Those recovering from addictions can be riddled with guilt. Guilt is defined as “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.” Some hold on tightly to their guilt, falsely believing it will ensure immunity against future drug or alcohol abuse. In actuality, holding on to guilt can lead to future drug and alcohol abuse.
Addiction is a disease that often comes with baggage. There may be broken promises, abuse, robbery, infidelity, or even murder. Other diseases do not pair so readily with guilt. The baggage that often comes with addiction can actually prohibit sobriety. While it seems insane to non-addicts, nothing relieves guilt like getting drunk or high. This avoidance of guilt can keep someone tightly in the grips of drug addiction or alcoholism.
The Guilt of Addiction
Many recovering addicts and alcoholics find solace in working a 12 step program. The steps offer a unique solution to guilt by making an honest admission of your mistakes and making amends for them. The promises in the book Alcoholics Anonymous state, “We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”
Recovery can be scary. Carl Jung said, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” How can you accept the choices you made while active in your disease? Brene Brown offers a solution when she said, “Empathy’s the antidote to shame. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me, too.”
Following the advice of Brene Brown, the 12 steps offer those in recovery an opportunity to work one on one with an individual with similar life experience who can say, “me, too.” There seems to be no better remedy for remorse and guilt that knowing someone you respect made the same mistake you made.
Working the 12 steps in recovery is a foundation for a new way of living. Looking at the mistakes made, admitting fault, making amends, and changing future behavior shift the guilt. Suddenly, you can look yourself in the eye. You begin being a productive member of your family. Respect at work returns.
If you are struggling with guilt there is hope. If you have the key of willingness, it’s possible to create new habits and a new way of living. It’s never too late to start over. Help is available. Make that first call today. You are worth it.
Addiction affects the whole family. Design For Change, a residential treatment facility and recovery services program in Lancaster, is a place for hope and healing for all those affected by addiction. If you are ready to start the fight for sobriety, choose a program that will help you come out victoriously.
Freedom is yours.
Find it today by calling us for more information on our long term, student, and customizable treatment programs: (877) 267-3646