Tips to Overcome Guilt and Shame in Recovery

Tips to Overcome Guilt and Shame in Recovery

Many individuals struggling in the early phases of recovery are overwhelmed with the emotional baggage of guilt and shame.  Read on to find out why you must deal with these feelings head on to avoid being overpowered by the negativity that could affect your choice of committing to sober living.

Why Guilt and Shame in Recovery Can Be Rather Dangerous

Guilt and shame are commonly felt by patients working their way towards recovery from alcohol addiction. It’s crucial to note that these feelings are normal and part of the process one goes through during recovery.

And, while it’s good to acknowledge your realization of the mistakes you’ve made and the damage you’ve inflicted while leading a drug-dependent life, guilt and shame can send you to a downward spiral of negative thoughts. This, in turn, can trigger you into going back to your old bad habit. Apparently, the last thing you’ll want is for guilt and shame to obscure your way towards a successful recovery.

woman guilty by window

Breaking Free from Guilt and Shame Pattern in Recovery

Dwelling with the negative feelings of guilt and shame in recovery can derail the process of your recovery and set yourself up for a relapse. It is therefore important to always remain focused on professional treatment for alcohol addiction alongside the essential tips below.

Here are some tips to help you combat the emotions of shame and guilt to maintain your sobriety:

1. Learn to Forgive Yourself

More than seeking forgiveness from the people you’ve hurt while you were a slave to your alcohol addiction, it’s also important that you accept your mistakes and learn to forgive yourself. Remind yourself that your past doesn’t define you and that what’s important are the choices you make in the present.

2. Determine the Root Cause of Your Guilt

Identifying and understanding the root cause of your guilt can help you learn from them, confront your feelings, and tackle them one by one. The moment you find out the source of your guilt and start addressing what makes you feel guilty, you’ll feel empowered and motivated to take control.

3. Cultivate Relationships that Matter

There’s no point in staying in toxic relationships that will make you feel unworthy and hopeless because of your past. Channeling your effort and time with people who can accept you wholeheartedly is a good place to start letting go of shame and guilt.

4. Practice Meditation

Meditation is a powerful relaxation tool and helps keep you focused. When you meditate, you focus on your breathing, and you learn to stay in the present. A few minutes spent in meditation can go a long way for mental clarity and helps draw your focus on positivity and staying productive.

woman meditation trees

5. Strive to Correct Your Mistakes and Improve Yourself

The best way to move forward from guilt and shame in recovery is to resolve to mend your ways and work your way to becoming a better version of yourself.

6. Let Go of Things and Circumstances You Can’t Control

It’s important to acknowledge that there are things that are way out of your control. One of them is your past. You can’t undo what’s done, and holding on to it can hinder your way to recovery.

Practice Makes Perfect

The truth is recovery from addiction is far from easy. You will encounter setbacks along the way. You may struggle with guilt and shame, and that is normal. Instead of treating setbacks as a failure, think of them as part of the process. What matters most is you don’t let the feelings of guilt and shame stop you from achieving your goal of living in sobriety.


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