How to Overcome Shame and Seek Help for Addiction


Addiction is a complex and challenging issue that has affected 21 million Americans. Yet only 10% of people with a substance use disorder receive the proper treatment. Shame creates a vicious cycle, trapping people in self-loathing and preventing them from seeking the help they need. It often stems from society’s stigmatization of addiction, which portrays it as a moral failing rather than a complex medical condition.

Shame can make individuals feel isolated, unworthy, and hopeless. It can also prevent individuals from being honest with themselves and others about their addiction, hindering their recovery.

However, overcoming shame and guilt and finding healing throughout the recovery process with a renowned rehab center is possible. By acknowledging and addressing these feelings head-on, individuals in recovery can start to break through the lies that shame tells them and pave a path toward lasting recovery.

The Complex Relationship Between Shame and Addiction

Shame and guilt, often used interchangeably, have distinct implications. Guilt is a reaction to an adverse action, while shame is a far more personal emotion, causing feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. Unfortunately, shame can act as a catalyst for dependency on substances like alcohol or drugs as a means of escape.

When addiction and shame pair up, they form a destructive cycle. The addiction fuels the shame, intensifying the need to hide the addiction and trauma, leading to more profound despair and isolation.

What are the Effects of Shame and its Impact on You?

Shame is a profoundly personal emotion that varies from person to person. It can stem from various life events or activities and profoundly impact an individual’s mental well-being.

Shame links between anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder. Sometimes, it can lead individuals to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with or drown out their shame. In other cases, people may feel ashamed about drug or alcohol addiction.

Shame sometimes makes a person feel like a failure, unlovable, and unworthy of happiness. It seeps into a person’s thoughts, convincing them they are inherently flawed.

So, different people cope with shame in various ways. Some might turn to perfectionism, while others may struggle with low self-esteem. The worst thing is how shame creates a barrier to getting treatment.

The Barriers Shame Creates for Addiction Treatment

Shame can hinder an addict’s journey to recovery in various ways. It can suppress their voice, diminish their self-worth, make them hide the truth, delay their relationships, and even make their dreams seem impossible.

Shame also contributes to the comorbidity of mental illness and substance use. This combination often leads to a negative stigma that prevents individuals from seeking the help they need. In the U.S., approximately 6.7% of adults live with depression. However, shame and stigma prevent many from getting diagnosed and receiving the help they need to manage their symptoms.

When shame becomes part of your self-identity, it can prevent you from progressing in your recovery. Overcoming this deep-seated feeling of unworthiness is crucial to prevent it from becoming toxic to your recovery efforts and potentially leading to a relapse.

It brings us to the question – is it easy for you to come out of shame?

How Can You Break Free From Shame?

The good news is that there is a path to healing from shame. It’s not easy, and it’s not a quick-fix solution, but with guidance, it’s possible to overcome shame in addiction recovery.

Here are some steps to start your journey of healing:

  • Identify the root cause of your shame: Untangle the complex emotions and understand how your shame and addiction are linked. This understanding is a crucial first step toward healing.
  • Make amends and let go: Acknowledge the broken relationships and apologize sincerely. Remember, healing is not dependent on receiving forgiveness.
  • Practice self-kindness: Pay attention to your self-talk. Are you being overly critical? Practice speaking to yourself with kindness and compassion.
  • Acknowledge that negative emotions hinder your recovery: Negative emotions are not constructive and can damage your goal of achieving a healthy, substance-free life.
  • Create a safe space: Find an area to explore your feelings of shame without judgment. This space could be with a trusted friend, family member, or a professional counselor.
  • Redefine your self-perception: Change the way you view yourself. Envision yourself as a good person who deserves love and happiness.
  • Build a supportive network: Surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift you. This support can help reduce stress and increase your overall sense of belonging.

Remember, the focus should be on the present, on the person you are today. You are worthy of forgiveness, and you are also worthy of love and a successful recovery. You don’t have to walk this journey alone. Contact Augustine Recovery to help you achieve sobriety shame-free.

Confronting Guilt in Addiction Recovery

Emerging from the fog of addiction often brings past actions into sharp focus. You become aware of the harm your addiction may have caused your loved ones, leading to deep regret and guilt.

So, it becomes essential to recognize these feelings as a natural part of the recovery process. However, don’t hold onto them once you apologize and make amends.

Navigating the Path to Recovery with Augustine Recovery

Augustine Recovery, a leading addiction treatment center nestled in St. Augustine, Florida, offers a comprehensive range of services, including inpatient and outpatient drug rehab, detox services, and dual diagnosis treatment. Our empathetic, supportive, and reassuring approach provides a nurturing environment for recovery, promoting self-discovery and personal growth.

We understand that recovery from addiction is not easy, especially when coupled with feelings of shame and guilt. With our experienced team of professionals, we’re here to guide you through your journey, providing you with the tools and support to overcome shame and successfully navigate your path to recovery.

You’re not alone in this journey. Reach out to us today, and let us help you find your path to a healthier, happier life.