Drug and alcohol abuse can cause a lot of hardship in life. If you’ve struggled with the bondage of substance dependence, you may have also dealt with other issues as well. Two of the things that often take hold of people while they battle with substance use are guilt and shame. Even though you may be in treatment, the feelings of guiltiness and shame can make you feel negative about yourself. Many times, even after treatment is over, the person in recovery might experience how guilt and shame can make life difficult. But, these emotions do not have to take over your life. You can become free from the issues that are caused by substance abuse or dependence.
Defining Guilt and Shame
One thing that is important to realize is that guilt and shame are two different things. Although they are both similar in some ways, they have at least one extremely distinct difference. Both guilt and shame are the awareness of having done something wrong or harmful. In other words, when people feel either guilty or ashamed, it means that they know they have done something “wrong” or hurtful. They may have caused pain or harm to themselves or others around them. But, there is one, main difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is the acknowledgment that a person has done something bad. Shame is the feeling that the individual is bad because of what he or she has done. When people feel ashamed because of their actions and choices, they feel as though the choices they have made actually define them.
Overcoming the Negative Effects of Guilt and Shame
Guilt and shame can both cause negative effects in your life. As you recover from substance dependence, it’s important to fight against those harmful effects. Shame can cause people to feel worthless, alone, and helpless. These are feelings that can hinder your progress. Even if you complete detox and treatment, guilt and shame can keep you from moving forward with your life. So, as you go through the recovery process, you can learn ways of coping with the feelings of guilt and shame. This kind of education will help you to enjoy your freedom from the bondage of substance dependence.
One of the things you do to can work through shame and guilt is to practice forgiveness. It’s important to forgive yourself for your past. If you blame yourself, it will be hard to appreciate the new freedom you’ve found. You can also speak to your loved ones and make amends with them. As you all exercise forgiveness, you will find that there is a lot of healing in it. Also, you can talk to your therapist about the feelings you have. Therapy can help you to work through those emotions and help you to develop healthy coping skills. There’s no better way to fight guilt and shame than to look them in the face and move forward. You don’t need to ignore those feelings. In fact, you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, you should acknowledge them and deal with them using the coping skills you learn in therapy and treatment. This will prevent them from having a negative and harmful impact on you. Finally, stay motivated to keep moving forward! Continue to celebrate your freedom from drug and alcohol dependence!
Recovering From Substance Dependence
At Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services, we work to help our clients find true independence from substance problems. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming substance dependence, allow us to help. Our mission is to help people find real freedom and joy in sobriety. Guilt and shame don’t have to be a part of your life anymore. You can contact us today to start your journey to a life free from those feelings and filled with independence from drugs and alcohol!