How to Deal with Guilt and Shame in Addiction Recovery

And it only led me to want to use it again to drink again. And so I realized I needed to find tools for dealing with this. If I don’t find some way to navigate this, skillfully, it’ll be the end of me, it’ll be the death of me because I knew I wasn’t gonna be able to sustain recovery.

We can help you make the lifestyle changes necessary to help you overcome addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. If you’re struggling with feelings of shame or guilt due to a substance use disorder, you’re not alone.

Why Do Some People Feel Guilt or Shame in Addiction Recovery?

Our inpatient treatment programs, outpatient options and mental health services can help you detox from substances while addressing the factors that lead to your addiction. Our locations give you the proper space for reflection and rest, allowing you to become your best self while healing from your past. Take the first step and contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs in Northern California and how we can help you improve your life. Shame and guilt are common emotions that can hinder recovery, and self-forgiveness is an effective tool for overcoming these negative feelings.

  • During addiction, you may feel guilt for saying something rude to someone while you were under the influence or made a wrong decision that impacted your life or the lives of others.
  • In the U.S., around 6.7% of adults — 16.2 million people — live with depression.
  • I don’t know why I even try.” Both emotions lead to negative feelings and could lead to substance use as a form of coping.
  • Our locations give you the proper space for reflection and rest, allowing you to become your best self while healing from your past.

When addressing the feelings of guilt and shame in recovery, it is essential to understand why these feelings are related and why they are somewhat different. Guilt is when you feel bad about something you did or failed to do and experience remorse for your actions. For example, you may have made a promise that you would stop staying out all night. However, your addiction made it impossible to follow through on that promise. As a result, you might feel guilty because you could not keep that promise.

Bringing Real Change

This therapy gives clients the tools to cope with life’s problems. It helps clients look at the world differently, changing self-destructive patterns into positive actions. Those new in recovery should not forget who was hurt most by their actions, themselves. Self-observation is the goal, not self-flagellation. Guilt and shame can hang over a person like a personal thunderstorm. Two years into recovery, Jack’s amends list was put through the washing machine.

Although they are very similar to each other, there is a distinct difference between guilt and shame. Even without an addiction, people who seek out treatment for mental illnesses such as depression are often portrayed in popular media as weak or dangerous to themselves and others. In the U.S., around 6.7% of adults — 16.2 million people — live with depression. However, shame and stigma prevent many from getting diagnosed and receiving the help they need to manage their symptoms. People cope with shame and addiction in different ways. Some turn to perfectionism, trying to ensure that everything they do is without fault and above reproach.

How Do Shame and Addiction Interact?

Guilt can be a great motivator to do or say something to correct your past actions. Feeling guilty can cause you to apologize or drive you to make amends with someone that you hurt. This can help you become a better person and avoid making the same mistake in the future. It can cause you to engage in destructive thoughts and behaviors that lead to more wrongdoings. Shame can cause further hurt for yourself and others down the road. Knowing the difference between the two emotions can help you recognize what you are feeling and learn how to solve the situation.

Does shame help addicts?

People with substance dependency often report feelings of guilt and shame. Researchers suggest guilt may help overcome addictive behaviour, but shame does not.

I think about this sometimes and I would say this to parents, is that when your son or daughter is trapped in an addictive cycle, you can bet your bottom dollar. And that is, is that around in society, and we’ll talk about why this is the case, there’s more judgment about addiction than anything. And it’s next to impossible not to internalize, I don’t care what age you are in your addiction. It even gets more complicated here, Clint, because it’s not just being addicted. The crazy thing is there’s a stigma about being in recovery. And what they did in this study is that they asked American respondents to rank order which one of these diagnoses has the most negative judgment made towards it.

Can You Heal Shame and Guilt in Addiction Treatment?

Often, it’s shame, guilt’s evil twin, which takes recovering folks down. And guilt can morph into shame if you aren’t careful. When you’re struggling with substance misuse and addiction, you might do things you wouldn’t have done while sober to satisfy your craving. You could have done or guilt and shame in recovery said things to loved ones that caused harm to your relationship or their well-being. Located in Central Ohio, our comprehensive addiction treatment facility offers several levels of care to fit the needs of each individual. Overcoming shame and letting go of guilt are processes, too.

guilt and shame in recovery

Remember, each new day is an opportunity to accomplish the tasks right in front of us. Even if that task before us is accepting the consequence of a past mistake, we are that much closer to forgiveness. If you are at peace you are living in the present. Part of embracing self-worth is self-care and it’s critical we all take care of ourselves so we can be of value to others too. Once you have picked yourself back up, you can begin taking the necessary steps.

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