Along with depression, guilt and shame are two common emotions that come up in detox and addiction recovery. They stem from past behaviors and can linger around long after you have sought help. Dealing with feelings of guilt and shame are an integral part of the recovery process.
Guilt vs. Shame: Understanding the Differences
Although they are often used interchangeably, guilt and shame are actually two separate emotions that have different meanings. Merriam-Webster defines guilt as a feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong. Shame is a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong.
While they sound similar, feelings of guilt relate to how our actions have hurt someone else, but shame is how we feel about ourselves. They can go hand-in-hand in many situations. For example, if someone steals money in order to buy drugs, they may feel guilty for committing the act, and then feel shame because their addiction caused them to behave that way.
Guilt & Shame Are Common Emotions
Anyone can feel guilt and shame; it’s not just people with substance abuse problems. They’re common human emotions that result from negative behaviors or thoughts. We all feel remorse for doing something we’re not proud of, and we may see that action as a reason to be ashamed of ourselves. One difference with people going through detox or in recovery is that they may have done things completely out of character, dangerous, or illegal when they were struggling with their addiction problem. They may have repeatedly made mistakes that they regret. It can be a vicious cycle because a person can feel so much shame that they revert to negative behaviors in order to cope.
Dealing with these feelings is important for a full and successful recovery. There are many ways to deal with guilt and shame. The first is to own up to it. Talking about feelings of guilt with a therapist or in group therapy can help you deal with them and learn to forgive yourself. It’s also a chance to get another perspective on past behaviors. Maybe you are judging yourself too harshly.
Finding Peace Through Forgiveness
When feelings of guilt stem from past negative behaviors, forgiveness is key in letting go of it. Either forgive yourself for the things you did or ask for forgiveness from the people you have hurt. You may not be able to make amends with everyone, so your only option may be to forgive yourself. Ask yourself why you committed the action, think about who was affected by it, then think about what you could do if you were in that situation again. By breaking down the behavior you can learn how to deal with that situation differently in the future.
And, of course, you must give yourself credit for seeking help in the first place. The detox process is challenging and daunting to those who learn about it, but by committing to getting sober, you are taking a stand for yourself, your loved ones, and your future. There’s nothing shameful about that.
Nonjudgmental Treatment for Those in Need
Are you struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and need help changing your life? Call Freedom Detox today to get on the road to recovery. We offer outpatient drug and alcohol rehab to help you break your addiction. We only use alternative therapies that are tailored to fit your needs. Our holistic approach helps you deal with all aspects of your addiction, including learning how to cope with feelings of guilt and shame. You don’t have to feel ashamed anymore. Call us today to speak with an admissions counselor.
Contact us online or by phone at (877) 207-8882 if you’re ready to begin the detox process. Our certified team is happy to walk you through the steps and create a plan that works for you and your needs.