The rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield, it’s easy to look back but looking ahead and staying guilt and shame in recovery positive is always worth it. Life can be amazing, just keep progressing and make adjustments along the way.

In the majority of those cases, shameful or guilty behaviours can be excused. However, for an addict, shame and guilt can stand as much more; as motivators, as depressants, as fuel. As a result of my processing the wrong I committed, I decide
that I will work on being less selfish.

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Is the reason that you feel guilt rational and reasonable? The people around us have a stronger influence on our decisions and actions than we realize. Here’s what research reveals about our networks’ gravitational force.

guilt and shame in recovery

Some are able to overcome or remove feelings of guilt and shame. Both shame and guilt can influence an addiction from the offset. They can act as the initial causation of the likes of drug and alcohol abuse. Once those emotions have been experienced, substance abuse is seen as an escape, as a way to personally cope through negative emotions. Yet, this is where the danger of an addiction starts, to cope on an ongoing basis through previous behaviours.

How to Overcome Shame and Build Self-Confidence

Its purpose is to alert us that what we
are about to do or what we are doing goes against our values. Much of it is instilled in us from our parents and
society. Our value system is an internal set of beliefs that guide our
behavior. When we are about to do something or actually do something that goes
against this value system, we feel guilty.

Forgiving the people in your life that have wronged you helps you heal. Perhaps you need to make amends for things you’ve done wrong to them as well; and, if so, making amends can be a freeing experience. If you can’t make direct amends or forgive them in person, write about it or journal your feelings of forgiveness. Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, asking your higher power for comfort, compassion and forgiveness can be a powerful step in forgiving yourself. This may be as simple as praying to God to forgive you for your sins, or it may involve a more structured gesture. For example, the act of confession within the Catholic church is essentially an apology to God.

How Guilt and Shame Influence Addiction

Michael J. Rounds is the author of 10,000 Days Sober and an addiction recovery specialist at a correctional facility in Indiana. We are the seasoned critics, we have lived our whole lives trying to look inward and identify who we are and what we are doing feeling all the mistakes on the deepest level. Shame is a dominant theme in Mr. Perry’s memoir and, it would seem, in his life. Mr. Perry, to his credit, was determined to break the cycle. “I do forgive you,” he told his mother (and there’s a tone of real surprise in his voice in the audiobook, which he narrates).

guilt and shame in recovery

He calls himself selfish and lazy and says that he’s a narcissist who’s also insecure. Mr. Perry’s life, by his own telling, seemed to have become, for long stretches, a manifestation of his shame, a guilty burden that he couldn’t live up to. An apology can remove the cloak of shame that even the most remorseful person carries around. On the other hand, if you don’t experience enough shame when you wrong someone else, an apology can help remind you of the harm you caused. The act of having to apologize to someone usually causes us to feel humiliated.

Yet, the most damaging correlation between shame, guilt and addiction is the part they can play once your habitual behaviour has presented itself. Those who live with an addiction will likely act in ways, which as sober, would be avoided, would be frowned upon. Irresponsible behaviour, illegal activity, selfishness and disinterest in relationships and career responsibilities are common behaviours linked to addiction. If so, it’s likely that you’ve put yourself in the shoes of others, that you feel empathetic through guilt. Guilt is commonly an emotion which can be overcome, once an apologetic favour has been transmitted.

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For example, if someone was abused as a child, they may transfer such abuse by bullying others. Such a recourse may be a temporary solution, but basically, it is just accruing more pain. Eventually, the bully will acknowledge how much pain they have caused, and the attempted recourse just results in more shame. At United Recovery Project, our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the
underlying issues at the root of addiction. Relearning how to socialize without alcohol or drugs often starts with coffee.