I am struggling to forgive myself for a past addiction.

I can look back through the eyes of compassion and acknowledge the trauma in my early life that led me to make decisions from the emotion of powerlessness. The part that I am having more difficulty with is why I didn’t walk away from the addiction sooner.

I never told anyone about my past addiction, but my boyfriend discovered that I hid that part of my life and it brought an end to our relationship.

There is so much grief right now for having lost the person I considered the love of my life, for the future that we mapped out together that will never be, and for the pain I have caused him.

Oddly, there is also relief. I didn’t realize that the truth could set you free. That always seemed cliché, but I can see the web of unconscious beliefs trying to hide my past created and the impact that has had on my life up until now.

Thing is, he asked me to explain how I could have been addicted for so long and I am having a hard time understanding myself.

I tried many times to end my addiction, but I kept falling right back into it. I had choices, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. It was like I was a gambler who believed I could recoup my losses if I just stayed in the game a little longer. I guess I wanted the fast track to a better life. I wanted it to be easy. Yet, I love working hard. I’m intelligent and capable. How could I not see the way out? Deep down, the honest truth was I wanted out from the moment I fell into it.

I guess I should admit that I didn’t even know I was addicted until I admitted the truth. Kind of like a caffeine junkie that shrugs and says something like “that’s just how I get my energy.” I had a million ways of justifying what I was doing to shove down the shame, scarcity, anxiety, fear, and guilt.

I know there’s no use arguing with the past. It’s over. But how can I forgive myself for what I don’t yet fully understand?