Guilt and shame often deter many people from seeking to improve themselves by going to a treatment center in Florida. These emotions may fuel negative self-talk and trigger self-sabotaging behaviors. As you more clearly understand the nature of guilt and shame, you can learn to harness them on your road to recovery from addiction.
GUILT AND SHAME ARE NOT THE SAME
When we act in a manner that transgresses our values, morals, or ideals, guilt is the resulting uncomfortable emotion we experience. We feel bad about something we have done or failed to do. For example, a person may feel guilty for spending grocery money on drugs. Guilt says, “What I did was wrong. I regret my actions.” Although guilt is painful, it can be a powerful motivator to accept responsibility and avoid destructive behaviors.
You will not ever be able to forget what you have done, but you can move past guilt by:
- admitting your wrongdoing
- apologizing for your wrong
- doing your best to correct or make things right
- holding yourself accountable to someone who will encourage and guide you on the path to healing
- forgiving yourself
More harmful than guilt, shame is self-blame. It says, “I am bad. I am hopeless.” Shame leads directly to low self-esteem. Ultimately, shame often keeps people stuck in a rut of negative behaviors as they convince themselves that they do not deserve a better life. The pain of shame also triggers destructive tendencies as people seek relief through unhealthy choices.
We all have disappointed ourselves and those we love at some point. We feel remorse over our failures and drug abuse. Our minds may cause us dwell on our regrets and constantly replay the negative script that shame writes for us. However, it is not healthy to focus on our mistakes so much that we unwittingly restrict ourselves from moving beyond our past. Instead, this focus often pulls us into a disastrous cycle of the very thoughts and behaviors that we want to overcome.
Guilt and shame are a normal part of life. To recover and thrive, you will need to acknowledge and work through these feelings. However, it is extremely difficult to do this alone. Shame thrives on silence, secrecy, and judgment. Talking things through with a trustworthy guide in a safe environment is a crucial step to healing from guilt and shame. Opening up your heart will enable you to see your challenges more clearly and find the strength to master them.