Shame, Blame, and Other Toxic Thought Processes
By: Design for Change Recovery
Sometimes our thoughts feel out of our control. It is said we have somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. On the low end that is 2, 100 thoughts per day. You are likely not aware of most of these thoughts. If even half of those are shame, blame, and other toxic thought processes that would leave us feeling pretty awful.
It’s not until you need to focus on something that you may become aware of the fleeting thoughts going through your mind. The thoughts happen as you cook breakfast, drive to work, meet with your boss, and eat lunch. This constant deluge of thoughts can be exhausting. You may turn to drugs or alcohol to slow down the thoughts and attempt to gain some focus.
Shame is defined as “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, and done by oneself or another.” Drug addicts and alcoholics can be filled with shame. Even in recovery, you may be haunted by decisions you made in your past and harm you caused. You have not yet forgiven yourself for choices you made in your disease.
Shame is like a shroud that keeps the light out. When we are focused on the past, we can’t see where we are headed. The same is true of blame or other toxic thought processes. Shame and blame stop us from creating a new life filled with joy. They stop us from being connected. They stop us from fulfilling our potential.
Brene Brown says, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” While the 12 steps were developed long before Brene Brown’s research on shame, the principles are inherent. The steps take us through a process of inventory that we share with another trusting person. This is the beginning of a new life for us.
The promises in the book Alcoholics Anonymous state, “We will not regret the past, nor wish the shut the door on it.” For those filled with shame, blame, and other toxic thought processes this promise may seem impossible. Many recovering drug addicts and alcoholics who came before you have found a profound shift in their thinking as a result of working the 12 steps.
The key to change is awareness. Begin noticing your thoughts. You may do this through meditation or observation. If you are haunted by the past, take action to heal. If you are actively struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, reaching out to a treatment facility for help may just be the catalyst for change that is needed. There is hope.
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: