How to Cope With Guilt & Shame During Recovery

Feelings of guilt and shame have no purpose in your new life, especially once you have completed Step Five. Instead of allowing residual feelings of shame or guilt to define you as a person, box them up and discard them. Otherwise, those feelings may fester and begin to undermine your recovery efforts. If you want to regain your self-esteem, the best path is to do estimable acts. Just as guilt and shame come from seeing yourself do actions that conflict with your character, doing good works for others will conflict with your feelings of shame and guilt.

Overcoming Shame and Guilt in Recovery

By doing so, they can reframe their experiences in a more constructive light and increase their self-esteem. One valuable technique for overcoming shame and guilt triggers involves reframing negative thoughts into positive ones. Assisting patients to understand that they are unique human beings deserving of love hopefully emboldens them with confidence which is essential for recovery.

FAQs about Overcoming Shame And Guilt In Outpatient Addiction Treatment:

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. After that, you need residential addiction treatment with intensive therapy to help process your feelings in a safe setting, and thereby give you the tools needed to prevent relapse. Our addiction treatment center meets all of these needs, in an intimate, rustic setting. The self-punishment you endure when you dwell in feelings of guilt and shame can lead to a downward spiral of negative thinking.

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. Optimism, introspection, and self-awareness are the keys to breaking out of the cocoon of shame. Self-compassion requires us to consciously acknowledge and accept the pain caused by our previous wounds. It is difficult to do for beginners for even 10 or 20 breaths, as the mind naturally wonders for all of us. But over time with practice, it becomes easier to do and will help teach ways to avoid feelings of guilt or shame.

What Is Shame?

At St. Joseph Institute for Addiction, we believe that lasting sobriety involves more than simply abstaining from addictive substances. At our Pennsylvania residential addiction treatment center, we encourage clients to work towards healing their mind, body, and spirit. In this post, we share some of the strategies we recommend for dealing with guilt and shame regarding your actions while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As you progress through your sober guilt and shame in recovery living program, these heavy feelings of shame can weigh you down and keep you from achieving your full potential in recovery if you let them. Although you can’t travel back in time and change the past, it is possible to overcome that shame and guilt, start fresh, and build a life that you’re proud of living. Once people enter addiction treatment and are sober, they begin to see more clearly and are better able to deal with these negative aspects of guilt and shame.

And then in the last 20 or 30 years, brain scans have come around. So that’s a little bit of what you can look at indirect indicators of shame. Now, that would be from the outside from the inside, I’d ask clients, I say, Well, what do you feel in your body?

Talk About Your Sobriety

Constantly thinking about past mistakes—regardless of their size or severity—can prevent you from making progress in your recovery journey. The staff at Eudaimonia Recovery Homes have their own personal and professional experiences with addiction and recovery, so they understand the struggles that come with sobriety maintenance. We often think of guilt and shame as negative emotions, and they often are. They can prevent a person from getting the help they need to overcome addiction.

What is the psychological purpose of shame?

Shame is also theorized to play a more positive adaptive function by regulating experiences of excessive and inappropriate interest and excitement and by diffusing potentially threatening social behavior.

Addiction is a disease, and your experiences and actions were the symptoms. Guilt and shame are two powerful emotions that often accompany addiction. They can be overwhelming and paralyzing, making it difficult for individuals to seek help and begin their journey to recovery. At Renaissance Ranch Ogden, we understand the importance of addressing these emotions as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan. Shame and guilt in recovery often get lumped together but they are different. Shame is a feeling of embarrassment, and of being bad or wrong.

We may use these words interchangeably in a sentence, when in fact, these two words have significant differences and should be used to describe distinct situations. Simply put, guilt typically deals with harming ourselves, while shame implies harming someone else. Forgiveness is a large component of the process too, both in terms of seeking forgiveness from the people you’ve hurt and forgiving yourself for the things you have done and said when you were using.

In other cases, people may feel ashamed that they’re living with a drug or alcohol addiction. Shame is an unpleasant emotion that arises when one sees themself as defective, dysfunctional, or dishonorable, whereas guilt is a terrible feeling brought on by one’s actions. Recovery from addiction to substances is helped by recognizing the difference between guilt and shame. Doing so clarifies the nature of the felt emotion and the appropriate course of action.

These programs provide varying levels of support for individuals in all stages of recovery. Guilt and shame are reflections of our values in life and our perceptions of what is right and wrong. Because guilt and shame are such huge emotions when it comes to addiction, treatment centers have therapy for them as part of addiction treatment. Even so, we should not always see these as negative emotions. If a person feels guilty, that may help them not do the same thing again. Shame may also prevent a person from doing something, realizing it will make them feel shame.

Overcoming Shame and Guilt in Recovery

The coexistence of both mental health issues like feeling ashamed and substance dependency is commonly referred to as a co-occurring disorder. Some people have a skeleton in their closet; a secret they aren’t proud of that they keep from others. These secrets could be prior substance or alcohol use, or mental health struggles, and the shame often haunts them. For individuals in recovery, shame and guilt can hinder their sobriety, treatment, and growth.

As the drug epidemic impacts more and more Americans, access to substance abuse programs is more critical than ever, particularly those that address dual diagnosis care and support. While guilt and shame often go hand-in-hand, they’re two different psychological feelings and belief systems. Guilt usually pertains to a person’s sense of having done something wrong. Shame, on the other hand, is that a person is somehow wrong or defective. Many people crippled by shame battle against the pain of it. It can lead to a person feeling hopeless, worthless, or even unwanted.

Overcoming Shame and Guilt in Recovery

That part of what’s going on is they feel ashamed of themselves. Ironically, the shame because it’s so stressful will lead to continued addictive behaviors, and so you get locked in this vicious cycle. But if a parent can understand that in a shame cycle, it’s what I call situational sociopathy. All I mean by that is that your son or daughter isn’t a sociopath. A sociopath is somebody that can hurt somebody and not care.