Say So Long to Guilt and Shame

a woman holds a piece of paper that says let it go

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” — Unknown

It’s pretty common to feel guilt or shame over past behaviors or actions that occurred during active addition. And while it’s okay (and perfectly normal) to experience these pesky emotions from time to time, it’s detrimental to your overall recovery (and your mental health) to dwell on them. The better solution: Stop beating yourself up about the past and start focusing on your new sober life.

These steps may help:

  • Practice positive affirmations. Acknowledging your strengths will help you diminish your negative thought patterns and counteract negative self-talk. Give it a try: Look in the mirror and say: “I’m brave and in control of my future,” or whatever makes you feel good about you and all of the recovery work you’ve done. 
  • Start a journal. Writing down your past regrets will help you acknowledge them so you can move on. And why not also record all of your recovery goals and milestones, too, so you can marvel in how far you’ve come.
  • Just breathe. The next time you feel overwhelmed by guilt, shame or self-doubt, try this: Close your eyes and take a slow, long deep breath. Now exhale and let go of these negative emotions. This will calm you down and clear your head for more positive thoughts.
  • Lend a hand. Helping someone else – whether by volunteering or simply buying a cup of coffee for a friend – is a way to squash any negative feelings you have about yourself. It’s a healthy distraction, too, so you avoid focusing on yourself and your past.

Living Sober, Living Healthy
Our Philadelphia sober living residence encourages and incorporates activities and attainable daily goals that reflect a strategy toward a sustainable recovery and personal wellness. To learn more, call (866) 247-3307

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