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Five Essential Tips to Overcome Shame and Guilt during Drug Addiction Recovery

Posted on 10/05/18: Addiction Aftercare \ Addiction Recovery
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Addiction recovery is not an easy process. It requires you to undergo tremendous challenges and battle against your own self to overcome your compulsion towards the illicit drug of abuse. The success rate for addiction rehab is alarmingly low. Firstly, people suffering from addiction do not pursue rehab; and those who do, have demonstrated a low rate of long-term sobriety.

Out of the 43% of addicts who complete outpatient rehab treatment, only 18% are able to retain their sobriety after five years. Statistics are somewhat better in addicts who undergo inpatient rehabilitation. Out of 73% of addicts completing their rehab, 21% retain sobriety even after five years of treatment.

Why is the success rate so low?

Shame and Guilt in AddictionWell, an essential factor that hinders the successful execution of addiction recovery is the guilt and shame that prevail among recovering addicts as they move along the recovery process. While abusing drugs, they are able to maintain discretion and do not have to face any embarrassments before people because nobody knows about their weakness.

However, once they are in the rehab, things are not the same anymore. More people then learn about them and their destructive abusing habits. This ultimately enhances a certain level of guilt and shame, making individuals feel like they’ve failed by hiding behind their addiction.

Addiction recovery is a healing process. It requires you to learn to cope with these feelings and accept yourself for who you are and make an informed decision and efforts to make your life better. While guilt can lead you towards positive change, it can also hinder it and drive you back towards the destructive path you once were on. Guilt and shame during drug recovery can be rather dangerous and contribute to relapse.

Until your body and mind are clean of illicit substances, your ability to think through and comprehend things clearly are compromised. However, once the clarity of your mind returns and you are able to view situations clearly, the level of guilt and shame begins to increase incessantly pertaining to the mistakes and choices you have made in life so far. When you allow these negative feelings to take over your mind, you are ultimately led towards pessimism and it causes a rather depressing impact on your overall well-being.

While it is a very good thing that you acknowledged your choice to lead a drug-dependent life was not healthy, this is only the first step of the recovery process. This blog post is dedicated to giving you some tips that can help you avoid the emotions of shame and guilt during the recovery process.

1. Learn to Forgive Yourself

Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody is born perfect nor do they lead a perfect life. Judging yourself for who you were before and letting those notions impact a good change in your life should be avoided at all costs. Remember that it is not your past that matters, but the choices you make today.

Choosing to battle against your addiction is a courageous decision. Getting the treatment you need denotes your valor to acknowledge your shortcomings and fighting against them. Forgive yourself for what you did previously and encourage yourself for what you are doing today.

2. Identify the Root Cause of Your Guilt

To overcome your guilt during the recovery process, it is important that you identify the exact source that is instigating these negative feelings. If your own mind is driving you backward, consult your counselor right away and bring this into their knowledge. They will be able to teach you practices that can grant you more control.

Sometimes these negative feelings result from an outside source. As far as friends and relatives go, remember that in order to recover successfully, you have to step out of negative relationships. If you see it is your friend who is making you feel ashamed and guilty of who you are, rest assured that is a toxic relationship. It will be much healthier for you to step out of that relationship, as difficult as cutting those ties may be. You need positive people around you who can encourage your recovery, not otherwise.

3. Correct Your Wrongs

What’s been done in the past cannot be changed. However, you can always try to fix things that have been wronged when you were under the influence of drugs. Guilt and shame often arise when you think of all those things you have done previously, and the people you have hurt.

To contain this feeling, you can find ways to approach these people and apologize for what you did. This can help you feel tremendously better.

4. Practice Empathy

To forgive yourself and let go of the feelings of guilt and shame, you have to develop the tendency of empathizing with yourself. Once you are able to empathize with others, you will be able to empathize with your own self: this will ultimately serve in erasing any negative feelings inside of you.

5. Let Go of What You Cannot Control

This is an important thing you need to learn when undergoing drug recovery and suffering from the feelings of guilt and shame. There are a considerable amount of things that you cannot control or alter. Your past is one of them. What’s done is done. You cannot go back and change it.

Holding on to it will only keep you from progressing in your present. So learn to let go. You cannot fix what you did back then, but you certainly can attempt to make things better now. If you hurt someone in the past, approach them today and tell them that you are sorry. Having done that, let go of it completely. You did what you could. Now it’s time to move forward towards a better life.

Choosing to fight your addiction is a courageous step. It shouldn’t be clouded with factors such as guilt and shame because there is nothing to be ashamed of. Mistakes make us human, and accepting these mistakes and attempting to fix them denote bravery and strength. You must not let these emotions obscure your journey towards successful recovery.

At Sober Living AZ, we offer our clients the best possible support and service that is required to make an aoptimal recovery from their drug addiction. We highly value the positive decision you have taken and endeavor to offer you all the support that we can to facilitate the recovery process. For us, it is your life, health and long-term recovery that are of utmost priority. Contact us today to learn more details and information on the services we offer.

Sober Living of Arizona provides full inpatient treatment and medical detox to all of those that need it. We also offer family therapy services that include all of those involved in a loved one’s addiction. This service has proven to be beneficial to many, and we highly suggest reaching out sooner than later. Call us today to speak one-on-one with a trained specialist.

Content for Sober Living Arizona by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment and technology. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media


If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact Sober Living of AZ now to get the help you need. Sober Living offers an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare. Call us now at 602-737-2458.

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