Shame and addiction go hand in hand. Even years into their sobriety, some people still carry a strong stigma of having lost part of their lives to the cycle of addiction. But even if guilt and shame are part of your healing process, you don’t have to let them dictate your future. Here are some ways you can earn back your sense of self-respect.
1. Recognize That You Can’t Change Your Past
No matter what you do, the past is firmly behind you. Instead of beating yourself up about things you are now powerless to change, learn to focus on how to make your present the best it can be. One strategy for doing this is to develop a habit of meditation, which will serve you well in a multitude of ways.
2. Continue Going to Therapy
Even if you feel as if everything has been moving in a positive direction for quite some time, don’t stop attending regular sessions with a qualified therapist. In therapy, you will learn healthy strategies for coping with feelings of guilt or shame that may arise and prevent you from making progress with your recovery. You’ll also have someone who is always willing to help you work through your problems or process difficult emotions.
3. Ask for Help When You Need It
Even if you’ve always considered yourself a strong-willed, self-sufficient person, there will be times in your recovery when you encounter obstacles you can’t overcome by yourself. At these points, don’t be ashamed to reach out to your family, supportive friends or fellow members of your 12-step group. It would benefit your progress to seek a recovery sponsor, if you don’t already have someone in your life playing that role.
4. Be Aware of Self-Sabotaging Behavior
Self-sabotage is a common pitfall of recovery, especially in the earliest phases. Pay attention to your internal monologue, so you can put a stop to any negativity that arises. If you often feel worthless or undeserving of love and hope, ask yourself why you are having these thought patterns, and realize that nobody is expecting you to be perfect.
5. Accept That Your Addiction Does Not Define You
Addiction is a disease that can happen to anyone, regardless of their background, gender identity, age or life accomplishments. It’s not a character flaw or a weakness, and you are not carrying your burdens alone. Millions of people around the world have struggled with addiction and found their way to sobriety, and you can do it too with a treatment plan that addresses your needs.
Where to Make a Fresh Start
Vista Taos Renewal Center is a nationally accredited addiction treatment center in the stunning mountains of New Mexico. Our therapeutic approaches help adult men and women from all walks of life learn to live without drugs and alcohol and begin to rebuild their mental, physical and emotional well-being through individual and group therapy, relapse prevention education and family support. To learn more, we invite you to connect with us today.