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In the last blog post, I talked a little bit about my addiction & how I struggled with guilt & shame during & after. I also shared 3 little things you could start doing today to help you overcome the guilt & shame you’re feeling, 3 things that helped me tremendously. If you missed that one, check it out here before you get started: Addiction, Guilt, & Shame

  1. Practicing self care.
  2. Journaling.
  3. Forgiveness.


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Before I really get into that, I’d love to talk a little more about the guilt & shame which I struggled with for so many years.

My addiction began when I was 19 years old. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned how to deal with the things that came after. It was quite the emotional rollercoaster ride too. I’m not even going to lie to y’all about it. But the end result was so worth every bit.

The truth is, back then, I didn’t know how to handle or live with any of it. I didn’t know how to move forward. I didn’t even think that I could. I beat myself up so badly over my past & my addiction, I didn’t think I deserved any better for the longest time. I know better now. And that’s what I want for every one of you reading this.

We all deserve a fresh start, a new chapter, if we really want it. But that’s the key… You have to truly want it.


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When I finally decided to pack up & leave that addiction behind, I still wasn’t strong, mentally. I still didn’t fully believe that I deserved to have a better life. I slipped many times after getting clean. I was so ashamed, so disappointed in myself. Knowing what I knew about the affect it had on my life before, why would I even try to party with the stuff? Knowing I could have slipped & fell back into it like before, why would I put myself in that situation? I still didn’t fully believe that I deserved it, I was still weak, I was still hanging out with the same type of people, putting myself in the same similar situations.

When you care about people, it’s hard to walk away, even when you know you should.

When you don’t believe in yourself, don’t believe you deserve more, you tend to stay stagnant.

During active addiction I did things I wasn’t proud of, I said things I wasn’t proud of, I watched others do things that I knew weren’t right. There were times when I remember wanting to get more high or more drunk simply because I felt guilt from what I witnessed or what I did. Instead of working through it. Because I didn’t know HOW. I didn’t know I could work through it.

Ohhhh if I knew then what I know now…


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Guilt


Feeling bad about something you did or something you said you were going to do but didn’t.

Means you acknowledge & feel bad for something.

Usually causes you to feel the need to apologize, correct something you did wrong, etc.

Dwelling in your own guilt leads to shameful feelings.

When you’re caught up in those feelings you sometimes feel like you deserve those feelings.

You’re punishing yourself & doing that does no good for you or anyone else around you.

Shame


When you internalize the guilt & believe you’re a bad person because of the things you did.
Links with self destructive actions & negative thoughts that are critical toward yourself.

No one deserves to live in those feelings forever. I didn’t. You didn’t. No one. Back then, I believed that because of my actions & mistakes, I deserved to live like that, I was being punished, when really I was punishing myself. Recognize those feelings, acknowledge them, thank them for coming, let them know they’re no longer welcome in your life, then dismiss them. Learn, teach yourself how to better understand & then confront those feelings of shame & guilt head on.

Before you even start, I want you to remind yourself of this… You are not a bad person, you made a bad choice or decision, it does not define who you are to your core. You made a mistake, it doesn’t mean you ARE a mistake. You’re not.


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Practicing Self Care


This could be ANYTHING at all. The possibilities are endless here. No one else can choose your self care practice but YOU because it’s all about what lights YOU up, what makes YOU feel good, what YOU enjoy & love. It could be something as simple as soaking in a hot bubble bath with some candles lit or going to spend some time in your garden. Make time for whatever it is, every day. Even for just 5 minutes. It could be something different each day or the same thing every day. Totally up to you! Just do it. Make time for you. It’s so important for your overall health. Mentally, physically, emotionally. There are also different categories of self care… physical, emotional, social, spiritual, etc.

Free PDF Self Care Practices From me to you ♡

And these are just a few. There are so many more that you could try. For me, it was a trial & error type of thing. Some things I’d try & they just didn’t feel good for me. Other things just felt good. Listen to yourself.

Journaling


This was a big one for me. But not everyone likes to write like I do. I want you to try journaling but I don’t want you to force it if it doesn’t feel good to you. There’s a shit ton of power in physically writing things down. Any time I had any kind of feelings, I wrote it down, every day. Even if I was happy about something, I still wrote it down. And with certain things, I wrote it down & I would burn it or rip it up then throw it away as a symbol of releasing it.

Enjoy this free PDF Journaling Through The Guilt & Shame Just for you ♡

Release those strong, negative, heavy feelings.

Write a letter to yourself but treating it as if you’re talking to a loved one.

Be kind, gentle, compassionate, understanding, forgiving toward yourself while writing. Tell yourself it’s okay. Remind yourself you are not a bad person because of your past.

Even go as far as telling yourself how much you love you.



Forgiveness


Remember everyone makes mistakes. You are courageous. You deserve to forgive yourself & to forgive others so that you can move on & grow. I want you to keep this in mind when doing this… Forgiveness is for YOU not for them. I used to think that in order to practice forgiveness, you had to reach out & ask for it. Wrong. Those people don’t need to know that you are asking for forgiveness, they also don’t need to know you’re forgiving them – unless you feel the need to do so. Learn to accept the fact that some will never forgive you, others it may take a long time to be able to forgive you, some will forgive you right away. Forgiving yourself is also extremely important. For me, it came before even forgiving others. Forgiveness all of the way around is such a long process. Dwelling is only keeping you down; it isn’t constructive nor is it beneficial to you or your future. The most important thing is the choices you make today & every day ahead, not the choices you already made in your past. Learn & grow from them instead of allowing them to hold you down.

Oh you thought I was done? Forgiving Yourself & Others

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Find compassion & try to understand why they may have done whatever they did. Do your best to separate the person from the action. Including yourself. Forgiving the person does NOT mean you’re excusing the action. They made a mistake just like you have in the past. Just like with others, your mistake is separate from who you are. Learn from it instead of dwelling in it.

If you’re not comfortable with telling that person you’ve forgiven them, journal about it or simply just say it out loud/in your mind that you forgive them (the same goes for when you’re forgiving yourself)

Remember that things don’t just happen over night. Things like this take time & practice.

The biggest piece of advice I can give here is to not judge yourself for how long it may take. Celebrate & appreciate yourself for being strong & taking these steps to learn from what happened. You’re making an effort to becoming a better person & that alone is something to be so proud of.

With forgiveness, for me, also came letting go. This is something I really had to learn how to do because it’s not easy.

Learn to let go > Letting Go

At the end of the day, the only thing you CAN control is yourself. You can’t change what happened yesterday, therefore, holding onto past shit won’t help your life in a positive way. Trust me, I know. Be free by learning to let go. You can do it. And if you need help, I’d be more than happy to write about that as well.


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