5 Tips to Deal with the Guilt of Your Past

guilt and shame from addiction

Alcoholism is a disease that will steal your soul- period. There is no debate, there is no cure, nothing but unadulterated misery brought upon by an invisible disease unrecognized prior to the 20th century. That’s the cynical frame of it in a nutshell at least. You see, alcoholic thinking is a style of justified behaviors that simply turn any great person into an empty husk of what they once were. It hypnotizes all afflicted individuals into trouncing shamelessly past all the ashes left in their wake. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is an answer to the prayer’s of addiction: recovery.

Upon accepting the fate of our addictive tendencies, those of us clinging to hope to look into the power of the fellowship. 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 hauntings of the past have solidified upstairs. Dealing with the guilt of who we used to supersede our new intentions sometimes.

Many addicts tend to be the reaction to the bad parts of themselves. This can be a positive and negative battery but is contingent upon how it’s used. While focusing on the negative performances can teach us things we may have overlooked, it’s important to keep in mind the esteemable acts we’ve done also. In recovery, we attempt to right many of our wrongs while creating the valuable individuals we aim to be. That being said, we cannot dictate our future solely because of the qualms of our past. Dealing with the guilt face to face is one of the greatest freedoms we can allow ourselves in this new lifestyle.

young woman dealing with guilt
Unguilty Revelations

In recovery, there are those of us that are too apologetic when we feel we have not met expectation, and then there are those of us that lack moral consciousness in the beginning. Regardless of that standpoint, it’s a must that we snap out of the mindset that we have ruined things beyond repair. No this is not a justification to do morally inept things, but more so a reminder that nothing in this life is permanent except death. The point of recovery is to become a new person; leaving those dealings with the guilt behind.

Recovery is kind of about giving back since we took so much for so long. However, in order to give love to others, we must give love to ourselves. Raise your self-esteem off the ground and know deep down in your soul that you are worth every second of this life. That’s just one of the things we can remind ourselves when dealing with the guilt of our past. Some other tips for leaving behind shifty feelings can be as simple as:

  • Recognizing Our Inner Strengths
  • Accepting All Those Strengths AND Weaknesses
  • Promoting Esteemable Acts
  • Engaging in Spiritual Practices
  • Discussing That Guilt/Shame With Others

It’s once we start implementing these practices, the negativity will be stripped of its power. It’s imperative to take time for yourself while dwelling on the idea that you’re not alone. We all see ourselves in a 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.

Shaving Off the Guilt

Having chosen recovery as the side of the road we prefer, now it’s about maintaining that side. Now it’s about becoming people of integrity that have nothing to hide. Dealing with the guilt is an uncomfortable experience that we were once able to numb away. Sobriety has returned the emotions that now make that impossible. We can no longer run from the monsters that plague us- recovery makes us face them.

Recovery will help us to perceive the world in a more optimistic manner. This newfound positivity helps us to see that we never have to be those people we once were. We can stop creating that guilt by becoming better people that don’t take from the quality of life of others. A wise man once said that life is like a table filled with all sorts of different drinking glasses. Our job on this planet is to keep those glasses of water full so that others can be happy. Yet at the same time, we have to keep our pitcher full to do so. This is the wonderful blueprint that many of us use for dealing with the guilt of our past. Addiction does not define us.

Guilt is Expensive

When it comes to self-esteem and learning to forgive yourself of the past, it is vital to remember that an apology is only words. We can say it but it doesn’t always have that fulfillment we’re hoping for. We can work on dealing with the guilt 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. Most addicts took and never gave for so long. In order to achieve balance, many addicts must turn all that selfishness into selflessness.

It’s as simple as that: lending an extra hand while promoting good morals. No need for apologies all day long. Every human on this planet has made a slew of mistakes. Of course, some mistakes are more costly than others, but learning from the past while moving forward is the best way to learn from them. Of the predetermined paths of destiny, we control our fates. No point dealing with the guilt and allowing it to rent space in our heads for free. Catalog the wrong and make the future right.

Knowing You’re Worth It

Loving yourself while knowing your importance in this world is crucial. Know that it’s okay to be human and if you’re struggling with addiction to reach out for help. Everybody deserves to love themselves and to be loved by others. Life is too short and alcoholic thinking only shortens it more. If you or your loved one is in need of detoxification or help due to substance dependency, please call 1-888-481-1993 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. Our team of specialists is standing by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.