When we approach Step Nine, how often have we heard the suggestion to put ourselves at the top of the list? When we first hear this, it is usually very difficult. We have forever been putting ourselves at the bottom of the list and now folks are saying to put ourselves at the top? Scary!

But so important! How can we say we have a Higher Power that is looking for the best for us when we continue to have negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves? It took me fourteen years in program before I believed that I was not stupid and ugly. That’s a long time. Hopefully most of you are not taking that long to put negative thoughts about yourself behind you. I believe we forgive as we love, so perhaps we need to love ourselves first before we can forgive ourselves. Something to think about.

We all know whom we have harmed, but sometimes, I think, we have harmed ourselves the most.

We need to forgive ourselves so we can heal. We need to heal so we don’t go back to our addiction. My addiction of compulsive overeating is too powerful, and I don’t want to go back, because I have not done all I need to do to recover. When we forgive, we give up self-will. Does it not say on page 62 in the Big Book (one of my favorite pages, as it has lots of my character defects on it), “our troubles . . . . arise out of ourselves . . . of self-will run riot” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.)? Anger and hate are forms of self-will, and they just take up room in my heart.

When we forgive, we give our will to the God of our understanding. By giving up our anger and hate, we let that still, small voice come through clearly, and we heal. This seems to say that forgiving is very powerful.

I need to forgive myself for my addiction. While in it, I have harmed myself and those around me. We all know whom we have harmed, but sometimes, I think, we have harmed ourselves the most. I believe we are wounded people and wounds need to heal. If I continue to think negatively about myself or continue to be angry, how will my wounds heal? If I continue with my negative feelings, I might go back to my addiction. How sad that would be. As we forgive ourselves, we feel more peaceful, and how great is that? Pray first and make your list of things you have not already forgiven yourself for:

I forgive myself for _____.
I forgive myself for _____.
I forgive myself for _____.

May we all have the peace with healing that comes from forgiving ourselves.

— Anonymous