How are shame and addiction connected? Shame is a natural and normal human feeling, and it is typical to feel shame when you have an addiction. This doesn’t mean that it is helpful to feel this way. You feel shame as you struggle with addiction because society still views addiction as a moral failing.
Whenever people fail, they naturally feel ashamed—but concrete ways exist to overcome the shame of addiction. Doing so is crucial. To heal from addiction, you must lose the guilt. Call 844.875.5609 to speak with someone from our caring and compassionate team at Promises Behavioral Health about overcoming the shame of addiction and our addiction therapy programs offered throughout the United States.
About Shame and Addiction
Shame is such a horrible feeling. It ranks right up there with guilt and fear. It’s gut-wrenching, and when you feel ashamed of yourself, you also hate yourself. Shame is all about failure and disappointment. When you lose yourself to drugs or alcohol and try to cut back or stop but can’t, you feel that you failed. It doesn’t matter that the chemical substances have changed your brain and behaviors, so stopping is nearly impossible—you still feel like a failure. Not only have you failed yourself, but also others who are counting on you.
Few feelings are more painful than shame. Most will do anything to avoid feeling this way. That avoidance can be a powerful motivator, but when your guilt is rooted in the disease of addiction, you are more likely to drown the feeling than avoid it. The intense shame you feel as you struggle with addiction may lead you to use more to escape it, and this can lead to a vicious cycle.
Overcoming the Shame of Addiction
Acknowledging this feeling is the first step toward losing the shame and getting help for your addiction. There is no way to get around painful emotions and experiences. You have to go through them.
Discuss and Write About Your Feelings
In the acknowledgment process, keeping a journal and writing about your feelings can be tremendously helpful. As you write, specifically address the shame you feel, what it feels like, and why you feel that way. It also helps to talk to someone you trust about it. Writing about your feelings and telling someone how you feel will give you a great sense of release and relief.
Get Professional Help for Addiction Treatment
Once you have recognized your feelings of shame, you must get professional help for your addiction. This type of help can consist of the following:
- An addiction counselor or therapist who can provide psychotherapy to help you understand your feelings and learn healthy coping mechanisms
- A 12-step program that encourages peer support and accountability
- Behavioral treatments that teach new behaviors to replace the addictive behavior
- Medications, if necessary, to treat any underlying mental health conditions
Part of your treatment will be therapy sessions in which you will learn more about recognizing your feelings—like shame—what triggers them and how to cope with them in a healthy manner.
Make Healthy and Supportive Social Connections
Another important aspect of treatment is to make social connections. Support groups are a great way to open up and release more of your shame.
Another great way to ease and release your guilt is to help others. Being compassionate, empathetic, and helpful will make you feel the opposite of shame. Volunteer in your community and do nice things for the people you love and whom you hurt while you were using drugs or alcohol. These acts will help you establish a good sense of self-worth and self-esteem and will work toward erasing your shame.
Find Addiction Treatment in the US with Promises Behavioral Health
As you overcome your addiction and your shame, try to keep perspective. We all feel shame at times, and it is a perfectly normal human emotion. Also, realize that you aren’t perfect. You will slip up and make mistakes, even in recovery. Accept those mistakes and move on without delving into shame again. Contact Promises today at 844.875.5609 to learn how we can help you overcome the shame of addiction and maintain a sober life.