Often when a person goes through a difficult recovery from an addiction, they will blame themselves and feel strong emotions of shame and guilt. Addicts are sometimes afraid that their problems will burden their loved ones and that no one cares enough to help. Many people believe that being addicted to a dangerous substance is a choice, and that addicts are to blame for their disease. This is false. Harboring this belief can lead to low self-esteem and self-confidence, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior for a struggling addict. This discourages addicts from getting help and reaching out to others for advice and resources.
Many people like to pretend that low self-esteem does not exist. The reality is that hundreds of millions of people experience harsh blows to their self-esteem every day. Anxiety from guilt can lead to extremely self-destructive behavior such as consuming large amounts of harmful substances, self-harming, depression, eating disorders, and even early death. This can happen to both men and women and it is not just younger people, it can be people of all ages.
Negative messages are sent to society that make it seem like addicts are the ones to blame for their problems. They chose to use, so now they have to deal with the consequences. Harsh thinking being pushed onto the public like this makes addicts want to hide their issues from people that they should trust and not seek help that they may need. Without help, addiction gets worse, and the addict could end up homeless, hungry, dying, and alone.
Anxiety and guilt
It is extremely hard for an addicted person to come to the realization that they are not fully to blame for their illness. Many factors can put a person at risk to succumb to using dangerous substances as a coping mechanism for daily life. Addiction can often stem from trauma, death or loss, mental disorders, and many other debilitating and tragic influences.
Average, healthy, everyday people are not immune to addiction. Anyone can fall victim to addiction and it is very hard to battle. Once a person becomes addicted to something, they will feel as though they may not survive without it. An important part of addiction recovery is knowing that bottling up negative emotions such as shame and guilt can set you back in your fight against addiction.
Some people get mental blocks when it comes to controlling and being aware of their emotions. When a moment is overemotional often a person will forget to stop and think about the root of the problem. There are many ways to decrease the levels and shame and guilt that an addict may feel from their addiction. One that had been known to work very well is to use a mantra.
Forgiving yourself for the mistakes you have made in the past is key in addiction recovery. This can be done by repeating the mantra, “I am not my mistakes,” as often as you can. It can be spoken out loud if you are in private or just in your head if you are around others. When negative thoughts about blaming yourself for your addiction enter your mind, push them away with the words, “I am not my mistakes.”
Mantras have been proven to work. Repeating the same sentence over and over again really makes it stick in your brain. Before your realize it, you will be living that statement. You will not live your life held back by what you have done before, and your past does not define you as a person. It is important that you get others to forgive you for anything wrong you have done that effects them, but first remember to forgive yourself.
Look yourself in the mirror every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed and repeat the mantra. Get it stuck in your head like a song. Say it in funny voices, or angry voices. Scream it at the top of your lungs and whisper it like it’s a secret. Are you someone who likes to doodle or draw? Start writing the mantra over and over again. Write it on a sticky note and put it on your computer. You can even write it on your ceiling above your bed so it’s the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night.
Addiction recovery not only takes the full effort of the addict, but help from loved ones, coworkers, friends, neighbors, and trained professionals. Your loved ones can be the people who push you to finally get help for your problems. Your friends at work can cover for you if you have to go to an inpatient recovery facility, and your neighbors can keep an eye on your house. The world still keeps spinning while you are away, but it will be ready for you to jump right back in once you get healthy.
Trained professionals know how to treat an addict for specific problems they may have involving substance abuse, mental illness, and shame and guilt. Anxiety can often stem from feelings of guilt, which can in turn make a person’s addiction much worse. Without proper treatment for addiction, a person can develop terrible mental and physical health problems that can lead to early death. Addicts can get the help they need from addiction recovery centers or rehab centers.