Monday, December 17, 2007


Last night's meeting topic was forgiveness. One of the members shared that it was hard for her to forgive her alcoholic mother. She loved her mother but had a hard time forgiving her and now needed to do so.

What I've learned is that I first need to forgive myself. Until I forgive myself for the things that I have done and my attitude, then I harbor resentment, guilt and contempt that poison my relationships with others. Working through my fourth step helped me realize how much anger, judgment and guilt I was carrying over in the decisions that I had made in my life.

I never realized how much I hated myself and blamed myself for the things that had happened in my past. I see now that many were out of my control. So I now realize that my parents, and the alcoholics in my life were doing what they did with what they had. In order to forgive myself, I needed to understand how I had no boundaries, why I rescued and was sympathetic to everyone but me.

So I'm learning to forgive myself for my issues, for my childhood, and for expecting myself to be superhuman. In my heart, I have forgiven others. I realize that we each have our own problems and that I am not God. I forgive from the heart and through deeds of love. The steps have been a great way to work on forgiveness. And this is a process that I'll be doing for a long time.


  1. The thing I find about forgiving myself is how difficult at times it can be. It is so easy for me to forgive others but when it comes time to extend that same thing to myself, I often falter. This is a process, I am only beginning to learn. Sometimes it is easier than other times. But I remind myself that everything comes in time as long as I work my program. By the way, the final went well. I got a 102. I am either very smart or very lucky because to say I earned that grade would be untrue. I studied/read my notes for about 15mins. However, I never miss a class and I do all the work involved in the course/s. So maybe that is the reason I can ace a test. I am so use to all that intense studying for the sciences, (That is what my eariler degree is in) that maybe these classes are just easier for me. Whatever. It certainly does not mean I will make some great therapist just because I can ace a test. Next semester is my first internship. Thanks for asking.

  2. Hi Syd! First - I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a promising New Year!

    I love your comments on forgiveness!

    I learned some time ago that forgiveness is very much like happiness - - - they both come from 'within!' So many of us were taught for years - that we should be forgiving. I have learned in this program, that I can be very judgmental and self-serving to express actual forgiveness to another. Perhaps they were not aware they even needed forgiving. In that light, I learned to forgive any 'slights' or 'transgressions' silently, but mostly by simple acceptance (not approval, mind you) - and by changing my thoughts about the situation. My life became much simpler with this exercise. Nearly all I have learned in Al-Anon comes from my internal self; this happened after taking the steps, particularly 2, 4, 7, and 9.
    Once again, Happy Holidays!
    Love, Anonymous #1

  3. I completely understand the member of your group and her issues with her mother. I'm feeling the same way. I've accepted my mother but not sure I've forgiven her. I am so hopeful though because I have faith that if I continue this journey of recovery I will make progress in this area. Thanks to folks like you who share their experience and strenght. Fourth step, here I come:)

  4. I too have a hard time forgiving myself. It took me a long time to forgive my mother. Step 4 helped me with that, & learning about my own alcoholism, & myself. I totally forgive my mother today, but not quite myself, I have come along ways tho. I don't hate myself today, & I do cut myself some slack, boy, I didn't used to! I have a little more peace.

  5. Excellent post. I think you've got a really good point here, and the crux of my difficulty as well. The key to my well-being has been first to take care of me, realize that I am good enough and forgive myself for real or perceived wrongs I committed.

    Learning to change my thinking about myself is a slow, but worthwhile process. Coming to forgive others after accepting myself is a much easier task.

  6. WHen we say the Lord's prayer I always emphasize the "...and forgive us OUR trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us..."

    This reminds me that I can achieve peace when I forgive others to the degree I hope they will forgive me...

    Saying it aloud as I pray nightly on my knees I reiterate that phrase on occasion, ever reminding me to place the principles BEFORE personalities...

    all I can do is ASK His continued Grace & guidance...

    Miracles and me and all our friends are living proof...thanks for sharing Syd.


  7. Do we ever really forgive our parents?

    I think I need to focus on that topic during my 4th step work

    thanks for bringing it up.I often forget they are imperfect too

  8. Today i learned that I had bought a printer for myself under my daughter's name in 2005, and I had never paid for it. She got a bill from a collection agency for an amount of money that is completely far from my possibilities to pay... I can pay in installments, but this stays in her name. I had been depressed for years, and then started taking pills that took me into a phase of mania during which I committed real crimes... How can I forgive myself if I am harming my children still now with all those past behaviours? She is trying to do her citizenship application and this kind of thing is cropping up... I am grateful for the program. Otherwise, when things like that happen I feel so desperate and so worthless that I want to kill myself. I feel that if I do, then they will feel that i paid for my sins.


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