I’m someone who got sober through 12-step programs, and I was excited to get started on my 4th step. I didn’t know why everyone was so worried about it. When my sponsor told me that I was going to be able to write a list of all the people who had wronged me throughout my life, I was ecstatic. My first column ended up having 133 resentments towards people, places and institutions. At the top of that list was my mother.
What I didn’t know about this step was that the next columns required me to dig up the past and relive painful experiences. I remember writing in my 4th step for hours on some days, but on others I could only write for a few minutes before getting angry and stopping because the memories were so painful. It wasn’t until I was able to get to the 3rd column where I was able to begin to have clarity, and it was a freeing experience.
In the 3rd column, there was a lot that I realized, but one of them was that I was doing the same things to my son that my mother did to me. I tried to argue with myself that I was justified because I had a terrible childhood. But, when I sat back and reflected on my mother’s childhood, she had it pretty bad as well. She lived in abusive home growing up, dated abusive men and even lost a son in her life.
I remember how bad I wanted everyone’s forgiveness when I quit drinking and using drugs. People taught me that I was a sick person and not a bad person. I then had another moment of clarity where I thought, “Why do I deserve forgiveness, but my mom doesn’t?” I then realized that if I wanted to be forgiven for my failures throughout my addiction, I needed to extend the same courtesy with my mom.
Healing and Moving Forward
I’m someone who is very fortunate to have a mother who has now been sober for almost 13 years, and we have an amazing relationship. It wasn’t always that way though. I spent most of my life resenting her, and even though she saved my life by helping me get clean in 2012, I still had many resentments towards her. I blamed her for my childhood, my failed relationships, my addiction as well as losing the ability to see my own son. Through a lot of hard work and communication, I was able to forgive her
One of the best lessons I learned throughout this experience was that no matter what happened, I could be okay. Hearing the powerful stories from the women we interviewed reminded me of this. I still have people in my life who are out there drinking or using, but I hang on to hope that one day they’ll find the right path as my mom did and as I did. I also realized that there’s a common factor between all of us who are healing and moving forward, and that’s that we constantly remember not to let the past weigh us down. One of the best ways to get rid of this weight is through the act of forgiveness. I often remind myself that forgiveness isn’t letting the other person off of the hook, but it’s a way to let myself off of the hook.
— Chris B. 6 years of Recovery
Hear more of my journey of forgiving my alcoholic mother:
If you or someone you know is in need of help with overcoming addiction, contact EndureLV today by calling 702-331-5097 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .