We are the seasoned critics, we have lived our whole lives trying to look inward and identify who we are and what we are doing feeling all the mistakes on the deepest level. Guilt is ok when it is warranted for the right reasons but when it consumes you and your emotions, it can get in the way of your healing & recovery process. Release feelings of guilt by talking about them, sharing, confessing, getting honest. Active addiction pushes us to do things we wouldn’t normally
do just to survive. When you’re addicted to something, you have to find a way
to get the thing you are addicted to, every day.
During my time in active addiction, I had to learn to deal with the feeling of guilt and shame for what my life had become. I had become a manipulator of my own emotions and would often do whatever it took to obtain my alcohol to satisfy my addictive thought patterns and behaviors. Many people experience a lot of resistance to the idea of self-forgiveness. You may view self-forgiveness as “letting yourself off the hook,” as if self-judgment is the only way to improve. But negative self-judgment and self-blaming can actually act as an obstacle to self-improvement.
You’ve already made the connection between your harmful actions and the fact that you were abused or neglected. Now think of other precipitating factors such as a family history of violence and a family history of addiction, as well as more subtle factors such as stress due to financial problems or marital problems. Finally, the worksheet asks for strategies one can use to head off these stressors. This worksheet will help people better understand the roots of their feelings of guilt and shame, which is a first step to relieving these feelings.
When the addict
begins the recovery process, these feelings of guilt and shame return. The
addict is flooded with memories of the mistakes they made, the people they hurt
and all the things they wish they could undo. One of the most common factors of their guilty feelings is knowing the pain and destruction that their family experienced during the time the individual was active in their drug or alcohol abuse. The individuals would https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/alcohol-poisoning-signs-and-symptoms/ often discuss how their family would separate themselves from the individual in addiction and wanted nothing to do with them. The individuals would often speak about all the time lost with their family and express remorse for not being the individual they were meant to be before falling victim to the pitfalls of addiction. Another factor the individual often had to deal with was the shame of where their addiction had taken them.
It has all the important components of apology—a statement of regret, an acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions, a promise to not repeat the offense, and the request for forgiveness. In the Jewish tradition, it has long been the custom to seek forgiveness from family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues during the time of the High Holy Days. Write a list of the people you have harmed and the ways you have harmed them. One by one, go through your list and write down the various causes and conditions that led you to this action or inaction.
I let you know that I did not intend to hurt you and that it is my intention to treat you fairly in the future. If you apologize for abusing or neglecting a child, even though that person is now grown, you will not only validate his or her experience but help the person to stop blaming himself or herself for the abuse. First of all, you need to admit to yourself and others the wrongs you have committed.
To continue to live a life that is free of the feelings of
guilt and shame, acknowledge your value system. Review what you believe is
right and wrong to solidify your value system. Once you are aware of your
values, let them guide your behavior. When situations arise and you are unsure
what the correct thing to do is, consult your value system and act within these
guidelines. If you do not have a guideline for certain situations, think the
situation through thoroughly weighing the pros and cons of different courses of
action. Once you determine the correct course of action, add this situation to your
This explains why they are often conflated, a problem that is not helped by the fact that one can, of course, feel shame and guilt at the same time. One useful, generally-accepted framework distinguishes the two by saying that “[s]hame is about the self” while “guilt is about things in the real world—acts or failures to act, events for which one bears responsibility” (Lewis, 1971). Shame and guilt are two self-conscious emotions that everyone will feel several times throughout their lives. Think of the rational and reasonable alternative for each of the above shame-based thoughts. For example, for the first one, “In must get everyone’s approval” the more rational alternative might be something like, “I can still feel good about myself even if some people do not approve of me”.
For example, maybe you feel guilty about saying unkind things to someone while you were intoxicated or making a promise to do something and then not following through. When we face the truth about how we have hurt others, sometimes severely, the feelings of guilt and shame can be overwhelming. Often, the only way we can find compassion for ourselves or self-forgiveness is to reach out to something bigger than our individual selves. Your admittance of what you did to harm others is doubly powerful if it is accompanied by a heartfelt, sincere apology.
In the aftermath of a relapse, some experience guilt and shame. Some are able to overcome or remove feelings of guilt and shame. To continue to live a life that is free of feelings of guilt and shame, acknowledge your value system. Review what you believe guilt and shame in recovery is right and wrong to solidify your value system. Once you are aware of your values, let them guide your behavior. When situations arise and you are unsure what the correct thing to do is, consult your value system and act within these guidelines.