Guilt and shame in recovery – It is often not possible to talk about addiction without talking about shame. Individuals struggling with addiction typically feel guilt and shame – two deeply personal and painful emotions. These feelings can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as further substance abuse. Self-medicating in this way can perpetuate an addiction, and create a significant barrier to recovery. Addressing guilt and shame when discussing addiction is critical for long-term healing.
The Guilt and Shame Dilemma
Examining the connection between shame and addiction is much like the dilemma of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Guilt and shame often lead people toward substance abuse, yet these emotions also stem from the addiction itself. In many cases, addiction originates from feelings of self-doubt, apprehension, and depression. Shame from personal or professional failures can lead to trying drugs or alcohol to cope with these feelings.
Afterward, the individual may feel guilty that he or she gave in to the urge to self-medicate. This leads to more feelings of shame and guilt, and further self-medication. It is a dangerous cycle that traps the individual, eventually leading to a full-blown substance dependency. At this point, self-esteem may be at an all-time low. The person may feel hopeless, powerless, and out of control. In this negative mental state, almost no one is strong enough to resist the urge to self-medicate. Thus, the cycle of addiction continues.
Breaking Out of the Cycle
Luckily, it is possible to break out of the cycle of shame, guilt, and addiction. One does not have to live life trapped in a circle of self-medication to numb negative feelings. Guilt and shame don’t have to hamper recovery. You do deserve to be saved from your addiction, even if your feelings tell you otherwise. The first step is to let go of your guilt and shame.
We know this is not easy. If it were, you would have shaken these feelings long ago. With the right support, however, overcoming negative feelings and controlling an addiction are possible.
The treatment process can help you analyze the root of the guilt and/or shame you feel. These may be old memories you can’t get rid of, or feelings of worthlessness you can’t seem to let go of. Individual and group therapies can help you address these issues in a safe, supportive environment.
Give Yourself a Real Chance at Recovery
It can be difficult to think positively while remaining immersed in an environment that fuels your feelings of guilt and shame. You need to step away from this unhealthy atmosphere and place trust in addiction treatment professionals who take a compassionate approach to helping people like you break the cycle of guilt and addiction.
At The Dunes East Hampton, we work one-on-one with clients to confront guilt and shame, and provide healthy coping alternatives. You’ll learn how to let go of negative feelings throughout every step of the journey, and how to avoid falling back into the same rut again in the future.
Long-lasting escape from shame and guilt, and a lifetime of sobriety, are possible. Give yourself your best chance at The Dunes East Hampton. Our luxurious private estate offers a treatment experience like no other, and has everything you need for real, lifelong recovery. Join us!