Once you start an addiction treatment program and begin to recover, it’s common to start feeling guilty and ashamed of what you did. In this blog, we’ll talk about how to cope with these emotions to avoid relapsing and habits to form to overcome guilt and shame during recovery. At Synergy Recovery, we can help you develop a deeper understanding of your feelings and learn how you can improve your self-worth. Our addiction treatment programs are individualized to provide you with the proper care to treat your addiction and the underlying causes. We offer medication-assisted treatment to help you detox from substances and individual or group therapy to give you the space to speak openly about your feelings.

guilt and shame in recovery

It’s essential to analyze these feelings, reshape your perspective, forgive yourself for your past and move forward with a positive mindset. We understand taking the first step of recovery and admitting you need help is a major accomplishment. We also understand it can be difficult to let go of guilt and shame in recovery. Just remember, there is no guilt or shame in asking for help with substance use disorders.

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After a while however, the user discovers that drug addiction makes the mental disorder much worse. So now, the tormented mind must battle their mental disorder plus addiction. 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.

guilt and shame in recovery

In this program, our Banyan alumni can connect with recovery advocates as well as other people in recovery. We encourage all of our patients to seek support, therapy, and other forms of treatment that address the emotional aspects of their conditions. Ignoring your feelings, as complicated as they may be, is dangerous and unhelpful. What tends to happen is that these feelings are bottled up so tightly to the point where everything pops. When this happens, you may turn to methods that provide immediate (yet false) relief, like drug or alcohol abuse. Ignoring difficult feelings can also promote isolation and bitterness.

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It’s about looking at yourself honestly and with compassion so that you can have the courage to rebuild your life. It’s about nurturing a healthy relationship with yourself and others. 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 said things to loved ones that caused harm to your relationship or their well-being. Two years into recovery, Jack’s amends list was put through the washing machine.

According to Brené Brown, a leading researcher on courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy at the University of Houston, shame is the most primitive emotion we feel. https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/how-to-overcome-shame-and-guilt-in-recovery/ Your brain adapts to substances with continued use, which makes stopping hard. It requires the right treatment to re-program your mind to live without them.

Addiction Treatment Programs

But if using these substances makes you feel guilty, then avoid them. Feelings of guilt and shame are common in those struggling with addiction. But those feelings may actually sabotage your recovery process. Overcoming shame in recovery – and after recovery – is crucial to defeating a drug addiction and/or alcohol addiction and maintaining lifelong sobriety.

What are the 4 responses to shame?

The four poles of the Compass of Shame: Withdrawal (hiding), Attack Self (deference), Avoidance (look where I want you to look) and Attack Other (put down).

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