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Speaking on The Sandstone Care Podcast

Updated: Oct 18

My recent talk about "Shame, Guilt, and Addiction" is now up on the The Sandstone Care Podcast! Take a listen here:


In this episode, you'll hear me explain:

  • What is shame and guilt in addiction

  • How shame and guilt are felt in the body

  • How to combat negative shame and guilt in recovery

Why You’re Experiencing Guilt & Shame

When you’re struggling with substance abuse and addiction, you will do things you wouldn’t dream of doing sober, just to survive the day. When you’re dependent on a substance, you have to find a way to get that substance, and that dependence doesn’t often leave room for caring about the lengths you went to in order to satisfy your craving. After beginning the journey to recovery, it can be very common to start feeling guilty and ashamed of the things you did while in active addiction. It can be easy to dwell on these dark emotions and to feel overwhelmed by them, but sitting in them for too long is a good way to set yourself up for a relapse.

Breaking The Cycle of Guilt & Shame in Addiction Recovery

Breaking the cycle of guilt and shame that is often present in addiction recovery is no small task. Here are a few things you can do to bring yourself out of these feelings.

  • Recognize That Feelings of Guilt & Shame are Counter-Productive. As you come out of active addiction, It’s easy to be overly critical of yourself as well as the things that you did while you weren’t sober. No one deserves to be plagued by guilt and shame, and dwelling on these emotions is nothing more than self-destructive.

  • Ask For Forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes. Choosing to change your life and fight against your addiction is an extremely courageous decision, and part of recovery is making amends and asking those you have wronged for forgiveness. While they may not be in a place to be able to forgive you immediately, you will have done your best to make amends and put your actions behind you.

  • Let Go of What You Cannot Control. The only person you are truly in control of is yourself. There are so many things that are outside of your control that can’t alter or change, your past being one of them. Holding onto the things you did in active addiction, the guilt of hurting people, or the shame of having an addiction won’t help your recovery, it will only drag you backward. Letting go of the things in your past is a big step towards being free from addiction.

  • Forgive Yourself. Learning to forgive yourself is a long process. Dwelling on the things that you’ve done in the past is not constructive or beneficial to you. Your past is not what matters, what matters are the choices you make today.

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