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The effects of Unforgiveness on Lifestyle Choices

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We all struggle with something we’ve done or regret.  These things I talk about in addiction recovery are known as “reservations.”  This term applies to something we feel we must hold on to in order to not loose part of ourself, someone else, or something.  Unforgiveness and forgiveness are a crucial step in the recovery process when developing a key safety net, rebuilding your mental framework for positive outlooks, and an overall healthy lifestyle.  Choosing whether or not to forgive someone or something is a hard thing to do.  Choosing to forgive yourself may be even harder.  Here is a thorough analysis to why unforgiveness is such a big concept in addiction recovery.  Then shown are ways to identify and cope with such situations.

This is the effects of Unforgiveness by Laurie McGarvey, LLC, Corporate Coach and Trainer:

“Much pain, grief, and discontent accompany any addiction or person living with someone who is controlled by an addiction. There is additional trauma that one experiences, and that is the trauma and unrest associated with unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness occurs when one is unable to release someone else because of a situation, action, or attitude. The key word is release or to let go. Many people feel that by letting go or releasing the action, situation, or attitude is then making it acceptable or right. I would like to suggest that forgiveness is about releasing the person not the act of what happened, and in no way stating it was okay. More importantly, what forgiveness does is release the person who is doing the forgiving from harmful emotional, physical, and intellectual side effects.

According to the 2005 study by medical universities in the US, the five most widely recognized benefits of forgiveness include, reduced stress, change of heart, stronger relationships with self and others, help with chronic pain and illness, and overall greater peace and happiness. It would stand to reason that un-forgiveness then also has benefits, such as illness, frustration, discontentment, and restlessness.

In addictive environments the opportunities to practice forgiveness and letting go are many. Yet, so many fail to understand the process and therefore remain in conflict and distress. I see this too often in my conversations with clients whether they are the one who is addicted or the affected of the addicted.

The most heartbreaking are those family members and friends who feel unable to forgive themselves or their loved ones who have lost their lives to addiction. They feel as if it’s too late and too painful. As a result what remains is the confusion, anger, guilt, remorse, and pain.

As I worked with these individuals I have found that it’s never too late to forgive. We can practice forgiveness anywhere, at anytime, and we don’t have to be physically with the person. That is the gift, we don’t need anyone to approve, judge, or relate, we can just do it when we feel we are ready to heal. It is a process and a soulful journey back to a place of inner harmony.

In essence forgiveness is a selfish act in that it frees us from the mental and emotional strife that accompanies feeling at odds with another.

Author, GaryZukov, said this, “beneath anger lies pain, and beneath pain lies fear”. I would like to add that the perfect recipe for a life of angst is letting anger and pain simmer and then come to a boil only to continue to heat and reheat our misery.

There is a way to move away from unforgiveness. The research on this subject is definitely heating up. For instance, at Stanford University, Dr. Luskin, provides principles of forgiveness as part of The Forgiveness Project. In addition, one of the best and most practical resources I have ever used and recommended to my clients is the book by Connie Domino, “The Law of Forgiveness” (2009). Both of these resources provide step-by-step instructions on beginning and moving through the forgiveness process at your own pace.

Forgiveness does not just happen, you have to want it, and sometimes we don’t realize we want it until we get so uncomfortable that we are willing to try anything to get rid of the pain.

Below are two examples of a self directed forgiveness method that you can say out loud and as often as you need to. I recommend to clients that it might be necessary to repeat the method several times until you feel an inner shift or release. It is daily practice that is worth its weight in gold.

Finally, acceptance is the answer in most situations that we can’t control, and followed closely is forgiveness as our solution to inner peace and contentment.

Self Directed Forgiveness Method:

For Self:

I forgive myself, I release myself, and I now let myself go. The situation that has affected me is now over. I am free today and everyday. I am now free to live, to love, and to interact with others in a caring and compassionate manner. I forgive myself completely.

For Others: (living or those that have passed)

I forgive (insert name), I release (insert name), and I let go of (insert name and situation). The (person/situation) that has affected me is now over. I am free and (insert name) is free forever. I release them and let everything that happened, every expectation go now and forever. I forgive them completely and wish them love, acceptance, and forgiveness in the present and eternally.”

If you have any expertise, training, life skill in the areas focused on at and would like to share your take on it, I’d be happy to listen.  All efforts go to help those who in need and need to hear it most so please, email me at: if you have anything you feel is worthwhile to share… even if it be your own personal journey!  Those are more than valued, they are priceless to myself and others!

Keep the message alive everyone!

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