People with a substance use disorder might experience emotions like guilt and shame. This might seem normal, but feelings like guilt and shame in recovery negatively affect the recovery process. It’s challenging to acknowledge your own mistakes, especially when you’re using addictive substances.

The rehabilitation of someone who is trying to recover from addiction rests on renewal and restoration. On the other hand, guilt and shame in addiction recovery are self-defeating and hurtful. Since feelings like these play no part in fulfilling your life’s purpose, you must prevent them from rotting during your addiction recovery.

Why People Feel Guilt and Shame in Recovery

As soon as the patient starts to heal from the grasp of substance use, they begin to remember past events. They might actively become aware of the harm they’ve caused to loved ones and how they broke promises and did unforgivable things. In response to these revelations, a person in recovery usually feels guilt. However, they should not cling to this emotion once apologies are made and amends made.

Shame often comes with guilt and remorse; however, holding on to it during recovery is dangerous. Shame never lets you move forward once it becomes a part of your identity. You might start to feel that you don’t deserve love, support, or help, which hinders your recovery effects and increases the possibility of a relapse. However, the importance of family support in recovery is significant since the family can offer the support, love, and tools you need to achieve lifelong addiction recovery.

Tips to Address Guilt, Shame, and Addiction During Your Recovery Process

  • Overcoming Guilt and Shame in Addiction Recovery

Taking control of your guilt and shame is no easy task. However, the steps below can help you forgive yourself and prevent these negative emotions from ruining your recovery.

  • Understand Addiction

Understand that addiction is a disease and not a choice. You must acknowledge that your behaviors merely manifest the underlying disease.

  • Accept and Forgive Yourself

No human being is perfect, and accepting your past actions can be a way to beat your guilt and shame. You can make efforts to amend your past mistakes. While understanding the consequences of your actions may take time, you must do so to heal.

  • Recognize You’ve Taken a Step to Change Yourself

Your present is essential, not your past. Once you can accept your present positive self, it will become easier to forgive yourself.

  • Learn From Your Mistakes

The past cannot be changed, but you can still learn from your mistakes and lead a meaningful and healthier life. Give importance to you. When you’re healthy, you can be helpful to others.

  • Ask for Forgiveness

Asking others to forgive you is crucial to fighting your guilt and shame. This can take time and become apparent to you. However, you can still progress with effort and emotional maturity, eventually improving your mental health.

  • Build Positive Relationships

Building new, healthy relationships and rebuilding the old ones can boost our mental health and mood. You can spend time with loved ones who accept you as you are now. Getting a pet can also be a helpful pathway to recovery by providing trust and companionship.

  • Share Your Recovery

We already mentioned the importance of family support in recovery. Talk about your recovery with friends, family, or therapists who don’t judge you while listening. Know that it’s not a shameful thing to keep a secret. Being verbal about your journey and being open about your feelings helps you process the emotions and move on.

  • Get Motivation From Guilt

These negative emotions can become your positive energy. When you ask for forgiveness from others you’ve hurt, invest your time to help them, or recognize your problems. You can reduce your guilt and shame.

Seek Professional Help From The Blanchard Institute

Guilt, shame and addiction are a deadly trio and can prevent you from achieving complete addiction recovery. But you can always stop them from doing so. Everyone deserves a fresh start, so don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance when processing your negative feelings.

Blanchard is a rehab facility specializing in providing comprehensive care and compassion for individuals grappling with substance use disorders. Reach out to us—our dedicated professionals will guide you in overcoming guilt and shame, paving the way for a successful and enduring recovery.