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Overcoming Shame While in Recovery From Addiction

Many people may associate feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment with their past substance misuse. Even after seeking treatment for addiction and making amends for past mistakes, letting go of these things may be difficult. It is common to feel shame in the early stages of recovery, but with therapy and self-reflection, it can be overcome. When overcoming shame in recovery, it is important to practice self-compassion and learn how to forgive yourself.

It is also important to surround yourself with positive people who uplift and encourage you. When you are surrounded by other people who see your worth and remind you of it, you will begin to see the worth in yourself. This is one of the many reasons why having a strong support system is so important in recovery. It can help to empower you and give you strength even during difficult days.

At Sage Recovery, we believe that a strong support system is one of the most useful tools that you can have while navigating recovery. It is one of the many reasons that we offer support group meetings at our facility where you can connect with others who are on the same journey you are. Additionally, peer support can help you overcome feelings of shame in recovery from addiction.

Overcoming Shame by Understanding Your Feelings

Before you can fully begin to overcome shame in recovery, it is important to first understand why you may be feeling this way. Take the time to reflect on where these feelings might be stemming from. Maybe they are connected to unresolved conflict with another person that was triggered by your past substance abuse. Or maybe these emotions stem from the continued repercussions you’re experiencing as a result of your alcohol and drug use.

It is normal to feel shame over things that have not yet been resolved. This is why it is important to ask for forgiveness from those you may have hurt and do what you can to make amends to them. However, once you have done everything you can to make up for these things, it is important to not continue to hold on to guilt over them.

When you hold on to guilt for a long time, it can turn into shame. Rather than just being a normal emotion, shame can become something even more powerful and incredibly damaging. You can begin to associate shame with your identity and, as a result, experience low self-esteem and struggle to move on from the past.

Overcoming Shame by Practicing Self-Forgiveness

One of the most important lessons that you will learn in recovery is the importance of focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can’t. You might not be able to control whether or not certain people choose to forgive you for past mistakes you may have made. However, you can control whether or not you choose to forgive yourself.

For many people, practicing self-forgiveness can be more difficult than forgiving those around them. This could be because they hold themselves to unrealistic standards or put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect. If this is something that you struggle with, make sure that you have practiced the five 4’s of self-forgiveness:

#1. Responsibility: The first step of asking for forgiveness from someone else is acknowledging that you have done something wrong. This step also involves forgiving yourself, admitting the wrong, and taking responsibility instead of trying to justify it.

#2. Remorse: People are going to be much more willing to forgive you for your past mistakes if they believe you are truly sorry. When forgiving yourself, it is important to process your emotions associated with this event.

#3. Reparation: This involves making amends for past mistakes. What can you do that is positive for yourself to make up for past wrongs?

#4. Renewal: This involves moving on and growing as a person. Consider ways that you can avoid making this same mistake again and how you can learn from this experience.

Overcoming Shame by Redefining Yourself

Carrying around feelings of guilt and shame can really stand in the way of your progress in recovery. They can prevent you from reaching your goals and healing from the past. Most seriously, these negative feelings and perceptions about yourself can stand in the way of growth and living a happier, healthier life.

Take the power back over your life by redefining who you are. Stop looking at yourself only as someone who made mistakes they regret. Instead, look at yourself as someone who has worked hard to better themselves and has come a long way from who they used to be.

At Sage Recovery, we can help you find true healing and peace as you navigate recovery and learn to forgive yourself.

Nobody deserves to live life stuck in the past, continuing to beat themselves up over past mistakes. Nobody in life is perfect, and clinging to guilt and shame can stand in the way of living a truly happy life. No matter how long you may have found yourself struggling with the negative emotions surrounding addiction, you too can live a substance-free life. If you are ready to take the first step forward, our team at Sage Recovery is here to help. Give us a call at (512) 306-1394 today to learn more about the types of services we offer and what true freedom in recovery could look like for you.