For many with substance use disorders, shame is an all too familiar emotion. Addiction may have pushed you to do things that you would not normally do, which can hurt others and lead you to act against your values. Not only is letting go of shame a freeing part of recovery from addiction, but it is also essential because shame is one of the major triggers for relapse.
The Guilt and Shame Associated with Addiction
Addiction is a powerful disease characterized by an overwhelming obsession and compulsion to use a drug of choice. These urges to use drive you to do things that you know are both wrong and hurtful to others. You may lie, steal, or put your own needs above those of an employer, friend, spouse, or a child. Your long-held value system that guides beliefs and behaviors shifts under the weight of addiction. If tinges of guilt creep in, you may just use more substances to dull those feelings, creating even more feelings of guilt and shame later.
The purpose of guilt and shame is usually to effect change. But those who bury these feelings will find that they only continue to escalate until they are so overwhelming that something must be done. For some, the solution is to find recovery in a Florida drug rehab. Even after getting rid of the drugs and alcohol, you must learn to let go of guilt and shame because they can lead to relapse.
Shame as a Major Trigger for Relapse
A study released by the Association for Psychological Science reveals that holding onto shame about the past could lead to relapse and other health issues. A group of University of British Columbia researchers found that behavior related to shame was a strong predictor of future relapse behavior in recovering alcoholics.
The study examined alcohol use and other health outcomes in a group of newly sober alcoholics. They studied both shame-related behaviors as well as self-reported shame. Behavioral displays of shame might include such things as slumped shoulders or a narrowed chest.
The results of the study found that people who failed to address shame or who displayed more shame-related behavior were more likely have higher rates of negative health outcomes, which included relapse.
How to Let Go of Shame in Florida Drug Rehab
Whether you realize that you have issues with shame or not heading into recovery, the truth is that living with guilt and shame is an ongoing challenge. Fortunately, it is not something that needs to persist in recovery, as there are ways to deal with these issues. Among them are:
- Face it. Face and acknowledge your feelings without the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Examine it. Examine the origins of your guilt and shame to determine what is true and what is not.
- Forgive. Learn to forgive yourself and others.
- Change. Change the behaviors that brought on actions related to guilt and shame so that you do not repeat them in the future.
- Apologize. At some point, you will be given the opportunity to make things right with others.
- Let go. Let go of negative and destructive feelings and replace them with something positive.
If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with addiction and the shame that goes along with it, you are not alone. There is help available, and the Orlando Recovery Center is a reputable Florida drug rehab that has provided assistance to many in your shoes. Contact us now to learn more about admissions and find out how you can break free from the chains of addiction for good.