Overcoming Shame in Recovery Is Crucial

The first step is to ask for help in dealing with such feelings. Research has shown that those abusing drugs and/or alcohol recognize that “recovery is within their reach” when they receive treatment. After a while, they seem the norm more than anything else.

  • Guilt allows healing by allowing ownership and empowerment.
  • In the study mentioned, researchers questioned almost 300 men and women between the ages of 15 and 50 about the types of everyday situations that left them feeling guilty.
  • Shame, guilt’s neighbor, is feeling like a bad person, particularly when poor choices or bad behavior is out in the open for everyone to see and judge.
  • If your behavior was influenced by substance abuse and/or untreated mental health issues, you should give yourself some slack and not judge yourself too harshly.

And this would follow from Stephen Porges, his research on the gut brain, you think about shame, what is shame? Shame is if I step on your foot, you’re going to reject me. And if you think about this, evolutionarily, I need you, we need each other, we survive longer if we stay connected. And if I’ve done something that jeopardizes that, you can’t think of a much deeper unsafety than that, why wouldn’t my stomach hurt. So those are some of the personal or the physical signs of shame that come up. And oftentimes, those tell us a lot more than what the person is thinking because I can ask somebody, they can be in an acute shame response.

Why Shame & Guilt are Dangerous in Addiction Recovery

Then it leads to other painful feelings and problem behaviors. You feel ashamed of who you are and don’t believe you deserve love, respect, success, or happiness. With the right therapy, a person can potentially expel their shame, by understanding their guilt. One feels guilty by acknowledging that they had done something wrong. Treatment teaches us that the more guilt we possess, the less shame we endure. Even though guilt and shame both play a similar role in addiction and can even seem like similar emotions, they are different. Knowing the differences to identify what you are feeling is the first step in understanding the roles they play in addiction and the effects they can have on you.

Is AA the only way?

Is AA The Only Way To Stay Sober? No, you can take many pathways to long-term sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) remains one of the most common support groups for long-term sobriety. AA inspired additional 12-Step programs, like Narcotics Anonymous (NA), for those struggling with other types of substance abuse.

Dwelling in guilt will almost inevitably lead to feeling shameful. Shame cuts much deeper than guilt does, which is what makes it so dangerous. guilt and shame in recovery When you’re caught up in feelings of guilt and shame, you may begin to feel as though you deserve these bad feelings about yourself.

How Guilt and Shame Affects Addiction Recovery

If you attempt to dismiss, deflect, or hide from difficult emotions such as guilt and shame, you might undermine your ability to progress in recovery. https://ecosoberhouse.com/ Barbara Warner and John Robertson each have many years of experience counseling people with addiction through their guilt and shame.

Aaron Dougherty works as an inpatient substance use disorder counselor withdual diagnosispatients. In his work, he regularly encounters patients who are dealing with feelings about the past. Just because you decide to keep your treatment details confidential, it doesn’t mean you have anything to feel ashamed about in seeking help.

Ways to Overcome the Guilt and Shame of Addiction

When someone wrestles with jealousy or disdain or irritation or loathing, the emotions involve someone or something else. It is natural for a human to castigate blame on this foreign entity. Shame occurs when we blame ourselves – all of those bad feelings are intensified, and magnified in our souls. The only person you are truly in control of is yourself. There are so many things that are outside of your control that can’t alter or change, your past being one of them.

How do you let go of shame and guilt?

  1. Take responsibility for your actions.
  2. Express remorse and regret without letting it transform into shame.
  3. Commit to making amends for any harm you caused.
  4. Practice self-acceptance and trust yourself to do better in the future.

The rigorous forms of therapy offered at Makana seek to enlighten patients so that they can understand the root cause of their addictions. Shame and guilt are some of the most powerful emotions in a soul. Both of these emotions are similar, in that they deal with remorse and inadequacies – the same feelings that often compel users to start taking drugs. Being able to recognize and identify what you are feeling is a significant part of recovery. When you begin feeling down, ask yourself if you may be feeling either guilt or shame.

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This research sought to better conceptualize shame and guilt in regard to addiction. Though it made great progress, it is not without limitations. One such limitation is that the sample size was small, which can influence results. Additionally, they used a very narrow population, making it difficult to know if the results would generalize to other sufferers of substance abuse. It can trigger a dependency on alcohol or drugs as a method of escape. Shame and guilt are often used interchangeably but are in fact not the same. While guilt acknowledges negative feelings over an action taken, shame tells you that as a result of this action, you’re not a good enough person.

guilt and shame in recovery

When we make the decision to get sober, we often find ourselves staring head-on into the wreckage of our past. In the depths of our substance use disorder, we make a lot of choices that we might not necessarily make with a clear head. A key part of recovery is learning self-love andself-forgiveness, but sometimes it can be hard to work through the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret.