The Role of Guilt in Addiction

None of us are able to predict the future and where exactly we are going. Our blueprints are often unfinished rough drafts implemented from thought to action prematurely. Due to this imaginative impulsivity, we create hopes, dreams, and aspirations full of ambition with only a small percentage of these best laid plans coming to fruition. Yet in the same breath, we control our destiny and all the actions that do actually transpire on our road to greatness. So as we steer ourselves into the known unknowns of 2019, it’s vital to understand that not all things are going to go our way this year. Sure, that happens, such is life. But if we choose not to hold ourselves accountable where it matters, we will not grow. We will remain stagnant at the bottom of an empire of in-completion.  

To hold ourselves accountable means addressing all issues at hand. It means looking at ourselves; fixing the problems that plague us while preventing us from being the greatest versions of ourselves. For many this is alcoholic thinking. Holding this type of thinking accountable is a requirement for any sort of knowledgeable growth. You see, addiction is a disease that is recognized by far too little of people. It’s an invisible disorder, unrecognized prior to the 20th century, that brings nothing but unadulterated misery for those who don’t address their unjust mental obsession. Too many rationalize this issue as normal. Although it is common and something to not be ashamed of, alcoholism is far from normal. Ye then again, what is normal to the spider is chaos for the fly.   

However, if we can recognize it and deal with it, then there is always a new dawn to look forward to. Upon accepting the fate of our addictive tendencies, we begin turning our lives around with the ultimate decision of leaving the substance abusing chaos behind. We become ready for change and embrace it fully. However, for some of us the role of guilt in addiction stops us from helping ourselves like we may need. We allow ourselves to get clean, but live day in and day out with the hauntings of our past remaining vivid. There is definitely no need for this though.

The Role of Addiction in Guilt

Many addicts tend to be the reaction to the bad parts of themselves. This can be a positive and negative battery, but remains contingent upon it’s charging. While focusing on our negative performances can teach us things about ourselves we may have overlooked, it’s important to keep in mind the esteemable acts we’ve done also. Reliving our wrongdoings for the purpose of recovery is to only understand them. If sharing is caring then understanding is expanding. In recovery we attempt to right many of our wrongs while remolding the valuable individuals we intend to be. That being said, we shouldn’t restrict our emotions felt because of our pasts and the role of guilt in addiction. We’re trying not to be those people anymore. By trying to be a better person, you’re already progressing. So go forward with a light heart.

Yet, to go forward with this light heart, you have to love yourself. Rightfully so. Why shouldn’t you? The role of guilt in addiction tries to convince you that you’re not worth it. Pish Posh! Raise your self-esteem off the ground and know deep down in your soul that you are worth every second of this life. You wouldn’t still be here if you weren’t worth it. Remind yourself this constantly so that the role of addiction won’t continue to rent space for free in your head. A little practice will go a long way. A few other techniques that can/will help in keeping the upper hand over guilt in addiction can/will include:

  • Exploring Your Inner Strengths
  • Accepting Everything About Yourself
  • Promoting Esteemable Acts in Yourself and Others
  • Engaging in Spiritual Practices like Yoga, Prayer, or Meditation
  • Discussing Your Guilty/Shameful Feelings With Others

It’s once we start implementing these practices, the negativity of guilt can/will be stripped of its power. It’s imperative to take time for yourself while dwelling in the idea that you’re not alone. We all see ourselves in different light than that shined by others. Everybody sees everything from different lenses. So in knowing that, we cannot assume that others see the same unforgivable shadows we look for.

Recovery Conscience>Guilty Conscience

Recovery will help us to perceive the world more optimistically. It delivers a newfound positivity that helps us see we never have to be those guilt ridden people some of us once were. We can choose to stop performing the actions that are creating the role of guilt in addiction. Recovery shows us that others are willing to forgive us, so why not forgive ourselves? Addiction does not have to define us.  

When it comes to self-esteem/learning to forgive yourself, remember that an apology is only words. Even if it’s only to yourself. We can say it but it doesn’t always have that fulfillment we’re hoping for. We can diminish the role of guilt in addiction by paying it forward. Doing things for others kind of feeds into the karma from the past. There’s a general balance in life that must be met; a yin and yang if you will. In order to achieve that balance, many addicts must turn all their selfishness to selflessness.

At the end of the day remember, everybody makes mistakes. Some mistakes are indeed more costly than others, but learning from the past while moving forward is the best way to burn the culpability away. Of the predetermined paths of destiny, we control our fates even when they don’t go our way- remember that. Next time the feelings of discomfort arise, remind yourself that by cataloging your wrongs you’re making the future right.