Guilt in substance abuse recovery is common. Guilt can visit any area of our life and make us feel at fault; however, for the individual going through addiction recovery, it can create an overwhelming sense of defeat. It may also force the individual to reevaluate their choices, behaviors and actions and hopefully prevent similar destructive behavior.
It May Impact Recovery
Regret, liability and conscientiousness, repentance and humiliation are all feelings that are promoted by guilt. At times these feelings may be overpowering. What is more, other people may increase the guilty feelings when they influence the individual into believing that if they do not behave a certain way, the relationship will suffer.
Some individuals feel guilty throughout their substance abuse recovery which can undercut their progress. For example, their guilt may persuade them that they are unworthy of a second chance at life or unworthy of happiness. Those feelings are dangerous because they can make you feel as if you are single-handedly accountable for the happiness of everyone else as well as outcome of their lives.
Deal with it and Move On
While you are in drug and alcohol recovery you will learn to be aware of guilt and learn to tackle it correctly. However, all guilt is not necessarily bad. It can contribute to our growth and maturity as it works to help correct behavior and it can help recognize self-destructive behavior as it relates to your drug or alcohol abuse.
Often times, guilt makes it possible to move forward by increasing your awareness of changes that are needed in your life. This type of emotion is noted as ‘healthy guilt’ and is different from the negative feelings that may damage self-confidence and self-esteem because its only purpose is to make you feel bad.
Learn from It
Situational guilt’ in substance abuse recovery encourages you to deal with previous acts committed or behavior exhibited and is there to help you improve the behavior and then move on. It is not meant to demean you, but to help you cope with emotions and situations. Situational guilt does not continue as long as you address the issue right away; however, if you ignore the issue, the feeling will increase. Throughout recovery, when the opportunity presents for you to accept accountability, you should acknowledge it and then you will be able to move forward without the guilt.
Guilt gets your attention and forces you to learn a lesson and change a behavior. It is not unusual for individuals struggling with substance abuse to feel humiliated and culpable for their behavior. Many people, that experience guilt in drug and alcohol abuse recovery have damaged their relationships with family and friends; have lied to them and possibly committed acts that were immoral and illegal. However, while you may feel worthless and undeserving to overcome your substance abuse; the truth is that you do deserve a chance at a better and healthier life.
About the Author
Lara Schuster writes for Gallus Medical Detox Centers. Gallus Detox provides safe drug and alcohol detox with customized IV therapy to comfortably alleviate withdrawal symptoms and patients are monitored 24/7 by ICU level nurses. This proven detox method was developed by Dr. Patrick Gallus after 15-plus years as an emergency room physician caring for alcohol and drug addicted patients. Gallus Medical Detox Centers features upscale private rooms, gourmet meals, Wi-Fi and HDTV. Patient confidentiality is always protected.
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