Breaking the Shame Cycle in Recovery
What is Shame?
The feeling between guilt and shame can impact your recovery from addiction. Unlike shame, guilt can help motivate you to stop a behavior. It would be healthy to feel guilty for breaking your word.
On the other hand, shame is a negative feeling towards yourself. Instead of the behavior, shame is internalized. Instead, you experience persuasive thoughts of being a terrible person or that you cannot do anything right.
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Understanding the Addiction-Shame Cycle
It is hard for anyone, let alone someone struggling with addiction, to cope with the emotional pain caused by shame. If you had a traumatic childhood or have a negative self-image, living with shame is tough to work through. You may have found yourself turning to substances to numb the feeling of shame.
Soon consequences arise from substance abuse, which creates more feelings of shame. You are not alone in feeling the shame of drug addiction, also known as the addiction-shame cycle.
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How Shame Inhibits Recovery
In recovery, it is normal to feel shame about past behaviors and the negative impact on others. The most pervasive and difficult feelings that people experience is feeling shameful. You may be struggling with shame during recovery. Remember that this is an unhealthy emotion.
Shame can result from numerous traumas that have happened in your life. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress these feelings. Persuasive feelings of shame can be so overpowering that it causes people to relapse. Not addressing shame will cause you to feel depressed, angry, or disconnected from those in your social circle.
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Breaking the shame cycle in recovery is challenging. The compulsion to feel shame can be addictive, especially when it becomes a part of your identity. As hard as it can be, you have to forgive yourself and let go of your shame. It is the ultimate form of self-care that recovering addicts can do for themselves.
Choosing recovery and leaving the shame behind is the beginning of accepting ourselves. Leaving behind shame makes the path to recovery possible.
How to Overcome Shame
Recovery is full of challenges. You will need to make amends to your loved ones, accept your past, and feel your feelings. You will need to forgive yourself so you can rediscover your sober self. Feeling shame doesn’t sabotage your recovery efforts. There are ways that you can help reduce these feelings, such as:
- Be a friend to yourself: Everyone deserves the chance to be happy, and so do you. Now say the words to yourself. Practicing this exercise can help you forgive yourself
- Be honest and open: Letting go of shame means being honest with yourself. You are only human and you will make mistakes.
- Journaling: When you are struggling with shame, writing out positive affirmations can help you break free from the shame cycle.
- Know your triggers: The feeling of shame for most of us is a quiet and fleeting moment. It is essential to cultivate shame resilience by learning to recognize when you begin to feel it. Then practice moving through it.
Healing from Shame
Healing from shame is part of recovery. Releasing past negative judgments is an important step in forgiving yourself. Knowing how to confront the feelings of shame is an important step towards lasting sobriety. Letting go is not a straight path as you will have ups and downs along the way.
The Importance of Aftercare
Breaking the shame cycle in recovery is a process. You must let go of shame as a preventive measure to avoid relapsing. Aftercare is another part of the preventative care required for sobriety. Recovery in the first year is the most difficult. Be patient with yourself as you learn new ways of redefining yourself with love and positivity.
Types of Aftercare
Once you have completed drug detox and drug rehab in your treatment program, the next level in addiction treatment is aftercare. Aftercare is an important part of any addiction treatment since it helps maintain sobriety.
The first choice in aftercare is residential. This aftercare type is most beneficial for people with chronic drug use with little support outside the facility. This level of care allows you more freedom within a rehab facility. You can go to work, exercise more control over your schedules, social visits, and routines.
However, step down care is a bridge to more responsibilities and, while structured, includes more privileges than residential treatments for addiction.
Another form of aftercare is outpatient. You will have access to resources such as addiction counselors, therapy groups, and doctors during the day. Then you can spend the evening and nights with family or supportive friends.
Outpatient aftercare is ideal if you have a supportive environment to go home to but still benefit from outpatient care. The upside of outpatient drug addiction aftercare gives you maximum flexibility while still providing the same inpatient care benefits.
Living in a halfway house can allow you to meet new friends, get support, and stay in a drug-free environment before living independently.
Aftercare Support Groups
The final type of aftercare is support groups. This type of care is usually detailed in a treatment plan and is part of a weekly treatment regime. This aftercare type is suitable for people who are ready to manage most of their recovery but still need help and guidance regularly.
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.
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How to Get Help
Are you or someone you love struggling with addiction? Help is available. You are not alone in this struggle.
The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health are prepared to make sure you can live addiction-free. Call 855-458-0050 to schedule your consultation. Let today be the day you reach out to so that you can begin to reclaim the life you have been missing.