Lots of people around the world deal with addiction. And, truth be told, it is a really tough problem causing big issues with health, feelings, and how we get along with others.
It’s hard for those facing addiction because they often feel bad about it.
But it’s super important to deal with those feelings to get better. Addiction isn’t about being a bad person—it’s a medical thing that needs caring help. Getting support shouldn’t make anyone feel bad or embarrassed.
In this article, we will learn about what “shame” and “guilt” are and how you can overcome them efficiently. Let’s begin, then.
Understanding the Damaging Potential of Guilt and Shame
Guilt involves feeling remorse for specific wrongdoing, while shame goes beyond that, delving into the belief that you are inherently bad due to your actions. It’s akin to shouldering the burden of your mistakes, carrying their weight on your conscience.
For example, maybe you regret saying mean stuff to someone when you are drunk or not keeping a promise. That’s guilt for you!
Shame, on the other hand, takes guilt up a notch.
It’s the sensation of not only regretting your actions but also internalizing the sole belief that you’re fundamentally a bad person because of them. It’s comparable to bearing the weight of your mistakes as if carrying them on your shoulders.
Shame is like a self-aware feeling, say mental health experts.
Differentiating between guilt and shame apart is crucial because they affect how you act. Guilt pushes you to apologize, fix a slip-up, or make things right with someone you’ve upset.
Meanwhile, shame leads to actions that harm you and the thoughts that put you down. Hence, understanding the difference is pretty important.
How to Overcome Shame and Guilt during Recovery?
Overcoming shame and guilt is a challenging but crucial stride that can inspire a swifter and smoother recovery. It can alter one’s perspective on life and facilitate a forgiving relationship with oneself down the road. While there’s no guaranteed method, you can begin by exploring the following recommendations.
1: Understand How Your Emotions Work
Become familiar with your emotions on a deep level.
Experiencing a blend of shame and guilt regarding your addiction and the chaos it brought into your life is completely normal. It’s common to criticize yourself for actions taken during less-than-stellar moments, but fixating on these emotions isn’t productive.
Keep in mind that you didn’t opt to become an addict; addiction is akin to a subtle illness, and your actions during that time were merely symptoms.
2: Accept Your Mistakes and Flaws
Embrace your history, flaws, and all.
We’re all human, and that comes with the territory of not being flawless. Counter those feelings of shame and guilt by rectifying your mistakes and mending the consequences.
It might take a while to come to terms with the aftermath of your actions, but accepting it is a vital part of the healing process. So, show yourself a little bit of kindness and remember that everyone has their share of challenges to navigate. You’re not on this journey alone.
3: Know Your Worth
Hold onto your self-worth with resilience. While the past remains unalterable, it serves as a reservoir of valuable lessons, allowing you to navigate towards a more positive and healthier life. Prioritize self-care deliberately, recognizing its impact on both your personal well-being and the well-being of those around you.
Remain steadfast in your commitment to the promises made, whether to yourself or others.
Upholding these commitments not only reinforces your personal integrity but also lays the groundwork for a trustworthy foundation. Rebuilding trust within yourself is a pivotal part of your journey, influencing the trust others place in you. Acknowledge that this transformation is a gradual process, and each step forward signifies your dedication to positive change.
4: Live in the Present
Embrace the present moment. Release the grip on past mistakes and focus on your current life and your progress in recovery right now. View each day as a chance for learning and personal development. Utilize mindfulness meditation as a useful technique to stay centered, handle challenging emotions, and emphasize the positive aspects of your journey.
5: Forgive Yourself
Allow yourself forgiveness. Accept your past and acknowledge that you’ve made a deliberate choice to bring about change. The decisions you make today are what truly count.
Over time, it becomes more manageable to make peace with your past self and welcome the person you are becoming through personal growth.
6: Ask Others to Forgive You Too
At the same time, genuinely try to seek forgiveness from those you may have harmed. It’s no walk in the park; it requires time, effort, and emotional development. However, it’s a valuable step to take for the sake of your mental well-being.
When you seek forgiveness, it means you’re recognizing the overall impact of your actions, promising to make positive changes, and being open to sorting out the emotions involved.
Even though it’s tough, going through this process is a big chance for personal growth and healing. It shows you’re taking responsibility and want to mend relationships, which brings back emotional balance and overall well-being.
Bonus: Develop Positive Relationship
Cultivate, or rekindle, positive relationships as an essential aspect of your personal growth.
Immerse yourself in the company of individuals who authentically care about your well-being and accept you unconditionally.
Actively work on establishing new, healthy connections, while also investing time and effort into repairing relationships that may have faced challenges. Recognize the transformative power of companionship, even extending to the unconditional love offered by a pet, which has been scientifically proven to elevate both mental health and overall mood.
In the sole process of connecting and reconnecting, view it as a deliberate effort to establish a supportive network. This network should not only comprehend your overall history but also foster your ongoing and future development.
The interwoven threads of positive relationships construct a sturdy fabric – as the groundwork for a satisfying and emotionally enriching life.