Feelings of guilt and shame are common for those in the throes of addiction. There will be countless times throughout your recovery where you will reflect on your past and, if you do not know how to manage the feelings of guilt that come with that, that reflection can lead to a world of self-doubt, embarrassment, and resentment towards yourself and others. It is common to judge yourself based on your past, but it is important to know that you are more than your past.
Your Harshest Critic
Sometimes the harshest judgment does not come from others but from yourself. There might be moments during your recovery process where you feel like you cannot live up to your or other people’s expectations. You might even experience moments where, despite all the progress you have made, you continue to punish yourself for the past. However, those feelings of guilt can be the very things that make you relapse back into active addiction. Self-forgiveness is a powerful tool that can be a saving grace on your darkest days.
Rebuilding your life after addiction is not easy. It can be a long, taxing journey. There will be times where you relive or remember things from the past that make you feel ashamed, guilty, or even judged. Carrying those feelings can be detrimental to your self-esteem and can lead to relapsing. That is why self-forgiveness is imperative. Bad decisions were made in your past, but that does not define who you are nor does it determine who you will be in the future.
Finding Compassion for Yourself
Being compassionate towards yourself is not an easy thing to do but it is possible with the proper treatment and an open mind. A major component of treatment is acknowledging the fact that you have made mistakes, feel remorseful about them, and are taking responsibility for them. Use your past transgressions as learning tools, rather than tools of self-destruction. Try to view yourself not as a person who has made mistakes, but as a person who has learned from them. Forgiving yourself is self-healing that fosters the growth that you need to maintain sobriety.
It is normal to experience guilt and shame because of the choices you might have made in the past, but holding on to those emotions can cause you to relapse back into active addiction. Valiant Living in Colorado offers several programs for men who are struggling with addiction to help them get their lives back on track. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and would like more information on our services, call to speak to a trained staff member at (303) 952-5035. You can rebuild your life with us.