We all know that feelings of shame can arise and make us feel as if we want to curl up in a ball. Especially in early recovery, many of our past behaviors come to the front of our consciousness and we experience guilt. Shame is different from guilt, as it doesn’t necessarily show up as a result of a past deed or action. Shame is an overall feeling and can be more deeply rooted in our psychology than guilt. While it’s important to recognize our wrongdoings, shame can derail our recovery and lead to a web of negative thoughts and backsliding. Here are a few ways to release shame, feel more empowered, and embrace self-love in the recovery journey and beyond.
Shine a Light on Shame
The first step towards healing shameful feelings is shining the light of awareness on the difficult emotions. The more you hide your shame, the more it will fester. Hiding it will actually make it grow and get worse. It’s important to bring your awareness to it, take a deep breath, own it, and perhaps most importantly, talk to a professional therapist and your group of recovery friends. Of course, this is an ongoing process. Bringing light, awareness, and healing to shame takes time and courage. Take it one day at a time.
Live in the Moment
Living in the present moment is a great remedy for many negative and pervasive feelings. Focus on your recovery and be mindful of your senses, surroundings, and the beauty and energy of the day.
Practice Gratitude for the Lessons You’ve Learned
Remember that everything, even difficult emotions, presents an opportunity for learning and growth. Take a moment to write down a few lessons you’ve learned through the painful experience of shame. Maybe you have more empathy for others or a bigger heart. Expressing gratitude for the lessons can help put a more positive spin on the situation and offer a more dynamic relationship to shame.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474