In the United States, 46.3 million people aged 12 and older battle substance use disorders. Of these, only a tiny percentage enter a treatment center, and many struggle to complete treatment and stay sober. One of the reasons why treatment can be a struggle is when people begin to experience feelings of shame and guilt. If you are getting ready to enter drug rehab in Arizona, learning how to manage these emotions is vital.
Understanding the Roots of Guilt and Shame During Addiction Treatment At A Drug Rehab in Arizona
Going through treatment for substance use disorders requires taking a close look at your actions and understanding why you turned to drugs in the first place. This work takes place in individual and group therapy sessions, and it depends on an honest look at what you’ve been through and what you’ve done.
That can be a challenge since you may have acted in many ways you’re not proud of when you were under the influence of drugs. This can lead to powerful feelings of guilt that stand in the way of your recovery.
There is a significant amount of stigma associated with substance abuse, with many people still thinking it’s a condition that affects people who don’t have a powerful enough will. Even though drug addicts understand that addiction is a disease like any other and that it has nothing to do with willpower or mental strength, shame at admitting you have a substance use disorder is common.
After going through substance abuse, the guilt and shame you feel can lead you to believe you’re not worthy of getting treatment. That’s another huge barrier in your attempt to get sober.
How The Brain Is Affected
It’s important to understand that addiction changes your brain’s structure. It floods it with vast surges of dopamine, leading it to associate drug use with pleasure and prompting the brain to demand more drugs to keep up those levels of dopamine. This prevents many areas of the brain from working correctly, including one crucial one — the prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that regulates emotions, attention, and self-control. During normal circumstances, the prefrontal cortex would easily make connections between drug use and negative consequences, but the demand for dopamine overrides that. Your prefrontal cortex is no longer able to stop you from making decisions that lead to continued substance use.
Once you begin your addiction treatment, however, the prefrontal cortex slowly starts working as it should again, and that’s when you realize all the actions you have taken and how they’ve affected the people around you. This leads to feeling guilty and unworthy.
Overcoming Guilt and Shame With A Drug Rehab in Arizona
As you turn to addiction and mental health treatment centers, feeling bad about your actions can create a massive barrier to your recovery. You need to take steps to come to terms with your addiction and its consequences, and many strategies can help.
Acknowledge What You Feel
To work through guilt or shame, you must first acknowledge their existence. This is tough for people who have been through addiction because, many times, using drugs or alcohol started as a way to cope with complicated feelings. You may have gotten used to having an “out” that allowed you to avoid negative emotions, so dealing with them while sober can seem impossible.
It would be best to acknowledge your guilt and shame and sit with the discomfort they cause. Please talk with your therapist about the ways these feelings impact your mood, and consider speaking about it in group therapy as well. Group therapy is an excellent place to delve into this because you’ll be able to hear that most other people getting treatment feel the same.
Many times, people who feel guilt hold themselves to impossible standards. Think about what you would say to a loved one who did some of the things you did while suffering from substance abuse. Would you treat them as harshly as you treat yourself? Would you continue to hold their past behaviors against them? Being kind to yourself and forgiving your actions are essential steps in the recovery process.
You are likely used to seeing yourself as someone with an addiction. You may only associate who you are with that very narrow description for months and even years. When you enter recovery, that needs to change. Yes, you will always be someone who has an addiction, but there’s a lot beyond that.
Once you enter treatment, redefining yourself as someone committed to making the right decisions is essential. You have to start getting used to seeing yourself as someone worthy of love and respect.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
As you begin your treatment plan, you should make sure you have people around you who want you to succeed. They shouldn’t make you pay for all of the negative actions you took while in the grips of addiction. People who aren’t supportive will only make your feelings of guilt worse. That’s not something you can afford when beginning your recovery.
Find those who genuinely care about you and are rooting for you to heal. Being honest with them about your struggles can help you come to terms with all of the behaviors you regret.
Turn to Desert Cove Recovery for Drug Rehab in Arizona
If you’ve been battling a substance use disorder, turning to a treatment center is essential. At Desert Cove Recovery, we provide programs to help you work through addiction and mental health concerns that may be impacting your life. Our team of behavioral health and substance use disorder experts is here to guide you.
Contact Desert Cove Recovery to begin your sobriety.