Perhaps you need to make amends for things you’ve done wrong to them as well; and, if so, making amends can be a freeing experience. If you can’t make direct amends or forgive them in person, write about it or journal your feelings of forgiveness. Being able to forgive removes the shame and feeling that you can move on. Forgiving ourselves or others and releasing that choking experience of guilt is crucial to overcoming a relapse or pushing through on your journey of recovery.

Finally, it’s important to practice self-compassion in recovery. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, focus on the positive things in your life. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and know that everyone makes them. Remember guilt and shame in recovery that you are only human and that you deserve compassion and understanding, just like everyone else does. Though these emotions generally feel negative, they serve an important purpose in leading a healthy social life.

Professional Treatment Options for Shame and Guilt

Such a recourse may be a temporary solution, but basically, it is just accruing more pain. Eventually, the bully will acknowledge how much pain they have caused, and the attempted recourse just results in more shame. I want to quote the psychiatrist Carl Jung, he said, he was talking to me more in general, but let’s tie it into addiction.

What is the root of shame?

Shame has a central social component, and involves fears of being judged, criticized or rejected by others rather than just judging oneself. The origins of shame can almost always be tied back to past experiences of feeling judged, criticized, or rejected by someone else.

If you are in recovery, you have most likely had to confront the heavy feelings of guilt and shame. These emotions will naturally emerge as you progress through therapy, exploring the behaviors you may now regret. Step Four of the 12-Step Program helps you come to terms with past actions that caused others harm in some way. The stigma surrounding substance abuse often causes people to hide their behavior, thus intensifying guilt and self-blame. A lack of inhibition due to intoxication might cause you to behave in ways you’d never dream of doing when you’re sober.


And people will be able to identify who are watching this. A common one is I’ll break out into sweat, I feel my face turns red, I get hot in my body. But situationally, they may be because in addiction, shame is so much a part of it, it will be it really is sociopathic. They freeze, they freeze, they play dead and, and so it works.

  • Most people tend to use these terms as one and the same, but there’s actually a meaningful distinction between them.
  • Having the right people around you can make a significant difference in your journey towards sobriety.
  • To overcome addictions, you must have the support to begin forgiving yourself and releasing any feelings of shame and feelings of guilt.

The focus of therapy is on helping clients build a life worth living, rather than fixating on past mistakes or shortcomings. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) has emerged as a promising therapeutic approach for addressing shame and guilt in addiction recovery. This therapy combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness to help clients manage emotions and develop coping skills. Self-compassion proves to be effective in combating negative self-talk; it equips the individual with the ability to handle negative emotions more flexibly than those who lack it.

The Impact of Shame

Now, psychology, that’s my background, as you know, psychology defines shame in a technical way. In fact, let me say this, I think if you go back over 10 years of my own recovery, this is the most significant tool for sustained successful recovery in my life that I can bear witness to. I can’t speak for other people, because everybody has a different entry point. While guilt and shame are very similar emotions, there are many differences between the two, and recognizing them is important.

Shame also plays a role in the comorbidity of mental illness and substance abuse. These two diagnoses often go hand in hand, and both are surrounded by a cloud of negative stigma that often prevents individuals from seeking out the help they need. The pairing of shame and alcoholism means that even if you admit that you have a problem that needs to be addressed, you’re too ashamed of what other people might think to seek out the help you need. To continue to live a life that is free of the feelings of
guilt and shame, acknowledge your value system.

What Roles Do Guilt and Shame Play in Addiction?

I am too weak.” You can see how nicely shame feeds into addiction and vice versa. Shame and guilt can be powerful emotions that can lead to negative self-talk and self-deprecation, and self-compassion is a way to treat oneself with kindness and understanding. This practice involves acknowledging mistakes and perceived failures instead of denying or hiding them. Through self-compassion, individuals can begin to let go of their shame and guilt and move towards self-forgiveness and healing.

As we reflect on the power of mindfulness as a tool for healing shame and guilt during addiction recovery, it’s worth noting that these practices have a rich cultural history dating back centuries. In fact, many ancient eastern philosophies tout the benefits of mindfulness meditation for promoting physical health, mental wellness and spiritual growth. One reason why mindfulness meditation is so effective in addressing feelings of shame or guilt is because it helps individuals identify and confront their underlying triggers. Addiction often arises from an attempt to cope with shame, guilt or emotional pain. By developing greater awareness around these emotions through mindfulness practice, individuals are able to break free from these habitual patterns in a safe and controlled environment. Through mindfulness meditation, individuals can develop greater self-awareness and compassion towards themselves.

In fact, some people have engaged in self-punishment and self-harm because they were feeling so unworthy. Makana Path Detox & Intensive Healing Program is sort of a one-stop fits-all rehab center. The facility combines spiritual health with state of the art recovery technology and medicines. The experienced staff at Makana understand how addiction is often a cause of self-defeating behavior. The rigorous forms of therapy offered at Makana seek to enlighten patients so that they can understand the root cause of their addictions.

guilt and shame in recovery activities