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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Don’t Let Shame Stand in the Way of Your Recovery

While it’s perfectly normal to experience feelings of shame and guilt from time to time, it’s detrimental to your overall recovery (and your mental health) to dwell on those pesky feelings. 

According to a University of British Columbia study, those in recovery from alcohol use disorder who were ashamed of earlier drinking behaviors were more likely to relapse during recovery. Overcoming issues of shame and guilt will not only help safeguard your sobriety but it can increase your self-esteem and give you a better understanding of your addiction.

The first step in overcoming shame is to remind yourself that addiction is a disease; not a choice. While understanding this may not completely eliminate feelings of shame and guilt, it can be a good first step toward self-forgiveness for any past actions or behaviors that occurred during active addiction. 

4 Steps to Stop the Shame
Here are a few more tips to help prevent feelings of shame and guilt from interfering with your recovery: 

  1. Give it a positive spin. Positive affirmations are pretty powerful when it comes shifting negative thought patterns and stopping shame. Try it: Look in the mirror and say: “Today is a new chance for a better, sober life,” or whatever helps eliminate shame and strengthens your recovery. 
  2. Write it down. A journal is a great outlet to let go of any feelings of shame and focus on how far you’ve come in your recovery. There are no rules, so just start writing. 
  3. Focus on your breath. Feeling overwhelmed by guilt, shame or self-doubt? Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply for the count of 7. Now exhale slowly and let go of these negative emotions to make room for more positive ones. 
  4. Helping someone else. Volunteering is a great recovery activity that can help squash any negative feelings about yourself and turn your attention to the needs and feelings of others.  
Dealing With Emotions During Addiction Treatment 
Meditation is just one of the many holistic approaches we teach clients to help them stay positive, motivated and mentally strong as they journey toward sobriety. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.