Many people who are addicted to drugs experience disgrace or shame when they begin a life of recovery. While it’s vital to recognize the harmful behaviors and activities that occurred during active addiction, beating yourself up over it will just aggravate the problem. Overcoming shame is a remarkable undertaking for recovering addicts.
Guilt and shame are often used as synonyms; however their implications are altogether different. When individuals feel guilt, it is because they have done something wrong, but when they feel shame it is on the grounds that they accept they are incorrect. Shame makes people feel like they have deficiency, are a disappointment and have a second rate quality. Living in shame causes people to distance between themselves from their loved ones.
The initial phase in overcoming shame is remembering that it doesn’t define who you are. Shame is an accumulation of judgments and convictions you have built about yourself. Convincing yourself that you are undeserving of the incredible things life brings because of your addiction will just cause self-destruction. If you are wondering whether you are experiencing shame, ask yourself if you consistently have the following thoughts:
- I’m a failure.
- I don’t deserve happiness.
- I’m not a good person.
- I’m a fake.
- I’m flawed.
- I’m not important.
- I’m not lovable.
- I’m defective
If you have felt any of these things about yourself, it might be because of the shame you are encountering.Every person makes mistake. Instead of cling to them and letting them define you, acknowledge your flaws. Changing your perception is a huge part of conquering the shame in your life. When you find yourself thinking one of the negative lines above, stop yourself. Instead, consider what you can learn from mistakes you’ve made and move forward with those lessons.
Shame is simply a horrible feeling of self-doubt, which makes us isolated from our friends, family, and sober support. Committing errors and feeling embarrassed is not adequate reason to run and hide; they are motivations to draw closer. Overcoming shame in recovery requires being defenseless enough to express these feelings and work through them. Since many recovering addicts encounter these emotions, contact your sponsor and sober support group to figure out how to work through them.