Addressing Guilt and Shame in Recovery

Addressing Guilt and Shame in Recovery

Addressing Guilt and Shame in Recovery

Guilt and shame are the most frequent emotions that people in recovery from addiction have problems with. These feelings are common, but they can be barriers to recovery and improving self-esteem. When dealing with these emotions in depth, it can be hard to stay sober. However, with the right approaches, guilt and shame can be managed. Utilizing these practical techniques can help you learn how to cope with such challenging emotions as you work through your journey to sobriety at Restoration Recovery. 

What Is the Difference Between Guilt and Shame?

The emotions of guilt and shame are often taken as synonymous, but they are two different emotions. Guilt is one of the emotions of regret or responsibility due to certain actions that have been done by oneself or others that have caused harm. It is an emotion that can make people say they are sorry and even adjust their way of acting.

Yet, shame is a feeling of not being good enough. The emotion is not necessarily related to the action taken, but the lack of worth within the person. Shame is a very destructive feeling that, in most cases, results in self-isolation, low self-esteem, and despair. 

While it can be difficult to differentiate between guilt and shame, it is important to understand the difference. Knowing the difference between these two emotions can help you channel the positive lessons that can be gained from guilt and letting go of shame.

Guilt and Shame in Addiction

These feelings are important aspects of recovery, as unaddressed guilt and shame can lead to relapse, stop self-growth, and prevent people from living their desired sober lifestyle. Overcoming these emotions can potentially help to address the root of addiction or manage symptoms that may contribute to a relapse.

Managing Guilt and Shame

There are various techniques to utilize that can help to manage the effects of guilt and shame. Remember, we are not necessarily trying to get rid of guilt and shame. Instead, we are attempting to establish a positive mindset moving forward from these emotions, overcoming some of the negative effects that they may have on our well-being.

Recognize and Feel Your Emotions

To begin overcoming guilt and shame, it is important to acknowledge and accept these feelings without condemnation. Admit that guilt or shame is an ingredient of the recovery journey. The suppression of these feelings may heighten their magnitude. Shame specifically hates to be spoken. Talking about shame is one of the first steps that can be utilized to help overcome it and address it.

Ask for Support

You are not alone in your recovery journey. Find a group of people within recovery or in your outside support system that allows you to speak about your shame and recognize the guilt you are dealing with. Discussing these emotions with trusted individuals can help you to overcome the negative turmoil that is associated with them. Your support can range from professional help at a facility such as Restoration Recovery, support groups, others in the recovery community, friends and family, and anyone else that you feel you can be open and honest with.

Mindfulness and Self-Awareness

We can achieve a sense of self-awareness and our ability to accept emotions by the act of practicing mindfulness. Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, and journaling can be utilized to stay in the moment. These techniques can allow you to observe your feelings without criticism, allowing guilt and shame to arise when they need to. Being mindful and working with these emotions rather than trying to suppress them is a great way to overcome the negative effects.

Focus on Self-Improvement and Positivity

Allowing yourself to focus on your self-improvement and the positive aspects of moving forward within recovery instead of past mistakes can help with guilt and shame. Utilize recovery as a possibility for personal growth and change. Recite affirmations daily that strengthen your self-worth and a positive attitude. Reframes such as “I should be loved and forgiven” phrases, which are used to oppose negative self-concept, can be useful.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an intervention technique that allows people to change negative thoughts and beliefs. Therapy helps to identify and challenge distorted thinking patterns, which are the cause of shame, and replace them with healthier, constructive thought patterns.

Establish a Growth Mindset

The growth mindset is the idea that challenges are an opportunity for growth and learning. Acknowledge that obstacles are an important part of the process of healing and shape them into lessons that strengthen your will. Appreciate the hard times that come your way, as it provides you with an opportunity to learn. When guilt and shame arise, these emotions are likely trying to tell you something. Use these emotions as a learning opportunity for your growth in recovery.

Addressing guilt and shame is a difficult but necessary part of the way to sobriety. Through recognition and acceptance of these feelings, restitution, self-compassion, and a strong social group, you can turn guilt and shame into a chance for positive change and empowerment. A positive and uplifting attitude, personal growth, and celebrating achievements will lead to a quality sober life. Recovery is a journey. Allow yourself to learn from the guilt and shame that you experience and use it to your advantage. To learn more about overcoming guilt and shame in recovery, reach out to Restoration Recovery today at (888) 290-0925. A member of our team would love to speak with you. 

Leave a Reply

Start typing and press Enter to search