"Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution"
I was always of the opinion that no matter what I did, everyone should forgive me because I'm really not a bad guy, I just did some bad things. I made some bad choices. I stole from you, but I am not really a thief, I was just high, or I REALLY needed whatever you had.
If I lied to you, it's because I really didn't know the truth..... I would lie to cover up a lie.
I was always the victim in my book. I did the things I needed to do because of some set of circumstances. If things had been different, I wouldn't have acted that way.
I can remember being very young and always feeling very entitled.
But my family never had much money, so it was so sad and just a shame that I couldn't get what I wanted......so I took it. I needed it and you should feel sorry for me, I am poor and we can't afford it.
I always assumed I would make up my dastardly deeds by showing that I am a "good" guy.
I never actually took responsibility for my actions. They were more your fault than mine.
And I was offended when you didn't forgive me for my wrong doing.
Most of my life I lived feeling entitled and demanding.
I don't know if I ever really felt bad about anything I had ever done wrong, except when I got caught.
Then I felt bad for getting caught, but not really for my actions.
I always seem to believe deep inside that I had a right to act the way I did.
It's all pretty sick and part of the deep mental illness of ego and self-centeredness.
I also would certainly never forgive you, unless of course you forgave me too :)
Master manipulator that I am, I could turn any situation around and have you apologizing to me for what I had done wrong to you. You made me feel a certain way and I felt I had the right to this bad behavior. I honestly felt like I was justified in all that I did.
It was not until the lies and cheating and stealing moved onto a new level in addiction that shame and remorse really began to take it's toll.
When the stakes were higher and the lies were bigger, I began to take notice of my behavior and the effects it had on the loved ones around me.
I wasn't lying about small things anymore, these were life changing things.
In addiction, eventually you start to bottom out. You start doing things you told yourself you would never do. For some, they hit their bottom and realize the need for change and then change their life
based on the awful situation: my wife is leaving me, I lost my job, I crashed my car....etc.
But if you are an addict/alcoholic like me - these awful things happen and you realize the need for change and pray to God that you will never do this again...........and then you do it again.....and again....
because thats the way it is.
In recovery, forgiveness plays a huge roll.
At first I am thinking that this is all about getting the people I have wronged to forgive me.
Again, I am thinking about me and not them - because it would be great if all my loved ones and friends would forgive me and love me again. I have a good excuse this time, I am an addict.
I wouldn't have done all of that shit if I wasn't!
But I learn as I go along that thats just not what its about. I lied, stole, cheated well before I was in full addiction. Addiction only highlighted these wonderful attributes of mine.
It's who I am, I am a liar, a thief and a cheat.
But I can change these things about myself, one step at a time.
I can become honest and trustworthy slowly over a period of time.
The real forgiveness begins within. Thats what I have learned in recovery.
I accept the true fact that I am selfish, self-centered, egotistical. I am a liar. I lie to get what I want
because I am so damn selfish. But once I accept this about myself, I can begin to make a change.
It starts with not lying, not cheating, not stealing. That gets easier with out drugs and alcohol.
I learn to think about my motives and think about what I am thinking about.
I question my reactions, my actions, etc.
Slowly I learn to tell the truth, to be honest and to not take things that are not mine.
I begin to respect honesty and most importantly I begin to respect myself.
I am human and humans are selfish. I am also dealing with a mental illness.
I forgive myself for being a sick human. But I also do not behave the way I once did.
The more I practice honesty and behave accordingly, the easier it gets to forgive myself.
Because nothing changes if nothing changes. But once I begin to change, I can start let go of my past and walk forward. Liar, thief, cheat - that was the old me. Today I am learning honesty, trustfulness, forgiveness. I have learned to forgive myself and in turn I have forgiven you for anything you might do, because you are human too. We are one in the same.
I have learned that to be truly forgiven by others, I will need to forgive myself first and not
take part in the old behaviors anymore. Slowly over time, my loved ones will begin to trust me again.
In order to be trustworthy, I must be trustworthy.
In order to not be a liar, I must not tell lies.
and my favorite - you can't get drunk if you don't drink.
so damn simple, but we complicate the shit out it!
peace, love, Zito