Shame And Guilt

I think feelings of shame and guilt are common among individuals struggling with addiction. The shame refers to feeling bad about myself. I feel weak, defective, and I feel like a failure, I feel like I have let everyone down; not once but many, many times.  When I feel ashamed, I feel that something is wrong with me, that I am less than others. And I’m sure this is the case for a lot of people in recovery, I know it will take time and effort to work through the shame and guilt.

I still carry extreme guilt, I feel bad about my past behviours. About things I’ve done, and thing’s I haven’t done. I’ve used people, I’ve stolen from loved ones, I’ve hurt, I’ve lied, I’ve conned; broken laws to get money to pay for drugs, I’ve been violent. I also feel guilty for not fulfilling my responsibilities and obligations to my family, especially when they may have needed me most. But the drugs were always more important.

I know I cannot go back and change the past, and even if I could I don’t think I would. Without my past I wouldn’t be who I am today, like I’ve said before; I may not know who I am, where I’m going or where I am going to be, but I am learning everyday, taking advantage of every moment. I am finding myself, and making amends in the process. I can start by recognizing my shame and guilt, I can be honest with myself about what I did or failed to do as a result of my addictions. I’m allowed to give myself time to feel better, without self-pity. But realistically and accept the reality that it may take a good deal of time to feel less ashamed and guilty. I can talk about my feelings, I can be there for those who wish to talk about their feelings. I can accept my flaws and limitations. I can try to make amends and hope for forgiveness. I can believe in the person I want to become.


11 thoughts on “Shame And Guilt

  1. “”I think feelings of shame and guilt are common among individuals struggling…………. And I’m sure this is the case for a lot of people ……..”” Interestingly, this applies just as much to the population before becoming addicted to something. Therefore you could possibly take addiction out of the equation and promote addiction as a symptom, not the problem.

    • Very true, I think shame and guilt is a common thing for many people. I think it’s a natural feeling that people have, for many different reasons. Just in my personal case, my guilt and shame is primarily a result of my actions while I was battling my addictions. My addictions made me into someone I wasn’t, made me do things I wouldn’t otherwise do. But I understand what your saying.

  2. I live with guilt each and every day. I messed up a lot of things in my life, and have children that I may never see again. I have those many moments of deep thought where the “what ifs” are in play. What if I never met that person, what if I never took that first hit, what if I listened to my wife. These feelings will never go away from you. You cannot change the past. But stay strong, and live for the future.

    • I definitely know what you mean, like I said I cannot change the past but I can change what I do in the future, and I can believe in the person I want to become.
      Thank you for the comment, wishing you all the best!

  3. Shame and guilt are tough, yes we all have it to some extent. But in my view it is an unnecessary burden to carry since we can’t change the past. For me it’s important not to get hung up and use those feelings to sit in self pity, but to learn from them and move on. I know that as long as I stay sober, I will not do those things that were brought on by my alcoholism. And it’s important to me, like you said to do the living amends, to be caring and compassionate and just a good person. Great post, thanks.

  4. No-ones perfect, we all make mistakes – but most people are never brave enough to admit them. Your honesty shows that you are taking responsibility for your actions, and the love and respect you receive for that honesty will help you to resolve your guilt. I have so much more respect for someone who holds their hands up when they go wrong that those who spend a lifetime trying cover their tracks. We are a rare breed, you know! You should be proud!

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