Dealing With Guilt & Shame in Recovery

In fact, let me say this, I think if you go back over 10 years of my own recovery, this is the most significant tool for sustained successful recovery in my life that I can bear witness to. I can’t speak for other people, because everybody has a different entry point. Now, this ties into your question about what I do as somebody who’s in recovery. What can I do to support my child who’s in recovery? One of the biggest pieces of recovery is how to deal with this thing that we’re talking about today, which is a shame. And the opposite of shame is self-compassion.

guilt and shame in recovery

The role of uncomfortable emotions in recovery typically requires seeking professional counseling. Attending recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and seeing a counselor are integral parts of the recovery process. Guilt and shame can become overwhelming and often are one of the biggest obstacles for people seeking sobriety. People cope with shame and addiction in different ways. Some turn to perfectionism, trying to ensure that everything they do is without fault and above reproach. Others struggle with low self-esteem and may seem to have an incredibly people-pleasing personality.

What are the Roles of Guilt and Shame in Drug Addiction

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. A sociopath is somebody that can hurt somebody and not care. While guilt and shame are very similar emotions, there are many differences between the two, and recognizing them is important. Guilt is when you feel bad about something that you’ve done, or committed to doing and then didn’t.

Our facility in Columbus, OH, offers focused detox programs and other resources to help people end their substance abuse and build a drug-free future. 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 How To Clean Your System From Alcohol In 24 Hours? 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. It has all the important components of apology—a statement of regret, an acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions, a promise to not repeat the offense, and the request for forgiveness.

How to Help Someone Else Overcome Shame

With nothing to do but think, the defendant contemplates the pain that their crimes have caused in others. The defendant will think about how much grief he caused the victim’s family, and the shame will become more intense. Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., is a lecturer at UCLA and the CEO of IGNTD, an online company that produces podcasts and educational programs on mental health and addiction. Once you start reframing your problems by looking at some of the positive aspects they add to your life, your perspective changes immensely. When shame isn’t the driving emotion, it means you’re no longer on a path of self-destruction.

guilt and shame in recovery