When we make the shift from active addiction to sobriety, emotions come flooding back which we have been repressing through our daily substance abuse. Many of these feelings will be negative as the gravity of our recent transgressions fully occurs to us for the first time. It is important part of the recovery process for you to come to terms with your past, accepting it for what it is without allowing the guilt and shame to carry over into your life in sobriety. For most this is easier said than done, but there are a few things you can do to help yourself let go of the guilt and shame stemming from your past.
The biggest contribution you can make towards eliminating the guilt and shame of your past is to work a thorough, honest, and complete fourth and fifth step with your sponsor. The goal of this stepwork is to unburden yourself through sharing with another alcoholic, and having your honesty received with compassion rather than rejection in order to reinforce the idea that you are not unworthy of love just because you’ve sinned. If you were to hold back a particularly ugly or uncomfortable subject of your past, you would also be holding on to the guilt associated with that particular fact which would inhibit your ability to truly recover and achieve peace of mind. This is why rigorous honesty is so important in recovery, especially when it comes to the fourth and fifth step.
Another useful habit to combat feelings of guilt and shame is the practice of daily positive affirmations. These are statements you make to yourself every day, usually as you start and end your day, in order to actively shift your beliefs and thoughts about yourself and your life. Statements such as “I am a good person”, or “I am worthy of love and compassion”, or “My mistakes do not define me” will take root as you repeat them to yourself every day. These affirmations will replace their negative counterparts in your mind, helping to dissolve feelings of guilt and shame as you move forward in your recovery.
Guilt and shame are obstacles to the peace of mind we are striving for in recovery, and they must be eliminated from our lives if we are to successfully achieve sustained sobriety. Most of us have been repressing these feelings through our continued substance abuse for months or years, so a substantial amount of negative emotions have accumulated and are now overwhelming us in recovery. Moving past these feelings of guilt and shame is not an insurmountable task, as the millions of members of AA can attest. With the help of your sponsor, your recovery program, and your higher power, you can let go of the pain of your past and move forward into a life of joy, happiness, and freedom!
ABOUT EVOLUTIONS TREATMENT Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.
Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit www.evolutionstreatment.com