Ways to Cope with Guilt and Shame

drug treatment in raleigh NCMany different types of emotions come up during the addiction recovery process. Two of the most common are guilt and shame. They develop based on an addict’s past behaviors and can be hard to cope with because they are rooted in feelings of low self-worth. In this series we looked in depth at guilt and shame, and then talked about how they can hurt someone in recovery.  Now we are going to look at ways to cope with these feelings. If you or someone you love and care about needs drug treatment in Raleigh NC, please call Legacy Freedom today!

Guilt is the feeling we get when we have done something wrong, or feel that we have. It is based on our idea of what is right and wrong. You aren’t going to feel guilty for something unless you feel it is wrong.

Shame is how we feel about ourselves for things we have done. We may think we are not worthy of the help we need, or worthy of love or friendship. Our self-esteem is so low that someone struggling with feelings of shame may think he deserves to be punished and hangs onto these feelings.

It's natural and normal to have these feelings. Having them is not a bad thing unless you don’t deal with them and can't let them go. If they linger on, especially when you are trying to recover from an alcohol or drug addiction, they can hurt your progress. It’s important to break the cycle of these feelings because they can trigger a relapse.

In order to deal with feelings of guilt and shame, you have to face them. Think about what you did that caused you to feel guilt. Make a list if it’s more than one thing. Acknowledge them and own up to them. Ask yourself why you made those decisions and if you would ever do the same types of things again. If not, then try to think of other ways to handle those situations.

Accept the consequences of those behaviors that cause you to feel guilty. If you can make them right again, try to do so. Ask for forgiveness from anyone you hurt. Try to make up for any problems you caused. If you can’t necessarily fix something you may have done a long time ago, see if there is some other way to make up for it through donating money or your time to a related organization.

The biggest way to cope with guilt and shame is to forgive yourself. Remind yourself of the positive things you have accomplished, including getting help for your addiction problem. Continue to do positive things and treat people well so that you can build self-esteem.

If you have completed a treatment program but are no longer seeing a therapist or going to a support group, consider one of the options. Having someone you trust to talk to about these emotions can go a long way in learning to let them go.  Group therapy has been known to help with these issues because the peers in your group have probably dealt with the same feelings. The best coping mechanisms you can get are going to be from someone who has been there.

Don’t let feelings of guilt and shame hurt your progress. They’re powerful emotions that can keep you from a successful recovery. Once they are resolved, you won’t be tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with them.

Dependable Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Raleigh NC | Legacy Freedom

Do feelings of guilt or shame prevent you from getting the help you need? Don’t let them keep you from the life you deserve. At Legacy Freedom Center, we offer outpatient therapy programs for alcohol and drug treatment in Raleigh NC that will get you on track to a better life. Our programs are designed to meet your individual needs. Call us today to speak with an admissions counselor.

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