begin to apologize for a reason, not just because!

I couldn’t remember everything I did while intoxication, or who I did it to. Maybe the key to this terminology is not to understand it, but say it when I’m absolutely ready… say it when everyone is ready to hear it, and most of all myself ready to embrace it fully! Maybe then I won’t have to even say I’m sorry? Maybe then people will feel my restitution I’m trying to make to the culture I so deprived myself of for years and years.

How can I be sorry so early into my recovery? I’m just sorry for being sorry! I AM SORRY!

I’m sorry for all the bad things I did, I just want to feel better from it, I just want it to go away and the only way I know how is to keep saying it… I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for almost killing that poor man driving on the freeway when I was in a crack induced binge, threatening to end his life from crack and road rage.

I’m sorry for the time I shot heroin up while driving down the freeway back from Detroit. It couldn’t wait, I couldn’t wait! I passed out at the wheel drifting four lanes over as the needle collapses into my vein. I’m sorry for almost killing another 5 people in this incident.

I’m sorry for lying to my friends and stealing things that weren’t mine to take.

I’m sorry for telling my parents that I was living a different life—a clean life—when I was not. The truth mattered most to you, and now I can give it to you… I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for not giving my sweet younger brother the care and supervision he deserves. I’m sorry for not being his superman. I miss being his role model. Those days were great, until I messed up… I’m sorry. I’m sorry for going to your pee-wee soccer games and shooting up heroin in the bathroom of the play centers. I am so, so sorry! You deserve better than that, than me at this point in my life… in our lives.

I’ve done plenty of bad things and lied to anyone who mattered to me faces every time for it. I know how you (Momma and Pops) love the truth, and the first truth I can give you is to forgive myself, first. That’s honesty, that’s a truth I know that can make a difference, within myself and our collective survival as a family, to my friends, my loved ones. I am sorry not for myself, but to myself. From this point on I must be better!

Maybe this is me admitting it and coming to the truth finally. I did do a lot of bad things during active addiction, there’s no denying this. But, the reality has hit me, and I’m truly sorry for it all.

I don’t know exactly why I need to say that I’m sorry so much, and maybe I don’t NEED to, but it feels good… just like all the previous instantaneous release I was giving myself. I don’t NEED to say I am sorry, I will have to want it. I will have to want this new life of recovery and betterment for myself, first and foremost!

For appeasement I’ll say it one last time… Dear, me… I’m sorry.

I’m sorry… sorry to myself, not for myself! Feeling a weight starting to lift off of my shoulders, life becomes a little bit easier. I wasn’t apologizing to the one victim of this “so-called” victimless “crime.” I’m apologizing to me this time! Then the rest of the world won’t need to hear it, they will see it! They will feel the change!

“If you build it they will come!” this great saying goes. This can be applied to building a strong foundation for recovery… foundation/support!

Now, starting with a foundation that I can build by uttering this surrender, the rest I love will follow once I love myself! This is the hardest part of letting go, truly admitting I don’t know it all, and that it’s time, time to SHOW just how sorry I am. It’s time to start doing, taking the action, instead of being the retraction from anything rational and real. I can do this!

“Actions speak louder than words,” they say. So, I start to work on myself, as the pounding of my heart begins to grip me harder. But, the work is worth it! There was never anything as true to give to anyone else until I found out who and what I truly am, and why I need to be sorry!

I’m definitely an addict, but I’m doing better without my active addiction each and every second I stay clean from mind or mood altering substances, scenarios, and scenery. Every second I’m clean reaffirms that my apologies are true. They see the action and this speaks louder than words!

They don’t need to hear it anymore, not today. It may take a while to get to the point of not “needing” to say I’m sorry, but the promises of recovery hold true… stay clean do the right thing, the right thing will come in return! With the love that you give to yourself, you will not have to say I’m sorry for any of “THAT” of which you did, for those reasons, ever again.

Everyone will see you’re doing better, each and every STEP you take! This is all of the sorry anyone who supports you ever had wanted for either of you! They just want you to try. I know that’s all my dad ever wanted from me… to try and be healthy, be better, be clean for myself.

Then by trying it becomes doing! By doing it becomes doing the right thing. And, I’m not sorry for that! And, neither is anyone else!

You can forgive yourself and it won’t happen overnight. But the truth is, did we have an ensuing addiction conquer our mind, body, and soul overnight either? No. It takes practice, it takes work, but the truth is it’s worth it!

Healing will take time, but the biggest thing that matters is that you and I are trying, you’re not alone, and it will be okay! There’s no reason to be sorry for trying!

You can do it, so can I! So, let’s go try! Try! Try! And Try again!

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