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Negative Emotions During Early Recovery

 

While you were addicted to drugs or alcohol, you most likely did things you were not proud of. Most alcoholics and drug addicts are so consumed by their drug of choice that they have little room to think of anything or anyone else. It is quite common for family members and friends to feel hurt and angry by their addicted loved one’s actions.

Now that you are in recovery, you are probably feeling guilty and ashamed about things you did while intoxicated. You are probably wondering what you can do to make it up to the people you love, but if you continue to let these feelings consume you, you will find it hard to stay on the straight and narrow. It may sound selfish but during the early days, you need to make recovery your priority.

Dealing with Your Feelings

Feelings of guilt can threaten to overcome you in early recovery, but feelings of shame may also consume you. You may constantly be thinking about things you said or did, and your desire to be honest with your loved ones may also be coming to the fore.

It is common for recovering addicts to want to share everything with their loved ones. However, some will feel intense shame about things they did. Some say they cannot even bear to think about what they did while addicted.

If you are struggling to cope with thoughts of your actions while under the influence, it may be a good idea to talk things through with your counsellor or therapist. It is not a good idea to dwell too much on the past when you have so much to look forward to. Try to put the negative things you did behind you, as you cannot change the past – you can only move on and try to live your life in a positive manner.

Moving On

They say that honesty is the best policy and, in some instances, this is true. Nevertheless, there may be things that are best left in the past, particularly if knowing them could hurt others. Your loved ones probably have their suspicions regarding things that you did, but if they have not questioned you about them, they probably do not want to know the finer details.

Taking Responsibility

Just because you do not have to talk about your past, does not mean you do not have to take responsibility for things that you did or said. If you are working through the 12-steps, then step number 9 says, ‘Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others’.

While you should try to make amends with those you have wronged or hurt, you can do so without causing further hurt and shame.

Your Future

Your future now is crucial. If you have completed a programme of rehabilitation and are now in the process of reintegrating into everyday life, you need to focus on staying sober. This is a tough period because you will now be faced with old temptations and triggers. You have probably learned what does trigger your addictive behaviour and will have been taught certain techniques that you can use to avoid them.

Remember that staying sober can be tough in the early days, so you should be putting all of your energy into this. It is vital, therefore, that you do not let your feelings of guilt and shame overwhelm you. By putting the past behind you and moving on, you will have a greater chance of success and will be able to enjoy the rest of your life with your family.

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