How Blame Can Sabotage Your Recovery

blame and shame

Blame and shame are hallmarks of substance abuse disorders. People in active addiction often experience intense guilt related to their behavior, while simultaneously feeling powerless to change it. In recovery, you will need to move past these emotions to begin healing and continue making positive progress. How does blame contribute to substance abuse, and what can you do to stop it?

Constructively Managing Blame

Often, depression and hopelessness become fixtures of a worsening substance abuse disorder. Considering all the times you did or said something embarrassing, hurtful or heedless under the influence can cause this cycle to worsen, as you reach for more alcohol or drugs to sweep these feelings under the rug. 

Learning to overcome blame in all its forms is part of becoming a mature, well-adjusted adult. Think about your default response when something doesn’t go right in your life. Do you carefully analyze the situation and look for opportunities to improve? Or, do you immediately try to shift the blame to someone else or assume things went wrong all because of you?  

Moving past guilt will require you to shift your negative internal monologue to a positive one, and that’s easier for some than it is for others. Working with a therapist can help you unlearn destructive thought patterns and change any behaviors that don’t contribute to your health and well-being. You’ll also need to surround yourself with sober supporters who can remind you of what you’re trying to achieve and why these goals are worth pursuing.

Don’t Let Blame Hold You Back

Some people may believe that shame, guilt or self-loathing represent forms of repentance or atonement after years of substance abuse. But punishing yourself isn’t productive. The only thing it will do is undermine your chances of bettering yourself and growing into a person you can be proud of.

Having blame as your default emotional response is not healthy, which is why an essential part of recovery requires you to analyze your feelings and actively work on repairing damaged relationships by apologizing to those you hurt. In therapy, you can uncover the root causes of your addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. You can also learn healthy ways to manage stressors that might provoke a return to substance abuse.

Proven Treatment for Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

Recognizing your mistakes, forgiving yourself and moving on without dwelling on past regrets are essential in addiction recovery. Blame is ultimately a negative response, and addiction thrives on negativity. Empowerment, positivity and honesty are the tools you need to fight back against the despair and hopelessness that cause so many people to lose their health and happiness to substance abuse.

If you have recognized you have an issue with substance misuse and mental health challenges you need help managing, please contact us at Spearhead Lodge today. We offer world-class, clinically sophisticated treatment in a single-gender environment.