The biggest hurdle to overcome in addiction treatment is addiction itself. The very act of overcoming substance abuse and its accompanying health problems can be a significant undertaking.

But once the addict is out of rehab and into recovery, there are other issues that can present themselves as serious concerns, and that can include the struggle to overcome shame and guilt in addiction recovery.

On leaving rehab, the recovering addict may have left behind their physical addiction and feel they have a clean slate as regards their physiological well-being. But mentally they may be in a different state. They may still feel the psychological urge to substance abuse, for one. Two, they are likely to have the emotional burden of their addiction and its toll on their life still within them. Part of that burden can be a heavy load of shame and guilt.

There are various things that can contribute to this feeling. The addict, in the throes of their addiction, may have taken actions for which they feel remorse: lies, thefts, even betrayals. There are people they may have hurt or relationships they harmed or abandoned in pursuit of feeding their addiction. 

Even if there are distinct actions for which they feel specific guilt or shame, they may feel such emotions from simply getting caught in addiction at all. The stigma surrounding addiction and substance abuse can be keenly felt. 

Overcoming Shame and Guilt in Addiction Recovery

It can be no good to many recovering addicts to try and absolve them of such feelings by arguing their addiction is a disease and they are caught up in its wake. Culture emphasizes a sense of independence and personal responsibility and in such a paradigm, addiction and its effects fall squarely at the addict’s feet. 

It is possible for the addict to overcome such feelings of shame and guilt, however. Addiction treatment is not just focused on overcoming the chemical pull of addiction on the body, but also the mental and emotional toll it can have on the addict, as well.

Through therapy and group sessions, the addict can come to understand the need to forgive themselves for past transgressions and failings. They will have to learn to deal with the memories of their past wrongs and addiction struggles, but they cannot let it haunt them or become a continuing burden on their conscience.

Seeking the forgiveness of those you have wronged and seeking to make amends is one way to help start that process towards overcoming shame and guilt. But there is more that can be done with proper therapy and treatment, as well.

At Good Landing Recovery, through its Christian rehab program, overcoming guilt and shame is a cornerstone part of the process. Therapy and treatment focus on personal forgiveness alongside the standard focus on treating addiction and its causes. Shame and guilt can both be powerful motivators toward relapse and moving past that to find a healthy recovery is key.

It’s impossible to erase the past, but it is possible, with help, to find a way forward toward overcoming shame and guilt in addiction recovery. Call Good Landing today and let them help you find that way.