06 May Shame Locks You into Addiction – Shame Resilience Opens the Door to Recovery

Trudy Jacobsen | Addiction

Addiction typically revolves around some type of harmful substance.

Yet, the most toxic part of addiction is equally as harmful as any substance—shame.

Commonly mistaken for guilt, shame is what can keep a person locked into addiction. In other words, it’s the nefarious force at work to keep you stuck—an arm’s length away from the reprieve of recovery.

Still, many people approach the topic of shame with a cavalier attitude. But it’s not an emotion to be ignored. Moreover, shame is nearly impossible to casually reckon with. In fact, running from, ignoring, or allowing shame to devour you only strengthens its negative impact on your life.

But you can change all that and open the door to recovery by developing resilience. Here’s how.

Uncovering the Harmful Depths of Shame

To build mental toughness, it’s important to know what shame really is. Although many theories about shame exist, the paramount focus should be the present. To put it plainly, shame is utterly debilitating to a person’s psyche.

Imagine a fishing boat constantly and mercilessly pummeled by the sea. For a few years, it may still function. Yet, if ill-maintained, one day the water will win and the boat will either sink or be bound to the land.

Shame is like the sea; you are the boat.

Unlike other emotions, shame can make you feel unworthy, innately defective, and as though you’ll never be enough. And that’s just for starters.

You may struggle with guilt, people pleasing, low self-esteem, and perfectionism as well. The negative emotions trickling down from shame tend to cause unhealthy habits to develop.

How Shame Impacts Addiction Recovery

Shame has one goal—to make you feel as low and unlovable as you possibly can. Once in the clench of this toxic emotion, it’s not always “you” at the helm anymore. More than likely, it’s a version of you simply trying to keep your head above water.

In essence, to recoup what shame stripped from you, it’s easy to fall into addictive patterns. Really, running from shame is simply often running into the arms of addiction.

But the pseudo boost of internal positivity substance use provides is temporary—a fierce rush of relief. However, it feels so good to rid yourself of shame—even for just a moment—that you keep returning to your addiction again and again. Shame is that powerful!

For this reason, recovering from addiction also means building shame resilience.

How to Develop Shame Resilience

To spring back from negative emotions, you will need to be strategic. It’s not impossible. But building resilience requires deliberate thoughts and actions.

Firstly, it’s vital for you to be in a place where you feel safe and secure. Surround yourself with people who support you, even in your lowest moments. Separate yourself from toxic people—those who either bring you down or simply fail to uplift you.

Next, and possibly most importantly, you have to “show up.” Meaning, in this safe place, commit yourself to vulnerability with the people you trust. Open up and be seen. This is the boldest stance you can ever take against shame.

As a Certified Facilitator for The Daring Way, I encourage people to show up, be seen, and live brave. Which, coincidentally, is motto of The Daring Way.

To delve into the Daring Way stream a bit: the reason vulnerability is so powerful is that it encourages you to express, acknowledge, and accept yourself for who you are. Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to receive acceptance as well as practice empathy toward yourself.

If you’re ready to be free from the clutches of shame, please contact me today (07) 32825453. I can help you develop skills to aid in addiction recovery, empowering you to truly live the life you want.