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Overcoming Guilt and Shame in Addiction Recovery

See each new day as an opportunity to learn and grow. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool for staying in the moment, managing negative emotions, and focusing on the positive. Beat back the shame and guilt by making a sincere effort to fix the mistakes you’ve made, and undoing some of the damage.

  • These activities also provide a sense of accomplishment and achievement, which can help counter feelings of shame or guilt.
  • By focusing solely on the addictive behavior, you can neglect the other areas of your life that make your addictive behavior worse or could be the reason why it’s happening in the first place.
  • Shame can be caused by a wide range of factors — such as trauma or challenging social environments — and often causes feelings of deep inadequacy, lack of worth and the need to hide.
  • Remember, though, if you were genuine in your attempt, much of your guilt can be assuaged.
  • The guidance of experienced healthcare professionals can be invaluable in ensuring the success of long-term sobriety.
  • It is important to try to become more self-aware of your feelings and work on them.
  • At the core, recovery starts by learning to identify your emotions.

How Do Feelings of Guilt and Shame Feed Addiction?

You are not your label, and you are not your addiction. Research shows that shame touches on the painful gap between who you are and the “ideal self” you wish to be, which is often shaped by societal expectations. guilt and shame in recovery Pathological guilt can be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If this guilt centers around moral or religious themes (like sinning or committing blasphemy), it’s known as scrupulosity.

guilt and shame in recovery

Why Shame & Guilt are Dangerous in Addiction Recovery

It may seem like you’ll always feel this way, but research shows that shame diminishes during the treatment process. It means you will feel a hell of a lot better once you take that first step in accessing help. How are things going in all other areas of your life?

guilt and shame in recovery

Overcoming Guilt and Shame in Addiction Recovery

Write a list of the people you have harmed and the ways you have harmed them. One by one, go through your list and write down the various causes and conditions that led you to this action or inaction. You’ve already made the connection between your harmful actions and the fact that you were abused or neglected. Now think of other precipitating factors such as a family history of violence and a family history of addiction, as well as more subtle factors such as stress due to financial problems or marital problems. Forgiving yourself for the ways you have hurt or harmed others will probably be the hardest thing that you will ever have to do in order to heal your shame.

Address Past Behaviors:

guilt and shame in recovery

guilt and shame in recovery

  • Peer support also plays an important role in addiction recovery by providing individuals with a sense of community, connection, and empathy.
  • In fact, let me say this, I think if you go back over 10 years of my own recovery, this is the most significant tool for sustained successful recovery in my life that I can bear witness to.
  • It also lessens our sensitivity to anger and eventually leads to a more satisfying existence.
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