When you or your loved one(s) suffer from an unhealthy habit, blame and anger or guilt and shame,  are states of mind that many of us are all too familiar with. We feel guilty and ashamed for the suffering we cause. We are angry and blame others for our own pain.  What we sometimes do not realize is that these states become an unhealthy habit in themselves. We become used to them. Our lives and the way way deal with people, places and events, and especially how we perceive them, are dominated by them. It has become a form of energy we fuel our lives with. But why would we want to be fueling something that causes us pain and negativity? And what can we do to end this behavior?  I have found that forgiveness is the key.

In the 12-step meetings I attend, and in talking with fellows, I have noticed that most of the time, forgiveness is perceived as something we either give or get. We are “absolved” of our sins if we receive it, and we are offering a saintly sacrifice by giving it.

This is of course, an illusion and in my opinion it is the logical result of our skewed perception of reality. In believing that we can “give “ or “withhold” forgiveness we somehow create a false sense of control or power over another person and a false justification of our own behavior. What we are actually – and very subtly – doing with this train of thoughts, is keeping our own feelings of anger and blame alive. Since, if  forgiveness can be given, there must be good grounds for it. We must be right and the other must be wrong.

And in the case that we feel the – undeserved – need to be forgiven, this works in exactly the opposite way, but with the same effect: if we don’t get it, we must indeed be sinners and wrong and guilty.  The end result is that we keep the fuel supply to our feelings of unhappiness, unworthiness,  in tact. We