If you had any doubt about how much God loves us, just look to the Bible. The most powerful verse is probably that contained in John (3:16) which states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God loved all of us alike – those who follow his path and those who stray, those who ‘walk through green pastures’ as well as those who may have fallen off course, succumbing to an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

If you are on the road to recovery from addiction, it is important to understand that without self-compassion, little progress can be made. If every set back involves judgement and criticism of ourselves, if we cannot forgive ourselves for the hurt we have caused ourselves and others, how can we make it through one of the biggest challenges we will be called to face: that of quitting drugs?

Romans 5:8 states, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Whenever we feel we are unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness, we should recall that He never saw us as perfect; rather, He loved us just as we are, comprehending our essential imperfection.

When we exercise compassion towards ourselves, and accept the grace of God, we bring many benefits to recovery. For one, we understand that we are not the only ones who are struggling; addiction ‘hijacks the brain’, making it very difficult (but not impossible) to quit. Therefore, when we struggle with addiction, it is not because we are flawed, weak or incapable of overcoming it; quitting is difficult for anyone with a major addiction problem so every step towards progress should be celebrated. Secondly, when we stop judging and start accepting ourselves, our mental health improves, since we become less distressed and anxious; these negative emotions are actually considered triggers for relapse so it is vital to keep them at bay by taking care of ourselves and seeking support from church groups and from those in recovery support groups.

Finally, treating ourselves kindly enables us to build stronger bonds with others. Research has shown that those with strong support networks have a stronger chance of overcoming addiction. Yet for those who have been addicted for months or years, rebuilding broken bonds can be very difficult. It is vital to rebuild trust, and to accept past mistakes, without condoning them.

Being kind to ourselves does not simply involve forgiving ourselves, but rather, taking positive steps towards taking care of body and mind. For instance, on our road to recovery, we should embrace a sound nutritional plan and do the things that have a relaxing effect on our mind – these include prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, and imagery exercises. It also helps to show compassion towards others, finding people who may need us and realising that we are not alone in our struggle. God is always with us.

This is an article sent in by Sally Freer

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